Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a software application that can help you get more value out of all types of digital content by making it easier to manage, access and distribute. Especially of media files such as graphics, videos, music files and text blocks. Sometimes it is also called media asset management (MAM) or video asset management (VAM). They all belong to the field of content management systems.
What is Digital Asset Management (DAM/MAM)?
Digital Asset Management (DAM) refers to the collaborative (central) storage, management and distribution of digital media - the so-called assets.
The assets are managed by database-supported procedures in the system, where by the digital assets are often not stored directly in the database but in the file system (file level).
The digital asset usually consists of image media, graphics, videos and audio files. In well-equipped digital asset management systems, layout files (inDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, ...), office documents, CAD files, source codes, texts and other multimedia media are also managed.
The assets are enriched with additional information, which can be stored in various databases. This information, also called metadata, describes the media asset in more detail and helps with the subsequent cataloguing.
A digital asset is a medium that represents a special value for the "owner". It does not matter whether the owner is a natural person (private individual, sole trader, ...) or a legal entity ( Ltd, Inc., ...).
Special values can be, for example, product photos, damage pictures or even a simple motif used in marketing. Internal documents, writings - even media that are not directly part of the company can have a special value.
Employee photos are a particular focus of attention. On the one hand, employees are a company's most valuable resource and should therefore be particularly protected, and on the other hand, the new DSGVO, which includes data protection guidelines, must be adhered to.
Secure and fast access to the desired assets is existential for every company. Often, many employees, departments or even different companies (agencies, subsidiaries, etc.) work together on different projects. Each employee has his or her own filing system and it is easy to lose track of everything. A central management system such as DAM can quickly remedy this situation!
The main functions of a DAM system are often the import and export of files, as well as the subsequent enrichment of binary files with meta information for research purposes, such as the IPTC-IIM standard. It also includes searching, displaying, viewing, archiving and versioning files using file names and combining files into packages.
In everyday work, data often passes through many hands. The photographer who creates the image, the marketing department that processes it for the respective use, the control by the management and the passing on to agencies or the printing house. Thanks to DAM, you keep control of who can share what with whom. Share only what you want. This should be as much as necessary and as little as possible, because your company data belongs to you.
One of the most important main functions of a DAM system is to make the assets easily accessible to the user. This is realised through a searchable index that supports the retrieval of assets based on their content and/or metadata. This is also referred to as a cataloguing function. It is usually part of the intake process for new assets.
The comparison of a life cycle is often used for the different states of digital assets. This includes different stages such as creation, approval, live, archiving and deletion of a digital asset. However, not every lifecycle is the same and not every organisation uses the same workflow. Therefore, many systems offer the possibility to create customised workflows that model different asset lifecycles depending on their use.
In everyday work, data often passes through many hands. The photographer who creates the image, the marketing department that edits it for the respective use, the control by the management and the passing on to agencies or the print shop. Thanks to DAM, you keep control of who can share what with whom. Share only what you want. This should be as much as necessary and as little as possible, because your company data belongs to you.
Through its history function, a DAM system can store previous versions of a digital asset, which you can later access and also download. Thus, a DAM system can be described as an advanced type of version control system.
Probably the most important instrument of a DAM system is the security control. It ensures that only the relevant people have access to the assets, i.e. your company data. Existing directory services can be used for this purpose. This includes, for example, the technology of single sign-on.