What does digital asset management mean?
For better handling of this data, it is stored as metadata and then cataloged. This metadata enables the information to be structured. Employees can then easily find and use the cataloged data. Furthermore, the term metadata also includes licenses, rights and reproduction rights of media content. Many also refer to the DMS as media asset management or, as a single part of the whole DMS, sometimes as an image database.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN FUNCTIONS OF A DAM SYSTEM?
The management of your multimedia content is done by using classic DAM systems. These can be identified by the following main functions:
Enriching binary data with meta information and preparing it for retrieval
Import and export of files
Data search by using metadata, properties or file names
Viewing and displaying data
Combining data into packages
Archiving and versioning of files
Automatic generation or modification of video and image data
These functions can be accessed manually or automatically, and some systems even allow access by third parties. This mainly concerns external service providers who can exchange data more easily by accessing the system, thus enabling faster project implementation. In most cases, a DAM system is equated with an image database. However, this approach is not correct, as a DAM system can interact with all types of data - including digital assets of all kinds, such as program codes, music files, graphics and others.
The configuration of a DAM system can be arbitrary, so that individual components, complete systems or storage systems can be combined. Classically, such a system consists of a database or indexer and local application software. Graphical web interfaces have also become established as an alternative, and most software manufacturers now rely on relational databases and web front-ends. In addition, manufacturers classically offer DAM systems as software-as-a-service in a private or public cloud. To meet the holistic IT approach, modern DAM systems can also be integrated into the existing IT system landscape. Thus, these systems can interact directly with web store systems, product information management systems or content management systems and make the archived assets available there. The newer systems in particular enable the production of media files by means of installable add-ons. The files to be edited are usually checked out for this purpose and thus excluded from further use. After final editing, they are re-imported and checked in.
WHERE ARE DAM SYSTEMS USUALLY "INSTALLED"?
A DAM system can basically be purchased or installed locally on a dedicated server. Both approaches offer advantages and disadvantages, so that the choice of the right approach depends on the individual requirements. Cloud solutions are also increasingly appearing. However, from today's point of view, these are difficult to integrate into a single-source workflow and thus do not receive any consideration. The hosted SaaS solution makes sense especially when the DAM system functions to distribute digital assets. Here, the user does not have to integrate software into the hardware or IT structure. Instead, he buys the system for a fixed monthly price. A disadvantage is the administration of the archived content, because it has to be copied and uploaded manually. Direct editing on the external SaaS solution is simply not possible. Additionally, there is no way to integrate the stored assets into internal work processes. In practice, this means that there are always two versions of a file - this approach can be particularly storage-intensive. If the choice falls on a hosted SaaS solution, it is usually a standard system. It cannot be customized or extended with a web-based CMS, intranet or extranet, or e-commerce. Consequently, a Saas DAM system is particularly suitable when using the basic functionalities. Users have to accept the low functionality and possibilities to customize the stored assets. Also, integration with other systems is usually not possible.
The alternative approach is a DAM system installed on a server in the company's own network. This approach enables internal and external distribution of the stored assets. Accordingly, numerous users can access an identical version of an asset and do not have to work with its copies - we are talking about single source here. In addition, the digital asset management system can be used as an internal data server and integrated directly into numerous work processes. Furthermore, a product information management system can also be integrated without disregarding data security standards. The disadvantages are the higher set-up costs. When installing an in-house DAM system, suitable hardware must be procured in addition to the software. In addition, operation and maintenance fall within the company's own area of responsibility. However, these higher costs must always be in relation to the total costs of a SaaS solution. Considering the EU-DSGVO, a DAM system on internal servers offers another advantage, because the company can directly influence the data security. Overall, the in-house digital asset management system is particularly good if all assets are to be stored in a single location and there is a high demand for a cross-channel publishing platform. The possibility of integrating such a system into the existing IT landscape also offers advantages.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO IMPLEMENT A DAM SYSTEM?
The question of the implementation costs of a digital asset management system has no blanket answer. Instead, the costs are strongly oriented to the requirements of the client. The basic rule here is also that there is a difference between open source solutions and fee-based systems. The open source solutions come without fixed costs, but on the other hand do not offer a professional contact person in case of problems. As a rule, an open source system is only as good as its community. In addition, the absence of fixed costs does not mean that an open source DAM system is free. Rather, the costs of implementation, operation and maintenance must be taken into account. Most companies resort to external service providers for this.
A paid DAM system, on the other hand, is characterized by fixed costs. However, a competent contact person is available here who responds as quickly as possible to any problems that arise. In addition, these systems usually offer better add-ons and a wider range of functions. Based on a survey by DAM News, an average price for DAM systems in 2018 can be derived. Thus, the cost of a SaaS DAM system was $51,999 on average. In contrast, solutions for installation on a dedicated server cost $71,746 on average. These prices illustrate that paid DAM systems are designed primarily for larger enterprises. Furthermore, after two years, the total cost of a SaaS digital asset management system already exceeds the acquisition cost of an in-house solution.
WHAT CONTENT DOES A DAM SYSTEM PROCESS?
Basically, a DAM system is used to store and manage digital assets. Such an asset can be graphics, photos, audio files, video files, and any other multimedia content. It is important to note that a digital asset does not have to have a monetary value. Instead, it can also be a value that is rooted in daily processes. Within a DAM system, these digital assets are processed as metadata. This has the advantage that the data is structured for further searches - the actual information is still retained. Especially by adding further data to the information resource, machine and automatic processing can be realized.
Another major advantage of organizing metadata is interoperability. This allows metadata to be specified in different standards without affecting interoperability. In this way, information can be exchanged more easily and the cooperation of systems can be ensured. The main focus here is on the use of data without loss of information. Metadata is used primarily on the Internet and thus enables searches for different content.
GAL Digital has over 15 years of experience in all aspects of web and app development, from corporate relaunches to completely individual process solutions. If you have any further questions on the subject, we will be happy to help you.