Running a small business often feels like a never-ending maze of management tasks and decisions to make. Together with small teams or as a party of one, SME managers need to handle client acquisition, completing projects, and scaling. As a result, fatigue and workplace burnout become a considerable challenge.
Struggling to keep track of the content a business produces is among the chief causes of daily fatigue and anxiety. The good news is, there’s a way for small-scale companies to reach their peak and efficiency and build scalable digital libraries – digital asset management.
What is Digital Asset Management?
The term “digital asset management” (or DAM) refers to practices and tools companies use to organize, share, and protect the data they store online. Digital assets are different types of content – photos, videos, audio files, and documents – accessible via online or on-premises storage.
Digital asset management practices vary for businesses that operate in different fields and should adapt to the company’s internal needs. Similarly, managers should carefully screen DAM software to choose the tool that fits the team’s workflows, is scaling-friendly and customizable.
Benefits of Digital Asset Management
Establishing a DAM strategy is not a spontaneous process – it requires dedication and effort both from teams and business owners. As a result, company managers tend to put digital asset management off and discover its importance only when the file library is too big to navigate or is not protected against security threats.
To be at the frontline of the DAM trends, take a look at the benefits of digital asset management that will encourage you to optimize file storage.
There’s a misconception that digital asset management tools are expensive and designed only for large-scale businesses. The opposite, however, is true – DAM is a major cost-saver for SME managers. Statistically, digital asset management tools help companies save up to $189,000 over 5 years.
The market of DAM platforms is booming – there is no shortage of affordable tools that meet the needs of small-scale companies. Similarly, implementing clear storage management policies doesn’t cost business managers a single cent but saves the team hours of productive time in the long run.
2. Ease of use
Modern DAM systems have nothing in common with clunky, on-premises storages that were gaining traction back in the 90s. In 2021, most DAM vendors use the cloud to ensure storage accessibility. User-friendly interfaces and the absence of redundant features are key reasons why top-tier platforms are easy to get the hang of.
Other than that, integrations with popular project management and content creation tools help DAM seamlessly blend into workflows.
As a local business owner, you might feel like the team is not creating nor processing enough digital data to need a dedicated file management platform. However, over time, the number of files in the corporate library will grow exponentially until traditional storage solutions will no longer keep up.
To that end, developing a DAM strategy is an intelligent long-haul investment. It helps business owners make sure that the company is ready to scale and welcome more users without facing data security challenges or sharing wrong files with clients.
4. Saving time
One of the most powerful DAM benefits is bringing together the entire team and streamlining processes. From content creation and feedback circles to presenting a project to a client, digital asset management platforms are a one-stop-shop for all content-related operations teams handle daily.
Integrations further amplify the time-saving power of DAM, allowing creators to access media files in a few clicks.
5. Reusing assets
DAM platforms are a smart way to store branding assets – logos, fonts, and advertising materials. A scalable file management system helps business owners make sure the content the team is creating is accessible years later.
Instead of creating banners, logos, and other branding components from scratch, company managers can reuse older versions or create customizable content templates and store them in a centralized file library.
By reusing assets, business owners spare teammates redundant work and can use talent productively.
6. File security
Protecting internal data is a major issue for small business owners who frequently let third-party contributors (freelancers, partners) into the library. Data loss is another pain point that led a growing number of company managers to consider running cloud backups of their files.
Digital asset management platforms have a robust toolset to ensure stellar security.
One, there’s a flexible permission control that helps narrow down the list of user privileges and makes sure third-party contributors can’t share or download internal assets.
Two, cloud DAM systems protect companies from data loss by making sure that the storage is not dependent on a particular device at the office. Finally, data encryption and multi-factor authentication make for an impenetrable file library.
4 Types of DAM Systems
Due to the growing popularity of digital asset management, software vendors aim to be flexible and provide business owners with a granular set of features to match specific needs. As a result, there are different types of platforms on the DAM market – let’s take a look at the main ones:
- Brand asset management platforms help create, organize, and share advertising and marketing materials – fonts, logos, banners, and others. These offer integrations with photo and video editors (Adobe CC, Final Cut, and others), as well as publishing tools and social media platforms.
- Production asset management tools are flexible and collaboration-friendly since they are designed to store regularly changing types of content. These tools are ideal to streamline content creation and speed up feedback circles.
- Digital supply chain management systems help business owners take control not only over media creation but over content distribution as well. These systems have a customizable set of security settings and external-collaboration-friendly features to create a comfortable environment for sharing files with partners or clients.
- Library management platforms create a reliable archive of large-size files and come with a robust set of search and organization tools – keyword, metadata editors, and others.
It’s worth noting that the lines between different types of DAM are lately getting blurry since most business owners need platforms that target a wide spectrum of operations from content creation to archiving and file-sharing with clients.
5 DAM Applications For Small Businesses
While the benefits of DAM are non-negotiable, they often sound out-of-reach for small business owners. To get a clear understanding of how digital asset management makes a change in a company’s daily workflows, take a look at the list of DAM applications for small business owners.
1. Relieving server load
Both files and associated metadata can put a strain on a business’ server capacity – the good news is, server load is no longer a problem once you stop storing files on FTP and move them to the cloud instead. Also, DAM helps keep the storage needs and make sure files don’t pile up by detecting duplicates and storing linked assets in a bundle.
2. Improving content production
DAM increases the speed and efficiency of each step of content production:
- Brainstorming – helps teams store all inspiration files together.
- Creation – supports creators with integrations to Adobe CC and other content editing platforms.
- Review – facilitates change-tracking with user-friendly commenting and version control.
- Sharing and publication – helps business owners present their work on a sleek, customizable website.
3. Streamlining collaboration
In 2021, the growing transition to remote introduces new team management challenges, such as tracking assignment progress, exchanging feedback, and avoiding redundant effort. That’s where DAM is a life-saving practice for small business owners. Here’s how digital asset management tools improve remote collaboration:
- Create centralized, accessible storage.
- Offer a detailed dashboard that helps track changes and gives a big-picture view of a team’s latest activities.
- Build a seamless environment for sharing feedback with user-friendly commenting, timestamps, and other team-facing features.
- Share real-time updates on file changes with the team with the help of social media and Slack integrations.
4. Presenting work to clients
Digital asset management platforms are a secure and convenient way to share assets with clients and external collaborators. Business owners can create a customizable website for each project and share it online.
The templates offered by top-tier DAM tools are not only customizable but secure. Business owners can password-protect a gallery or send private invite links to make sure websites are not open to the public.
5. Building a scalable internal asset library
Last but not least, investing in a DAM platform gives business owners room for scalability and growth. By creating an easy-to-navigate digital library, company managers successfully anticipate the needs and challenges teams will face once they will need to juggle more data.
Here are our favorite DAM contributions to scalability:
- Both vertical (a top-down system of folders) and horizontal (keyword- and tag-based search) hierarchy.
- Support for concurrent file editing and commenting.
- Allows storing large data volumes.
- Integrations with large-scale enterprise management platforms and CRM tools.
DAM is an essential tool for scalability as it helps streamline processes and automate mundane tasks like uploading file batches.
Although digital asset management is not a mainstream concept yet, in the age of increasing remote collaboration and the mindblowing pace of content creation it’s no longer optional for growth-driven teams.
Building a set of practices and settling on a platform that can support the team is a rewarding investment that will improve the productivity of your team and help deliver high-quality user experiences to your customers and partners.
Victoria Golovtseva is content marketing manager with 8+ years of experience, currently contributing to Pics.io and developing the content marketing strategy of the brand. I’m happy to become part of the companies’ strategic marketing & product development, demand generation.