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Where ‘digital assets go to die’ – signs that you might need a next gen DAM system

The desire for speed and accuracy in virtually every aspect of work has morphed into an outright demand for next generation DAM

Register here to watch the full webinar.

A digital asset management (DAM) system can be a keystone of effective marketing operations; however, many organizations are still using outdated legacy DAM systems as little more than digital filing cabinets or “the place where digital assets go to die”.

The Drum in partnership with Hyland recently staged an online webinar tackling how to leverage next generation DAM systems to meet the new demands of a post-pandemic reality. The Drum’s US reporter Kendra Clark chaired the session and was joined by Alan Porter, director of product marketing at Hyland.

Porter kicked off the discussion by addressing the explosion in digital media seen over the past two years. He said: “The pandemic has prompted an exponential growth in the volume and the importance of media assets for most organizations. Many companies have moved more towards a ‘digital first’ model, where online content has become the thing that defines the customer experience. It’s estimated that almost 50% of customer interactions are taking place online and a lot of retail companies will reach a tipping point in the next two to five years where customers’ online purchases will be worth more than revenues from their physical stores.

“When content becomes the thing driving experiences online, digital asset management becomes key to delivering the core business objectives. For example, we know through our own research that there is a greater expectation than ever among online consumers for imagery and video to accompany product descriptions to help inform their choices. We also know that imagery and video drive a lot more customer engagement.”

Porter continued: “A lot of companies want to deliver content with some level of personalization. This may differ in meaning from one company to another, but there tends to be one underlying commonality: the need for more modular content, delivered across different platforms and different channels, including social media and mobile apps; content that serves a specific need for a specific moment in time. This is a major shift away from the more traditional long-form semi-permanent content that organizations have produced in the past for websites and print media.”

Struggling to cope?

The demands of personalization inevitably lead to more content and more variants on content, said Porter: “Does this need to be delivered in different colors? With different backgrounds? Is it seasonally dependent? Do we want variants based on different sizes for different channels? This all means more reuse of assets that need to be tracked, stored, found and recombined with ease. The only way to really deliver on that is with a modern DAM system.”

Limitations of the traditional DAM systems can include poor integration with the corporate permissions directory or web content management systems, making it difficult for anyone outside of the marketing department to access the assets they need. Traditional DAM search often delivers incomplete and inconsistent results because it relies on manually entering tags, keywords and metadata. Problems in accessing and sharing assets often leads to the creation of duplicate assets, which become increasingly difficult to track.

Porter commented: “Rich media assets are being recognized as a foundational component of the digital supply chain that stretches across the whole enterprise. We recently worked with a retail group that operated dozens of well-known clothing brands. We discovered that they had done dozens of photoshoots for the same white T-shirt, simply because they weren’t able to see what digital assets each of their brands already had.

“Traditional DAM systems have limited or no recording functionality, which can cause rights management issues, compliance challenges and data inconsistencies. They often have file size restraints, so have difficulty handling and playing-back large or high quality videos.

“Unfortunately, many traditional DAM platforms continue to impose complicated and time consuming processes on the user. In such circumstances, it's no surprise that users ‘go rogue’ and create ad hoc processes to bypass the limitations of their system. Imposing more policies on outdated technology won't keep the floodgates closed. The desire for speed and accuracy in virtually every aspect of work has morphed into an outright demand for next generation DAM.”

The future of DAM

According to Porter, a next generation DAM system should meet several requirements: “It should be Cloud native; it should be low code, allowing you to do configuration without the need for expensive customizations; it should be scalable, both up and down; it should be API first, so it can integrate with your business systems including artificial intelligence capabilities to help with the increase in demand on repetitive processes. Finally, it should have an integrated workflow, letting you connect those upstream and downstream systems with ease. Next generation DAM systems have the potential to power your content at scale and keep your content flowing in the right format at the right time.”

Other questions answered in the webinar included:

  • What are the signs that you need to move to a next generation DAM?

  • Will personalized marketing still be possible with the deprecation of third-party cookies?

  • How can your organization take its first steps towards next generation DAM?

Register here to watch the full webinar.

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