What is digital asset management

In many companies, marketers waste hours producing assets that no one ever uses because they store these assets in systems where their team can’t find them. Because most businesses store digital assets in unorganized folders and online sites that their teams have difficulty understanding, they often end up recreating documents they’ve already made, and missing opportunities to use assets that already exist

Easily manage documents with proper digital asset management (DAM)

Put all these issues together, and you have hundreds of work hours wasted yearly and lots of business funds lost to duplicating and chasing down files and documents. Companies could have used these resources to run fresh campaigns to fuel business growth.

Ensure your business spends resources widely with proper digital asset management (DAM). This article covers how digital asset management software works to help you build a reliable online ecosystem for your content and the benefits of using a DAM solution to create a central digital hub for all your assets. We’ll also cover a quick history of the evolution of DAM systems and what to look for when choosing one for your organization. Finally, discover how our digital asset library can help you and your team make sense of the many digital assets you create and share.

What is digital asset management?

Digital assets are all types of different format documents created and stored digitally

Digital asset management (DAM) is the systematic process of storing, managing, organizing, distributing, and retrieving your organization’s digital assets to meet your business needs.

At the center of digital asset management are digital assets, but what are digital assets?

Digital assets refer to any document or rich media file that can be created and stored digitally. Digital assets are searchable through metadata, can be shared with different users within and outside an organization, and have several levels of permission of use.

Digital assets come in many forms and formats and serve different purposes. For example, a marketing team may produce digital assets in the form of videos, text-based copy, and images for various campaigns. The sales team may create contracts to close deals. The HR team may create rich media files and other documents to help onboard and train new hires.

Digital assets may include text-based files, presentations, contracts, or rich media files such as images, videos, audio content, animations, and graphics.

Content in every format is likely integral to your business, from sharing product information with your sales team to safely storing customer data. To achieve your business goals and get valuable work done daily, your team members need an easy way to create and collaborate on digital assets with one another and share them with new hires, clients, and stakeholders. This is where digital asset management solutions come in.

Digital asset management solutions provide the technology your team needs to store, organize, distribute, and retrieve your organization’s digital assets in a single controlled environment. Digital asset management systems streamline workflow and help your team save many hours while sharing, collaborating, and searching for documents.

How DAM software works

Digital asset management software helps your organization manage the entire lifecycle of your digital assets, from creation to storage and sharing.

Here’s how DAM software works as it relates to the life cycle of your organization’s digital assets.

1. Digital asset creation

DAM solutions often come with built-in templates and integrate with other creative tools to create standardized and searchable assets without moving from one application window to another.

2. Digital asset storage

DAM software provides a single source of truth for your organization’s media assets by providing a secure environment to store your digital assets. DAM software includes storage for different file types and backup to ensure you do not lose any of your files.

3. Digital asset organization and indexing

DAM software automatically attaches metadata to digital assets to group and index them in the system for easy search and retrieval. Metadata may include the following information:

  • Asset types, such as social media content or product specs
  • Version, such as whether a document is new or revised
  • Media types, such as JPEG, video, or slideshow
  • Software or technology used to create it, such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Word

Metadata may include: asset types, version, media types, software

Digital asset management solutions use metadata to make it simple to find stored assets when you need them.

4. Digital asset collaboration and version control

DAM solutions include features like comments and tagging to make it easier for your team members to collaborate on the same document, file, or asset, regardless of the media type. Easier collaboration allows for faster digital asset creation. DAM software version control also helps ensure only the latest version of each asset is distributed among team members so no one works with an outdated file or shares incorrect information from an old document.

Finally, digital asset management software provides history and access records for effective system auditing. Access control and tracking are crucial for complying with privacy regulations in the healthcare and finance industries.

5. Digital asset distribution

DAM software makes it easy to share the latest version of each digital asset easily among team members or with the public using private and public link settings.

You can also embed digital assets directly on your website so the latest version of the document or file is shared every time.

6. Access control and permission governance

Digital asset management software allows admins to decide who has access to what file and for what purpose. For example, access can be restricted to view only, edit, download, or a combination of any of them.

Additionally, by using links with expiration dates, access to shared documents can be revoked at a specified time in the future.

What are the benefits of digital asset management software?

