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Digital Asset Management Software (DAM) 2021: Ultimate Guide

Learn what is Digital Asset Management, why it is important for the business and how to choose the right Digital Asset Management software

Last updated: Feb 23, 2021

Digital Asset Management Software (DAM) 2021: Ultimate Guide

What is Digital Asset Management?

Digital Asset Management is a simple system that offers the facility to store, retrieve, share, manage and organize the digital assets of a company in a central location. While it can also be applied to a company’s content sharing and storage solutions, Digital Asset Management focuses on files like music, texts, images, documents, graphics, HTML documents, PDF’s, MS office documents, videos and other media.

According to the ‘DAM Market - Global Forecast to 2022’ report published by the portal Marketsandmarkets, the Digital Asset Management market is projected to grow from USD 2.44 billion in 2017 to USD 5.66 billion by 2022 at an expected CAGR of 18.3%.

This study also cites that the rise in demand among enterprises to manage digital assets, the proliferation of digital content and increasing focus on digital marketing are some of the factors that have aided in the increase for the demand of DAM globally.

What is Digital Asset Management Software?

Digital Asset Management Software is a system that helps you to retrieve, store, manage, share, track, and organize digital assets in a central location from a single source. The Digital Asset Management Software also enables business employees to access their files at any time and from any given device.

Digital Asset Management Software offers enterprises the security to protect all business files by regularly undertaking backup and syncing. Another important aspect of DAM Software is that it can also be used for archiving, automating and streamlining digital assets and for creative workflows. The DAM Software lets businesses maintain easy control over digital assets, while protecting files and making management simpler.


DAM Software and Content Management Systems (CMS) both manage digital content. So it is important to understand the use cases for these two categories of software before making the buying decision. CMS is more oriented towards generating the content and storing the content. It provides tools for content creation and makes it easy to generate content without much programming. DAM is more stronger in organizing and searching the content.

DAM software is more suited for publishing in media file format and this is very useful for marketers and publishers. CMS publishing formats are more suitable for websites and blogs and very often they tend to be more internal focused. Web Content Management (WCM) systems that are a subset of CMS are more focused on managing, controlling and editing content on webpages.

5 Top Benefits of Digital Asset Management Software

Ensures Brand Consistency and Brand Integrity

Using a DAM Software ensures that all team members are on board and using the same approved branding or digital guideline from a single repository. This is especially helpful to companies that work with a partner agency or use channel marketing to maintain a cohesive brand messaging at each customer touchpoint. This way companies can maintain brand guidelines ensuring that a consistent brand messaging is communicated and brand control is maintained all the time.

Maintain Digital Asset Security

With a DAM Software, different teams can be assigned to access digital assets based on their levels of authorization. While third party service providers may be able to access the final approved file, there may be different teams that have the abilities to reuse, repurpose, and distribute the digital assets again.

A good DAM system allows an administrator to configure the system so that a person in a given role sees only and exactly the features and assets they need to do their job. The result for employees is higher productivity, lower stress, and a less cluttered work environment.


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CTO MerlinOne

Reduce Workflow Redundancies

By enabling a complete repository of all the available digital content centrally, DAM Software optimizes the use of assets. This is especially helpful when teams cross collaborate; digital assets can be managed in a way which reduces redundancies and allows them to take backups and work in a more centralized fashion.

Improves ROI

One of the benefits of adopting a DAM Software is that this system enables one to track who is using which assets, when and how, through the use of analytics. This data could then be harnessed to update the system optimization and also influence crucial content strategy decisions for the business.

Accelerate Production Cycles, Marketing and Creativity Time

With a DAM Software, it is easier for marketers to find digital assets vital to marketing and accelerate the pace of production, marketing of the content. This helps companies to launch marketing campaigns quickly and thereby reduce the time-to-market. The use of metadata helps employees spend less time in searching the network drives for lost or for apt digital assets and enables them to be more productive.

Which industries use Digital Asset Management Software?

