A digital asset management (DAM) system is a powerful tool on its own. Acting as the foundation for content, teams rely on their DAM solution to centralize assets, collaborate across teams, provide secure access to collateral, and so much more. So there’s no doubt that the business case for DAM is there. But many teams are extending this value even further through digital asset management integrations.
Integrating their marketing technology, or martech, is one way organizations realize the full potential of their DAM system. Teams are taking stock of the tools they use the most in order to see how they could extend the benefits of all their technology investments. They’re finding that by taking advantage of DAM integrations they have:
- More control over brand consistency
- Boosted team productivity
- Increased content security, extensibility, and accessibility
- Gained trackable data
Let’s explore some of the ways teams are connecting tools and departments using a DAM system.
Three ways to connect and extend your assets
To determine how to connect your DAM system to existing tools and teams, it’s important to understand the options available. Making assets accessible in other tools can be as simple as creating a share link to a curated set of files. It can also be as complex as developing your own custom integration. Each option has costs and benefits.
- Share links. A share link is a URL that directs users to a file or curated selection of files. Share links can be used to embed or share assets inside of tools or embedded into HTML.
- Out-of-the-box integrations. These integrations are background middleware that sync files and data between your DAM platform and another application.
- API. An API, or application programming interface, allows other web apps and software programs to search and access digital assets and metadata from the DAM system. The API exposes subsets of data and functions that users can control with other apps. Unlike standard out-of-the-box integrations, with some help from a developer, leveraging an API can allow for customized functionality that might be uniquely required by your team or company.
|Your investment in development resources||DAM system sends data to tool||Tool sends data to DAM system|
|Share links||None||Yes||DAM system tracks embed and download data|
|Custom-built integrations using an API||Medium to high||Custom||Custom|
Important digital asset management integrations
Between the ease of share links and the customizability of development with an API, integrations are great options for syncing your assets across platforms.
If your teams are using the types of tools listed below, you’ll likely have options for out-of-the-box integration options with your DAM system.
1. File-sharing tools
File-sharing tools definitely have their place within an organization. They’re great for team documents, individual files, and even some content-sharing functionality. But once companies start to grow, they often find these tools aren’t able to scale with their business growth. The good news is that this software can be used with your DAM system.
Integration workflow example: uploading files to the DAM system from a hot folder
A hot folder in a file-sharing tool can make it easy to upload assets into a DAM system, especially when working with external partners. Teams often take this approach when working with photographers.
Although photographers are busy — and don't have time to learn how to use the DAM system for every company they work with — you need their photos uploaded to your platform. Creating a hot folder in a file-sharing tool that’s integrated with your DAM solution allows photographers (or anyone with permissioned access) to add assets to a specific folder. On the DAM side, the DAM admin can set up this folder with metadata and category mapping so that any files added via this folder are seamlessly ingested into the DAM workflow. This streamlines the workflow between the photographer and the DAM admin.
Popular file-sharing tools to integrate with DAM software
- Google Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
2. Collaboration tools
Collaboration tools help teams coordinate to get work done. While there can be some overlap with project management tools (more on that below), collaboration tools focus on communication. Connecting your collaboration tools and DAM system can reduce manual efforts to keep teams aligned and informed.
Integration workflow example: Alert dispersed teams about key asset updates
The bigger the teams, the harder it is for people to stay up-to-date on what’s being created and what’s available for use. Sometimes important assets are uploaded to the DAM system or edited by users on one team, and users from other teams aren’t aware of these updates.
By connecting your DAM platform with tools like Slack, you can provide an activity feed into your cross-team communication channel. As assets are uploaded to specific asset groups, notifications with share links are posted to a Slack channel.
For example, as designers upload product images for a specific product line, notifications with preview images are posted into a Slack channel dedicated to that product.
Popular collaboration tools to integrate with DAM software
3. Project management integrations
As mentioned above, the line between collaboration and project management software is a little fuzzy. But that’s to be expected with over 8,000 tools in the martech landscape. When it comes to getting work done, connecting these technologies can help streamline workflows to keep teams from jumping between tools.
Integration workflow example: Make assets available after projects are approved
Your designers and marketing teams may use a project management tool to collaborate as they create content. By connecting these tools and your DAM system, final files can be automatically uploaded to the DAM site as they’re finished. DAM admins can also configure the integration to automatically tag assets in the system with relevant metadata from your project management tool.
Popular project management tools to integrate with DAM software
4. Marketing automation integrations
Whether your marketing team needs a photograph for scheduling a social media post or your sales team needs a link to a brochure, the DAM system provides the right content for the job. An integration with marketing automation tools allows your teams to access these assets from the DAM site, within the platforms they use to communicate with their audience.
Integration workflow example: Access approved assets via marketing automation tools
Social media teams need to move quickly. When something timely happens, they need to be able to react appropriately and accurately. They won’t always have time to source new creative, so reusing — or maybe with a little more time, repurposing — an existing asset might be the best way to go. By connecting marketing automation tools to your DAM system, users can search for assets from within their marketing platform by using keywords or folder structures. And the integration upholds the DAM site permissions, meaning assets won’t be accidentally used when they shouldn’t be.
Popular marketing tools to integrate with DAM software
- Oracle Eloqua
5. Sales enablement integrations
Sales teams need access to content on the fly. They won’t always have time — or maybe even an internet connection — to search for what they need to close a deal. By integrating your DAM system and sales enablement tools, sales teams can stay in the tools they’re already using while leveraging the configured metadata in the DAM site. Using the DAM platform as the central source of truth for integrated tools means teams always have access to the latest version of a file and sales teams can promote a consistent message.
Integration workflow example: Give sales teams access to the sales content they need
Keeping sales and marketing teams aligned can often be a full-time job. When the marketing team makes updates to a piece of collateral, it’s not guaranteed that the sales team will catch this change if it’s only sent to their inbox. But by connecting your DAM system and sales enablement tools, an automatic sync between the systems keeps assets up-to-date and searchable in both platforms.
Popular sales enablement tools to integrate with DAM software
6. CMS integrations
Just like file-sharing tools aren’t a true substitute for a DAM system, neither is a content management system (CMS) library. But together, DAM and CMS platforms can help teams create once and publish everywhere. By using the assets from your DAM system to populate content in a CMS, you’re able to track its embed and download data.
Connecting your DAM site and web CMS also allows web designers to save time and avoid the hassle of working in multiple media libraries.
Integration workflow example: Access assets from within your CMS tool
As web designers create pages in your CMS, they can access assets from your DAM system without actually needing to be in the DAM site. This integration allows designers to search for image and video content within the DAM platform while upholding the security permissions set by the DAM admin.
Once an asset is selected, an embed code is inserted into the page — meaning that anytime a new version of a file is added to the DAM site, it will be updated wherever this asset is used within the CMS.
Popular CMS tools to integrate with DAM software
Start using digital asset management integrations
We believe that a DAM system is the foundation of your martech stack. And it’s clear that the value of your DAM solution is amplified when you integrate it with other tools in your digital ecosystem.
Whether you’re connecting file-sharing, collaboration, project management, marketing automation, sales enablement, or CMS tools, the opportunities for workflow improvement are endless. Learn more about the integration opportunities with the Widen Collective® or to see it in action today.
Note: This article was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated to remain current.