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10 Essential Features of Digital Asset Management Solutions

This 10 step countdown covers all the important things you need to consider when choosing what digital asset management solution to invest in. 

This 10 step countdown covers all the important things you need to consider when choosing what digital asset management solution to invest in. 

We’ve all been there… 

Stuck with cumbersome software that was meant to save us time and money, but instead ended up doing all the things we didn’t need and none of the stuff that actually matters. 

Countless, infuriating hours, wasted trying to figure out how to use the thing!

This was the main reason we created Brandspace.

Frustrated by the poor options available to help us manage our brand and creative assets we set about creating a DAM solution that did all the important stuff with none of the bloat. 

None of the hidden pricing. 

None of the lengthy “onboarding” sessions needed just to learn how to do simple tasks.

And in the spirit of saving businesses time and money, we thought we’d share what we’ve learned on our journey to super simple digital asset management.

So forget bloated “enterprise” digital asset management software.

Here’s our countdown of essential digital asset management solution features.

10.
One Specialist Digital Asset Managment Software to Store Your Assets

It’s possible to piece something together using your internal servers and platforms like google drive, but at some point, your business is going to outgrow this approach. 

Plus you’ll run into common problems such as poor search functionality, and inadequate categorization of assets, especially if you are using multiple platforms rather than one central system.

So the first step on the countdown the digital asset management success is to use one specialist platform.

Doing this will give you all the functionality you need to effectively and efficiently manage your brand assets, and ensure you can focus on your job.

9.
Easy to Use Digital Asset Management

More important than any fancy features is a platform that’s designed well, and intuitive to use.

Without this, you aren’t going to want to use it, and neither is the rest of your organization. 

And without this buy-in and everyone across your business using this one central platform, you are destined for failure.

Another important point is that any digital asset management platform you use should not be the star of the show. 

It should operate quietly and effectively in the background helping your business make the most of all the creative assets you have at your disposal.

Additionally, when you see software highlighting the hundreds of features it has, or constantly offering new functionality or add-ons as part of upgrade packages you know the focus is more on selling you more stuff than providing an effective service

8.
A Digital Asset Management Solution That All Your Team Can Access

This step boils down to two key factors:

  1. the platform needs to be cloud-based so that it can be accessed from any location (providing you have internet access).
  2. pricing shouldnt be based on the number of users you have.

Point one is fairly straightforward.

These days as nearly all offerings you’ll come across are cloud-based.

Point two is where the problems arise.

This is because pricing based on the number of users immediately introduces a restriction on one of the core principles of good asset management:

Everyone in your business using the correct, on-brand media in anything they create.

This is especially true for growing businesses. As prices can increase dramatically as you hire more people.

As with any software, DAM platforms can’t offer unlimited everything. 

However, outside the value being offered by the quality of the software, we believe a fairer method of scaling pricing is to base it on storage and bandwidth used. 

This approach is a better reflection of usage (and associated hostage costs) and ensures everyone in your business can use the platform.

7.
Easy to Upload and Categorise All File Types

One of the first things you’ll do with your new DAM solution is add your media. Following this, you’ll be categorising your assets. 

If the functionality of the system you use is lacking here, you’re going to get off on the wrong foot, and your DAM system is likely to grow into a wild and unruly place.

And an unruly, messy system is one that is unlikely to be used over the long term.

When it comes to uploading and categorising your assets the middle ground is definitely the best option. 

You want flexibility to be able to shape the platform to match the needs of your brand, but within a well-thought-out set of parameters and back-end functionality.

Free demos are your friend here, letting you test how you can upload and categorise your files. 

Just be wary of the platforms that insist you have a “quick chat” or demo before you use the free trial. You could quickly end up being bombarded with unwanted sales calls.

6.
Effective Search

One of the main benefits of having all your files in one digital asset management (DAM) solution is being able to find them easily. 

Well-thought-out categorisation, tagging, and filtering will go a long way to delivering this. 

Alongside these, search functionality that works well is essential.

It will save you so much time and so many headaches.

The basis of good search functionality is

  • the parameters your platform uses to get results for your search terms,
  • the quality of tagging, and metadata your users’ input when uploading assets. Some platforms now also use AI to auto-tag your assets, helping save you time.

Like with step seven, using demos is an excellent way to gauge how well the search function works.

5.
Easy to Share Assets From Your Digital Asset Management Solution

Once you’ve found the files you are looking for it’s important that you can easily share them with your team. 

This is especially helpful for marketers working with creative teams.

Another important factor for marketers is being able to easily share your new campaigns across your business. 

Ensuring everyone has the right messages and creative assets is essential to the successful delivery of your campaigns.

The two key things to look for here are:

  1. Can you easily set up campaign folders that allow you to add guidelines, photography, key messages, graphics, video, pre-made templates. And everything else you need to grow your brand?

     

  2. Can you easily share individual assets or create collections containing multiple files that can be shared via a link, and ideally directly to email?

4.
Secure Digital Asset Management

Unfortunately, with most technology sometimes things go wrong.

So when storing all your brand assets, you want peace of mind knowing that they’re as safe as they can be, and contingencies are in place should the worst happen.

We’ve experienced it first hand.

A member of staff using the DAM platform at the company we worked at somehow managed to delete all of the files with the click of two buttons. 

