Five ways a DAM system can help you net huge savings

Five ways a digital asset management system (DAM) can help you net huge savings in your day-to-day business

In this post you’ll learn how a digital asset management system can help you achieve huge savings in your day-to-day business. We’ll also explain in simple terms what sort of activities this software is used for, which industries typically use DAM solutions and what you should bear in mind before buying a DAM solution.

 


What is digital asset management software?

Digital asset management, also known as media asset management (MAM), refers to centralized management of media files within a company.

This management takes the form of media file databases or image databases. The distinctive feature of digital asset management solutions is their use of a central, unified system of data storage, which is accomplished with the help of metadata.

In the meta-tagging process, a file such as a picture is saved along with individual pieces of information (keywords) that allow it to be categorized internally within a set of images and then effortlessly found again later on.


The origin of digital asset management solutions

Ursprung Digital Asset Management

Digital asset management systems originated in the publishing sector, where for more than 20 years, publishers have had to manage huge quantities of image and text files. With the advent of digitization, archives had to be created so that this mass of information could be structured and managed properly.

Why digital asset management systems are so popular with companies

Working with digital asset management software for the first time can be a big change for those used to a folder-based system of file management. The familiar workflow of Windows or Mac OS has become ingrained in their minds and instinctive over the years. Managing data on those systems involved storing it in a folder ­– and if you want to be especially thorough, you would select a fitting name for the file.

Time savings for photo editors

In the analog world, this data was managed using thousands of folders and this approach was initially adapted to the digital realm as well. It quickly became clear, however, that using folder structures hampered productivity. Photo editors or journalists who had to look for specific pictures every day complained about the tedious process of finding what they needed.
 

Lightning-fast image searches in DAM
A more practical solution had to be found – and this was the origin of digital asset management solutions. The basic idea was to close the chapter on folder-based file management and turn instead to a solution using a database that can be searched using keywords. The first DAM systems, which give users an intuitive way to store files, were born.


Which industries typically use digital asset management solutions?

A big advantage of a digital asset management system is that these solutions can be used in any industry, regardless of the number of employees or the size of the company.

Another advantage is the nearly limitless adaptability of a DAM solution. Within a very short time, any company can implement its own media database that can be customized at any time by internal employees.

Tired of unnecessary cost centers?
 

Then take advantage of the tremendous power of our digital asset management solution to get more from your media workflows! In an online demo just for you, we’ll show you the full potential of our DAM solution used by customers around the world. Based on real-life examples, we’ll show you exactly how you can use clever workflows to dramatically reduce your internal cost centers in marketing. What are you waiting for?
 


What should you consider before buying digital asset management software?

List your specifications using evaluation criteria

Before rushing into a decision and choosing a specific solution, you should first consider a few important parameters. If you’re looking for the perfect solution for your company, you should first make sure you understand what the DAM will be used for.

This information should be recorded in writing as a set of specifications. Later, during the selection process, the specifications will serve as a list of criteria when you’re comparing different DAM solutions. If you skip this step and choose a DAM based purely on emotional factors, the new system might turn out to be a bad purchase.

It’s not uncommon for customers to come to us after a few weeks or months, asking to replace their digital asset management system with a different one. In many cases this is because they didn’t use a list of criteria as a basis for their decision or didn’t have a complete concept of the product they needed.

 

Use free test versions

Kostenlose Testversion

Beyond the actual functionality of digital asset management software, things like a user-friendly interface and intuitive operation play an essential role in choosing a solution. Many DAM providers in the industry don’t offer a test version for prospective customers, which exposes you, as a potential buyer, to a high level of risk if you choose one of these solutions. We offer you a free test account you can use to put our DAM through its paces under real conditions and with no strings attached, so you don’t have to risk buying something you haven’t seen or tried out. To allow you to simulate actual use cases with our 4ALLPORTAL, we create a customized test account that is precisely tailored to your needs. To test our solution, at no obligation to you, simply contact us and ask for a free test account.

Comparing digital asset management software: what you should keep in mind when you shop

DAM Software Vergleich - Worauf muss ich achten?

Pay attention to IT security and internal rules

One thing many customers fail to consider when selecting a digital asset management solution is how it will be hosted. Many users of DAM solutions focus only on the functionality of the software, which can later lead to problems with their IT departments. Companies, government agencies and public facilities typically have strict rules about acquiring and running new business software. Company rules often permit only software that runs on internal company servers, but sometimes just the opposite is the case, with companies stipulating that external software must never be run in the internal computer center.

User groups from marketing, product management or sales are usually not familiar with these regulations, and as a result, their preferred solution might not comply with their corporate guidelines because of internal IT rules.  

 

 

To avoid unpleasant surprises, you should review the guidelines of your IT department at the outset and exclude DAM providers that aren’t compatible with those guidelines from consideration. Ideally, you should include a member of your IT department in your DAM project team. 

 

Hosting variants: SaaS or on-premise?

There are generally two ways you can run a digital asset management solution: in the form of software-as-a-service, or SaaS, or as an on-premise solution. In this case the software is run in the computer center of the digital asset management provider. This is the most common form of hosting.

