Bynder Marketing Insights

Digital Asset Management Solutions vs Free Sharing and Storage Tools

Written by Ruben Vermaak | 2 February 2016

Do any of the following situations sound familiar to you?

  • You keep finding yourself waiting on shots of the new spring collection for unacceptable amounts of time
  • The PDF file you just emailed to a colleague bounced back: 'file size too large'
  • You want to check out (some of) your work files on your home computer
  • You would like to use a PowerPoint template which is saved on your colleague's hard drive for a presentation but your colleague and her password-protected computer are on vacation.
  • You sent over a keynote, later added a few things and resent it, but, by accident, your customer is looking at the wrong version. 

These are the issues that initially sparked the growth of file sharing and storage services such as Dropbox, Yousendit (now Hightail) and Wetransfer. Great tools - loved by all, used by many.

But what about security - where are the (sensitive) files actually stored? How can I delete or retrieve files? This is exactly where an online Digital Asset Management tool might be a good upgrade.

Using a DAM tool gives you more control on how, when and who is using what. With a Digital Asset Management system, there is no longer a need to upload or resend files. Moreover, notifications are automatically sent when files are added or changed. 

There are some serious hidden advantages too: files are stored in your own environment, so you can actually delete or edit them after uploading. Also, brand managers will be happy about the fact that all the interfaces (emails, and download pages) are branded with your corporate identity. 

'Yeah, but Wetransfer/Dropbox/Hightail is free!'

True. But the time saved by using a dedicated Digital Asset Management tool adds up every time you use it and will soon outweigh the monthly cost of your DAM system. Check out our ROI calculaltor and see for yourself how much time and money your company can save by using a Digital Asset Management solution. If you send or save any more than 10 files a month, you're talking about major savings across the board. And, just as importantly, your team will love you for introducing it! 

Some other disadvantages of using free tools such as Dropbox and WeTransfer:

1) These solutions are so-called 'stand-alone tools' and only have a certain function, such as saving or sending media. They do not combine these functions, therefore using them  is still very time-consuming. 
2) Such tools cannot be integrated into your existing systems. In order to, for example, downsize files or change formats, you need other tools such as Photoshop, which cannot be integrated. 

Moreover, for business purpose use, you will need a tool that is built around digital media and covers all functions such as storing, sharing and organizing. The system must be integrative with existing systems such as Adobe Creative Cloud. This is where the term 'Digital Asset Management system' (or, alternatively, brand management system) originates from.

The name itself can be explained as follows. Digital media is called an 'asset' as it is business critical. What would your marketing department be without the latest product images? Without a logo and brand identity, would your company still be able to differentiate itself as easily from the competition?

So, what is Digital Asset Management and how can it help you?

With Digital Asset Management software, you can easily manage, search, upload and share your media files onlilne. All your images, movies, music, logos, presentations and PDF files are stored on one Cloud-based location, accessible to your colleagues around the world at any time of day (or night). A big advantage of a Digital Asset Management system in comparison to Dropbox or WeTransfer is that you can use one tool to cover all administrative activities concerning digital media. Digital Asset Management solutions are an alternative to several functionalities simultaneously, such as:

  • Google-like search (searching for images and information on the intranet)
  • Local server (storing media in one central location)
  • Adobe Creative Cloud (adaptation of web and print media directly through the web browser)
  • Dropbox (web-based storage and media sharing)
  • WeTransfer (distributing and sending large files over the Internet)
  • Jira (coordination and communication with agencies and other departments)

Digital Asset Management features

Additionally, Digital Asset Management solutions have a large number of other useful and time-saving features. For example, reporting enables admin users get an overview of the most frequently downloaded files and most active users. In this way you can discover vulnerabilities in efficiency and improve processes in your marketing department even further.

In fact, Digital Asset Management is not as new a technology as you might think: similar software has existed for the last 20 years. However, such asset banks were always on-premise, complex to use and in need of high initial investments. Nor were they particularly user-friendly or intuitive. In the last few years there have been quite a few developments. Nowadays, Digital Asset Management software is on the whole Cloud-based, user-friendly, and affordable for both SMB and enterprise.

Due to functions such as media tagging, text search, automated media import, smart search filters etc., you can find a file in a split second. Through version control, you can also make sure that old versions of templates or logos are never sent out.

Brand management systems, an extension of Digital Asset Management systems, ensure that all employees have a central point to inform themselves about brand guidelines. Next to corporate identity, brand management systems cover the full spectrum of digital media management from automation of communication and coordination with creative agencies, to enabling marketing professionals create new media with web-to-print within a few minutes.

Through system integration interfaces such as API's or plugins, brand management and Digital Asset Management systems can be integrated into your business environment. With a customised taxonomy and appearance, user adaptation will be increased since the structure is tailored to the particular company and fits perfectly into existing company systems.

So, in conclusion, stop using free, unsecured consumer tools and step up your game and innovate with a Digital Asset Management tool! Or even better, go give Bynder a (free) spin (we're not biased or anything...)