This should never have been possible, and it highlights some big design flaws in the software. 

Fortunately, our provider was taking regular backups so we were able to restore the majority of our assets with minimal disruption. 

Still, a pretty scary (and potentially costly!) situation to be in.

When assessing your DAM options look for two things when it comes to security

  1. The technology used to store all your files – 
    • what hosting platform is used?
    • How well does this perform i.e is there frequent downtime?
    • And what are the security measures it has in place?
  2. What is the company’s approach to security, data protection, and management?
    • What do they back-up?
    • How often?
    • And what’s their process if something goes wrong?

3.
Scalable Digital Asset Management Solutions

As we’ve touched upon in previous points one of the biggest benefits of a DAM is having everyone using the same system. 

Being scalable is a huge part of this. 

If your digital asset management solution doesn’t grow with your business as it expands, then in a few years time you’re going to be in the same position you were before investing in digital asset management.

Stuck with systems and processes that don’t meet your needs.

So what makes a DAM scalable?

Users

Ideally, everyone in your business will have access to your platform. 

If they don’t there’s still a chance of unsupported ways of working being used, for example, a small group of people reverting back to using your old methods for managing your brand. 

It also increases the chance of the people without access to the DAM using the wrong assets or following outdated brand guidelines.

 So when considering what DAM system you want to invest in, question whether pricing based on the number of users you have is going to be cost-effective as you grow; what’s cheaper now might quickly become much more expensive as you grow.

Features

One of the main benefits of using a DAM system over your own servers or a collection of services like Dropbox and Google Drive is the bundled features and functionality that are specifically developed to support brand management.

The tricky part here is that every business is different and will manage its brand in different ways. 

So, while there are a core set of features and functionality that all brands can benefit from using, each brand will prioritise them in a different order.

The problem arises when DAM providers start to base product tiers and pricing based on features. Most features aren’t linked to the scale of the business and the level of usage. 

This can be a limiting factor to the early usage of your system if the features you need aren’t inline with the product tier that best reflects the size of your brand and the amount you’ll be using the platform. 

Structure

The way you initially structure your system during set-up forms the foundation for how it will be used in the long run. 

Compared to all the other features and functionality promoted by DAM vendors the layout, structure, and overall usability of the system might not seem that exciting or useful when weighing up your options. 

However, if your system doesn’t perform well at this foundation level everything else is going to quickly become cumbersome and potentially unusable. 

A tell-tale sign here is how the platform manages categorisation and then displays it on the front end. 

You want to look for a well-thought-out system that has clear rules and logic but also gives you the flexibility to adapt this to your brand at an admin level. Then on the user interface the structure and navigation of your assets library needs to work just as well at both ends of the scale from tens of assets up to thousands.

Storage and usage

Storage is an essential factor in scalability. Having a digital asset management platform that can store all your assets and campaign material is going to be a lot easier to manage as you expand and create more assets. 

More storage also allows you to store higher quality imagery and more video without stress. 

The good news is most systems offer generous amounts of storage. Granted there’s a fine balance between quality over quantity when you manage your assets but having the storage available gives you the flexibility to manage the system in a way that best suits your business.

Usage is all about bandwidth. Every time you take an action with a file – upload, download or share – you use bandwidth. So the more you use the system the more storage and bandwidth you’ll need.

Having looked at numerous different ways DAM platforms charge for their software we believe pricing based around storage and usage is the fairest and the best reflection of the needs of your business. It is also the most scalable and least restrictive to business growth.

This is the approach we’ve taken for Brandspace – pricing is based around usage requirements so whatever product tier you select you’;l have access to all the features Brandspace offers and be able to set up an unlimited number of users.

2.
Fast

A simple one, but so important. 

Just like with any software there’s nothing more frustrating than slow performance. 

This point is brought into sharper focus when you are working on a campaign looking for the perfect asset. 

Then you get held up by slow performance, with searches taking longer than they should and thumbnails not loading.

The best way to gauge how well a digital asset management platform works is, like many of the other points, to test it out by using the free trial. 

You can try Brandspace free for 30 days, with no obligation and no credit card needed.

1.
Easy to Purchase and Start Using

The final point in our countdown. 

This one isn’t about the software but a crucial step you need to take before you get going.

Actually buying and using your chosen digital asset management solution.

So many providers insist you have sales demos and contact them for a quote before getting a clear idea if the software meets your needs and your budget. 

For us, this raises major red flags. 

If we get in touch we’re concerned that we’re in for a lot of follow-up sales activity in the form of unwanted emails and calls.

Then there’s hidden onboarding and set-up process and their associated costs. 

We strongly believe good customer support is essential. 

However, any software that needs lengthy training to use, is surely going to be difficult to roll out to your whole organisation and every new start. 

At Brandspace we prefer the alternative:

  • Clear, upfront pricing.
  • No obligation free trial to see if the software is right for you. Definitely no hard sell.
  • Easy payment methods.
  • No convoluted contracts. Cancel any time
  • Hard work behind the scenes to make software that’s easy and intuitive to use as possible, so you don’t need to sit through hours of training.
  • Open communication and customer support that’s there when you need it.

Brandspace is launching soon. Join the waitlist

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