DAM Software is widely adopted by various industries, including the media and entertainment industry, BFSI (Banking, financial services and Insurance), consumer goods and retail, manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences, education, travel and the tourism sector.

Who are the users of Digital Asset Management Software?

While DAM Software is usually accessible to every department of an organization, it is primarily used by IT teams, sales reps, PR, marketing and content and communication teams.

Why Digital Asset Management is Important?

Digital Asset Management software helps businesses to solve a number of critical problems.

Lost or Misplaced Files

With a rise in digital content and media, there is pressure on companies to find the right media file in a shortest amount of time, which may be distributed across different computers, networks or outside the organization. On acquiring a DAM Software, this process can be streamlined and accelerated; thereby saving valuable time and ruling out any inefficiencies.

The pain of looking for files, scattered across different folders, is very real and can hurt your company’s finances just as much as it hurts your efficiency levels. It’s an especially frustrating problem for marketing departments that deal with lots of visual content every day.



Disparate File Locations

Having a proper inventory of media files is a challenge faced by many enterprises today, with many using database applications that are customized to serve only a specific type of file. Most systems are ill-equipped to handle images, graphics and videos and have limited tools to extract images or manipulate them. This problem can be easily resolved with a DAM Software, which can bank all the digital media in a central location, archive it for future reference.

Legal Liabilities

At times employees may accidently use unauthorized images, videos or files or other firms may use company digital data without permission. This could result in legal issues as media are governed by rights and have documentation requirements, leading to copyright infringement issues. These issues can be avoided with a DAM Software as it has tools to streamline digital media and ferret out legal documentation liabilities of digital assets before use.

Large file sharing

Big media files can cause problems to mailboxes and firewalls and are tough to share. While many cloud-based file-sharing applications have now mitigated this issue, they are ill-suited for professional use. Meanwhile a DAM Software lets employees nominate, and share files to anyone with ease. It also provides professional tools like watermarking, metadata and reviews.

Key Features of Digital Asset Management Software

A DAM Software helps you centralize and organize your digital assets in a single, easy-to-access library that can be used by everyone. The DAM software has advanced searching, downloading and sharing abilities so that not only are your digital assets stored but are leveraged efficiently by companies. Some of the key features of a good DAM Software are:

Advanced Search

With a DAM Software, companies can cut the time spent on searching for the right digital asset. Through keywords, attributes and concise category structures, DAM Software systems will make the digital library more browsable and allow employees to find assets in a faster, more efficient manner.

Download Permission

A DAM Software makes it easy to download digital assets in the file format and resolution which is needed. With downloading permissions, any user can change the format and size of the digital assets at any time. This is helpful especially to creative and communication teams in companies that are forever facing the demands of other departments to resize or change the format of an existing media file.


A DAM Software lets employees easily share large files over emails, lightboxes and brand portals. For ease of use over long term projects, many companies use the lightboxes function to aggregate assets into different categories and specific project-based folders. With DAM Software, lightboxes can be easily shared with the team that needs them. Brand portals let users curate and share digital assets with users as a custom based online library.

Version Control and History

Whenever changes are made to any images or material, one has to ensure that the correct version of this digital asset is being used. This can easily be done by the DAM Software which will save and track the history of previous versions and revert to an earlier asset at any given time. With extensive histories of each asset, everything from commenting to viewing to show who is using, sharing, or editing content within the system is made available to users of the DAM Software.

Access Control

DAM Software lets businesses have complete control over who can have the viewing and downloading permissions in a company through its access control structure. The DAM Software allows employees to access files through user groups while providing separate uploading, viewing, downloading and sharing abilities.

AI in Digital Asset Management Software

Automated Tagging

A key application of Artificial Intelligence in DAM Software is auto tagging. AI enables the systems to scan through scores of files, identify objects and assign specific keywords or metatags to each file. Tags are also used for distribution of batches of content across different distribution channels. This is especially useful when handling millions of digital assets that have varying sizes and saves tremendous time in manual uploading and tagging.

