Understanding Your Digital Assets and the Challenges of Digital Asset Management

The proliferation of digital assets has opened up new avenues of opportunity for businesses eager to capitalize on the brand building and marketing potential of technology-based assets and campaigns. But the management of digital assets at scale brings its own unique set of challenges that, unless dealt with, can limit efficacy and erode a company’s ROI.

In this three-part series, we’ll delve into the world of digital asset management (DAM) starting with a look at the scope and nature of digital assets and the complexities of efficiently managing them. In parts two and three, we’ll explore the challenges solved by DAMs, the four main types of DAMs, and the most advantageous ways to implement the right DAM for your business.

Your digital assets – more than just your images

When people hear the term “digital asset” they often think of their logo and other marketing materials like branded images. And they’re not wrong. These elements are definitely part of an organization’s digital assets, but they are often far from the bulk of it.

The first step to realizing more value from your digital assets is to appreciate the enormity of the scope of items that make up your digital assets. In reality, digital assets are any file owned by your company, from marketing materials to emails. Your digital assets may include data in a range of formats, from video and audio to image files and documents. Any digital data that is proprietary to you, branded by you, or established by you as part of your internal operations, sales process, and customer outreach is a digital asset, so think branded photos, interviews, infographics, product descriptions, templates, quotes and proposals, copy for email campaigns, video clips of product demonstrations, and more.

The challenges of effectively using your digital assets

Having all of these elements available to you and your company’s various teams is like having access to a goldmine. But even a goldmine is of little use if you can’t get into it or find your way to the gold once you’re there. Just creating and having digital assets doesn’t guarantee that your business will be able to leverage them with optimal efficiency and to maximum benefit.

There are many challenges to the effective use of digital assets, but here are just a few of them:

  • Storage: The digital payload can be quite large, and even a relatively small number of images may require more space than traditional business storage solutions can offer. Networks and hard drives can get bogged down by storing and moving files, overtaxing the business system and making them difficult to view or retrieve. And while cloud-based solutions like Dropbox have expanded the capacity to store larger files, they often don’t come with the kind of searching tagging and flexible organizational capacities that make it easier for everyone to find the right assets, nor the nuanced ability to set up customized access restrictions.
  • Security: Cyber security is a growing issue as malware, ransomware, and hackers become increasingly prevalent and sophisticated. The retrieval and sharing of digital assets by multiple users from an in-house network without a DAM system increases points of vulnerability and exposes an organization’s network to a host of security risks.
  • Organization: Having a wealth of digital assets at your fingertips is useless if you can’t pinpoint the ones you want and deliver them where needed. Organizing, correctly grouping, indexing, and labeling assets so that they can be identified quickly by whoever needs them is a major challenge for companies.
  • Consistency: If you have multiple versions of a digital asset, it’s easy for one department or employee to find and use a completely different version than another finds and uses. Without a DAM system to ensure consistency, the process of updating, tracking, and sharing the most recent versions of files is fraught with difficulty and massive human effort to avoid error. Mistakes are common.
  • Access: Not every file is meant to be seen or accessed by every member of your organization. There may be regions, groups, sub-brands, partners and other groups who need to access different content. Absent a DAM system, it is difficult to safeguard more sensitive documents and restrict access or the timing of access so that only authorized users can view and retrieve certain files.
  • Liability and rights: When it comes to digital assets, there can also be legal ramifications. The first thing to consider is mitigating liability by making sure that team members have a safe and approved pool of resources to pull from, avoiding the inadvertent use of assets that are copyrighted or belong to other organizations. Beyond that, however, companies will also want to be sure that their rights to the data they own is properly documented, and the proper use of such data is spelled out and accessible to all who have access to use it.

DAM systems as a solution

The challenges of storage, security, organization, consistency, access, and legal ramifications place digital asset management at the top of the priority list for any business seeking to leverage their assets safely, effectively, and to maximum benefit. To that end, DAM systems provide a vital mechanism for ensuring uniform, efficient, proper use of digital assets across an organization.

Whether your company is service or product based, your digital data is among your most valued assets, and its optimal use is critical to operational functionality and successful marketing efforts. In our next installment, we’ll dive into the four main types of DAMs and their specific features and capabilities. We’ll help steer readers to the best fit DAM system to address the particular challenges of digital asset management for their own company.

The challenges of storage, security, organization, consistency, access, and legal ramifications place digital asset management at the top of the priority list for any business seeking to leverage their assets effectively, and to maximum benefit. To that end, DAM systems provide a vital mechanism to smooth the flow of digital content across an organization.