It is a little known fact that “Getting Organized” is considered one of the ten most popular New Year’s Resolutions year after year. After all, an organized life promises to save time, improve focus, and reduce stress. Well, the same can be said for your digital assets. When organized, your digital assets work for you – helping you complete projects efficiently and bring products to market. When they are not organized, however, your digital assets can actually hinder your product pipelines, acting as bottlenecks and fragmenting your workflows. Here is a list of the top 5 ways an online DAM gets you organized and saves time:
Centralizing your digital assets means you will always know where to find your critical images, designs, and other assets exactly when you need them. DAM provides a framework to quickly search and browse through thousands of assets, a nearly impossible task if your files are scattered on hard drives, PCs, and DVDs. Web-based solutions for Digital Asset Management, such as WebDAM, further improve this benefit by ensuring your assets are accessible 24/7 anywhere in the world.
Hundreds of hours have gone into generating your digital creations, all to be used once, and then buried within the confines of a designer’s computer. Not anymore. With DAM, your assets are readily available and tagged with important meta-data such as how, when, and where a given file was used within your marketing campaigns. Easily find related images and image source files to promote reuse and allow you to more easily repurpose your hard work.
If you are like many organizations, one department, or often times even a single individual, is responsible for fulfilling image requests coming from a number of sources including internal departments such as the web team, marketing, and PR to external associates, such as media professionals. There are three potentials pitfalls with this approach. First, you are relying heavily on the knowledge of a few individuals about where your files are located. What happens when they leave the company or change positions? Second, as your requests grow, it becomes impossible to fulfill each and every one while meeting deadlines. And last, once the requested assets are located, how do you deliver them to the recipient? Burning CDs or emailing large image files consumes enormous amounts of time. With DAM, image requests can be “self-fulfilled” by directly searching the DAM database and instantly retrieving exactly what is needed. Most DAM systems also include tracking capabilities to keep you on top of how your assets are being used and distribution tools to provide several mechanisms for efficiently delivering the digital files to the recipient.
If you are handling rights-managed digital files, such as photos, knowing your usage rights is critical. Breaking copyrights is a costly mistake that no organization wants to make. So what do you do when you locate a photo but don’t know the terms upon which it was acquired? After much effort tracing the purchase, you will most likely opt to play it safe and purchase a new license. With DAM, you are not only tracking your digital files but also the critical meta-data associated to your files, such as copyright terms.
From the previous four points, you can probably guess why DAM helps you meet deadlines and get products to market faster. Organizing your digital assets and the associated meta-data, means less time searching and more time producing. Many DAM tools go a step further by providing workflow integration and collaboration tools to actually facilitate your project pipelines. For example, WebDAM provides an online collaboration environment, called a Lightbox, enabling individuals to share project-specific files and swap notes and comments, resulting in faster collaborative turn-around.
In a future post, we will break down the DAM Return on Investment, or ROI, to see just how much time and money DAM can save your organization.