DAM Explained

October 5, 2015


Here we explain what Digital Asset Management is in a general manner. Then we illustrate the specifics of that by describing how our DAM product, Filecamp, fits this model. We also walk through a use case example to describe how a collaborative DAM solution helps a small to medium-sized business manage digital assets.



DAM (Digital Asset Management) is a file storage system that facilitates the organization, management, and distribution of digital assets.

If you understand what cloud storage is, DAM does that. But it does much more. It facilitates working with these assets as a team and sharing them with customers.

The idea of DAM is not new. But what makes it new in today’s market is its increased availability. Before, only very large corporations used DAM, mainly because of the expense. Today many vendors have sprung up offering lightweight DAM solutions on the cloud at the lower prices made possible by cloud computing models and the plunging cost of storage hardware.

Besides handling digital assets, many DAM systems today also include features for collaboration. That lets users work with clients and partners together online.

What drives the need for this kind of asset management is the explosive expansion of the internet and proliferation of smartphones. Today the average 12 years old child uses the same amount of data storage that a medium sized company did only 10 years ago.


An Example

A good way to illustrate a DAM platform, with these collaboration tools, is with an example:

Consider a small graphic design firm. They need a way to show their work to their customers and work with the customer on revisions to the finished product.

The graphic designer and account manager use the DAM system to upload graphics to a shared platform where the customer can review them and make comments. Customer comments go back to the account manager who explains to the graphic designer what changes need to be made.

In this manner, the DAM platform becomes a workflow tool for working with customers as well as internal employees. Plus it offers customers self-service: they can search for files they need on the DAM portal without having to ask the agency.

The design firm also has the need to brand their product. In the case of Filecamp, the design firm can brand their Filecamp implementation, not only with the design firms’ logo and colors, but also with the design firm customers’ logo and colors. In this way, both the design firm and the design firm’s customers will feel right at home when visiting their Filecamp instance.


The need to collaborate with other firms

As we just mentioned, businesses need to be able to share digital assets with users both inside and outside the company. A DAM system allows the administrator to create users and manage their permissions. It lets the administrator grant other users access to files and do so with ease.


Other DAM Use Cases

An article at Wikipedia give these generic use cases for DAM:

  • Storage and retrieval–is the traditional (older) definition of DAM, meaning the storage and retrieve of very large amounts of data.
  • Brand management–is needed when there is the need to keep logos, document templates, brochures, white papers, and everything else that makes up the company’s brand and image catalogued and available. Further, everyone needs to be using the current copy of all of those.
  • Cloud DAM–are services like Filecamp. The DAM cloud services brings down the cost of delivering DAM by delivering it as a cloud service (SaaS) thus making it easier to use, since there are no investments in hardware.


Adobe Standard for Metadata

Metadata is, as is often said, “data about data.” It is the set of tags and labels that make up a file’s attributes. Metadata is also one of the things that separates basic file sharing solutions from DAM solutions.

Metadata generally follows some standards, so that people adopt a common standard for organizing files.

Filecamp uses the Adobe´s XMP Standard for metadata. In addition to bringing consistency to file organization, metadata makes it easier to search for files by letting users add tags to a file.

The advantage with using the XMP metadata standard is that the metadata is embedded directly into the assets. That makes it more efficient and accurate when searching for assets throughout the cross-platform lifecycle.

Embedded metadata also has the added advantage that it makes it a lot easier to move assets from one DAM system to another. Before the XMP standard, there was the risk that the migration would not work because metadata only existed inside one vendor’s DAM system. Standardization fixes that.


Filecamp and DAM

Filecamp is just one of several vendors offering DAM solutions. DAM is a tool that most businesses probably need if they need to organize files in the manner described above.

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