Over the past two years, even the most reluctant businesses have gone digital. Forced by the pandemic to move transactions online, many businesses are only now using the web to connect with customers. Meanwhile, companies big and small have had to quickly adapt to the needs of employees who were suddenly 100% work-from-home — putting greater demands on digital asset management (DAM) systems than ever before. In fact, a recent survey carried out by FotoWare found that 72% of respondents said the number of digital assets they have to handle had grown over the previous 12 months. That trend has only continued as the pandemic drags on, and our lives move increasingly online.
If this sounds familiar, it’s time to start thinking about how the latest trends in DAM can help organizations do a better job with efficiently and effectively managing digital assets. This article will explore the current trends shaping DAM as well as time-tested best practices that will enable any DAM team’s success.
Enabling remote teams with DAM
The changing demands on DAM systems are being driven largely by the sudden increase in remote work. So it’s no surprise that the survey found that 35% of respondents listed “enabling teams to access digital assets remotely” as a top priority for the next 12 months.
Systems once designed as central repositories for on-premise employees — with the occasional need for remote access — had to adapt quickly.
DAM security a top priority in the age of remote work
Typically, DAM systems allow for centralized team-access to photos, videos, and any other relevant digital assets. But these systems are more than just a shared drive. DAM software also needs to address legal and regulatory requirements. This is especially important when sensitive information is in play — but also becomes more challenging when teams are spread out across disparate locations. Security was also high on the priority list for respondents to the survey: “Allied to remote working, respondents see the need for strong security. 70% of respondents are actively protecting digital assets and fully aware of the importance of fundamental security measures, detailing strategies including mirrored backups, encryption access management, network segmentation, two-factor authentication and VPN management.” DAM software can help by using a combination of encryption, expiration dates on asset access, and password protection to keep digital assets safe no matter where employees are working.
Automating workflows within
Even more important for many in the field is automating workflows. In fact, 48% of respondents said that this is a top priority. As in so many other fields, repetitive tasks — often related to metadata — are the ‘low-hanging fruit’ that can most easily be assigned to AI routines, making the automatic tagging of media assets and articles, faster and more accurate than manual operations.
Fortunately, DAM systems are getting smarter every day. AI and machine learning can make it easier to track and manage assets — enabling small teams to manage large asset libraries. Similarly, these same technologies can help users find exactly what they need when they need it.
Enabling integrated workflows with DAM
DAM software must integrate easily with other productivity software — the use of which has kicked into high gear since remote work became widespread. For instance, when the pandemic hit, Eidosmedia mobile apps. developed to enable journalists working in the field, became the essential workspace for staff working full-time from home. The Swing mobile application gives authors and editors outside the office the ability to create stories, handle media and access a full set of resources from legacy archives, agency newsfeeds and online image banks.
DAM systems are also heavily used by creative teams who might be using a variety of tools to create content — such as Adobe Creative Suite or Microsoft Word — and a DAM must be able to operate as a hub for all of these systems.
Best practices for DAM in 2022
Now is a great time for organizations to reassess their DAM system’s capabilities and streamline practices to ensure it is enabling employees to work more efficiently and effectively. The following best practices should be adopted to make sure the DAM system is providing the functionality users need.
Create a DAM strategy
Organizations should start by asking themselves, “Why are we implementing a DAM system? What will digital asset governance to look like in our organization?” Answering these questions is not only key to choosing the right software, but making sure existing tools are put to the best possible use. If a company already has a strategy in place, they should revisit it to ensure it still serves the company’s needs — and make sure it’s actually achieving the goals and following the practices the team originally laid out.
Define DAM maturity
Whether a team is just starting or has had a DAM in place for years, it’s a good time to define objectives, identify features and requirements, and assess the gaps that may be in a system.
Include stakeholders in the process
DAM systems need to serve the needs of vastly different departments and in order to successfully implement a system that works for everyone, stakeholder input is integral. Team members from every department should be involved to understand which tools they need to integrate with the DAM system, how they access and save their assets, and to find out what the DAM team doesn’t know about the way people actually work.
As the needs of workers change, so must DAM systems. Taking the time to periodically reassess the software’s capabilities, workflows, and the integrations that are imperative for success will help meet the challenges of increasingly digital workplaces for years to come.
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