Businesses are creating more content to meet the demands of new channels, products, and markets. More content means more challenges. Marketing and creative teams are dealing with questions like: What content do we have? Where is it stored? Can I reuse it? Do we have it translated in German? Is this graphic available in PNG format? Is this the most recent version? While file storage tools can work as a temporary fix, more and more businesses are using a digital asset management (DAM) system to centralize, organize, govern, and distribute content.
But even after identifying a DAM system as the right solution, you need to select your delivery model and vendor. In this article, we’ll explore why many businesses are opting for SaaS solutions over traditional on-premise alternatives.
What is a SaaS DAM?
A Software as a Service (SaaS) DAM is a subscription-based DAM system that is hosted by a third-party vendor and typically accessed via the internet. DAM software upgrades are automatic and included as part of the subscription.
How does SaaS compare to other models?
SaaS DAM systems offer an efficient way to implement, maintain, and grow. Since it’s hosted by a third-party, you pay for what you need. If your digital asset library is growing quickly, you’re not limited to the hardware available on-premises. You also aren’t weighed down by the costs of your IT department integrating and adapting open source DAM software to company systems and needs.
On-premise DAM systems put the security, governance, and support responsibility on your internal teams. The benefit can be more customized software and faster speeds working with large files on your network.
There are also vendors that offer hybrid solutions to give you the benefits and costs of cloud and on-premises DAM systems.
For more, read What are Open-source, SaaS, and On-premises DAM?
What to look for in a SaaS DAM vendor
While they may tout many of the same features, not all SaaS DAM systems and vendors are equal. You’ll need to do your research to make sure your vendor of choice meets your usability, security, scalability, and service expectations. Here’s what to look for in a SaaS DAM vendor.
Cultural fit between organizations | Do the values and goals of your organization align with the vendors? Organizational culture impacts how you’ll be treated as a customer. Do you seek a vendor who offers a partnership or just a tool?
Proven success in your industry | Has the vendor helped solve the challenges you’re facing? Industries have different needs. Is the vendor set-up to solve yours?
Guided implementation and training | What implementation and training services does the vendor provide to help you get up and running? If you’re new to DAM, guided implementation will help you learn and think about what DAM means for your business.
Customer service | What on-going support does the vendor provide? Identify the hours, communication methods, and responsiveness you’ll need.
Configurable package options vs. custom technology | Do you seek customizable software that can be molded to your exact needs? If so, know what it will take to maintain it. If you want an option that’s easy to set-up and maintain, you’ll want more of an out-of-the-box solution.
Company stability | Does the vendor have an established history, and who are the stakeholders committed to its long term success? The software space is volatile and full of acquisitions. This can lead to patchwork solutions and shifting priorities.
We’ve done the research and assembled a guide to help you jump-start a vendor shortlist. Use it as one of multiple resources to understand the SaaS DAM vendor landscape, then move your search forward with next steps like to .
Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 2, 2009. It was updated on December 10, 2018.