What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)? If you take the phrase literally – a “digital asset” would be classified as any electronic media that provides some level of value to an organization. However, DAM is much more than just valuable media. It can be summarized as the rules/processes for managing, storing, accessing, and distributing digital media – such as videos, photos, & electronic documents.
However this definition proves to be quite confusing. In our last article, The Difference Between Content & Document Management, we covered how information management terms and acronyms often overlap – making it a difficult industry for consumers to navigate. Unfortunately, Document Asset Management is another one of these “overlapping” terms. In order to understand the core definition of DAM, it must be discussed completely separate from the more advanced capabilities associated with an ECM system.
Document Asset Management Functions
- Organizing assets
- Accessing, sharing, and storing digital assets
- Manipulating assets
- Backing-up digital media
DAM tools tend to store data in one of two ways – media catalogs and repositories.
Catalog: A media catalog does not manage digital assets, but instead acts as a layer of information about files stored as an index of asset values. This generally includes thumbnails and data of the source image/file available prior to retrieval.
Repository: A repository is the digital media itself, stored on a secure database. These assets or files are then viewed in a management tool instead of thumbnails. Using a DAM solution to view and manage your digital assets comes with a slew of benefits including increased security and a centralized means to manage your data.
At its core – a DAM system is a sub-category of Enterprise Content Management. It allows for the management and storage of electronic media – but lacks many of the more advanced features and controls found in a powerful ECM system.
Different Asset Management Systems
There are many industries deploying DAM solutions – each with their own function and purpose. Below are some common DAM systems:
- Digital Supply Chain Asset Management
- Production Asset Management
- Library Asset Management
In summation – Digital Asset Management (and Document Management Systems) all fall under the realm of ECM. Understanding the sub-categories of Enterprise Content Management will make you a more informed consumer and increase your chances of finding the best possible information management solution for your organization.