Organizations must face the challenge of managing a growing demand for assets and the need to improve the use of content across all channels—and divided among different locations and brands. Customer desires for more personalized content has led to an explosion of new assets like 3D, augmented reality and virtual reality for a true, new immersive experience.

© https://www.in-source.org

During the past few years, organizations have been seeking solutions to modernize the management of rich content. DAM (Digital Asset Management) is at the heart of a digital strategy to help deliver the right content at the right time. A digital asset management system (DAM) is not only a centralized repository in which organizations can efficiently store, organize, manage, access, and distribute large amounts of digital assets such as images, graphics, layouts, PDF files, documents, web pages, video clips, social media posts, and audio files. This is the first—and important—milestone to organize all content within an organization. DAM has to reach the enterprise level in order to manage the usage of assets across all the facilities in the world driven by custom workflow in order to follow the approval cycle of the content.

© https://www.in-source.org

It is really interesting to study how organizations are embracing the world of DAM. Beyond managing all assets as a single source of truth, stakeholders are more and more accustomed to managing different ‘personalized touchpoint’ versions for a better customer experience. Creating innovative and engaging marketing assets is hard work. What’s even harder is watching all that effort languish in a slow and unproductive review and approval process. Good content has always been integral to customer engagement. It is about leveraging all brand content to target customers with tailored content on all channels (Web, print, mobile, retail outlets, social). Use and reuse the right content is critical, because it is building the trust essential to attracting and keeping customers.

© The $958 Million Marketing Problem, Kapost, 2015, https://kapost.com/resources/

Recent reviews and analysis are showing some interesting points regarding the usage of DAM by large organization along side the approval of the digital content.

  • Any stakeholder needs to approve the content with all the team members and the clients. Today it is a waste of time because most of DAM systems don’t have a real workflow engine. Most of time they are using and displaying a metadata to say yes or not but nothing tied to the real business process mapping of the customer as we can see as for example here, starting from the brief, managing then the approval of the images, text, translations, native files, artworks with different people and different roles up to the digital delivery. A real workflow engine can save time and money for the whole enterprise. Otherwise people will use sharing link of the assets or even worse will use third part public cloud systems often easier to use and commonly used by all designers.
  • When a customer wants to approve a content most of time if he wants to get a closer look he has to download the files because most DAM systems do not offer a enterprise solution to zoom in high definition into the files to check the details, like the sharpness or to get the right color simulation within the RGB, CMYN or spot colors. Most of time all images have their own ICC profiles. Does it make sense to buy a DAM system that requires also tons of third and complex desktop application to check the content in 2019 ? In order to streamline the approval cycle such a viewer can also be used to mark up the files and manage revisions of the same document.
  • In all large organizations the content has to be shared across all the organization in all the countries. It is not only managing a unique location of assets. Reason why we see today so many brands using 2,3,4..6 DAM systems to share the content. How it can be possible to get just one reference of the file ? a DAM systems has to be able to fit this challenge today what ever full cloud based on AWS, Azure or Google using just one storage for all the content or at least the DAM system has be able to manage multiple sites with renderers in each location and the capability from the headquarter to aggregate all the locations of assets in just one portal with advanced users rights management.

DAM and Project Management at the enterprise level, DAM vs PIM ?

As we have just seen, organizations need a DAM enterprise solution with an advanced workflow management tightly integrated with a DAM enterprise solution. in order to increase the value of their brand and speed the time to market. Thanks to the DAM project management system, it is easy to gather all relevant data — information, codes, dates, costs, images— and to share them with all process stakeholders. The process is known by all teams in a transparent environment, where everything is under control. Every process stakeholder is accountable, and the complete audit trail of projects and project data helps to identify when and where problems occur. DAM allows brands to manage all components of a project at the same time, offering a global view of a campaign. Thus, they are saving time and cost by switching from reactive to proactive behavior. A PIM system (Product Information Management) is there to help project management run smoothly and efficiently. Of course a DAM is linked to the asset and the PIM to the product with different fields for translation or information. The  best solution is to make a connector API driven in order to push the information from one system to the other. Managing projects at the top of a DAM system using custom metadata or getting the information from a PIM is definitely the core of new DAM enterprise system.

© Akeneo – eBook PIM

This schema is the clear representation of the benefits of a DAM system as the foundation for all the content for the whole organisation. It drives all the content into all the channels from simple digital delivery to the syndication to the e-commerce and CMS.

All companies need an easy online platform to organize, filter and edit assets. The packaging industry is one of this market that needs such platform. With more and more SKUs, marketing projects are supported by a wide range of assets such as pictures, video, 3D, and HTML5 content. DAM enables the ingestion, annotation, cataloging, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets for use and reuse in marketing and business operations.

Within DAM capabilities, Brand Owners can organize, edit, and repurpose content as the single source of truth. Content needs to be customized and populated to all media assets of the marketing plan. Thanks to tools that support translations within artwork, users can repurpose all of their regulation texts within the platform, creating new language versions of their packaging or other assets….