In contrast, an on-premise DAM solution is hosted in the computer center of the client. It’s important to note, however, that only a few DAM providers support this model. The 4ALLPORTAL, for example, can be run as either a SaaS or an on-premise solution.

 

 

Server locations and data protection

If you’re looking for a SaaS solution for your company, you should always request information about the computer centers of the various digital asset management providers. This information should include any certifications with details about technical or physical security, server encryption or the general level of server availability. You can view information about our own computer center here.

It should also be noted that many DAM providers operate computer centers with server locations outside of the EU. The data protection regulations that apply there could in some cases be incompatible with the guidelines of the IT department at your company. When it comes to the issue of hosting, the decision-making process should always include the people in charge of your IT.
 

 

Service-level agreements (SLA) and support

One aspect essential for running a professional digital asset management solution is access to support, along with an appropriate degree of maintenance. For many customers, the DAM becomes a pivotal element for entire departments. As a consequence, employees become highly dependent on the availability of the DAM solution. If a disruption occurs, it’s essential to have rapid support from the provider.

If you opt for our 4ALLPORTAL, you’ll receive 24/7 access to our premium first-level support, available around the clock to help you solve any problem you might have. For special requirements such as weekend work, we offer individual service-level agreements (SLA) that fulfill any need.


What are the pricing models for digital asset management solutions?

Benutzer- und rollenabhängige Preismodelle

User- and role-based pricing models

The most common pricing model in the field of digital asset management is the user- or role-based model. In this model the final purchase or subscription price (depending on the type of hosting) depends on the number of internal users. As a rule, only per-user prices are incurred, which means that the total price increases rapidly as the group of users gets larger. For customers looking for a small DAM solution, this type of pricing model can indeed be a good choice – but you should bear in mind that in this case you won’t have the flexibility to expand your DAM system without extra costs. The price you pay to use the solution will increase with each additional employee.

 

Feature-based prices

Another variation is the feature-based price. In this case the costs are determined by adding up the prices of various features. Suppose provider XY offers 10 possible features in its DAM solution. Then a fixed price is charged to activate each of these features. The more features the customer wants to use, the higher the final price is.

 

Price per installation/DAM instance

The last pricing model is billing according to the number of installations/instances, which refers to the number of DAM systems being used at a company. Particularly at large companies, there are often multiple instances of a digital asset management system. This is the case when there are distributed installations and cluster systems, for example. These use cases are usually seen when a company wants to distribute the load across multiple computer centers or needs a high level of availability (as a safeguard against failure).

 

Flat rate for users, roles and features

As one of the world’s leading digital asset management solutions, the 4ALLPORTAL offers a pricing model not found anywhere else in the industry. You get a flat rate for an unlimited number of users, user groups (roles) and features. In each of our licensing models, you receive all of the available features, allowing you to tap into the full potential of our digital asset management solution at even the smallest scale.


Five ways a digital asset management system can help you gain huge savings in your day-to-day business

If you’ve read this far, you know what makes a good DAM solution and what you need to consider when comparing different solutions.

But how exactly can digital asset management software help you cut costs in your day-to-day business? 

Below we list five of the most commonly used media-related workflows where a DAM solution can save your company a huge amount of time and, therefore, expense.

 

 

1. Searching for media files

Considering that locating media files is the main job of a digital asset management solution, the first item on our list is no surprise – but the amount of time our customers save in their everyday work by using our solution is nothing short of amazing.

If you add up the time that photo editors, graphic designers, marketers, sales staff and product managers spend every day looking for images without DAM, the result would stun any CEO. At media companies and makers of consumer products, the amount of time spent searching for images each day usually amounts to several hours.

In view of the considerable hourly wages involved, the internal costs can sometimes reach several thousand euros per workday. It takes people so long to find what they’re looking for because their filing systems are either nonexistent or simply unclear. New employees often need months to comprehend the internal folder structure because the organizing principle is usually based on item codes or product groups. Employees often can’t even find the right network drive where the media files have been stored.

Compare this with the time required for an image search in a digital asset management solution like 4ALLPORTAL and the contrast couldn’t be starker: with a customized DAM solution, a search that used to take 15 minutes or more now takes 3 seconds at most.

It’s important for your future digital asset management software to be precisely tailored to your individual needs and intuitive to use, even for untrained employees. That’s the only way you can implement a company-wide roll-out without causing downtimes in various departments after the DAM is brought in.

 

2. Read and write permissions for individual user groups

Lese und Schreibrechte für individuelle Benutzergruppen

Another use case that routinely takes up a lot of time involves the absence of read and write permissions when an employee is looking for a media file. Sometimes, for instance, certain directories are write-protected and only accessible to certain user groups.

As a result, simple tasks like copying product pictures can turn into an odyssey. If users don’t have write permission, they first have to contact their IT department to get the permissions adjusted. Often there isn’t even read permission and users can’t view the relevant files to start with.

This leads to a perpetual back and forth with the IT department that can eat up a huge amount of time and take a toll on nerves – especially for the IT people who are routinely called on to change the user permissions of various employees.

