Bynder Marketing Insights

What is Digital Asset Management Software?

Written by Jack Saville | 1 March 2017


Digital asset management is the effective organisation, retrieval and distribution of digitised files.

  • This technology is often available on premises or in the cloud.
  • Keeping files in a cloud based DAM system helps to keep your files safe, organized and available from anywhere at a moment’s notice.
  • Digital asset management is a key tool in brand management, as making sure team members have immediate access to the correct branded materials helps to facilitate brand consistency across an organization.
  • To make sure that you maximise return on investment in digital asset management software, it is important to give users adequate training in how to use the DAM system.
  • Bynder’s AI capabilities allow files to be tagged automatically (with 80% accuracy) upon upload. This means that files can be organized and found faster than ever.

A quick intro...

Guide contents

  1. Who should read this guide?
  2. What is digital asset management?
  3. The benefits of digital asset management software
  4. Case studies: the benefits of digital asset management in reality
  5. The cost of digital asset management
  6. Identifying your digital asset management requirements
  7. Implementing digital asset management software
  8. Digital asset management ROI
  9. The future of digital asset management
  10. The digital asset management glossary
  11. Conclusion 

1. Who should read this guide?

This guide was created to help introduce and explain the purpose and role of digital asset management (DAM) within an organization. Are you assessing whether or not to invest in digital asset management? Want to learn about what DAM is? Or, are you trying to determine if your existing digital asset management software matches the needs of your organization? If so, then this guide is for you.

Any organization can use DAM . Typically, marketing departments see the biggest benefit as they need to quickly and easily access a large number of content files. However, this depends on the type of organization and the function that it fulfills, as in many instances, many departments receive an equal benefit from the introduction of a digital asset management system.

Wondering if your competitors are already using DAM software? Digital asset management has become an essential tool in a wide range of industries including:

  • Law enforcement
  • Military
  • Travel and leisure
  • Food and beverages
  • Media and agency
  • Finance and insurance
  • Education and government
  • Charities and nonprofit
  • Pharma and healthcare
  • Fashion
  • Consumer goods and retail
  • Transportation

This guide will provide an in-depth explanation of what DAM is, what DAM does, whether you need DAM, how to get the most out of it and where DAM is heading in the future.

2. What is digital asset management?

Let's start by nailing down the first part of the term. "Digital asset" is a fancy description for a file that is saved in a digital format. Characterized as "assets" to reflect the value they hold for the user; assets can cover everything from an image file to a financial report.

DAM is a must-have in sales and marketing . In its most basic state, DAM is a system used to store files in a digital format. However, it is much more than just a well-organized digital filing system. A well integrated—and well-used—DAM tool is a dynamic storage and delivery system that can be either hosted on site, or in the cloud.

Although a relatively new concept, understanding of digital asset management is improving across marketing departments and organizations. DAM software was born out of a need for organizations to be able to store their digital assets in a safe and organized environment, and as this need grows, digital asset management knowledge will improve.

Want to know how DAM could help you? Download The definitive guide to DAM.

3. The benefits of digital asset management software

The true value of DAM becomes apparent when users move, view and use digital assets.

Quality digital asset management software will enable users to access the digital assets they need as fast as possible. This could be by downloading the asset, viewing the asset or embedding the asset on an external site. Having an active content delivery network (CDN) will ensure that the asset is loaded to the external source as quickly as possible. 

To access an asset, you first need to be able to find it. DAM solutions provide a number of quick and easy ways to navigate through your digital assets. The traditional way to organize assets is through a system of folders. Each asset is placed into the folder that suits its type or purpose. An alternative, but common, approach to digital asset organization is through a filter system—where digital assets are assigned a series of meta-properties during the upload process. The user can apply filters to the digital asset bank and filter out the assets that they do not want.

Using filters is a more efficient form of organization, especially when compared to a folder structure—which is dependent upon the asset uploader depositing the file where they think it should be stored. Future users searching for the same asset may then become frustrated when they can't find it in the folder they believe the asset is best suited, which raises concerns regarding asset assignment. With a filter structure, the user can assign several different properties to one asset, meaning that if the asset satisfies different criteria, the asset can then be filtered and found.

It could be argued that users of a folder-based system can create multiple versions of the same asset and place these copies into every folder that it is suited. However, this causes a number of problems. When this asset needs to be updated, it's important that all copies of the asset are updated. This in itself could take some time, and copies may be forgotten. Making numerous copies of the same asset purely for navigational purposes would also be an inefficient use of file storage space. 

A digital asset management solution also enables an organization to grant, and police the rights of all users. Permissions to access the portal and different assets can be restricted, as well as the ability to edit and replace assets within the DAM system.