Real-time File Processing

AI is now helping DAM Software to process digital files in real-time and provide faster media management support to e-commerce websites. This helps e-commerce portals deliver personalized content or web pages, to enhance customer experience.

Computer Linguistics

AI systems use speech and optical character recognition, and NLP to break speech into words and sounds and offer textual representations of what is said. This is especially useful while analysing video and audio files for companies, and provides more search data when applied to a DAM Software.

Smart Recommendations

AI enables a smart search and recommendations by using data and image recognition technology to calculate the probability of images featuring similar content and throw up smart recommendations.

Buyer’s Guide: 5 Factors to Consider to Choose Right DAM Software

Before investing into a DAM Software, businesses must first take stock of the size of its current asset library, how it is growing, and how the business is using these digital assets. The second step would be to talk to respective teams to understand usage and time spent over managing these digital assets and to understand their workload. This will help in choosing a solution which is suitable to everyone.

Here are a few other considerations to take into account to help select the right DAM Software:

Buyers are recommended to consider peer reviews and expert opinions that are extensively available on Cuspera before making buying decisions. Cuspera’s AI based engine guides you through the requirement process to help you choose the right software.

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Cloud vs SaaS vs On Premise

A crucial factor the company needs to gauge is whether to go in for a DAM Software which is on cloud or on premises. Cloud deployment is becoming the go-to for medium-sized businesses. This is because it offers many benefits like a low start-up cost, rapid scaling, and software as a service (SaaS) business models that can be easily adopted and deployed by enterprises based on their operational needs.

An on-premise deployment is a viable option for companies who want more control of their digital assets. In this case, the digital assets are usually stored in a server that is owned by the company and managed by its IT team. This way the company owns the asset unlike renting them through cloud deployment. On-premise deployment has less security concerns and this way the IT team also gets to keep the technology solutions in-house as well.

Open Source vs Proprietary

While open-source software may indicate a code that can be readily downloaded, developed, or modified at no charge, some companies opt for a proprietary software model where they own the software and can control it. One of the benefits of going for an open-source DAM Software is that it is easier to use and cost-effective. It can also be developed in-house by developers who can customize it and add new functions.

Proprietary DAM Software in comparison can be costlier and difficult to change or develop. Open-source software also gets the benefits of the latest innovation updates at no extra cost, as many other industry developers are constantly working on it to make it better.

Training and Support

When choosing the right DAM Software, companies need to ensure that they work with a partner who has rich industry experience of having worked in their sector. It is crucial that the vendor ensures easy training, setting up and also offers assistance to keep the software running efficiently at its maximum capacity. One way to shortlist a vendor would be to ask them about their onboarding process and support capabilities in the long run.


The DAM Software should be capable of working with other technologies and tools, for the business to run smoothly. It is required for DAM software to integrate with common sales and marketing platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot and other applications like Microsoft Office, G Suite and other email marketing tools and e-commerce platforms.


Most organizations have a high volume of digital assets and transactions and a diversity of media types and applications. The DAM Software needs to work across in different functional areas, be scalable, and also work for team members who may be geographically distributed.

Challenges in Adopting Digital Asset Management Software

Total Cost of Ownership

The cost of purchase, implementation, and maintenance can be a deterrent in DAM adoption. Companies have to apportion this cost in their annual budget to be able to sustain the usage. They must also take into account additional costs like replacing, installation, training team members, and other overheads that may have a direct impact on the feasibility for a company.

Industry-Specific Metadata Requirements

As DAM Software uses metadata to store and access files, it is vital that your industry’s metadata requirements conforms and integrates with the software. Companies should choose a vendor who can help with metadata usage and platform effectiveness that will finally help in identifying an asset, enriching, storing, and organizing it according to the framework that you want to create, automatically.


If the company owns several proprietary or legacy applications and if that needs integration with DAM, it can pose a challenge for adoption. Custom integration would be expensive and time-consuming and these can be a deterrent.

191 Digital Asset Management Software