DEAR DR. DAM: Hello, my name is Julie and I am one of the managers of the marketing department for a food and beverage distributor on the east coast. Our wide range of products has resulted in the compilation of a huge corporate image library and marketing database. We have literally tens of thousands of images, many of which are high resolution, and a growing catalog of high definition videos. We have invested in these quality digital assets because we believe that much of our success relies upon the ability to showcase our products in fine detail.
The high volume of digital assets that we require resulted in a need for a good DAM system. We went with one that hosted our assets off site because we frankly had too many to store them at our headquarters. We loved that aspect of the system but haven't been as pleased with some other aspects of our DAM. The main problem is that we really aren't sure if we are getting the value out of this product that we were promised. While it is true that we couldn't have hosted our digital assets on in-house servers, the system doesn't seem to have streamlined things by any degree. Searching for images and videos seems to take much longer than it should and the system just seems to be too cumbersome to manage. Its cost also makes me question the overall ROI of this DAM. Are there digital asset management tools that can truly show a ROI?
DEAR JADED JULIE: To give you a short and quick answer to your question, "yes, there are". Of course it all depends upon your situation, but in general, DAM that demonstrate ROI are:
1. Systems that are reasonably priced for what they can do, and
2. Software that substantially increases efficiency.
There are also other factors to take into consideration such as whether or not the DAM system includes the level of service needed to support your changing market conditions, but if the software has been tried and tested and meets the above two criteria, you should see a return on your investment in less than 12 months.
You are right about suspecting that your company DAM isn't living up to the price that was paid for it because DAM should never make the finding of assets a difficult or tedious process. It should do just the opposite because being able to quickly search for and find assets is what boosts efficiency, increases productivity, and results in a return on your marketing investments. DAM doesn’t manage itself so it’s up to you to take the bull by the horns here and take control of your digital asset management processes and decisions.