Enterprise Content Mgmt. The Case for Digital Asset Management
Digital asset management, or DAM, has often been described as a process or a tool for organizing the creation, management, distribution, and archiving of rich media assets. In the DAM world, the term “assets” generally refers to rich media files such as images, photos, video and audio, whereas a “file” generally refers to email, documents, records, or scanned images. Creative agencies, publishers, broadcasters and media outlets have long realized the wisdom of utilizing DAM solutions in the production of their media assets including managing digital rights, conferring with clients, handling review cycles, retouching images, and editing photos and videos. Until recently, many other enterprises have relied solely on enterprise content management (ECM) solutions alone or with antiquated or feature-limited, homegrown DAM tools to manage both documents and digital assets.
However, the recent proliferation in demand for multimedia assets has seen the importance of digital asset management soar. Contributing factors include the pervasive use of rich media such as flash and video on web pages, increases in network bandwidth capacity, increased use of creative authoring applications such as Adobe Creative Suite 3, the complexity and large size of rich media such as video and graphic animations, and the requirement for sophisticated rights management functionality. These and other factors have led to a growing number of use cases for DAM, with nearly every industry needing a better means of managing their digital assets.
ECM & DAM: same family, different species
ECM solutions offer an efficient method to manage a company’s static information. According to Gartner, ECM is really an “umbrella term” representing a vision and framework for integrating a broad range of content management technologies and content formats.
Because digital assets such as audio and video are considered unstructured information, industry experts consider DAM to be a component of ECM. Another point of misconception is the belief that document management (DM) encompasses DAM. This unfortunately leads to confusion when selecting the most appropriate solution for organizations. DAM solutions provide deep integration functionality with creative authoring applications such as Adobe Creative Suite 3 or Quark. While it’s true that ECM solutions excel at managing “knowledge,” DAM is King when it comes to managing the creation, editing, publishing and the distribution workflows around rich, multimedia assets.
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