When a digital asset management solution is used, these things are taken into account at the planning stage before the system is even launched. Access permissions can be dynamically assigned and modified in the DAM solution with the help of intelligent user groups and metadata fields. Since you can represent existing folder structures and directories one-to-one in the DAM solution, your assets can easily be integrated and equipped with metadata.

This, in turn, allows you to redefine access permissions for your files, giving you much more flexibility in managing them since access permissions can be defined not just by user group but also by means of metadata fields. For example, entire directories can be hidden from certain users simply by assigning a metadata field a specific value.

 

3. Channel-optimized data export

Channel-optimierter Datenexport

Another feature of successful digital asset management solutions is the ability to perform channel-optimized data exports. What does that mean? Here’s an example using a basic everyday task of most graphic designers, photographers, marketers, sales staff and product managers.

Suppose you need a high-resolution product image for a brochure. You start out by looking for the right picture and you know that, like most companies, your high-resolution or uncompressed raster graphics are stored only in Photoshop or TIFF format. If you need the file as a 300 dpi JPEG, and with a certain color profile (such as ISO Coated V2), the file will have to be edited in Photoshop.  

In a case like this the employee spends a great deal of time getting the right image, and the constant copying of existing files in different formats results in needless use of more storage space on your server. What’s more, many employees can’t do the required formatting on their own because they don’t have Photoshop.

Now consider how this process would be managed in a professional digital asset management system and you’ll see you have a much more convenient solution to this problem. To create a printable, high-resolution JPEG from a Photoshop file in 4ALLPORTAL, you simply use our download profiles.

Download profiles act like file converters during the export process. For each file type, an export target format is defined. The big advantage here is that batch processing is effortless. For example, you can export 20 Photoshop files all at once in the JPEG format with the ISO Coated V2 color profile.

Then you can choose whether you want to download the files or send them directly to a recipient via e-mail. And the best part is, the entire process takes less than 2 minutes, even with 100 files! 

4. Automated data exports to other systems

Automatisierter Datenexport an Drittsysteme

If you liked that last point, then you’ll love this next one: you can use download profiles for more than just sending or downloading files. You can also use our API interface to apply download profiles to exports. How, you ask? Allow us to explain... Imagine the API as a sort of link between two completely different software solutions.

The API allows us to send files from the DAM system to external solutions (push transfer) or to retrieve them from those systems (pull transfer). An interface of this kind is called “bidirectional.” In other words, you can push information in both directions and/or pull it from both directions.

The great thing about a bidirectional interface is the variety of possibilities it offers for users. Many companies use multiple standalone solutions – often more than you can count on one hand. If you want to bring these applications into alignment with one another and enable a simple exchange of data between them, the API is the key to doing so.

For example, if you want to update an asset in the DAM system with master data from your enterprise resource planning system, this task can be largely automated. By using “trigger” fields, you can automatically initiate an exchange or synchronization of data. For example, if you connect your DAM solution to your SAP via the API, the product identifiers in the DAM system can be selected as triggers. When a user enters a value there, the API starts to search through the SAP installation for an associated data record. If a match is found between the product identifier in the DAM system and SAP, additional product information is transferred to the DAM system and automatically used to update the file.

Instead of SAP, this use case could of course just as easily involve content management systems (CMS) like Wordpress, Joomla, Contao or Typo3. With just a mouse click, photos, illustrations and videos can be transferred directly to the desired system in the correct target format. As noted above, this eliminates the time-consuming process of converting files manually and uploading them. The savings involved here are considerable, especially since files can be processed in batches. Another useful feature helps when you are performing search engine optimization (SEO) and need search-friendly photo titles or ALT attributes: you can update this information in the DAM system before exporting.

5. Automated workflows to manage photo rights

Automatisierte Bildfreigabe Workflows

Last but not least, one of the hottest and most requested features is automated workflows for managing photo rights. Dealing with photo rights and licenses is a familiar problem to anyone who regularly works with stock images or pictures of people.

If you purchase stock material or receive imagery from a photo shoot by your photographer, there is always the question of whether you have the rights to use the images the way you want. Are the rights included with the file in the form of a license or rights clearance? And what if they aren’t? Can you use the picture anyway? What happens if you use an image for commercial purposes but don’t actually have any rights to it? So many questions.  

In fact, we’ve had customers who were looking for digital asset management software because of this very problem. They had already experienced how costly this issue can become. If this situation sounds familiar to you, then we can put your mind at ease. Digital asset management systems have features that help prevent unpleasant surprises.

In the 4ALLPORTAL, for example, image rights are confirmed using individual image clearance workflows that can be controlled via metadata fields. By making simple configuration changes for any given customer, we can implement a clearance process that’s precisely tailored to your needs.

In their simplest form, these clearance workflows use our “clearance traffic light.” With the conventional traffic-light colors, this visual component shows at a glance whether a file has been cleared for use. This traffic light is generally controlled by a simple metadata field which is assigned one of three clearance values (there being one for each color of the traffic light).
 

Conclusion

Considering the time that you’ll save every week, month and year by using a professional digital asset management solution, you’ll generally see a prompt return on investment (ROI). If you’d like to learn more about our digital asset management system, get in touch with us for a more detailed look at the whole range of features offered by our popular DAM solution. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

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