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7 Myths About Digital Asset Management (DAM)

We believe that incorporating a digital asset management system at your organization will make your work life easier and give you back time for your favorite things. Files will be easier to find because they are centralized in one place and can be found using metadata, they will be easier to share, and the right people will get the right content when they need it. But there are still many myths surrounding the purchasing, setup, and use of a DAM system. From cost, to the use of free cloud services, to the number of assets, many ideas have proliferated that make it seem as though using a DAM will be more trouble than it’s worth.

We want to debunk the myths surrounding a DAM so that you can get a clear idea of whether it’s right for your organization. While there is always some work involved when it comes to using and and implementing new software, in the end, the goal is always to make your life easier, and save time and money. So without further adieu, let’s take on these myths!

Myth #1: Cloud Services like Dropbox and Google Drive Can Do It All

This is one of the greatest misconceptions surrounding digital asset management; that you get the same features and accomplish the same tasks with tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box. For some things, these services are indeed useful. We use Google Drive ourselves to collaborate on projects and create documents. But as anyone who has ever searched these services knows, once you have hit a certain threshold, it can be nearly impossible to find what you need!

DAM systems are meant to hold large amounts of files while providing structure through folders, templates, and metadata. These organizational structures make it simple to understand what the file is, who created it, any important rights management restrictions, and more. Even when you have hundreds of thousands of files, with proper metadata you can find exactly what you need by browsing folders, searching keywords, or refining. The cloud storage options mentioned above do not let you add any kinds of metadata, making it difficult to search for something specific. If it’s not in the file name or document text, you could be out of luck.

One of the key tenets of DAM is also the levels of access, or permissions, you can give your users. Free cloud management systems are frequently a free-for-all. People are creating new folders all over the place, anyone can upload and move things around, and items get lost in the shuffle. It can be tough to determine who owns what documents and who has access to certain areas. Digital asset management gives your very specific permissions so that you know exactly who owns which files and what everyone at the organization can access.

Myth #2: DAM Software is Too Expensive

The price of DAM software can range anywhere from $90/month to $90,000/month; it is a very broad spectrum. Different vendors offer a wide range of prices, along with varied services and features. But if you need a DAM, chances are you can find one that will suit your needs within your price range.

Items that can impact the price of a DAM include how much storage you need, the number of users, features that include different kinds of metadata and sharing options, integrations with other software, and workflow tools. Services such as implementation and further management can also impact costs.

Once you have a DAM in place, however, the goal is that it will save you money! Your users will no longer spend hours searching for assets as they are all gathered in once place and tagged with the correct metadata. You won’t need to re-do photoshoots of the same content because you either can’t find the originals, or don’t know what you have. While the DAM will be an ongoing expense for your organization, you will save more in the long run. We created an ROI calculator to help you measure what the savings could be. For even medium-sized businesses, digital asset management can save tens of thousands of dollars per month in wasted time.

Myth #3: DAM Takes Too Long to Implement

Implementation of a DAM can take anywhere from two weeks to more than a year depending on a number of factors. The important thing is that the vendor can work on your timeline as quickly or as slowly as you want to go. If you need to get something up and running with a certain set of files in four weeks, that’s often very doable! If you want to take your time to think through the process and work on a longer timeline, that is also an option.

There are a number of elements that go into how long implementing a DAM can take. The amount of files that you will be uploading is a central component. Some clients like to start fresh and only upload new content and these clients can move very fast. Others need to upload many years worth of files to the new DAM which can range from gigabytes to terabytes. If the organization is using lots of metadata, that’s also a factor that can play into implementation time.

Switching from one DAM to another also plays a role in the implementation timeline. Downloading and then re-uploading to the new system, moving over metadata, and making sure that everything is re-organized the correct way can add time. If you have someone dedicated to this full time it can be a speedy process! The less time you can dedicate, the longer it may take. But don’t let the implementation timeline scare you, your DAM vendor will work closely with you and your team to make sure your DAM is in place when you need it.

Myth #4: We Have Too Many Files for a DAM!

Some people are concerned that they have too many files to move into a Digital Asset Management system. But whether it’s several gigabytes of files several hundred terabytes, DAM systems are meant to handle large amounts of files and data; it’s what they were built for!

Your DAM provider will help you find the best way to move all of your files into your new system. It could be uploading directly through the website, using a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), or sending a hard-drive directly to your DAM provider to upload. Each method has its pros and cons that will be reviewed with you. Factors include the amount of files that you need to upload, how much metadata you have, and the timeframe.

Once you have a DAM, it will be much easier to sort through the massive amount of files you have accumulated. With metadata applied, it will be easy to find what you need and put it to good use. You may even find in your move to the DAM that you can archive or retire certain files, so you may not have as many as you think.

Myth #5: Managing a DAM Takes Too Much Time

Modern, cloud-based DAMs continue to make it faster and easier to manage a DAM. With most systems, there is no need to have an IT person involved, as the DAM provider deals with all infrastructure, updates, and maintenance offsite. This means that there are very few technical aspects to manage. You can spend more time on users, permissions, and files.

The biggest amount of time and effort will be spent during the implementation process, but as discussed above, your DAM vendor can work on your timeline. Once you are through with the implementation, there are some tasks that will need to be taken care of on a regular basis. These include uploading new content, adding metadata and ensuring that it is up to date, and managing new users and user adoption. But these tasks, particularly if performed on a regular basis, should not take up the bulk of your time.

Ultimately, the goal of the DAM is to save you time, not add to it. Colleagues will no longer need email you for files, as they will be able to find the best photo or video themselves. Since everything is in one place, all important materials will be centralized and easy to find. And there will be no need to recreate old files that you can’t find.

Myth #6: Too Much Cultural Change

We understand it can be hard to get your users to adopt a new piece of software. When people have been doing things the same way for years, they may be reluctant to incorporate a new step into their workflow. But few organizations are generally so stuck that they can’t adopt something that will ultimately save time and improve their process.

Your DAM provider can work with you to help make sure that your users are on boarded properly and understand the value of DAM. Through webinars, training videos, articles, and email and chat support, your users will have access to all the tools they need to best understand and utilize the DAM.

You can also roll out the DAM to your organization little by little. You may want to start with a small test-group to make sure that everything is organized as needed and that the proper workflows are in place. Once this group is happy with their results, you can then roll it out to a larger audience. Asking for feedback along the way will also make users feel involved in the project and more likely to use the DAM.

Myth #7: It’s impossible to Measure the ROI for DAM

Digital Asset Management software is designed to make your life easier and give you back your time to do other more important things. Because of this, it’s not as easy to measure the Return On Investment (ROI) compared to other tools that may lead directly to new clients or sales. But it is not impossible, as the time saved using a DAM frees your users up to do other important work.

We have created an ROI calculator which can help you measure the ROI that you will save by using a DAM. The measurements are based on search time, fulfillment time, and duplication time. Talk to anyone in a marketing department without a DAM and you will know that huge amounts of time get wasted in these areas. The ROI calculator will help you put some harder numbers to this knowledge.

There are some areas that can impact costs at your organization that are even more difficult to measure. Losing assets completely, using the wrong assets, and a weak brand presence from mismatched or old assets can cause a lot of problems. Having a DAM will help you avoid these pitfalls.

Photo by Ahmet Sali on Unsplash