Erica Gunn
Erica Gunn 11 October 2022

Six Easy Steps to Digital Asset Management Success

By making a few simple but important decisions up front, you can ensure that your company gets the most out of your new digital asset management tool. From organising your files to securing buy-in from different departments within your business, here's our six easy steps to DAM success.

You are creating content faster than ever. But managing incoming assets becomes a problem when your processes aren’t automated and materials aren't easy to find.

A digital asset management (DAM) platform not only centralises all of your assets, but also improves collaboration and communication. Properly implemented, a DAM platform saves you time and money while strengthening your brand.

DAM platforms store digital assets like photos, videos, and audio files. But what really sets DAM software apart is the way it helps users locate and share that content. Rather than sifting through folders to find the latest version of an image, you can grab what you need within seconds, thanks to powerful search tools.

Your teams can share assets both internally and externally as well as manage access rights. Since everything is in one place, it’s easier to organise content, reduce confusion, and eliminate bottlenecks. As a result, you can spend more time being creative and only the newest, approved assets end up in front of customers.

Streamline the way you manage assets using DAM software using these six steps:

Step 1: Prioritise Teams Over Tools

If your team members don’t feel like new software is making their lives easier, they won’t use it. So, the first step to any successful DAM implementation should be securing buy-in from the people who will be using it regularly.

Talk through team concerns and explain how the new approach will save time and free up resources. Don’t just focus on the concerns of one group or department either; managers play an important role here, but every individual contributes to a project’s success.

Step 2: Understand User Needs

Now that you’ve started the conversation about your DAM project, it’s time to understand what everyone on your teams want from the software. This helps you manage expectations and secure longer-term buy-in.

Since DAM systems can be used across multiple departments, make sure you’ve identified how using DAM can help each function. You’ll need to establish what type of files they’re currently using, how they’re organised, and who needs to have access to what.

There’s also the matter of uploading and circulating files, which good DAM solutions should make seamless. Different departments have different needs, so create a list of who will be using the software and encourage them to engage with one another to see where DAM requirements overlap.

Step 3: Identify Areas in Need of Improvement

Your organisation may rely on cloud-based storage tools like Google Drive. But the way these platforms handle permissions can hamper collaborative work and make it hard to create a single source of truth. Cloud-based storage solutions often don’t allow for true version control either, which makes finding the newest assets even more difficult.

Even when you establish a process with these systems, cloud-based storage tools end up creating confusion, frustration, and inefficient bottlenecks. It helps to audit the digital tools you currently have in place to identify what could be improved by DAM software.

Moving creative assets to a more suitable platform not only helps your teams be more productive and collaborative, it also frees up resources.

Step 4: Optimise your Implementation

Once you’ve chosen a DAM platform, work with your teams to structure your deployment. You’ll want to agree where assets are stored, how workflows are structured, and how projects are managed. There are two big decisions to make up front:

  1. How are assets to be added to the system?
  2. What permissions will be established?

You may want to integrate the DAM solution with other platforms to import content, or you might prefer to curate the process and screen out now redundant assets. This is the perfect opportunity to perform a content audit if time allows.

As assets are made available through shared folders or portals, permissions need to be put in place to control who can alter assets or change how they’re organised.

Curated portals allow you to provide access to a set of assets to a defined group of people. This means you don’t need to grant access to your entire library to allow team members to find what they’re looking for quickly. It gives you greater control over what they can download.

Your DAM system should enhance communication and streamline these processes, so you need to make sure it’s accessible. Having guidelines laid out from the beginning makes it much easier for users to get up to speed and share content more effectively.

Step 5: Set up an Organisational Structure

Grouping assets into a tag taxonomy is the best way to manage a library of design files. With a well-designed structure of keywords, your teams can find files easily. So, make sure you’ve already established a clear structure. Your DAM provider can support you with this during your onboarding, so that you have a tagging strategy before migrating your existing files.

  • Start by creating a schema that groups images and other files by category.
  • Then label assets with keywords and tags.

Again, your DAM provider will support you through this process.

Your organisation likely has vast collections of assets with no clear folder structure. Good DAM solutions make it easy to transfer these files into a new environment thanks to powerful importing tools.

These automatically sort assets by file type and use image recognition to suggest tags. Since DAM software is so intuitive, transferring content is often a matter of dragging and dropping files, then assigning metadata.

Step 6: Share your Content

After your assets have been properly organised, it’s time to start thinking about how the assets can be circulated. Where DAM platforms really shine is with web-based portals, where administrators can create multiple, customised portals for different audiences.

This is especially valuable for sharing content with external collaborators. If your team is working with an agency, you can create an agency-specific portal for that project. Portals can even be set up on existing websites to create a dynamic, regularly-updated content library.

Ready, Set, Go!

After going through these steps, you should be ready to begin your journey toward a new frontier of content management. With the right DAM platform in place, you can start telling your brand’s story more effectively by democratising quality content throughout your organisation.

Canto allows you to centralise, organise, and share your images, videos and brand assets through a streamlined, visual interface. Improve your digital asset management game with the guide Getting started with Digital Asset Management. This exclusive Canto resource is full of unique tips and tricks, get your copy here.

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