There are many advantages to using DAM software to manage your organization’s digital assets instead of storing and sharing business-critical assets in disjointed online storage locations. Here are seven of the top benefits of DAM software:

1. Quick document search and retrieval

Metadata optimizes the search of digital assets

Because digital asset management software uses metadata to index and group digital assets, it’s easy to search and find digital assets when you need them. This means your team members will spend less time searching for documents and files and more time getting useful work done.

This ease of finding documents also saves costs in duplicating documents or recreating documents that cannot be found.

2. Simple and streamlined workflow

Faster access to documents, easy sharing, and secure collaboration with your team and other stakeholders translates to a streamlined workflow. A simplified workflow also increases transparency across your organization and eliminates the bottlenecks in file-sharing that once existed.

3. More effective teamwork

DAM software provides a central source of truth for all your organization’s digital assets. When your team members know where to find documents when they need them, they can work faster and focus on closing more deals instead of spending time chasing down documents and files. Improved efficiency ultimately means more effective teamwork and progress for your organization.

4. Better brand guideline compliance

To increase sales and retain your customers, you should consistently present a solid brand personality. Digital asset management software helps ensure the current documents are available for your team to use. This means your marketing, sales, and customer support communication are always up to date and on-brand.

5. Stronger security

With DAM authorize who can access and edit your documents

DAM software provides governance and permission control functionality that helps to ensure only specific people have access to digital assets in your library.

This means better security for your digital assets since only authorized users can access and edit your documents. Data security is especially critical in highly regulated and sensitive industries like finance and health care.

6. Faster and increased conversion

If your marketing and sales team can find and share content with your prospective customers easily, they can help leads move down your funnels and turn those prospects into customers more quickly. Instead of recreating already existing assets or spending hours chasing down content to share with prospects, they can focus on taking your leads and converting them into satisfied customers.

Increased conversion and more customers can mean higher revenue and an improved bottom line for your brand.

7. Easier regulatory compliance

Since DAM solutions provide access history, version control, and varied access permissions, highly regulated industries like healthcare and fintech can easily comply with regulations.

Access permissions and histories help ensure control over access to your organization’s digital asset library. These things also help reduce theft or unauthorized access. In many industries, unauthorized access can constitute a breach and result in penalties for failing to follow regulations. DAM software helps prevent unauthorized access to documents and makes regulatory compliance effortless.

Common DAM challenges

Challenges without DAM software 1. Difficulty in accessing digital assets 2. Waste of time and resources 3. Disconnected work silos 4. No single source of truth on business digital assets

Without reliable software to automate some processes, managing all your digital assets can create a lot of challenges for your organization. What are some of the challenges your organization can face with digital asset management without a robust DAM solution to help bring everything into one place?

These are the top four challenges you might have trying to manage your digital assets without DAM software.

1. Difficulty in accessing digital assets

A DAM solution provides robust metadata features and the ability to search and preview rich media assets. Without it, your team will have difficulty finding files, documents, and other rich media assets in order to make critical decisions promptly, move customers down your funnel, or close deals.

2. Waste of time and resources

If your team members can’t find files quickly when they need them, they waste valuable time searching for these files or recreating them. This is time they could spend on other business-growth activities.

3. Disconnected work silos

If you don’t have a DAM system where all digital assets can be stored and accessed, different teams and departments will default to storing their own files and documents in separate and nonintegrable storage locations. This disconnect creates a lot of barriers to effective team communication and collaborations.

4. No single source of truth on business digital assets

Without a central source of truth for all your organization’s digital assets, you may have duplicate documents in different storage locations. This can lead to conflicting business information, off-brand communication, and uncontrolled access to your business information and documents.

The history and future of DAM

Just like every other business process, digital asset management has evolved over the years. Digital asset management software has gone through many changes from the invention of the first business computer to the introduction of artificial intelligence in computing.

Here is a short history of DAM solutions, what to expect in the near future for DAM solutions, and how digital assets are managed.

1. DAM before the internet

Even if digitization made asset management easier, sharing was still difficult

The desktop computer and on-premises DAM software made it possible for businesses to move physical assets to digital formats. This technology allowed them to store files and documents using simple metadata and indexing in folders. Digitization made business asset management easier, but sharing these assets easily with team members and stakeholders was still difficult.

2. DAM after the invention of the internet

The invention of the internet made it easier for teams to share documents with one another and with stakeholders. While this solved the problem of sharing, the sharing was generally through countless emails, and anyone could access and alter files.

