Back in 2011 when we first published this article, referencing “the cloud” still felt fresh and cutting edge. Almost a decade later, cloud-based solutions are standard for collaboration, communication, project management, and many other business needs. Digital asset management (DAM) is no exception.
The very nature of DAM – management, organization, and distribution of digital assets from a central content hub – is a perfect match for the cloud. Businesses rely on content that comes in many forms, and has countless sources and destinations. To facilitate that flow of information, you need a scalable, secure, and cost-effective system.
In this article, we’ll define cloud DAM and the advantages it offers.
What is a cloud DAM system?
A cloud DAM (or cloud-based DAM) system refers to a digital asset management solution that is hosted on a network of remote servers and accessed through a web browser. With software, storage, and analytics available through the internet, teams can securely access the system from a laptop, tablet, or phone from wherever they’re located.
Advantages of a cloud-based DAM system
Cloud-based DAM systems offer many advantages related to cost, speed, global scale, accessibility, and distribution.
Cloud-based DAM systems eliminate the need for purchasing, setting up, and maintaining hardware and software on-site. As businesses increasingly rely on video, image, and audio content to communicate their brand messages, so does the amount of storage required. The cloud allows you to grow your storage and user base easily. Through a software as a service (SaaS) model, you’ll always have access to the latest versions of your DAM software.
Grows with your business
Support business growth across multiple regions around the world using a cloud-based DAM system. Leveraging a global infrastructure, you’re able to upload and download content quickly, reliably, and securely. This helps your global and regional teams collaborate more effectively with the digital assets that represent your brand.
Kelly Owen from Johnsonville shares how they securely manage digital assets around the world.
Delivers assets to where you publish them
Using a content delivery network (CDN), digital assets are delivered to websites, APIs, and other locations outside of the DAM system. This allows your teams to embed an asset in multiple places while maintaining that central source of truth in the DAM system. Any updates to the asset in the DAM solution are reflected wherever the embed code is published.
Hootsuite streamlines workflows by delivering content to their web content management (WCM) system directly from the Widen Collective®.
Supports distributed teams and remote work
Since the DAM system is accessible via the web, teams have access to the files they need to do their job wherever they have access to the internet. Sales teams can access collateral in the field, designers can create in their quiet space, and marketers can publish on the go.
Remote and distributed Hootsuite teams around the globe can access the assets they need anytime, anywhere.
Keeps everything organized
Use a system that’s designed for the volume and velocity at which teams are creating content. A folder structure alone is too cumbersome for multiple departments and geographic locations. Teams need robust search functionality and filtering to find the assets they need.
DAM systems support metadata that makes assets searchable and guides their use. For example, you may store talent release forms with videos or image rights with photographs.
There are 1000 - 2000 photos taken during a regular season Houston Astros game. DAM admin Alex Bierens de Haan shares how they make their uploading, tagging, and sharing process as "simple and succinct as possible."
Helps marketing teams focus on core tasks
The self-service capabilities of DAM allow users to be productive — they can get what they need, when they want it, on their own. Sure, marketers can have access to assets kept on in-house servers but how are they going to find them? And how are they going to know which brochure, image, or logo is the correct one to use? This leads to pinging administrators or designers for assets. Which leads to inefficiency for both parties.
In addition to providing access, a cloud DAM system offers conversions on the fly. When your social media manager needs a square version of a photograph or graphic for Instagram, they can just download it using the conversion functionality instead of putting in a creative request and waiting.
Interruptions in the creative process are costly. Ventura County Community College District limits creative disruptions by empowering teams across campus to access the assets they need using the DAM system.
Not all cloud DAM systems are equal
See the Widen cloud DAM solution in action
At Widen, we have offered a secure SaaS DAM solution on Amazon Cloud for over 10 years, because we know that privacy, security, scalability, and access are critical to the modern brand. We support over one million active users and 660 customers around the world. to see how the Widen Collective can change the way your business works.
Note: This article was originally posted in May 2011 and updated in October 2018. It has been refreshed to include additional information.