Digital Asset Management Local Government Webmasters Meeting 23 Sep 2004 - Seattle, Washington Prepared by: Steven Niedermeyer Web Coordinator, City of Bellingham
What is Digital Asset Management ?
Business case highlights
Overview of available solutions
Considerations when implementing
What is Digital Asset Management?
Pennsylvania State University defines Digital Asset Management (DAM) as:
A set of coordinated technologies and procedures that allow the efficient storage, retrieval, and reuse of the digital files that are important to an organization. By employing the descriptive information attached to the assets, DAM can provide and support the business rules and processes needed to acquire, store, index, secure, search, export and transform them.
Business Case Highlights
Benefits of Digital Asset Management
Cost of implementation
Potential risks of implementation
Potential risks if not implemented
Benefits of DAM
More professional identity
Increased staff productivity
Reduced legal liability
More Professional Identity
DAM can promote the use of high quality media allowing an agency to convey a more professional identity by offering alternatives to low quality assets such as:
Poorly designed templates for forms and publications
Mount Baker Theatre
Increased Staff Productivity
Providing a central catalog instead of relying on general staff to create and maintain their own collections can dramatically increase productivity because many:
Lack the skills to create or prepare digital assets
Do not have the necessary software or hardware
Can’t find existing digital assets
Reduce Legal Liability
Centralized media collections facilitate the reduction of legal liability by providing one location for documentation such as:
Copyright and licensing
Model release forms
Some ways DAM may aid agencies in saving money:
Buying unlimited use rights for an asset instead of repeated single use licensing
Promoting the use of existing assets instead of purchasing new ones
Allowing opportunities for volume discounts when acquiring assets
Lowering network storage and backup requirements for digital assets by reducing duplicates
Cost of Implementation
The purchase price of a DAM solution range from free to over $100,000 depending on the needs of the agency. Staff time must be invested in implementation, training, and establishing policies to govern the management of the assets.
Potential Risks of Implementation
An agency may not be able to justify implementing a DAM solution if they:
Purchase a solution that is not inline with their needs (too complex to implement or expensive to maintain)
Lack the backing of management to uphold related policies and procedures
Potential Risks If Not Implemented
The greatest risk of not implementing a DAM solution aside from the loss of potential benefits is the increased chance of legal litigation related to misuse of a digital asset.
Overview of Available Solutions
Solutions vary widely but the following are examples of what is available:
Basic solution - central network storage using file permission security, folders for organization, and text files to track documentation. Most agencies that would benefit from DAM have existing software/hardware for this solution so costs would be minimal.
DAM functionality – often comes with limited options in content management systems or advanced options for industry specific purposes (video, audio, desktop publishing). Products retail for $100-$100,000.
Full DAM solution – offers a suite of options and can integrate with content management, document management, and desktop publishing products. The combination of potential implementation services and high prices for products raises the cost well over $100,000.
Considerations When Implementing
Confirm management’s support to initiate the project and enforce related policies
Keep affected staff informed through the process and up sell key benefits (critical to have general staff support)
Include training staff on the use of the catalog and related policies as part of the project
Develop policies to govern usage
Provide model release forms
Prepare procedures or training materials for complex processes
Consider including media reference tools such as style guides
Document technical requirements for assets such as file formats, bit rates, resolutions, etc.
There are some key functions to look for in a potential DAM solution:
Compatibility with operating systems
Integration with software (e.g.Microsoft and Adobe product lines)
Integration with existing systems that may have their own cataloging functions such as a content management system (CMS)
Integration with specialized storage solutions
A DAM system is only as good as the assets it offers. Here are a few things to consider while building collections:
Start with popular assets such as logos, letterhead, and frequently used photos.
Search agency computers and networks for existing assets.
Offer various versions of an asset for use with web, television, and print.
Work with project managers to allocate funding for advertising materials related to their projects.
Ask local agencies that partner with yours if they have digital assets that can be shared.
Maintain a master of all digital assets from which other versions are created (e.g. high resolution photographs from which small thumbnails are created).
Look for scripting tools to automate media preparation
Consider that multimedia is potentially the largest user of storage space on a network so plan for expansion accordingly.