Additionally, DAM software facilitates the use of the correct versions of assets. This means that people do not use different versions of the same asset, such as out of date logos or sales presentations. This ensures that an organization's brand is presented in a consistent way—which is crucial for recognition and strength.

Allowing access to digital assets from anywhere in the world is another benefit of DAM. Using cloud-based digital asset management software ensures that all users have access to the digital assets that they need from wherever they are in the world.  In organizations that have offices and employees across the world, this capability is immensely valuable.

Digital asset management systems also offer a secure place to store your digital assets. Secure login ensures that only the people you want to have access to your digital assets will have access to them. Additionally, you may be able to change the permissions of user accounts which provide the ability to upload new assets or edit existing assets. This makes sure that everyone has the type of access to the digital asset bank that they require. 

4. Case studies: the benefits of digital asset management in reality

  • Learn how innocent drinks reached 2,500 downloads in the first 30 days.
  • Find out how Icelandair enjoyed a 50% reduction in search time after they moved to the Bynder.
  • Read about how Battersea Dogs & Cats Home have 12,000 stored media assets.
  • DPDgroup have 163 marketers successfully using Bynder. Click to read more
  • Bynder digital asset management has helped AkzoNobel to reduce internal emails by 90%.

Download the free e-book - The definitive guide to DAM

5. The cost of digital asset management

The costs of your digital asset management software can be split by the time it takes to install the solution and its on-going costs.

The costs of installing your digital asset management bank will depend on the DAM software vendor you choose. Bynder software works in the cloud.  Consequently, there are no on-site technical installations that need to take place.  Other DAM software solutions that do not offer cloud-based storage may require costly on-site installations on your organization’s premises.

Another significant cost to consider is the time it takes to decide on the taxonomy and organizational structure of your digital asset bank. It's important to invest time in planning how to organize your assets because this will dictate the usability of your system. A mark of a great DAM is that the DAM taxonomy is closely tied to the type of assets that your organisation creates.

Training is another factor that needs to be taken into account when reviewing digital asset management costs. When browsing different providers, make sure that the user interface is easy to understand—as this will help to reduce user training and streamline the process of making your system operational. 

The final (and probably greatest) DAM cost to contemplate is any ongoing service or subscription fee. While entirely dependent upon the DAM provider that you choose, it's important to identify your digital asset management goals so that you can examine which DAM vendors are best suited to your usage and budget requirements. The best DAM vendors will offer product demos so that you can see how the product works and if it is worth your investment. Click here for a Bynder product trial.

6. Identifying your digital asset management requirements

Every organization has different digital assets and different creative processes. Therefore, every organization has different digital asset management requirements. It's important to think about how your current processes are inefficient and where you are experiencing challenges. Have a chat with various departments and see what they think. You could even pass around an online form and ask people to fill it in.

For example; do colleagues keep using the old version of a logo even though a new one has been created? A common pain point is that after a new logo has been created in a company, people still use the old logo in presentations or on the website. So, a requirement that you may identify would be that you need a DAM that has version control. Therefore, once a new version of an existing asset has been created, it can overwrite the the old version. This means that the old version is no longer available and so cannot be used.

Do you have so many files that it takes an age to find anything? As an example, an email marketer who works in an e-Commerce company will need quick access to hundreds of different product images so that they can be used in marketing emails. If your files are poorly organized, it will take considerably longer to find the images that you need, and therefore will take longer to create your marketing emails. So, in this scenario, you might require a DAM that helps you to organize your product images in a more sensible way.

Is an ability to access assets while on the move important to you and your team? With mobile DAM access, this is possible. This is particularly important for organizations who have fast-moving sales teams who require access to key assets when a computer cannot be used.

Or do you already have a DAM, but there is no usage information available, and so you cannot see the ROI it is generating for the company? So then you may decide that a requirement for a new DAM would be that you want to have user analytics so that you can see who is using the DAM and which assets are being used—and which are not.

After you have identified your unique pain points, then you can start to understand what you require from your digital asset management system.

7. Implementing digital asset management software

Deciding how to organize your assets is a big step in the implementation of your digital asset management software. So it is important to spend time developing a consistent taxonomy for your assets.

Digital asset management software can be complex, and so educating users on how to use your system is of utmost importance. The level of education required will depend on your users—how familiar are your users with DAM software and online technology in general? It is important to give detailed information on how the digital asset management system works, and all of the different features that are available to users. It is also important to create a bank of this information where users can search and find previous lessons where necessary.

Finally, one of the most effective ways to encourage take-up of your digital asset management system is to brand the portal according to your brand guidelines.  In this way, users feel more comfortable in working with something that has the same look and feel as their own intranet or website. Therefore, it is important to take this into account when implementing your DAM solution.