More and more rich content

Rich media content helps businesses to create outstanding consumer experiences, which is valuable from both marketing and brand loyalty perspectives. However, challenges of managing that content effectively become more apparent as volume grows. Businesses struggle today to integrate and share rich media content across the enterprise (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D experience, HTML5 animation, video, etc.). This is the result of rich media content being stored in siloed business applications that serve merely as content repositories. Businesses need to create a clear DAM strategy and implement solutions to overcome the inefficiencies with both the creation and use of rich media content.

DAM is at the heart of the digital strategy of large organizations to ensure the use and the rights of content, and to deliver it as a whole in multi – channel campaigns. In a budget-constrained and media- saturated world, DAM delivers an exceptional ROI. Companies with such a strategy producing creative and personalized content often see greater conversion rates. It helps to develop and increase brand loyalty.

Leveraging DAM enables agile and multichannel content delivery. Organizations are searching for a web content solution—user-friendly and responsive design—to support their customers’ changing needs. The approach of a DAM solution must be customer centric. As we have said, DAM is not a solution to manage different libraries. It is all about using the content in business and creative processes while synchronizing content among complex channels.

Metadata, Machine learning at the enterprise level ? 

Metadata is, of course, essential to management of assets. From a metadata set (text, date, boolean, taxonomy, string, etc…) you can apply any custom schema to a file, folder, or project. A folder with just metadata is an asset itself. A DAM must be able to process all that content. It is always advantageous if the DAM can pull out the different metadata from the files, so the data stays in the files that are outside of the system during the DAM migration. One of the final useful pieces of metadata management for the customer is the taxonomy. This is the best way to classify assets; the clear representation of the touch points that people in the organi􏰍ation need to find things. 􏰄he most important benefit is that you can find any custom information processed by the DAM engine to use —and reuse—the right asset. It is important to check these capabilities of your DAM system with the ability to build yourself your own schema of metadata !

From a DAM perspective, there are threee different types of metadata:

Implicit : It’s called “implicit” because a human being did not decide those values. Coming from the characteristics of the asset such as the date, identification, EXIF

– Explicit metadata that has been changed— like Dublin Core , IPTC or taxonomy.

Derived : The metadata is extracted from an asset, like text extraction from a PDF. Derived metadata often constitutes a first-class content asset in its own right and may have metadata of its own.

Deep Learning is a new one coming from machine learning methods based on learning data representations. It promises new custom metadata like keywords for image recognition.

Control you assets :

One of the key feature of a DAM enterprise solution is the ability to control the assets.

Getting advanced and color accurate tools for the visualization of assets is essential to a rich and effective experience.

• You can mark up the asset with comments.

• You can check details instead of using a desktop application – You can compare revisions.

• You can crop the asset.

• You can transform the asset to produce different renderings, sizes, resolutions, formats.

It will help all the stakeholders in the approval cycle instead of using third part desktop applications.

DAM enterprise ?

DAM to manage BRAND consistency

• A DAM system is the most efficient tool for marketers, designers, stakeholders and the brand to deliver a unique source of truth across all the channels, to streamline all the content. It is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have” to assure success.

• A DAM system ensures brand consistency across all the omni-channel distribution. You can find and reuse assets quickly. New AI artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions will be a core recommendation for clients. One will be able to deliver users to an interactive experience, helping them get the information they need to take action. AI will enable marketers to achieve more, but requires trust. It is the time to boost marketing effectiveness and scale efforts at a reasonable cost.

• A DAM system helps to organize and control all your digital asset rights vs. copyrights. You can focus on strategic tasks.

• A DAM system protects the brand from all exposure. It is always important to check if you DAM system can manage the DRM of the assets using third part integration like Fadel, Digimarc or Imatag.

• A DAM system improves the consistency of the brand through advanced workflow management for better review of processes.

• A DAM system improves time-to-market with faster approval cycles.

• A DAM system improves your ROI and revenue growth.

• Managing fully-automated tasks based on custom project metadata, or from an ERP, with user actions to send files to different output channels like e-mail, website (CMS), social channel or even to a printer. Syndication is a key for all brands, the B2B, B2C and web portal.

DAM enterprise yes but with workflow engine :

For most creative operations teams, the challenge reported by the @INSOURCE survey is to gain the approval of content across all the stakeholders. Workflows mean much more than a simple approval cycle. This is the representation of the business process that is ultimately customer-facing, with many approval cycles, and different stakeholders with different roles.

DAM is a unique web application that maps any business process with the follow-up of project miles-tones, document approvals and automated user actions. Benefits of such workflow automation within DAM can include:

Creating a custom approval cycle where a reviewer, approver, and/or a gate-keeper can approve or reject an asset.

• Managing very complex processes with parallel workflows of documents and projects with dependencies.

• The user, a group or a role can annotate a document and manage revisions. 

• Using templates to quickly start a project with all the right setups.

• Controlling deadlines for digital delivery, thanks to advanced notifications.

• Managing fully-automated tasks based on custom project metadata, or from an ERP, with user actions to send files to different output channels like e-mail, website (CMS), social channel or even to a printer.

• Providing an easy dashboard to control project follow-up to save production time and spend more time in creativity.

