February 16, 2021

Digital assets need more than a cloud drive. Here’s why

Digital asset Management

The shift to hybrid workplaces and remote operations has resulted in increasing adoption of cloud storage systems. According to research conducted by IDC in 2020, 64% of organizations are looking to spend extensively on the cloud. Some of the drivers behind the stellar growth of cloud storage include peerless accessibility, enviable flexibility, and tremendous cost-effectiveness. The rise in cloud storage has also occurred due to the explosion in content marketing, which is estimated to be worth creating brand recall and generate revenues. During this phase, digital assets have come into prominence. While platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive are sufficient for simple file storing and sharing, digital assets aren’t that simple and need more than just cloud storage. To understand the complexities of digital assets, it is important to make a distinction between digital files and digital assets.

Digital assets aren’t that simple and need more than just cloud storage. Click To Tweet

Difference between digital files and digital assets

A digital file may be any file in any format that is stored digitally. However, according to Theresa Regli, a renowned digital asset management (DAM) expert, a digital asset is anything that is represented digitally and possesses intrinsic value. Thus, it adds value to the organization that owns it.

Imagine a social media post containing one of the images of an event organized by an event management agency. A sales professional working in that agency may take a snapshot of that post and share it with a prospective client. Although this could play an important role in converting the client, it may have only minimal long-term value for the agency.

Now imagine a scenario where the agency arranged for a photoshoot at the venue and has multiple pictures of that event. The agency can earn goodwill or even income by selling or using these images. Therefore, these images become digital assets for the agency.

Digital files can be in many formats, including photos, videos, design files, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, marketing collateral, etc. Apart from these file types, digital assets would also be available in the form of data packages, user accounts, cryptocurrency tokens, and similar formats of high value.

Another important attribute of a digital asset is the ability to be cataloged. For instance, imagine that a sales leader in an organization needs to access an important proposal created a few months ago and stored on the cloud. Searching for this particular file may be a tedious affair. However, a digital asset would have metadata, making it easier to search and track.

The three important properties of a digital asset are:

  • A digital file that is owned by an organization or an individual.
  • It should offer value to the owner of the file.
  • It should be easily searchable – and hence accessible.

Challenges of storing digital assets on a cloud drive

Storing digital assets on a cloud drive might be extremely convenient. However, several challenges come to the fore:

Unauthorized access: Security and privacy are paramount concerns when it comes to storing digital assets on cloud drives. For instance, a cloud drive may allow any user with the requisite login credentials to access the digital assets stored within. Although this may seem useful if team members are working remotely, one cannot ignore the fact that vulnerabilities could be exploited.

Lack of control: Cloud drives also provide the option of sharing permissions with other users to view or modify data. Unfortunately, the administrator cannot view who has shared these permissions and where have they been shared. There is always the risk of the permission URL being forwarded to external parties who may end up getting access to your data assets.

Difficulty in tracking: If unauthorized changes are made in your digital assets, it will become tough to track them. Therefore, if access to digital assets is being shared over a cloud drive platform, it becomes imperative to ensure that all the changes are tracked. However, this is easier said than done.

Migration of data: There may be legacy systems or other platforms from where you might have to migrate digital assets to the cloud and vice versa. But there can be impediments. For instance, due to information security norms, there could be prohibitions on accessing Google Cloud from your office device.

User limitations: Several cloud platforms have restrictions on the number of users with whom drive access can be shared. This could be a challenge if your organization is on the verge of scaling up quickly.

The need for refined storage platforms like DAM

A digital asset management platform offers a lot more than the option to just store content. It can play a vital role in enabling enterprises to organize, manage, and share digital content.

Here are some reasons to consider using a digital asset management platform:

Consistent formats: By using a DAM platform, your organization can ensure that all the employees are using the authorized files with brand embellishments. This ensures that usage of low-quality, outdated, or inconsistent file formats is reduced. As a result, your organization would be able to communicate consistent brand messaging to your prospects and customers.

Efficient distribution: A DAM software enables efficient distribution among various internal and external stakeholders. Internal content creators, editors, sales personnel, clients, and external collaborators can instantly access relevant material in a self-serve environment.

Ease of tracking: Thanks to metadata such as origin, copyright, keywords, etc. each file can be easily tracked and retrieved using a DAM platform. Metadata fields can be customized, and permissions can be applied to determine how they are accessed by multiple users.

Improved security: A digital asset management platform offers enterprise-level encryption protocols to your digital assets. So they remain protected in the storage space irrespective of how they are being shared. A visual asset can also be branded with a watermark using a DAM platform.

Measuring ROI: A DAM platform offers reports and analytics that enable a user to answer questions such as:

  • Who has been using the asset?
  • When has it been used?
  • For what has it been used?
  • Where has it been used?
  • How has it been used?

These insights would be extremely useful when it comes to calculating ROI for content marketing activities in an organization.

Other platform integration: A DAM platform can offer several types of plug-ins such as format conversions, creating/editing workflows, editing of images and videos, analytics, etc. It can also be integrated with other cloud or product platforms.

As organizations continue to invest heavily in content marketing, the digital asset management industry is poised to grow at an impressive clip. Industry estimates have already pegged the market size of the global DAM industry touching $8.5 billion by 2025. Therefore, adopting a DAM platform should be an integral part of your organization’s content marketing strategy.


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Contributors: Sudhakshina, Preeti Mishra and Swapnil Adsul