8. Digital asset management ROI

Making sure that you see an investment from any software package that you implement in your company is crucial, and digital asset management software is no different. Unsurprisingly, achieving a return on investment in digital asset management depends on the usage of the digital assets.

Two main things can be done to increase the usage of your DAM software. Primarily, properly educate users on how DAM software works—this will help the user to understand how the DAM software can benefit them. Secondly, admin users should analyze usage statistics to identify any users who are slow to adopt the system and may subsequently require more training or support.

9. The future of digital asset management

The way marketing teams work is changing. And, so is digital asset management. This section will detail the key technological advances happening in digital asset management now—and in the future.

Mobile DAM apps are a major source of innovation within the DAM space. So much of how organizations function is now tied to mobile technology and on-the-move functionality. Mobile app digital asset management has become a key tool in the ability of marketing teams to utilize the assets they need, right when they need them.

Additionally, AI for DAM is arriving and can be used in everyday business. Bynder’s latest AI capabilities are empowering marketers with the ability to automate the uploading of visual assets. Bynder’s AI capabilities empower marketers with the ability to automate and streamline daily processes.

With automated tags generated with 80% accuracy upon upload, marketers can find what they need faster, saving hours of administrative duties including organization of all marketing graphics, files and videos. This sits right at the heart of what we believe is important for marketers today; freeing up the time to get back to their creative roots. To read more about Bynder’s latest AI capabilities, click here.

Intelligent asset suggestion will be another forward step in the future of digital asset management. DAM software will integrate with digital analytics platforms to identify the digital assets that lead to the highest number of conversions when they are included in online marketing materials.  As a result, your digital asset management software will be able to suggest the asset that you should use in your marketing materials to secure the highest conversion rate.

10. The digital asset management glossary

The following section will provide definitions for key digital asset management terms.

Cloud-based SaaS DAM solution: The software as a service model is a more forward-thinking system of digital asset management. The software is not directly installed on the machines in your organization, but rather based in the cloud. Users are given access to the software through the internet. This means that users can access the software from whichever device they want, from any location, rather than just the device that the software has been installed on. Additionally, SaaS product updates can be made directly to the software on the cloud and so is instantly available to everyone.
Collections: Collections are a term used in the Bynder DAM solution and defines a group of assets that can be shared with others.
Creative content platform: The term "creative content platform" is a synonym of digital asset management.
DAM software: DAM Software is a synonym of digital asset management.
DAM system: The term DAM system is a synonym of digital asset management.
DAM taxonomy: Digital asset management taxonomy is the system of names and properties that are assigned to digital assets so that they can be found at a later date.
Search: Digital asset search is the main method of navigation within many digital asset banks. Many search bars now have auto complete to help the user ensure that they type the correct keyword into the search bar.
Digital asset: A digital asset is a file in a digital form.
Digital content management: Digital content management is a synonym of digital asset management.
Digital media management: Digital media management is a synonym of digital asset management.
Digital rights management: Digital rights management is the way in which an organization will control the legal right to distribute certain images and/or files as part of their marketing efforts or otherwise.
Derivative: A derivative is an altered version of a file. For example, your DAM portal may allow you to create derivatives of an image based on dimensions.
Enterprise content management: Enterprise content management is a synonym of digital asset management.
Filter: Filtering is the method by which Bynder's digital asset management organizes assets. Users add meta-properties to digital assets on upload. When users want to filter the digital asset bank, filters can be applied which will filter irrelevant assets out of your view, leaving you with a collection of assets that fit your criteria.
Media management software: Media management software is a synonym of digital asset management.
Metadata: Metadata is information that is assigned to each asset to aid the organization and searchability of the digital asset.
On-site DAM solution: An on-site digital asset solution involves the use of on-site servers to store the digital assets of the organization. This method of digital asset management requires a much longer period of installation as physical components must be stored in the premises of the organization. Additionally, work must be carried out to ensure the security of the physical location of the storage servers to ensure that the digital assets are safe from theft. Software updates must also be made on each individual device. This process can take a great deal of time, and if the software needs to be regularly updated, this can cause a disruption to productivity within an organization.
System integration: Digital asset management systems often have integration options with third-party tools.
Watermarking: Watermarking your digital assets is a way of ensuring that people do not use digital assets without the correct digital copyright permissions.

11. Conclusion

This guide has provided an overview of what digital asset management is; its benefits, and detailed the factors that must be considered when implementing a digital asset management solution. It explained the costs associated and the implementation of DAM, how to maximize DAM return on investment, and finally, how it may develop in the future.

If you would like to view a demo of the Bynder digital asset management solution, please click here.

If you have any questions about this guide, please get in contact with us here.