• The last request from all brands in large organization is to be able to measure the performance of their marketing campaign at the top of their projects. When we are talking about analytics most of time people and vendors are only proving basic KPI of the DAM activity, nothing really new since the last 20 years… What brands and retailers need is a B.I tools to aggregate all the information of a project driven by custom metadata and other information coming from data across all the heterogeneous sources and targets ( ERP system, PIM system and spreadsheet). Entirely embedded into the project management the solution is the ‘Business Intelligence’ platform, which allows management to build and oversee significant KEY Performance Indicators’ (KPI) to measure process performance. Users can create their own KPIs to track project performance and activity workload. Weekly or monthly reporting can be done in a flash.

Basic Key metrics for a DAM:

• Who is logging in and who is not using it at all?

• Which assets are most frequently used, viewed, downloaded?

• What kind of assets are most often used?

• How much storage is being used?

• The rate of growth of assets over time.

BI metrics for an enterprise DAM solution:

Keep track of Project(s) Performance of projects (breakdowns by region, dept, period, etc.)

Number, average, min, max, of approval cycles

• Breakdown of rejection reasons

• Project duration (average, min, max)

• Activity Workload (current and projection) Identify Bottlenecks

Measuring performance and identifying bottlenecks to support the continuous improvement of processes is a key component of a company’s business management. The number of projects, assets, and attached data make this task difficult to set up, and is time-consuming.  These new tools that we can see in some of the last DAM system bring so much value than any other DAM features completely useless. This a key for an enterprise DAM solution, B.I Data Integration helps them to get their data to the right place, in the right form, at the right time. Agile B.I is focused on redefining every aspect of business analytics to make it easy for anyone to discover business insights. Get up and running instantly, so customers can discover answers on the fly & deliver ROI in just weeks or months

The benefit for brands is to approve content faster, at the right time.

One of the smartest behaviors of the DAM is to use the capabilities of the DAM to start projects from a selection of documents or a placeholder. This allows a very flexible way to share and get approval of third party suppliers working outside of the company—or to simply share content rather than through Dropbox, Box or Google storage. At the end of the workflow, automated tasks can archive or distribute all the approved content in a custom placeholder inside the DAM. It facilitates document organization better than using another system.

With a DAM, brand retailers can easily manage all their content in one single source of truth to streamline the right content at the right time to all the communication channels. Thanks to the custom analytics of a DAM, you can identify the bottlenecks—for example, if stakeholders in one country spent too much time approving a translation.

DAM, workflows, and KPIs can save money and time for retailers and manage the brand community. Retail marketing and creative teams can be more successful each season with a single solution like a DAM system managing content and campaigns from concept to completion (DAM/PIM/ERP). Creative teams can work more efficiently and can produce enough fresh creativity.

What is the future of DAM enterprise and technology for brands and retailers ?

Creative has traditionally been a mystery and something that is very hard to explain to others. We see creative intelligence as a future-casting tool that links the technology we offer to the creative that resonates with consumers. At its heart, creative intelligence uses data to make smart creative choices rooted in rigorous observation, measurement and analysis to complement creative judgment and instincts. The easier we make it for data to be infused into all parts of the production process, the more productive and successful our clients will be.

Maybe the future of DAM is also tied to personalization. Brands are hard at work to evolve the technology behind one-to-one digital marketing to present giving consumers with imagery based on their demographic, location, purchase history and behaviours. It starts with having the right content and the right integration tools to share relevant, inspiring, motivational images with consumers.

And, if brands don’t know exactly what they need, the DAM vendors team of developers, production experts and best-in-class creatives work closely with them to extract the most value from the technology.

By using a DAM system, clients get the benefit of inputting their own processes with minimal change. They can apply numerous inventory flags to merchandise data and provide unlimited visibility into their own processes, creating a dynamic workflow prioritization. This is the way of alleviating any stress a client may have about how new technologies work with their DAM.

The last but not the least is also to see DAM enterprise learn more about the usage of the DAM by the users. We know that some DAM have already a workspace management so the user can switch from one dashboard to the other. Thanks to the AI and machine learning technology we can expect to adapt the UI regarding the type of projects the customer wants to start, selection of assets for a photo shooting, a packaging project with specific technical workflow and custom KPI or a project for a publisher…regarding these projects we are starting to talk about some predictive workflow learning from the usage of the DAM by the users.

DAM enterprise is a wide subject where only a short selection of vendors can demonstrate the capabilities of their system. As soon as the DAM industry and beyond the community will not have a new DAM model to make a real standard it will be difficult to classify a DAM as a DAM enterprise. As usual the most important step to be successful with a DAM is the place of human people, DAM manager, smart developers, customer experience making the DAM system intelligent.

I will finish talking about the user experience which is the key today of the customer experience…don’t buy a DAM system not responsive design, the framework has to driven by AngularJSAngularJS lets you extend HTML vocabulary for your application. The resulting environment is extraordinarily expressive, readable, and quick to develop. The consequence is that you can drag and drop assets and able to use the DAM on your mobile, other wise change your DAM system.

This last video for all the DAM vendors 🙂

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