Questions to ask when thinking “Do I need Digital Asset Management?”

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Considering Digital Asset Management usually starts with a trigger event like we mentioned in the post  “Who’s all here at DAM Happy Hour”.  In these cases the need for DAM is apparent and those roles are actively seeking a way to overcome that pain.  But often times many who are in need of a digital asset management solution are either unaware that a system exists or they don’t know to what extent that system could benefit them.

To continue growing and being successful, individuals, departments, workgroups, and companies need to reflect and assess how performance has been and how it may improve.  This is where the question of “do I need DAM?” often comes up.  To help you answer this one question, take a moment and answer the following. 
    • Who creates your photos, images and marketing materials? What happens to them after they’re created? Do they get used? By whom? How do they access them? How often? 


    • What formats are commonly requested? Do your users all have access to Photoshop and other creative applications?


    • Does anybody's job require manual time spent fielding requests for assets? 


    • Does anybody's job require maintenance of some internal file folder structure / shared location?


    • Does everyone always find what they're looking for when requesting assets?


    • Has anyone ever had to recreate a lost asset because they couldn't find it or it was deleted?


  • Has anyone ever used an asset that was out of date or incorrect? What were the implications?
Now evaluate your answers.  Do you see areas where workflows are being bottle-necked? 
These are just some of questions that lead people to deciding it's time for DAM.  Through evaluations like this short one, many find that they fall into one or more of the following categories for needing DAM:
1. Increase Operational Efficiency: By automating tedious administrative tasks of finding, retrieving and fulfilling requests for digital assets, your marketing teams are able to streamline tasks and projects that contribute to your core competencies and devote more time on revenue-generating activities.
2. Improve Brand Consistency / Brand Management: By having a single location where your creative, marketing, PR, sales and other internal or external teams can access the latest and greatest materials on their own, you can better ensure people are empowered to be more effective brand advocates with current materials. 
3. Increase Return on Marketing Investments: By allowing for easy access to your digital assets in usable file formats, you have greater ability for re-using and re-purposing existing materials. This helps reduce the need for redundant work in recreating lost assets. Plus, your users have a starting point for modifying and repurposing existing content. 
As a bonus, you will have the ability to run Reports to know "who is using what" so you have better intel on where to spend your budget dollars on new asset creation. If you're creating materials that you find are rarely if ever used, you can cut those expenses from your future budgets.
Note, there is a "habit-change" that often needs to take place here… Along with promoting the existence of this system, you'll need to tell your users to stop saving assets to their desktop, shared drive or other data silos. You need to train your admins not to fulfill requests the "traditional way" on behalf of a "sales person" for example. Instead, provide them with access and train them on how to use the DAM as a self-service tool.
There is often a tipping point that drives someone to take action... such as the "I've had enough with fielding requests for logos, images and marketing materials 25% of my time... I got a 4-year degree to work on marketing tasks that contribute to revenue-generating activities, not this..." Many times when that tipping-point has been reached, countless hours, money and resources have been allocated to redundant work, aimless searching and lengthened waiting for assets.  A quick assessment can flag opportunities to better your workflow, brand and ROI.

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