Imagine you had five Word documents you needed to organize. What would you do? You’d probably create a folder called “documents” and put them inside.
What if we add in a handful of photos, a few audio files, and a spreadsheet? Do you freak out and run for the hills? Probably not, unless you’re particularly jumpy. Your filing system simply expands to include folders called “photos,” “music,” and “spreadsheets.” Easy peasy.
But what if you’re a large company? You have dozens or hundreds of employees, each collecting and creating a host of different digital assets every day. In a year, your company might generate tens of thousands of files of all stripes. Many of these need to be accessible to other employees and departments, but no one knows where they are or even that they exist.
Do you think a simple folder structure is enough to tame that digital jungle adequately? Probably not. Feel free to run for the hills now…no one will judge.
When an organization’s digital asset collection grows to a point where it becomes unmanageable, digital asset management software might be necessary. Without it, there’s a good chance that they’re duplicating efforts and missing opportunities.
We’ll talk about what digital asset management software is and why it might be useful for you. If your company intranet is overflowing with documents and images and no one has been brave enough yet to forge a path through, you ought to pay close attention.
What Are Digital Assets?
This is the easy part. Assets are items of value owned by a person or an organization. They’re usually physical, like a copy machine or a company truck, but they don’t need to be. Computer files are also owned and valuable. These are digital assets. PDFs, videos, presentations, images, graphics, sound files, financial reports, and design files all count as digital assets. If we’ve forgotten a category, it’s only because there are almost too many to count.
Because digital assets are ephemeral, it’s much harder to manage them. As an example, no one can accidentally delete your copy machine, but that PowerPoint deck your team just finished is in danger. A rogue employee could make copies of your financial documents and walk off with them, but cloning a truck and driving it home is orders of magnitude more difficult.
Then you have permissions to handle. You likely have digital files that must be viewed by some staff members while remaining inaccessible to others. Adjusting a file’s permissions allows you to admit some while restricting others. The results of unregulated file access can be disastrous. That’s why companies are turning to DAM software to bring their mazes of digital files under control.
How Digital Asset Management Software Can Help
DAM packages create a centralized, managed location for sharing digital assets on an enterprise scale. They make certain critical assets are secure, organized, and easily accessible by those that need them. Here are a few other reasons why DAM software might be right for your company.
Assets Are Accessible From Anywhere
Worst case scenario, all of your employees have files saved on their local hard drives. These assets are nearly impossible for coworkers to access. You can level up by storing files in a local server, but access becomes difficult when you’re out of the office.
Without a digital asset manager, salespeople might miss out on opportunities because they can’t find the files they need to close the sale. Designers could waste time looking for common brand elements that should always be close at hand. DAM software renders your files accessible through any web browser, ensuring that critical files are always in reach.
Asset Collections Become Searchable
Imagine having to browse through thousands of photos to find the one image you need for a presentation. You’ll waste an immense amount of time, and there’s no guarantee of success.
DAM software catalogs your files and helps you to tag them with keywords and other metadata fields. You can then search by file name, content, category, and asset type. With a digital asset manager, your needle-in-a-haystack search becomes quick and painless.
Security and Permissions Are Easy to Manage
Instead of manually setting up permissions, a DAM package automates them, allowing you to restrict specific users or classes of users from individual files, groups of files, and types of files.
Having your files centralized also helps you keep an eye on them. You’ll know who accesses them, when, and for what purpose. You won’t have to worry about sensitive data leaving your facility and falling into the wrong hands.
Having all of your files in one location adds another security feature as well — easy backups. Imagine trying to back up all of your critical files if they’re scattered across dozens of computers. You can’t do it. Well, you can, but you’ll lose a little bit of your sanity every time you try.
Create New Assets Faster
Assets created for sales and marketing purposes often have to make many stops on their way to market. They need to be designed, sent for approval, revised, sent again, QA’ed, formatted, submitted to sales, and then forwarded to customers. Manually handling this process creates bottlenecks and mistakes.
Digital asset management packages streamline your workflows, allowing easy and secure transmission of files as they move through the design and approval process. You’ll create assets more efficiently, which means you’ll get to market faster. And sometimes, a few days saved is all you need to get a jump on the competition.
Avoid Duplicating Files and Efforts
You need a file. You can’t find it. So you build it again. Someone else does the same thing. Now multiply that over all of your files and employees. You can avoid these duplicated efforts by making files accessible by anyone, anywhere.
The same goes for file duplication. You might copy images you need for a presentation from a central server to your local hard drive. Now there are two copies of those images. The more this happens you start wasting hard drive space hosting multiple copies of the same files. Worse, someone might alter a local copy and then copy it back to the server, creating a duplicate that isn’t actually a duplicate. In time no one knows which files are the originals and which aren’t.
DAM software allows version control and other safeguards to ensure your files stay well-organized, pristine, and where they belong.
So is DAM software right for you? You’re DAM right it is! Make your files work for you instead of against you. You’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.