Digital Asset Management software, or simply DAM, offers a variety of benefits to marketers, designers, and developers. It serves as a centralized repository for all your digital assets, assists in asset transformation, ensures consistent use of brand assets, and gives valuable insights into asset usage. As you can see, the DAM is the heart of an organization’s digital asset supply chain. Now, most of these benefits can be realized only if you select the right DAM vendor for your business.
After all, no two brands have the same operational and technological requirements, and a one-size-fits-all solution never works in the long run.
Step-by-Step Process of DAM Vendor Selection
To help you pick the right vendor for your business, we have compiled this comprehensive guide which gives a walkthrough of the step-by-step process involved and the answer to several that will answer all the questions you might have while selecting a DAM vendor.
Here are the different steps you need to go through before you sign a contract with your chosen DAM vendor:
Step #1: Setting up a DAM selection committee
Start by establishing a DAM selection committee that will handle the core decision-making process. The committee members will have the responsibility of ensuring that all relevant perspectives are considered while selecting a vendor. To form this committee, identify individuals from various departments who have a vested interest in the DAM system. It could typically include people from the following departments:
Once you have identified the core DAM selection team, assign specific roles and responsibilities to committee members. For example, someone may be responsible for identifying feature requirements, while another one may focus on vendor research and evaluation.
It is also important to identify a digital asset manager who will be responsible for coordinating the whole DAM selection process. The manager should ideally have a good understanding of the organization's goals and a clear vision about how the DAM system will be implemented and how various teams will use it at scale to achieve the organization goals.
Recommended read: Why Should DAM Be A Part Of Your MarTech Stack?
Step #2: Define internal DAM requirements
Now that you have successfully established a DAM committee, it is time to arrange your first vendor selection meeting. At this meeting, you need to chart out all your internal DAM requirements. And for this, you need to first identify all the pain points that different teams are facing when it comes to digital asset management.
Talk to your creatives, marketing, IT, and even external agencies to gather their thoughts. The pain points could be related to collaboration, speed, multi-platform support, etc. The goal of this step is to translate the stakeholder’s pain points into DAM requirements.
Pro Tip: To identify pain points, you can also conduct interviews, workshops, and surveys with your internal and external teams.
Once you chart out the DAM requirements for your business, you need to filter those that do not align with your business objectives. It is also not possible to finalize a DAM based on some of your team’s immediate needs that might soon become obsolete. This particular step will help you avoid buying features your teams aren’t ready for.
Related reading: Digital Asset Management For Ecommerce: A Complete Guide
Step #3: Research and shortlist Vendors
Next, scrounge the internet for different DAM vendors and make a list of which vendors to contact. Include all those vendors who are suitable for your industry. Ask industry peers who have already implemented the DAM system. Reach out to your agency partners and ask about their recommendations and experiences working with different DAM vendors.
Similarly, visit websites like G2, Trustpilot, and Capterra and go through the top-rated DAM vendors who can be added to your list. Check out the user-generated reviews and ratings for these platforms. This will give you a good sense of which vendors are highly rated and frequently recommended for managing digital assets.
Step #4: Send Requests For Proposals (RFP) and ask for demos
Once you have shortlisted the DAM vendors, start sending out Request For Proposals (RFP) to them.
What is an RFP?
An RFP is a business document that is used for requesting information and proposals from prospective vendors outlining how they will solve the given business problem. It is typically used by businesses when they are not entirely sure about what they need to solve a business problem.
Your DAM RFP document will contain details like -
- A brief about your business: An introduction about your organization along with an overview of your company's history, mission, vision, and long-term goals.
- Context of the project: The main reasons and objectives behind initiating this DAM project. Talk about the opportunities and pain points that have led to this project.
- Timelines of the project: The DAM project's schedule, including key milestones and deadlines. Don’t forget to specify the expected start date and completion date of the project.
- Constraints while implementing the project: Highlight any limitations that may impact the execution of the project. This could include resource availability, technical compatibility issues, or any other factors that DAM vendors should be aware of.
- Detailed requirements and specifications: A comprehensive list of specific requirements and specifications for the DAM system. Include technical requirements, required features, integration needs, etc.
- Selection criteria that you will use for vendor shortlisting: The evaluation criteria you will use to shortlist potential vendors. It could include technical capabilities, relevant experience, testimonials, cost considerations, etc.
- Any other terms and conditions: Additional terms, conditions, and legal requirements that vendors must fulfill, such as confidentiality, data ownership, etc.
Once you have completed the RFP for DAM software, email the copy to different vendors or post them on your own website.
In addition to sending the RFP, you also need to request product demos from each DAM vendor. If possible, request them to tailor the demo to your organization's workflows and requirements. Let them know about your paint points beforehand so that they prepare better for the call and help you make an informed decision.
During the demo, pay close attention to the user interface, ease of use, and the overall functionality of the DAM system. Ask for live demonstrations of features that are particularly important for your brand. This is also the stage where you can ask questions about the scalability and security of the platform. Here are a few questions you should ask during the DAM demo as you evaluate the best solution.
