The Evolution Of Digital Asset Management: From Disk To DAM (Part 2 of 2)
The idea of digital asset management (DAM) has come a long way since the early days of simple filesharing. We’ve moved on from the days of popping something onto a flash drive and passing it around the office. Now, in the age of metadata and semantic databases, we’ve got a much more efficient and effective way of managing digital assets. But the thing with evolution is that it continues, especially when you’re looking at the advances in technology. This is part two of one we wrote two days ago, and you should reference it here!
... And this ongoing transformation has even moved on from hierarchical file structures and file-based systems, to those that use metadata and are now non-file based for ease of use and management. It seems a natural evolution for a system like this that plays such a key role in operations, especially when you consider that as time has gone on, we’re looking at DAM more and more managing the content creation from before an asset is even created, throughout its entire lifecycle.
Metadata in itself was a revolution. And introducing it into the DAM ecosystem was the added push that users needed to get better functionality and flexibility out of the solution. Of course, when applied to the traditional file-based systems, there was still more work to be done, a further evolution.
Taking a step back; as a user of assets, compared to a producer, once you’ve realised the need for a particular asset, the next step is to request it on the system. So even before the asset is actually created, there’s info about the asset, like where it will be used, what it will include, etc. Typically, this information is stored outside of the asset management system, which means that once the asset is created and saved as final, all the associated metadata has to be rekeyed into the asset management system — manually. This of course takes time and effort.
Then, when non-filed based asset management systems arrived on the scene, this challenge was overcome. To start tracking and adding information, you don’t need a file to have or create an asset. You can associate metadata or secondary files that are not actually in the file. Instead, you have a container that holds information about the asset from conception through to sharing it. From the initial call for an asset, such as a request for a photograph, to the photoshoot and creation of the photos, back to the choosing of the right picture, all information about the process is containerised. Once the asset is finalised, that metadata is already all there and doesn’t have to be added again.
The dawn of a new (semantic) relationship
Already life is made that much easier, but the functionality doesn’t end there. By using graph databases it’s now possible to build links between containers and between assets. Instead of using the traditional relational database approach (that is quite linear and structured), graph or relationship databases ensure that instead of creating a hierarchy of assets, you can create links between different assets in the management system.
In a nutshell, this approach is dynamic, more flexible for work in progress as well as analytics and makes management much simpler. Especially for agencies dealing with multiple brands, multiple campaigns and needing to control the assets throughout their entire lifecycle. It also means you can start managing the asset much earlier on in the process.
What are we dealing with today?
The good news is that because of asset management’s rapid evolution, today we’re using systems that are far more capable and functional. With the use of semantics we can now integrate other systems into asset management, such as product information systems (PIMS), ERP, and CMS. And how is this done? Different users (think about marketing’s requirements versus engineering’s) need different information and this data is structured in a different way. But by using semantic databases the data can be concurrently structured in various ways so that it addresses the needs of all the users.
From the time the asset is just an idea, all the way through to its creation, approval and distribution, having the right system in place can ease management issues, streamline processes and become a critical part of the content creation process. Of course, selecting the right asset management system from the right vendor is the next obstacle to overcome.
Here at IO Integration we’ve got the skills, industry experience and the relationships with the right vendors to ensure we can design and deliver a bespoke solution that meets your requirements and helps you reach your business goals.
To learn more about improving your digital asset management and increasing the efficiency of your processes, download our free guide: Future-Proofing Your Digital Asset Management and Creative Production.