3. DAM in the cloud-computing age

With the advent of cloud computing, teams could easily store and seamlessly share files and assets across departments and organizations. Cross-department collaboration became simpler, and team members could get work done using different devices and from different locations at the same time. Cloud computing removed the headache of countless inefficient emails and made it easier for teams to collaborate securely and seamlessly and save time.

4. DAM in the API age

Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow DAM solutions to be integrated with other file creation and collaboration solutions. This integration reduces the movement from one application window to another and helps teams create media files easily and efficiently. API also makes it simple to use your DAM solution with the tools you already love.

5. DAM in the AI age

With artificial intelligence (AI), DAM solutions offer smart tagging, rich media recognition like video and voice recognition, and asset cross-referencing. AI-powered DAM can also provide content recommendations to make content creation and distribution faster and smarter, helping your teams save time and work more efficiently.

What to look for in a DAM solution

Consider your needs, team and industry when choosing a DAM platform

The DAM platform you choose for your company will depend on your business needs and what you’re looking to achieve when it comes to digital asset management. It will also depend on the size of your teams, your industry and the regulations in the industry, and the nature of assets that you create.

So how do you select the best DAM solution for your organization? In general, you should look out for the following features when choosing DAM software for your business.

1. Full lifecycle asset support

The DAM software you select should support your digital assets throughout their lifecycle. Full support ensures you manage your digital assets from one place. Moving files from one application to another could jeopardize the security and integrity of your digital assets, so having one location for creating, editing, and sharing assets is ideal.

2. Permission control

Your DAM solution should allow you to control who has access to which document, for what reason, and for how long. Permission control helps ensure the integrity and security of your document and business information.

3. Integrability with existing tools

Your DAM software should integrate with the applications you already use to let you easily move files and documents across different departments and work functions. DAM solutions with easy integrations can help to build truly unified team sharing and collaborating.

The DAM solution you choose for your organization should also seamlessly integrate with any other content management software and publishing platforms you use to share your content with the public.

4. Fast asset transfer

Your DAM software should allow you to transfer documents quickly so they are available when customers and stakeholders need information to make decisions.

5. Reliable storage

The DAM solution you select should securely store your digital assets with backups to ensure their availability round the clock. The storage should scale with your needs, be flexible, and offer optimum storage performance.

6. Easy import and export of data

Your DAM system should make importing and exporting data and documents easy if you want to change the tools and solutions you use to manage your digital assets.

7. Robust searchability

Your DAM software should offer robust search functionality to enable you to search for files easily using metadata and indexing.

Box’s approach to digital asset management

Get all necessary tools for managing your assets in one place with Box

Box’s secure digital asset library provides a central content hub to manage all your rich media assets. With native tools for creation, distribution, sharing, e-signature, governance, and automation, the Content Cloud provides a best-in-class digital asset management solution for your business, no matter the industry you operate in or your use case.

Digital asset management in the Content Cloud gives you::

  • Cross-functional file sharing: Work on documents and rich media files in a central place
  • Robust metadata: Enable your team to search and find files quickly
  • Real-time collaboration: Use version control, tagging, and comments to collaborate on files
  • Custom workflow: Automate work and get real-time notifications on updates on tasks
  • Vast file types and integration: Work with over 120 file types and integrate with other programs
  • File governance and permission: Control access and use of documents with watermarks and custom access control
  • Work on the go: Access your digital assets using your mobile or desktop devices and work from anywhere
  • Smart insight and report: Get reliable reports on access and use of your asset to evaluate your asset management strategy

Box provides a true digital hub to manage the complete lifecycle of your digital assets for any use. Whether for marketing campaigns, sales, contract management, onboarding,  or compliance, Box provides all you need to manage all your assets in one place. Our platform can help you make sense of the hundreds of files and rich media documents your teams generate.

Box helps you turn digital asset chaos into a digital asset management system your team can rely on. Instead of every department in your organization running in a silo, they contribute to building a simple, robust, and accessible digital asset library on the cloud with Box.

See what Box has to offer

Box is the industry leader in digital asset management. Over 100,000 organizations use Box and the powerful features in our platform to organize content and enable their teams to create, share, collaborate, and find digital assets when they need them.

Contact us to book a demo and learn more about how Box can help your team or get started with our digital asset library today.

Book a demo and learn more about how Box can help your team

**While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blogpost is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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