DAM – Digital Asset Management
Your DAM - Digital Asset Management - is a software system designed for storing and managing digital assets. Assets consist of files with various types of content. Originally, it primarily integrated media files such as images, drawings, graphics, music, and videos, and systems like these were referred to as Media Asset Management (MAM). However, DAM systems now store any content in file form, including PDF files, templates, 3D files, and so on. Therefore, the broader term is used. It's essentially a specialized form of a Content Management System (CMS).
What is a MAM System?
A MAM system, or Media Asset Management System, is a database used for storing and managing media assets. These assets encompass media files like photos, music, videos, or documents. For example, photos in formats such as TIFF or JPEG can be associated with a product through a product identifier in the filename. This allows for verifying the presence of a photo for all products. Moreover, it is possible to automatically compile selections or collections of assets for specific purposes, which could include catalogs, brochures, or promotional assortments for sales.
Fundamentally, MAM systems enable the creation of workflows for the intake of media assets. They can generate lists and directories for media assets and provide simplified search mechanisms. Typically, these systems include a dedicated mechanism for granting user rights, enabling the definition of which categories of assets can be viewed, edited, and potentially distributed by various user classes. It is also worth noting that the quality of distribution can be defined, such as a maximum of 2,000 pixels for product images.
What is a DAM System?
A DAM system, which stands for Digital Asset Management, represents the advancement of MAM systems. Beyond media assets such as photos, images, graphics, music, and videos, it also stores and manages various file formats. This can encompass any type of file, including ZIP files, templates for PowerPoint, InDesign, or data records in CSV format that need to be managed and provided. The DAM system becomes the single point of truth for assets, files that need to be stored and processed.
Elaborate workflow and approval mechanisms are in place. The purpose of these processes is to integrate only perfect and finished files into the DAM. These are assets that need to be distributed. With a DAM, it's possible to automate the correct categorization of assets, typically by using specific identifiers in the file names. This results in product photos, detail images, promotional and ambiance photos, as well as logos, drawings, and videos being organized in designated directories.
In subsequent steps, the assets are prepared for their intended use. The DAM, whether in SAAS or on-premises version, is accessible over the internet, and the assets are delivered in the format they are intended for. For catalogs, this might be the original quality, while for online shops, it could be a 1,500-pixel version with 72 dpi resolution and watermark.
Why are DAM systems used?
DAM systems, or Digital Asset Management systems, provide organizations with a single point of truth for assets, similar to how PIM systems handle product information (text and attribute values). DAM systems ensure security in the storage, management, and distribution of assets. Therefore, systems like TESSA DAM serve as tools to reliably provide access to large volumes of asset data, ensuring their safety and validity while increasing the efficiency of asset management. By integrating with PIM systems like Akeneo, it becomes possible to link attribute values and product texts, which in turn makes it easier to locate assets. This reduces the effort required to find assets.
Simultaneously, it makes sense to store metadata, image usage rights, and licensing information. In addition to these management aspects, efficiency-boosting features play a crucial role in asset distribution. With the option of dedicated usage rights, it's possible to provide the front end of DAM systems for self-service. This allows customers, service providers, and colleagues to independently search for image material and other assets. For catalogs, brochures, and other promotional materials, the linked integration of assets ensures that the most up-to-date version is always used for PDFs or printing.
What are Digital Assets?
Digital assets are files that need to be stored, managed, and made available both internally and externally. Content-wise, these files include product-related materials like product photos, action or ambiance photos, drawings, user manuals, certificates, and more. Additionally, company or brand-related assets such as logos, press photos (e.g., of people, buildings, events), templates, presentations, forms, catalogs, brochures, and similar materials are managed and provided.
There are no restrictions on file formats. DAM systems can typically handle all file extensions. If a file extension is not recognized, it can be configured, as in the case of TESSA DAM. For photos, this may include graphic formats like TIFF, JPEG, PNG, PSD, or RAW, and possibly GIF, BMP, SVG, or EPS. For 3D files, it could potentially involve formats such as OBJ, 3DS, or STEP, which are intended for processing in CAD systems.
On one hand, it's about release mechanisms for files, which are essential for businesses. On the other hand, it aims to provide access to a medium to large user base. Files used at individual workstations or by departments are usually not included. If version control is needed for such files, a document management system may be used as necessary.
What does a Digital Asset Manager do?
The Digital Asset Manager is responsible for operating the DAM within the company. This individual ensures that assets are incorporated into the DAM through appropriate workflows and approval mechanisms. This process begins with asset requests, for instance, from a photographer or product producer. Depending on the organization and roles, the digital Asset Manager may assess the quality of the assets. In some companies, this role may focus solely on maintaining valid technical processes.
Another responsibility involves user management and role configuration. Additionally, service tasks such as assembling and exporting collections for clients and service providers are part of the job. Depending on qualifications, a Digital Asset Manager may also set up import and export mechanisms. For imports, this entails correctly categorizing assets, and for file exports, it involves configuring conversion mechanisms. In the case of TESSA, we refer to these as "Channels."