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What to look for in a digital asset management (DAM) system

October 2021


As brands lean ever more on content, rich media, and marketing collateral, digital asset management (DAM) software has emerged as the go-to solution for streamlined and secure content management. But what value can such a system bring to your organisation? And how can you ensure it marries with the needs of your team?

Since DAM software came to the fore, countless vendors have emerged promising next-gen features and exciting capabilities. But there’s more to selecting digital asset management software than simply choosing the system with the most bells and whistles; it needs to be the right fit for you, your team, your business, and your existing technology stack.

To help you select the right DAM system for your requirements, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about digital asset management software. Use the links below to navigate or read on for the full guide.

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What is digital asset management?

Digital asset management is the process of organising and storing acquired rich media into strategic data silos. This allows for simpler access and enhanced permissions control, both of which are needed to facilitate secure, ready access to digital assets such as images, videos, and audio files.

As a growing number of businesses have sought to leverage content as part of their marketing strategy, digital asset management has emerged as a means of organising and storing supplementary digital materials. DAM is considered best practice for all kinds of digital assets, offering a centralised solution that supports collaboration and ease of access while keeping data secure.

Typically, most modern DAM solutions are operated within the cloud. And this, in itself, offers a number of benefits from an access and usability perspective – affording teams a scalable storage solution that can be accessed anywhere, anytime by multiple users.

What are the benefits of a DAM system?

For those in need of a nudge over the line when it comes to whether to invest in a digital asset management system, the following list of benefits should help you ascertain if it’s the right solution for your business.

  • Streamlined access and distribution – from marketing to sales, your internal teams rely on ready access to digital assets, as well as streamlined methods of distribution. DAM provides this and more, for an efficient means of sharing and amplifying assets.
  • Improved production cycles – affording enhanced content creation, version control and approval workflows, a DAM system cuts down on manual processing, meaning faster and more efficient production cycles.
  • Access controls – data governance and customisable user groups make DAM systems a secure and accountable form of asset management. Restrict access to certain users or place download limits on specific files, to keep your resources in check.
  • Reduced loss of work and cost savings – there’s nothing more frustrating than misplacing digital assets that you and your team have spent time and resources creating. A digital asset management system reduces the risk of lost materials, with secure storage and simplified access making files more difficult to misplace.
  • Improved ROI – with in-built analytics tools, including asset tracking and optimisation, you can see how and where digital assets are being used, giving you greater awareness of the value of individual rich media assets. This can help streamline and reduce waste in certain areas of the business, for optimal ROI.

What to look for when choosing a DAM system?

On paper, then, a DAM system sounds like an indispensable tool for businesses that regularly utilise a portfolio of digital assets. But what should you look for when choosing the right DAM system? And are there any particular features you should add to your wish list?

Let’s take a look at some of the things to look for when selecting a DAM system.

Seamless Integrations

A DAM works best when it’s connected to your existing systems, so integration should come at the top of your shopping list. Modern digital asset management systems can sync with a range of systems, from e-commerce managers to CMS platforms, providing a centralised port from which to manage all digital assets. This includes both cloud and physical technology stacks – for a flexible and uniform system across all operational areas.

Encrypted, Multi-Factor Security

Security is a key concern for contemporary web businesses, that realise the threat not only of cybercrime but of the misuse of assets by internal personnel. After all, the unlawful distribution of some content and data can be as commercially harmful as a data breach.

When weighing up the merits of a given DAM system, be sure to enquire about its security capabilities, as different platforms vary in security provisions. As a minimum, we recommend finding a platform that offers full encryption, multi-factor security access, and customisable user restrictions, so you can take full control of your asset bank.

Intuitive Usability

All the advanced features and capabilities in the world won’t equate to much if you and your team don’t know how to utilise your new system to its fullest. That’s why intuitive functionality and simple interfaces should sit close to the top of your DAM software selection checklist.

Consider that a DAM system will be used by a wide range of stakeholders throughout your organisation, each with its own requirements and technological prowess. The platform you choose needs to be intuitive and accessible, so that every team member can extract optimal value from the new system.

Some Automated Tagging Capabilities

Tagging assets with relevant metadata is among the cornerstones of a well-oiled DAM system and ensures that media assets are categorised accurately into the appropriate data silos. But, as you can imagine, labelling every piece of content and media can be a time-intensive process, and one that’s prone to error and inconsistency.

To make tagging simpler, some DAM vendors have introduced an element of automation to the process, though it’s not as simple as pushing a button just yet. Tagging assets using full automation requires complex machine learning, which is still some way off. However, even basic automation can help streamline the process, so look for this when deciding on the right platform.

API Functionality

If you want full control of your DAM system, and want to be able to customise and scale it in the future, API functionality is a must. This effectively gives you the option to change and transform different functions within the software without input from vendors and developers – a core requirement for businesses looking to enhance and tailor their DAM experience.

The great thing about an API-first DAM system is that you can enhance the capabilities of your software using third-party tools and applications. This is ideal for businesses that require centralised asset management with the option to add features for specific departments and users, whether that is new connectors, applications, or modules.


So, there you have it, our expert guide to choosing the right digital asset management system for your business. If you need help enhancing your marketing assets and messaging, we offer a range of complementary services that can take your business to the next level. For more information, visit the Perivan homepage

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