Digital asset management (DAM) systems provide that central source of truth for your assets. Versioning, governance, and metadata help your teams access the assets they need. But assets aren’t created in the DAM. And the DAM isn’t the platform your audience follows. So how do you take advantage of the structure and control of a DAM system when your assets need to be outside of it to be created and used?
How do you give your teams access to assets in the tools they’ve been using to do their job for years? It's just one of the many questions a DAM admin faces.
You extend the benefits of your DAM system to other departments and tools with share links and integrations.
- More control over brand consistency
- More productivity from your teams
- More security, extensibility, and accessibility
- More trackable data
Three ways to connect and extend your assets across tools and departments using a DAM system
To plan out how to connect your DAM system to your existing tools and teams, it’s important to understand the options available. Making assets accessible in a tool can be as simple as creating a share link to a curation of files. It can also be as complex as developing your own custom integration. Each option has costs and benefits.
Share links: A URL that directs a user to a file or curated selection of files. Share links can be used to embed or share assets inside of tools. Either copy the URL to hyperlink or copy the embed code to embed it in HTML.
Out-of-the-box integrations: Background middleware that syncs files and data between your DAM and another application
API: An API allows other web apps and software programs to search and access digital assets and metadata from the DAM system. The web services API exposes subsets of data and functions that users can control with other apps. If the DAM system doesn’t do something you’d like it to do, with some developer help, you can use the API to add DAM functions to other apps.
|Your investment in development resources||DAM sends data to tool||Tool sends data to DAM|
|Share links||None||Yes||DAM pulls analytics|
|Custom-built integrations using an API||Medium to high||Custom||Custom|
A list of DAM integration possibilities for your organization
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.
Sync with file-sharing tools to collaborate on work-in-progress projects
If management is wondering why you’d need a DAM system when you already have a file-sharing tool, here’s a great quote from Caroline Gardner at New Balance: “Box as a transfer tool is great. Using it as a DAM I think is one of the worst ideas anybody could ever have.”
Poorly named files buried four folders deep in a file-sharing tool are an asset killer. They won’t be found unless you’re the one who put it there. File sharing tools lack searching, tagging, and analytics capabilities — the functionality that makes your assets truly repurposable.
Your teams can keep using file-sharing tools to collaborate on projects, but you’ll want your DAM system to be the central source of truth as well as your distribution channel.
Upload files to the DAM system from a hot folder
Once your design team has finished a project, the finished collateral can be uploaded to the DAM system via a hot folder on their computer. The connector automatically syncs files from the folder to the DAM system.
If your team is disciplined with organizing files within the file-sharing tool, there’s flexibility in parsing the file path to add metadata upon upload. For example, if you organize files into “JobID” folders, they can be read and metadata fields can be populated. The more you can automate accurate, helpful metadata, the better!
Pull assets from the DAM to your file-sharing tool for work-in-progress projects
On the flip side, your design teams may need access to brand-approved assets from your DAM. To help your team access those files to be used in creating collateral, the DAM system can be set up to write files into subfolders based on asset metadata or asset group.
Popular file-sharing tools include:
- Google Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
Collaborate across teams with the latest version of your assets
Collaboration tools help teams across departments and offices feel connected to one another. They help teams coordinate getting work done. So why not sync the valuable assets that deliver the customer experience?
Connect your DAM system and your assets to your teams via collaboration tools.
Collaboration tools you might connect with:
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 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 line.
Collaborate on metadata creation
Trello is another popular collaboration tool. If you need multiple people to complete metadata fields, you can connect your DAM system with Trello. When assets are uploaded into the system, a new Trello card can be created on a board that's determined by the upload profile. This card may start off in a “needs metadata” column, be assigned to an appropriate team member, and include a link to the asset in the DAM system.
As metadata is filled in, the card can automatically advance to the next column, indicating that other data must be filled in, such as right management info, changing assignment as it goes.
Once the asset is fully tagged and ready to go, it can then automatically move into the “released” column to indicate this workflow is complete.
Streamline workflows by syncing project management tools and DAM systems
Collaboration doesn’t stop there, as there are more connections with various project management tools to help you streamline workflows.
Make assets available after projects are approved
Your designers and marketing teams may use a project management tool to collaborate as they create content. Without connecting your project management tool to your DAM, all the rich data in the tool, like job codes, target regions, and marketing campaigns, are lost — unless your team manually transfers the data for each project. Why not eliminate that tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone process?
With a connector, approved projects move into the DAM system. As projects are approved in your project management tool, the associated files are automatically uploaded into the DAM. You can set up the connector to automatically tag assets in the system with relevant metadata from your project management tool. You can also have the DAM system create a link in the project management tool to the final approved asset in the DAM.
For example, the marketing team created a request for lifestyle photos for a brochure for an upcoming campaign. The ticket may move through the various teams, and as the photoshoot happens the resulting photos are attached to the ticket. When the ticket is closed with a “finished asset” resolution, these attachments are uploaded into the DAM system along with the relevant metadata from a project management system, such as labels.
Project management tools you might connect with:
Connect with marketing automation, sales, and social tools
As businesses seek to create a cohesive and personalized customer experience across channels, marketing automation, sales, and social tools have become must-haves. These tools help marketing teams deliver the content your teams have created to its intended audience.
But just because these tools are putting the content in front of your audience doesn’t mean it can’t be connected to your DAM system.
Access on-brand content from within your marketing and sales tools
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. By connecting your system with your marketing and sales tools, your teams can access the approved assets from the DAM from within the tools they work in to communicate with their audience.
Marketing and sales tools you might connect with:
- Oracle Eloqua
Web designers save time with web CMS connectors
Just like a file-sharing tool isn’t a true substitute for a DAM system, neither is a CMS library. But DAM and CMS together help teams create once and publish everywhere. By using the assets from your DAM system, you’re able to collect and analyze their embed and download data.
Web designers are able to save time and avoid the hassle of working in multiple media libraries when you connect your DAM with your web CMS.
Access assets from within your CMS tool
As your web designers are creating pages in your content management system (CMS), they can access assets from your DAM system. An integration can provide a module that allows the designer to search for image and video content from the DAM, locked down by specific permissions.
Once an asset is selected, an embed code is inserted into the page.
CMS tools you might connect with:
Your digital ecosystem
The value of integrating DAM is really amplified when you connect multiple tools to integrate your digital ecosystem.
We see DAM systems at the core of your digital ecosystem, connecting with file sharing and collaboration, project management, and creative tools as part of the upstream creative process, and then more downstream across your customer experience with your web CMS, social media, and marketing automation tools.
As you evaluate your organization’s workflows and processes, you’ll identify opportunities to connect your tools to reduce redundant tasks and bring visibility across teams. As you tie multiple tools together, you’ll create a string of “flows” that connect assets across the value chain!
Learn more about the tools that can be connected to the Widen Collective®.