basic knowledge

WHAT EXACTLY IS MEANT BY DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, DAM FOR SHORT? WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER A QUICK GUIDE TO THE FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF PROFESSIONAL DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS:

What is a DAM system?

Digital asset management (DAM) refers to the extensive management of digital content that represents value to an organization (the so-called "assets"). These include, in particular, media files such as photos, graphics, videos and audio clips. Emails or letters, on the other hand, are usually pure records and therefore not assets. Furthermore, texts, 3D objects and compound documents in which the media files are used are also managed by Digital Asset Management.

The origin of modern digital asset management lies in image management. In the course of the further development of the DAM systems, the functionalities were extended to all digital media. That is why we now find the term Media Asset Management. Both terms are not really defined and are often used in a meaningful way. Strictly speaking, Media Asset Management is a subarea of broader Digital Asset Management.

Digital asset management systems are the most important tool to meet the requirements for efficient use of digital media. The exact configuration depends entirely on the requirements of the user. Modern DAM systems can be adapted to the requirements of a media company as well as those of a large manufacturer, a retailer or an authority or cultural institution.


What does a DAM system do?

Digital asset management systems are smart assistance systems that provide users with a variety of functions in the use and management of their media assets. This includes, of course, storing and exposing assets, quick viewing and control of media inputs, tagging, maintaining licensing rights, tracking media usage, automating individual processing steps, and mapping complex workflows.

Digital asset management systems are the most important tool to meet the requirements for efficient use of digital media. The exact configuration depends entirely on the requirements of the user. Modern DAM systems can be adapted to the requirements of a media company as well as those of a large manufacturer, a retailer or an authority or cultural institution.

Digital Asset Management Systeme sind das wichtigste Werkzeug, um die Anforderungen an effiziente Nutzung von digitalen Medien zu erfüllen. Die genaue Ausgestaltung richtet sich dabei ganz nach den Ansprüchen der Anwender. Moderne DAM-Systeme lassen sich an die Anforderungen eines Medienhauses genau so anpassen wie an die eines großen Herstellers, eines Handelsunternehmens oder an die einer Behörde oder kulturellen Institution.


What advantages does a DAM system offer?

The advantages of a digital asset management system are manifold. The exact form depends on the individual system and the consistent use or orientation of the processes. Basically, however, there are always the following advantages:

  • Significant time savings when working with digital assets, especially in search, storage and tracking

  • Structured storage and archiving of assets

  • Significant reduction of routine work (eg format conversions, resizing etc.)

  • Central control over the usable assets, eg. In brand management

  • Better enforcement of licensing rights for own and acquired assets

  • Acceleration of workflows through automation

  • Better collaboration with internal and external teams through collaboration and sharing capabilities


What are the most important functions of a DAM system?

A permanent digital asset management system should have at least the following features:

  • Powerful search that includes all stored information (file names, metadata, other properties)

  • Intuitive browsing with customizable presentation

  • Simple and as automated as possible enrichment of assets with metadata

  • Album function where assets can be combined and made freely available

  • Import and export of files

  • Differentiation of user groups and efficient authorization management

  • Archiving files

  • Support for various metadata standards (eg IPTC and EXIF)

  • Support for individual keyword indexes and taxonomies

  • Control functions for mandatory and optional metadata

  • Support of license rights at the asset level

  • Automatic conversion and editing functions

  • Integrate with existing applications and systems (Microsoft Office, Adobe CC, Web CMS)

  • Support for mobile work with tablet or smartphone


What costs do I have to expect for a DAM system?

The question of the costs is quick, but not easy to answer. The costs usually depend on the type of system (in-house, hosted in the cloud, SaaS or hybrid) and the number of users and, if the system is very large, on the number of assets as well.

In the SaaS area the FotoWare FWS starter kit costs 25, - Euro per registered user per month. For example, the recommended business package for marketing teams is 45, - Euro per registered user per month. A FotoWare in-house solution starts at a one-time cost of approximately £ 10,000 for installation and permanent licenses and approximately € 1,400 per year for the optional Software Maintenance Agreement. But here are alternative financing options such as leasing and monthly rent available.


What is the function of Metadata in Digital Asset Management?

Metadata is a variety of additional information that is stored with each file. In addition to the technical characteristics, this includes a wealth of descriptive information, eg about the subject ("product ABC" or "fisherman's hut in Norway"), about the circumstances ("fair 2015") or about the author.

Good metadata are the nuts and bolts of Digital Asset Management. They make a file available in the company and usable for others. Only then does the file become an asset with value.


What is the function of Metadata in Digital Asset Management?

Metadata is a variety of additional information that is stored with each file. In addition to the technical characteristics, this includes a wealth of descriptive information, eg about the subject ("product ABC" or "fisherman's hut in Norway"), about the circumstances ("fair 2015") or about the author.

Good metadata are the nuts and bolts of Digital Asset Management. They make a file available in the company and usable for others. Only then does the file become an asset with value.


What makes an Enterprise DAM system stand out?

Since it has become very easy to combine programs with cloud storage and to connect a web interface, even the simplest photo databases adorn themselves with the label Digital Asset Management. As a result, the market offer has become very confusing in a short time.

Here is a checklist for the targeted selection of professional DAM systems that meet the current needs of businesses and governments:

  • Sophisticated security concept as well as role and authorization management for groups and individual users

  • Secure functions for maintaining and managing license rights

  • Capacity for at least 100,000, better 1 million assets with unrestricted performance.

  • No restrictions on usable image file formats

  • Built-in support for audio and video files as well as all common document formats (Office, PDF etc.)

  • Interfaces to professional applications such as MS Office, Adobe CC and Web CMSen

  • Extensive automation and workflow features that go beyond simple macros.

  • Individually maintainable keyword indexes and taxonomies

  • Multi-platform capability (in-house, private cloud, SaaS, hybrid)

  • Controlled networking opportunities with search engines and social media

  • Configurable detailed reporting capabilities

  • Guest / read-only access for large user groups