Cloud Digital Asset Management or ‘DAM, I wish I’d Thought of That’

Image Attribution: flickr

Sometimes the cloud is attractive because it costs less. In other cases, it’s because it offers computing power and storage resources virtually without limit. These advantages can apply to an individual, as to a group of individuals. When more people get involved, the advantage is multiplied: two people get a total advantage of cheaper storage that is twice the advantage for one person, and so on. But to get advantage that increases exponentially and not just arithmetically, the cloud can also unify. Digital asset management is a good example.
What is DAM Anyway?
Service providers offering DAM in the cloud don’t always make it obvious what DAM is or what the business benefits are. It seems like they are either too excited about the cloud per se, or else they expect their audience to already know all about it. Yet a brief recap on digital asset management is not only useful, but important. Understanding what it is and why organizations need it is a key part of understanding why the cloud can help to do it so much better (not to mention more cost-effectively). In its simplest form, DAM is about organizing and giving access to files, pieces of content, and any other chunk of digital data your enterprise has. That can include:

  • Documents, reports and other text-based files
  • Design files for products
  • Program or script files
  • Product artwork, photos and logos
  • Audio files
  • Multimedia files including presentations and video clips

The most important digital assets to be managed are those that are the most valuable. Value can be measured in terms of how much it cost to produce or acquire the asset concerned. It can also be measured in terms of the disruption caused if the asset is not available when needed. For instance, if you can’t find the master file for your company logo just before a new product launch, will be OK to improvise? Hardly.
In-house DAM versus Up in the Cloud DAM
In-house solutions for digital asset management can be expensive. You need to put a system in place, acquire a license for a suitable application (or build one yourself), and then pay IT employees to look after it. The alternative is a silo-style arrangement, where each department/team/person looks after its own assets. But silos are typically inefficient and unproductive, and often ineffective. After all, who should ‘own’ the corporate logo – marketing, legal, or the CEO? Cloud DAM services help make sure that there is one ‘go-to’ resource with one version of the truth, using appropriate user permissions to access files. Cloud resilience, backup, flexibility and scalability are further advantages that many companies cannot match by trying to do their digital asset management in house.
Exponentially Good for Business
The centralized repository offered by a cloud DAM solution brings the following within the financial reach of more organizations both big and small:

  • Consistent use of digital assets (like your logo) across the organization
  • Better returns on money spent to produce or buy digital assets
  • Less time, effort and tempers lost trying to find a given asset
  • Seamless workflows and approval processes (like the process for making a new logo)
  • Faster times to market and improved brand image/recognition

Additional functionality can include managing metadata (‘information about the information’), adding notes to assets about usage, managing versions and content lifecycles, and automatically transforming file formats. However, cloud DAM is an opportunity not just to cut costs and save time per person, but to make a business as whole more competitive too.