Have you ever wondered how some brands can manage their digital assets slightly better than you - fast adoption of images across platforms, widespread usage of videos across channels, decent penetration of campaign catalog across mediums?

Hint: They put their cloud-based DAM to good use by following the best practices.

Many of us use DAM, a robust digital asset management system that lets team store, manage, share, organize, access, and retrieve assets from any digital campaign in less than three clicks.

If you’re unsure what DAM is and your business is not using one, here is why you should care about it.

What is DAM, and why should you care about it?

As the name suggests, DAM or Digital asset management is a tool deployed by an organization for storing, organizing, sharing, editing, managing, sharing, indexing, and retrieving its digital assets. They help manage a broad range of digital assets like images, audio, videos, and graphics to more subtle elements like associated metadata, brand guidelines, and access management.

A DAM system offers several benefits like a unified media library, version control, unlimited cloud storage, fortified asset security, user access management, and more.

Follow these best practices to get the most out of your investment in the DAM system.

DAM best practices to maximize your RoI

if you are going to use a DAM system for the first time or have been using it for a while now, integrating these best practices will help you squeeze maximum RoI out of your investment.

1. Conduct an asset audit

The purpose of an asset audit is to take inventory of all the digital assets you have and their current folder structure, identify the stakeholders who use them and establish workflows that will facilitate their easy access.

To conduct an asset audit:

  • Identification of the asset types
  • Create a list of potential users
  • Categorize assets
  • Use metadata to label assets

The asset audit and findings will help identify gaps in asset naming nomenclature, the current folder structure, asset versions, and similar identifiers.

2. Make the media library the single source of truth

Until a DAM system is introduced, your organization could use a shared inbox, external storage devices, or siloed cloud storage systems to store and access digital assets. Once a DAM is introduced, care should be taken to ensure that the media library attached to the DAM is the single source of truth.

All stakeholders should be trained to use the media library and instructed not to use any other medium for digital assets, storage, access, retrieval, or transformation. This requires bulk uploading all digital assets to the media library before it can be considered ready for use.

3. Set up user access management

Design a user hierarchy, so each stakeholder has sufficient rights to access, modify, archive, or manage the assets. It also ensures that only authorized users within the organization or external stakeholders have authorized access only to specific assets. Further, it also ensures that asset transformations and optimizations are performed only by authorized users.

The most commonly used DAM user hierarchy for user access management is as follows:

  • Account admin

The person who has complete control over the DAM system can add or remove users, manage the pricing plan the system is in, and perform such DAM governance activities

  • Developer

The technical expert who takes on backend activities like integrating the DAM system with storage servers, CMS, PIM, etc. They may also perform other technical activities to maintain the DAM system.

  • Viewer or editor - Media Library

Determine whether each user will get to access and modify the contents of the media library or will enjoy only view access.

Other user types may also be added to break down further the user access management of the DAM system.

4. Lay down an asset naming nomenclature

Establishing a consistent and predictable naming convention is necessary to manage digital assets at scale. Not only does it reduce the time and effort wasted searching for existing assets, but it also ensures that there is a certain order in how assets are named before they are uploaded to the DAM system.

5. Establish DAM workflows

DAM workflows answer the question ‘What next’ in the lifecycle of a digital asset. For example, after the designer uploads the draft design to the drive, who should verify it, approve it, or pick it up for publication? DAM workflows will alert the concerned stakeholders about the asset’s current status and the next action to be taken to complete the asset’s lifecycle.

6. Assign a Digital Asset Manager

A Digital Asset Manager would drive the success of your DAM system just like a Product Manager drives the success of a Product. They would be responsible for the following:

  • User access management
  • Maintaining asset naming nomenclature,
  • Creating folder structure
  • It makes collaboration easier for core users, stakeholders & the larger org

7. Regularly update transform parameters

Advanced DAM platforms can perform named transformations on assets with simple textual and relatable transformation parameters. They are easier to understand for non-technical people who could be used to text phrases for cross-referencing the exact numerical parameter values—for example, Facebook cover image dimensions instead of 400*150 sRGB JPG file.

These parameters (image dimensions) might change from time to time. New parameters may have to be added or redundant ones removed to ensure that the correct parameters are available.

8. Integrate DAM with other systems

A DAM system is not a standalone system. It must integrate with other systems like CMS,  PIM, cloud-storage servers, etc., to be useful for the stakeholders. Integrations pave the way to ensure a smooth data flow between disparate systems and their efficient use. Without integrations, your business may not use the DAM system best.

9. Leverage analytics

DAM systems can provide detailed insights into asset usage, most engaged users, critical workflows, and bandwidth consumption. Such analytics can give a bird’s eye view of how the DAM system is used and where it can add more value.

In a nutshell

In this digital world, DAM systems add tremendous value to any organization dealing with a growing library of digital assets. Implementing best practices to use the DAM system early on will help prevent minor inefficiencies from snowballing into bigger issues.

The best practices explained above will help your stakeholders improve their productivity and deliver exceptional digital experiences to customers. However, all this depends on making the right choice of a DAM system. It would be a futile effort to implement these best practices without a DAM system that supports all these best practices.

It is here that ImageKit can make a difference. We at ImageKit have empowered India's biggest brands, like CRED, Nykaa, BigBasket, & Lenskart, with top-notch DAM capabilities. Your brand could deliver the best media experiences to your customer with ImageKit's DAM capabilities.

Sign up for our forever-free trial of ImageKit.