What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?


In order to know “what is Digital Asset Management?”, you first have to know what digital assets are. 

A definition of digital assets is that they are digital files owned by an individual or company that are stored digitally to be reused at a possible later stage. These digital files are called assets because they have a higher value than just a normal digital file and include things like stock library images, photos, design files, brand logos, PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, spreadsheets, digital notes, documents and more. So, what does managing digital assets mean?


What is Digital Asset Management? 

Digital Asset Management is the act of managing digital assets. This includes organizing digital assets into folders, giving them the right names (also known as managing metadata for digital assets), making sure digital rights are applied, distributing the digital assets to the right people and securely storing assets - to name a few. 


Benefits of Digital Asset Management

There are several benefits one can get from using a Digital Asset Management solution and it ranges from saving time looking for images, having one asset library for all your images and files, and improving overall ROI. But depending on which DAM solution you chose (on-premise, private cloud, cloud), the benefits vary. General benefits include:

  • Storing digital assets:
    You don’t have to worry (ever again) about storing and saving your files in various places - or not having enough storage space. A DAM is like having one home for all your digital assets, and should allow for massive amounts of assets to be stored. In the case of WoodWing Assets (formerly called Elvis DAM), the amount of assets stored are infinite. Whether you have over a billion assets or over 20 years’ of data sheets - our DAM solution can store it all.
  • Creating digital assets from your digital asset library:
    DAM creative collaboration functions differ from DAM to DAM. A good Digital Asset Management solution allows you to share your work in progress and receive comments and ratings. It should also work with other programs to help you get the most out of any project - like being able to integrate with Adobe Creative Cloud Solutions like Photoshop and InDesign. Added to that, a good DAM solution should have APIs for custom integrations.
  • Easily managing digital assets:
    Standard DAM solutions have metadata and tagging features that helps you to manage your digital assets more effectively. Advanced DAM solutions also integrate with AI solutions to help make the jobs of Digital Asset Management Librarians more seamless and cost-effective. This, along with DAMs search functionality features, usually are the main driving forces behind businesses' increased ROI. In most cases, DAMs also have access rights functionality to give those who need to access digital files, access rights when they need it - whether they’re from your internal or external teams, a freelancer, or simply project-based employees.
  • Publishing of digital assets: 
    Because Digital Asset Management systems aim to make the handling of all digital asset file types easier and more seamless - it should also include publishing functionality to any CMS, MDM, PIM and E-commerce website (to name a few). Whilst allowing for brand consistency - by helping you track how your brand identity is being used when collaborating - when integrated with a multichannel content solution, publishing is also much faster. 
  • Safely storing digital assets:
    DAMs take into account how important digital file types and assets are to their users. So apart from it housing all your assets in one place, it also keeps your digital assets secure. This is done by creating super secure software that is near-impossible to hack, having watermark functionality on images and in some cases having single sign-on functionality (when DAMs have REST API and webhook integrations).


How to choose the right Digital Asset Management Software?

Because of its increased popularity, Digital Asset Management software is receiving more attention and becoming increasingly popular in businesses across the globe. While some have been using DAM software for years, others are only discovering DAM software now. Either way, if you’re thinking of investing or reinvesting in DAM software, there are mainly three things to consider. 

  • Determine your business needs:
    It’s important that you establish your business needs upfront when looking at a DAM solution. Not only will this help with selection criteria for a DAM that’s right for you, but it makes for a good supporting argument to motivate your key decisions makers. DAMs are mostly used by people whose focus is working with digital assets, so it will be a good starting point talking to people in marketing, design, photography, sales, client service, distributors, freelancers, and communication specialists. Ask them what they think will make their jobs, working with assets, easier. Also ask people within your technical or IT teams for their opinion on the various DAM solutions (on-premise, private cloud, cloud) as they’ll help determine what kind of DAM solution is best for the current technical systems your company operates on. 
  • Meet your business needs:
    When looking at various DAM solutions, ask which one has all the necessary feature requirements that you are looking for in your business. A “Problem/Solution/Motivation” approach can help determine how to solve your business needs. For example, determine the problem first. Based on the feedback you’ll get from teams, you might discover a designer saying that files get lost, and the guy in finance saying that money spent on stock imagery needs to be cut down. A solution to that might be to get a DAM system that has strong search, metadata and tagging capabilities. The motivation to invest in a DAM system would be that it will help cut down time on searching for assets, as well as save money spent on assets because it won’t get lost when tagged properly. 
  • Is it worth the investment?
    Look at the immediate investment cost, and the long-term savings when it comes to managing your assets. Consider things like the number of assets you have, the time it takes to locate and download these digital assets, how many users access the digital assets and what their labor cost per hour is. 


Our Digital Asset Management Software

WoodWing offers three kinds of DAM solutions. Here’s what the differences are between (our) on-premise, private cloud and SaaS Cloud digital asset management solutions. 

  • On-premise: WoodWing Assets
    Technical functionality: Install and run WoodWing Assets on your own servers.
    Main features: Full control and fastest access to large asset files.
    Ecosystem: Part of a larger, connected system within an organization. 
    Who uses it: Medium to large organizations.
    Software updates: Manually.
    Technical implementation: There is a technical implementation involved, which is done via our partners.
    Customization: Fully personalize via integrations and customizable client interface.
  • Private cloud: WoodWing Assets 
    Technical functionality: Install and run WoodWing Assets on your own private server hosted in an external data center.
    Main features: Full control; when accessing large asset files, speed can be suboptimal due to internet bandwidth at your premises. Can also be deployed in Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a private cloud solution. AWS offers Platform as a Service (PaaS) options. 
    Ecosystem: Part of a larger, connected system within an organization.
    Who uses it: Medium to large organizations.
    Software updates: Manually.
    Technical implementation: There is a technical implementation involved, which is done via our partners.
    Customization: Fully personalize via integrations and customizable client interface.
  • SaaS/Cloud DAM: WoodWing Swivle*
    Technical functionality: Easy activation. No software installation needed.
    Main features:  Full control; when accessing large asset files, speed can be suboptimal due to internet bandwidth at your premises. All cloud based and deployed as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution.
    Ecosystem: Stand alone, used with fewer integrations. 
    Who uses it: Small to medium-sized organizations. 
    Software updates: Automatic.
    Technical implementation: None.
    Customization: Interface can be customized to match brand identity.

*For easy activation and affordable pricing, while not having to install the software on-premise. WoodWing Swivle mainly caters to smaller marketing teams who want to get started quickly with asset organization - all in the cloud and for a fixed monthly fee.


For any further information on Digital Asset Management, or for a personalized DAM demo, feel free to contact the WoodWing team for a non-binding and friendly chat: sales@woodwing.com

Image credits
Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

Discover more


Six simple steps to implementing DAM software

DAM systems can be implemented quickly and easily. Here’s how.


Introducing headless DAM

At-scale asset management for marketers, publishers and ecommerce.


Checklist: Choosing and implementing a DAM solution

The ultimate checklist when choosing and implementing a DAM solution.

Madré Roothman, Digital Strategist - Guest blogger

Madré is a Digital Strategist with 10 years’ collective industry experience. Her portfolio includes B2B and B2C brands in the FMCG, alcohol, automotive, financial, healthcare, pharmaceutical, security, sports, travel and tech industries. Occasionally she blogs for WoodWing about things DAM and advertising-related.