Erica Gunn
Erica Gunn 13 October 2022

How to Build a Business Case for Digital Asset Management

If you’re keen to roll out a digital asset management (DAM) tool, but need to convince a budget-holder first, you need to be armed with the facts. In this piece, we take a look at three compelling commercial benefits of DAM tools and outline smart, simple ways of expressing them.

You face many challenges when it comes to managing digital assets. You need to be able to locate, access, edit, and share files quickly for marketing campaigns, sales enablement, and product launches. Those assets might be scattered across cloud platforms and hard drives. Also, there’s the challenge of managing access internally and externally.

You can’t scale content creation within a scattered environment. That’s why DAM software was developed; to make things more organised, streamlined, and collaborative.

Items can be consolidated in one place, making it easy to control how assets are used. Add in organisational tools like metadata tagging, search capabilities, and version control features, and DAM software makes working with content far easier.

DAM technology changes the way you create, manage, and utilise assets. By creating a single source of truth for all digital assets, you can easily locate, share, and edit files. As you seek to scale your content production, having a DAM platform can empower your creative team and strengthen brand management.

But demonstrating that value can be a challenge. While you work with digital assets every day and see the value of DAM features, your team leader who handles the budgets will need to see those benefits in commercial terms. So when the time comes to make your business case for a DAM platform, you need to know how to convey the ROI it represents.

Understanding “Hard ROI” and “Soft ROI”

If you’re going to save thousands of pounds, dollars or euros a month by transitioning from one platform to another, those savings will translate into other benefits. This view of ROI is called “hard ROI”, because it's measurable.

Although hard ROI typically focuses on costs, it can also measure other performance-related metrics that contribute to those costs. When making a case to decision-makers, these numbers are often the most important as they demonstrate a software’s commercial impact.

But many platforms provide less tangible benefits that are equally valuable. There is clearly business value in improving process management, brand integrity, and collaboration, for instance, but they rarely map cleanly to costs because the relationships are not as direct. “Soft ROI” is a qualitative measure of these indirect costs.

If an existing system makes it frustrating for people to do their jobs, they may produce work more slowly, putting less effort in, to the point they may eventually decide to quit their job altogether.

By making their job less frustrating you can boost productivity, which leads to better quality and more enjoyable work. Not only is that employee providing better value, but the organisation is also saving the costs of replacing them. This example demonstrates how the soft value provided by software can eventually translate into a hard value.

When you need to pitch a DAM platform, you’ll need to persuade somebody who wants to see measurable value. To make the strongest case, you’ll need to translate the soft ROI benefits of DAM into hard ROI terms, which we’ve outlined using three scenarios below:

Case 1: Less Time Spent Searching for Assets

Saying your team wastes too much time looking for files is one thing, but demonstrating just how much time is wasted is an entirely different conversation. A Canto study found that 30% of marketers spend the equivalent of three weeks or more searching for digital assets each year. If an employee makes £25 an hour, this could cost your organisation £3,000 per employee each year.

Multiplied across a team of five, that’s £15,000. Following the implications of wasted time through to its logical conclusion provides a hard ROI figure that can bolster your business case for a DAM platform.

Case 2: Improved Productivity and Quality

Traditional productivity metrics focus on output, but this isn’t the best way to assess the value your team brings. After all, simply churning out a lot of work doesn’t mean much if the activity isn't creating results.

Reducing search time for assets, streamlining approvals, and improving collaboration enables your team to produce better content. An IDC study revealed that 79% of organisations increased their revenue by 10% or more thanks to DAM tools, with 21% of them seeing gains of more than 40%.

While simply increasing output and time to market has an impact on these numbers, improvements in quality also shape revenue gains. By connecting the relationship between productivity, quality, and revenue, you can make a much stronger case for the benefits of a DAM platform.

Case 3: Reduced Asset Costs

Creating digital assets becomes expensive quickly without a system in place to manage them effectively. In some cases, an image that could be used in multiple campaigns is used once and then forgotten. Sometimes materials are lost and then recreated, duplicating work. Even worse, some assets are created and then never used.

Failing to make the most of design work causes significant losses over time. A DAM platform not only has a positive impact on revenue, but it also does a great deal to reduce the costs of creating digital assets. IDC’s study also identified that the vast majority of organisations see a 10% reduction in costs after implementation, with a little over half of them reducing costs by at least 25%.

While some of these savings are the result of deploying assets more effectively, another driver is the ability to reuse assets across campaigns. As everything is searchable in one place, and with associated file information such as creation date and previous usage, assets can be found and repurposed with confidence.

Importantly, new joiners and remote team members can find previous content they haven’t been involved with. This avoids duplication of effort, supercharging your team’s productivity.

The best way to maximise the ROI is to choose a platform that saves you time, improves efficiency, and empowers creativity. Canto provides all of this and more by allowing your teams to centralise, organise, and share your images, videos and brand assets through a streamlined, visual interface.

Learn how to effectively communicate the soft and hard value of a digital asset management platform, and get more examples and tips, by downloading Canto's guide: The ROI of DAM: How to Build a Business Case for Digital Asset Management.

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