As globalization increases, small business owners have to rival enterprise-level competitors. Of course, since few have the time and resources needed to beat large-scale rivals, managers need to look for ways to make the most out of talent, budget, and innovation they have.
In this post, we will take a look at a scalable and easy-to-implement way to improve the productivity of a small business team – digital asset management. You’ll find out how choosing the right DAM solutions to match your company’s needs can be a game-changer and get to know tried-and-true tips for building a growth-oriented file infrastructure.
What Is Digital Asset Management?
Usually, “digital asset management” is a term used to describe platforms that help team leaders organize and manage digital libraries. However, you can call all practices your team uses to keep track of paperless data: photos, videos, audio, documents, and so on.
5 Benefits of Digital Asset Management For Small Business Owners
Building a file management strategy takes time and effort. That’s why small business owners tend to prioritize other, more urgent tasks until data piles up and is difficult to handle.
In reality, approaching file management proactively is a better way to fuel growth, attract investors, and keep a stellar reputation among clients. DAM tools, for one, are helpful because they are designed to streamline file organization – using an off-the-shelf platform allows business owners to save time on building custom software from scratch and reinventing the wheel.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of DAM software for small businesses.
1. DAM tools are easy-to-use
While digital asset management platforms are feature-rich (with built-in metadata editors, AI-based keywords, version controls, and other tools), skilled development teams do their best to wrap the functionality into an intuitive, customizable interface.
At the end of the day, DAM platforms are faster to learn and easier to use than mainstream platforms like Google Workspace. Top-tier vendors support users with around-the-clock assistance, share helpful content (tutorials, guides, best practices), and regularly update the software to keep the storage secure and stay in line with best content creation and management practices.
2. DAM tools fit well into workflows
Chances are, you imagine a DAM platform as a monolith solution that is not connected with other tools your team uses (project management software, content editors, CMS platforms, etc). The truth is, most digital asset management tools are flexible and easy to connect to your workflows.
To make sure there’s no gap between DAM and other platforms small business owners use, vendors build integrations. These software modules bring digital asset management features to other workflow management tools, namely:
- Online workplaces like Google Workspace or Microsoft Teams
- Task managers: Asana, Trello, and others
- Content creation tools: Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch
- Hosting services: Amazon S3
- CMS: WordPress, Shopify
- CRM: Salesforce, Hubspot.
Integrations give business owners an easy way to integrate improved file management into the team’s day-to-day activities: talent management, completing tasks, etc.
3. DAM tools improve security
Without a unified file library, sharing assets online can easily get out of control. Most teams share files by creating access links or giving all contributors full access to the digital library. This is not a secure approach since team leaders have no way to customize user permission or control who can access a file via a shareable link.
Digital asset management tools prioritize security and make sure people outside of the team can’t access the library. Here’s how DAM platforms ensure file security and facilitate disaster management:
- Full transparency. Via digital asset management tools, team leaders can track access logs and know who viewed and changed files, as well as which edits teammates made. Traceability is important in two ways. Firstly, it keeps teammates accountable and ensures no one tries to steal workplace data. Secondly, transparency makes intrusion easier to spot, minimizing the amount of damage a third-party attacker could land.
- Multi-factor user authentication. 2FA mechanisms make it harder for attackers to access the file library using a teammate’s credentials.
- End-to-end encryption. By storing files in an encrypted storage, business owners make sure that no one (including the development team) can access the file library from the outside.
- Backups. Digital asset management platforms facilitate disaster recovery: if the storage got attacked, business owners can delete all files and restore the data as soon as the threat is mitigated.
4. DAM promotes long-term operating cost reduction
At first, this conclusion seems counter-intuitive: since most DAM platforms are paid, they seem to increase, not reduce operating costs. However, years down the line, a file management platform helps teams save thousands of dollars in productivity and time.
Here are three specific examples that show how digital asset management fuels cost reduction:
- Making the most out of your workforce. Inability to quickly access files hinders your team’s productivity and puts extra stress on team leaders who are supposed to answer a lot of questions instead of focusing on more important aspects of management: strategizing, continuous education, and fostering connections in the workplace.
- Protects the company from copyright infringement lawsuits. Business owners who use stock content have a hard time tracking license expiry dates. In the day-to-day turmoil of upcoming assignments, it’s easy to forget about renewing the photo usage rights agreement. A single miss-out can cost a company a lot in financial and reputational losses – according to privacy laws, copyright infringement fines range from $200 to $150,000.
- Helps avoid effort duplication. Coordinating what teammates are working on is not easy especially if you work remotely. That’s why the duplication of efforts is a common scenario: two teammates edit a file simultaneously but only one set of changes is saved. Digital asset management offers a simple yet elegant solution to the problem – version control. Via a DAM platform, content creators can track file edits in real time and make sure they don’t spend time doing redundant work.
5. DAM tools help teams finish projects sooner
By making sure everyone on the team knows where to find branded assets (and, hence, make your brand standout), guidelines, and other files, team managers help marketers and developers save time. Other than that, DAM platforms facilitate onboarding, giving new hires a bird’s-eye view of all workflows, people involved, and assets used.
As a result, DAM-empowered teams are faster in bringing products to the market and meeting customers’ needs than their peers who don’t have a set-in-stone file management strategy.
4 Tried-and-True File Management Practices
Digital asset management software is a powerful weapon small business owners can use to catch up to bigger teams. However, even if the platform you choose fits your operational needs to a tee, making the most out of it is the team’s responsibility.
To harness the full potential of DAM tools, implement these organization practices into your workflows:
1. Create folder hierarchies.
Most DAM platforms allow building a vertical (folder) hierarchy. It’s a convenient way to get a big-picture view of your file library. Define the algorithm for grouping folders: (for example, you can sort assets by date, project type, or priority – try different approaches and choose the one the team is most comfortable with).
2. Create and stick to naming conventions.
Create guidelines for file naming: specify how teammates should format data, in which order they mention client names, project types, and other relevant information, which special characters are and are not allowed.
3. Add metadata.
Metadata is a way to share extra information about the asset with the team. It’s a good idea to let other creators know when and where a photo or a video was shot, which equipment the production team was using, or where the content is supposed to be published. Depending on your niche, relevant metadata fields can vary (e.g. e-commerce store owners can add product specs as metadata) – it’s a good idea to choose a platform that allows customizing metadata fields.
4. Set clear user permissions.
Implementing the principle of least privilege will minimize the impact of an attack – that’s why team managers shouldn’t grant file library users more rights than they need to handle day-to-day tasks.
Digital asset management is a smart way for small businesses to successfully compete with larger companies. In most cases, building file organization tools from scratch is time-consuming and unreasonable – using off-the-shelf DAM platforms is a faster and more reliable way to build a scalable file library.
As you choose a DAM tool, make sure that a solution has all the features your team needs to create, review, and share content. It’s a good idea to have “feature overhead” – extra customization, larger storage, etc. – keep in mind that a digital asset management platform should be powerful and flexible enough to support, not hinder growth and scalability.