Advantages of a DAM System over Cloud Storage Services

Sankar Dharmarajan /
LinkedIn
Sankar Dharmarajan
June 19, 2020

The success of business is essentially in engaging audiences across every digital channel with relevant content. With rapid growth in digital marketing, marketers have more distribution channels, file formats and types to deal with while trying to stay on-brand. Content has to be created for these different creative channels in multiple formats. As the number of digital assets increases, so does the complexity of asset management.

To fix the problem, some organizations turn to cloud storage services such as Dropbox or Google Drive, to organize, manage and share content. Digital assets need to be repurposed and distributed for various occasions and without a pre-defined structure, the quality of the storage is compromised. The more assets you need to store, the more chaotic Dropbox or Drive becomes. Over time, as different people get their hands-on organizing assets, those systems become more disorganized with fragmented masses of digital content in disparate folders, eventually slowing down work.

The possession of thousands of assets is only beneficial if you can efficiently organize, search through and locate them when needed. This is one area DAM excels in. One of the primary benefits of DAM software over cloud storage systems is scalability. Not only can DAM solutions integrate and grow with your technology stack, but they can continually accommodate the complexities of an organization of any size.

Using a DAM tool gives you more control on how, when and who is using the assets. A Digital Asset Management system provides an end-to-end solution for the input, organization and output of digital assets. Moreover, DAM systems have features built in with the needs of the creative teams in mind; they are designed for teams to collaborate productively.

However, a common misconception is that cloud storage systems such as Dropbox or Drive are the same as a DAM software. With the recent surge in remote work, this could be the perfect opportunity to research their key differences and what’s right for your business.

DAM over Dropbox or Drive

The role of digital media has significantly evolved over the years. Earlier when digital assets were used only in the field of print media, it was enough to store the assets on local hard disks, a server, or on storage media like CD-ROMs. As the demand for digital content grew exponentially to new channels like websites, e-commerce and social networks, modern marketing teams face specific limitations when using cloud storage systems. Such systems can’t handle heavy assets at high volumes, which limits your team when you need to scale your growing image library. A DAM is designed to accommodate a heavy volume of uploading and downloading. And, they allow multiple people to add images and video to the library through a number of upload options. Also, notifications are automatically sent when assets are added or changed.

Business users collaborate on assets differently. To preserve asset security and protect them against accidental overwrites or deletions requires granular control over permissions and access levels. Using cloud storage systems to collaborate is difficult for team members as they are unable to see the actions taken on the digital asset. Such systems don’t let you customize read/write privileges for individual users, increasing the risk of an untrained staff member accidentally deleting assets. So, your ability to control how people use your assets in cloud storage systems is pretty limited.

Adding metadata to the assets becomes increasingly essential when you’re building out a long-term corporate archive. Metadata in cloud storage systems is usually limited to a folder name, basic description and a simple tag list. The search result more often than not produces a list of asset names that don’t provide a structured access to the files, like a product name or a status. DAM solutions support metadata and have powerful search functionality that allows you to leverage the power of metadata when you need to find an asset. You can search by keyword, and also enter more specific search filters.

Cloud storage systems such as Dropbox or Drive are like a file cabinet, you can save a few files in folders arranged alphabetically and when you need a file, you should remember the folder it
is in. But what happens when cabinets have too many drawers in it? A DAM is like a digital version of the filing cabinet, where each draw is arranged and labeled, and every asset is at your fingertips. You can control who can access which assets and what they can do with those assets. You can view the history of an asset to tell exactly how it was used. A DAM is a centralized hub of storage where you can store, search, retrieve and share digital assets with any user from virtually any device, at any time, and from anywhere around the world.

Benefits of using a DAM System

  • DAM is a scalable solution. Supported by structured processes, a DAM reduces the time-to-market for a product’s launch. This means that as your business grows, and the number of digital assets increase, your power to manage them grows accordingly.
  • In addition, employees search and find assets more quickly, and avoid the creation of already existing content, which frees up their time that they can use for other higher value tasks.
  • The unending need for marketing content means new assets are always being created. But having more files increases the possibility of misplacing them. With a DAM, users share the assets straight from the platform without using cumbersome email attachments or FTPs.
  • A DAM is a Single Source of Truth with all previously approved digital assets in it. This ensures that all team members find the same, on-brand, latest approved versions for their projects. This consistent use of the right content helps achieve cohesive brand messaging.

Migrating files from cloud storage systems

The first thing you need to do is clarify what you want the DAM to do, who you need it to serve, how you want to deploy it.

Plan realistically. Your DAM deployment will only be effective if it’s the right tool for the job. You will need expertise within your own organization in order to successfully implement a new DAM. The best systems offer flexibility, a collaborative environment, a secure distribution system, and system adaptability for all stakeholders.

The following steps should help you begin the migration process:

Choose the right DAM

In most cases, organizations have some sort of existing data. It may be as simple as a file system full of assets, or a pre-existing database that needs to be migrated. Make sure you prioritize your most crucial assets and transfer them first. Then you can transfer assets that you may require in a few weeks to keep the business running without hiccups. Lastly, you can transfer any archival materials.

Metadata and Taxonomy

Metadata and taxonomy are arguably the most important foundations of DAM. Without taxonomy and metadata, you won’t be able to find, use, or analyze your assets.

Metadata is defined as a set of data that describes and gives info about other data. This data is critical because it’s what turns a piece of content into an asset. Cloud storage systems use only a folder structure to organize assets, and without metadata the purpose of the digital asset management system is nearly defeated. Clean, reliable, and consistent metadata are integral to the successful adoption of DAM.

Taxonomy is the way assets can be classified in a DAM system. The DAM admins usually choose to categorize assets according to type or function and this should be consistent across the entire site.

Talk to the experts

Your chosen DAM solution provider may have a unique approach to data migration. So once you have sorted the assets and identified your metadata, talk to experts about further preparing and migrating your digital assets. Master these concepts, and with the right DAM tool, you’ll transform how your organization works.

Conclusion

Getting a new marketing technology can be exciting, but it is a lot of work. It takes time, with the groundwork done to assess the needs, conduct research, and interact with the experts to make the actual implementation very quick. If you have the right DAM, your assets are target ready. Top-performing organizations recognize that superior customer experience is intrinsically tied to the quality of their DAM.

You can read more about our DAM system JD Vault here.

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About the author:

Sankar currently heads Product Management at the Ad2pro Group. Prior to this, he has worked for industry leaders such as [24]7.ai as well as early stage startups, shipping both enterprise and consumer products. He is a seasoned product management professional who is passionate about building products that enhance people’s lives.

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