From Digital Asset Management to Digital Asset Production

Since their inception, digital asset management solutions have focused primarily on helping users catalog, store, find, and retrieve digital assets.  This focus is understandable since, without a DAM system, valuable digital assets can easily get lost in a labyrinth of file folders with no reliable way to identify or find them.

Traditional DAM systems provided few capabilities to manage the production of digital assets.  For example, they typically lacked robust functionality for supporting production workflows and managing the other activities that are required to create marketing assets. These kinds of capabilities are critical to maximizing marketing productivity, especially in large enterprises that produce assets on a daily basis.

If you’re looking for technology to manage digital asset production, you’ll need more than a traditional DAM solution. Fortunately, some DAM software providers now offer more robust support for digital asset production. When you’re evaluating DAM products, it’s important to have a clear picture of what production scenarios you need to support. That being said, there are two features that are essential for an effective digital asset production system.

Integration with “Production” Software

Most marketing assets are created with software tools such as those found in Adobe’s Creative Suite. To maximize marketing productivity, these production software tools must be tightly integrated with the DAM system. For example, users should be able to add new assets to the DAM system from within a production software tool such as InDesign or Photoshop. When a user opens an asset file in Photoshop or InDesign, the DAM system should ‘check out’ the asset and enable the user to determine when to check the asset in, again from within the production software.

This level of integration significantly reduces the learning curve associated with DAM software and encourages regular use of the DAM system.

Business Process Design/Automation

The second essential requirement is the ability to support marketing workflow design and automation. In many large organizations, the processes used to approve marketing assets are complex, manual, and inefficient. Often they involve numerous individuals, some of whom are separated by thousands of miles. When you consider the number of assets involved and the likelihood that some will require multiple approval ‘loops’, it’s apparent that manual approval workflows just aren’t efficient.

A robust DAM system will enable you to tailor your approval processes to your specific needs and embed those processes in the DAM software. This makes even complex approval processes easy to deploy and execute.

When you’re evaluating DAM solutions, you should look for the ability to support three levels or types of process/workflow automation:

  • Status-driven workflows — The simplest form of automation, where an asset automatically moves to the next stage of a workflow when it is flagged as ready.
  • Rules-based workflows — Workflows that are defined using a series of ‘if-then’ business rules.
  • Complete business process management — The ability to incorporate and execute marketing/asset management workflows as part of a complete business process management system, including the ability to design complete workflows using a visual tool such as Microsoft Visio.

These capabilities will enable you to move from efficient digital asset management to efficient digital asset production.

This post was also published on the Adam Software blog.
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Author:Jan Dejosse

CMO - ADAM Software

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