Step #5: Evaluate DAM vendors and make the final selection
The last step is all about analyzing the responses to your RFP from different vendors and selecting one that is best suited for your business. To do this, find out how well each vendor has addressed your requirements, the completeness of their response, and their ability to meet your business objectives.
Try involving all the members of the DAM selection committee in this evaluation process to ensure that their perspectives are considered, too. This collaborative approach will help in making a well-informed decision.
While evaluating different DAM vendors, use this checklist to compare vendors based on various criteria and finalize one with the best fit for your needs.
Key Questions to Answer while Evaluating DAM Vendors
While evaluating different vendors in step 5, you need to find answers to certain key questions, whose answers will help identify the DAM vendor you want to partner with:
1) Does the software address your core business needs?
The DAM system you are planning to pick must solve your core business problems and fulfill the internal DAM requirements you listed in your RFP. This will ensure better returns on your DAM investments.
For instance, if one of your core business needs was a centralized repository for safe storage and easy access, then the DAM system you select must come with smart features like ‘centralized access controls with SSO, browser based UI for easy access, etc.
2) How is the DAM software deployed (Cloud or on-premise)?
Both cloud and on-premise models have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and you must select a deployment strategy that best suits your end objectives. Your choice could depend on the size of your organization, existing IT infrastructure, compliance requirements, etc.
On-premises deployment involves the installation of the DAM solution on your own servers and handling most of the activities in-house. However, this model is not ideal anymore for most of the businesses (except a handful of large enterprises) owing to its huge cost of implementation and maintenance. Cloud-based DAM software has become the go-to model for most businesses these days, due to its ease of deployment, flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.
3) How easy is it to learn and use?
You will need a DAM system with a user-friendly learning curve along with a seamless and straightforward onboarding process. Only then will you be able to enjoy an improved ROI in a short span. The best way to judge the learning curve of the DAM system is by analyzing how easy it is to use the system without any third-party intervention or extensive handholding. In other words, users must be able to handle every operation in the DAM system without seeking external help.
The platform must offer features like customizable workflows, automated metadata tagging, etc. to minimize manual work. Another aspect you should consider is the availability of training resources and support from the DAM vendor, such as user manuals, videos, and online tutorials, to help users quickly learn and master the software.
4) How scalable and flexible is the software?
When the DAM system you pick is scalable and customizable, it automatically adapts to your changing business needs. The DAM system you pick should have the capability to handle large volumes of asset storage and bandwidth consumption. It is also ideal if you could check whether the DAM vendor will support upgrades and migrations.
You must also ensure that the DAM software is flexible when it comes to integration with other systems. You must carefully analyze the development framework of the software, availability of APIs, and the possibilities of plug and play integration. For instance, ImageKit allows customers to bring their storage servers, plug it in and start using the connected system without skipping a beat.
5) Does the DAM vendor provide adequate training and support?
Even if the learning curve is easy, a successful DAM implementation is not possible without efficient training and comprehensive support from the vendor. A good DAM vendor should offer different kinds of training resources, such as on-site training, online tutorials, user manuals, etc.
Even better if the DAM vendor could customize the training to your organization's specific requirements. A generic training approach will not address your unique needs. Also, evaluate the support offered by the DAM vendor in case of issues during onboarding or later. They should have a dedicated support team with a short SLA (Service Level Agreement).
ImageKit is a beginner-friendly DAM system. This means your team can start using our platform from day one without any difficulties. To help you further, we have a vast repository of training materials in the form of blogs, webinars, how-to videos, user manuals, and a Frequently Asked Questions section.
6) How easy is it to integrate DAM software with existing Martech?
The DAM software you select should not be working in a silo. It needs to work along with your existing CRM, ERP, and CMS systems. This means the DAM solution you pick should offer seamless integration with these platforms. Issues can come up with the wrong choice of DAM system, especially when it uses different data formats or protocols or doesn’t support the same APIs as the other systems. Ultimately, you will be forced to develop a custom integration code, which will drain your resources.
ImageKit offers integration with most of the popular external storages, including AWS, Google, Azure, DigitalOcean, Firebase, Akeneo, web servers, etc. Apart from this, we offer integration with popular CMSs like Magento, Shopify, WordPress, etc. And the best part is we offer REST API support so that you can programmatically integrate ImageKit.io into your application.
Selecting the right DAM vendor is a critical decision that can significantly impact your organization's ability to manage and leverage its digital assets effectively. In this guide, we've explored the different steps you must follow while choosing a DAM vendor, along with the questions you must find answers to.
Among the many options available, ImageKit stands out as a powerful DAM system as it checks out all the key criteria required from a DAM system. From its comprehensive feature set to the user-friendly interface, ImageKit is a complete package when it comes to streamlining an organization’s digital asset management.
So what are you waiting for? Get started with ImageKit.
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