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Choosing a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution

We already know that Cumulus offers the best value for the vast majority of DAM requirements, but it is important that you make your own informed decision. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your particular needs.

Note: You may find our glossary useful when reading this guide or doing your own research into the area.

A Trusted Brand

Digital Asset Management is a significant investment and you can minimise your risk and secure the best Return On Investment (ROI) by selecting a solution that has a strong track record and enjoys the support of many happy customers.

DAM systems come and go, so make sure your supplier is there for the long haul and is committed to ongoing development and customer support.

Do not attempt to develop your own DAM solution unless you have a very restricted requirement and a significant budget. Choosing something that is ready-to-go will not only save time and money, but you will be leveraging off many years work and experience gained by your supplier. You will also obtain a low cost path for future upgrades and development.

Value for Money

When considering the value of a DAM solution ask yourself:

  • How much are my digital assets worth?
  • How fast is my collection of digital assets increasing?
  • How can I get the best value from my digital assets, now and in the future?
  • What are the financial consequences of accidentally infringing my licenses to use third party assets?
  • What is the cost of having to recreate assets that are "lost"?
  • How much money will I save in terms of human resources?
  • How much faster will I be able to locate and reuse my digital assets?
  • Can I manage my workflow better to avoid mistakes?
  • Can I improve my customer service, or even create a whole new service for my customers?
  • What is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) including: development/customisation, deployment, hardware requirements, training, ongoing support, upgrades and future enhancements.

Speed of Data Entry

It is vital that your DAM solution expedites the slowest and most costly aspects of managing your digital assets. In almost all cases this is the data entry or "ingestion" process. These are the features you need to look out for:

  • Ingestion "filters" to automatically extract as much information as possible from the original assets without the need for manual data entry. High value systems will provide support for well over a hundred different file types and your supplier should be committed to increasing this over time as new file types appear.
  • Cross linking and categorisation should be performed using group selection and drag and drop.
  • You should be able to enter and amend text for multiple records at the same time.

Rapid data entry cannot be achieved using a purely Web-based interface, therefore choose a solution that allows high volume processing using a purpose built desktop program or "client" that works in conjunction with the server.

Local Support and Training

To get the best out of your system you should be prepared to invest in training for your staff, and there will be times when you will need to rely on your supplier for advice and customisations.

So an important component of the TCO is the cost and availability of training and support. Make sure that you can get comprehensive, ongoing local support and training, provided by suitably qualified personnel.

Check that your chosen solution has a formal training and selection program for service providers and that your support and training is provided by an accredited supplier.

Open Architecture

No DAM solution is going to do be an exact fit with your workflow or systems, so unless you want to compromise or change your current operations you will need to be able to customise it to suit your particular needs.

Therefore look for a solution that has an Open Architecture, which means that there will be documented and supported ways in which the system can be adapted with additional software that can be provided by third parties or your own IT staff.

An Open Architecture is also vital when it comes to interoperability so that your DAM solution will work with your existing, and future, applications and databases.

Check that your chosen solution has a documented "Application Programmer Interface" (API) or "Software Developer Kit" (SDK) and provides training and accreditation for approved third party developers and system integrators. Also check that your chosen solution supports interoperability standards such as XML, Web Services and WebDAV - either built in, or easily added using the API.