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What the future holds for digital asset management in 2022

Digital asset management software is evolving. The use of digital storage systems for branded assets was already on the rise before the pandemic hit. However, digital asset management — aka DAM — capabilities were mostly limited to a sort of online repository where anyone could store anything using a folder/subfolder system.

The main drawback of the pioneer DAM systems of the early 2000s, such as Box or Dropbox, is that unless you’re the one who saved a particular file in a particular location, it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for without the exact file name or folder pathway.

This leads to a lot of time wasted on Slack messages between colleagues asking for things they should be able to find — and wasting everyone’s time in the process.

The pandemic accelerated the shift towards remote work, a trend that Deloitte anticipates will continue long-term. But new ways of working require new technologies to meet the challenges of virtual work — particularly for globally distributed teams.

Remote workers from operations to creative teams to marketers need DAM solutions that work for them instead of against them by making it easy to organize, synchronize, collaborate, and distribute their digital files both internally and externally across multiple channels.

The next generation of DAM services will address these needs, going well beyond storage to become all-in-one content management hubs. Businesses that jump on the DAM bandwagon can expect to benefit from greater productivity and more efficient workflows. So it’s no wonder the DAM industry is predicted to grow to a value of 6.3 billion USD by 2025 — up from 1.7 billion USD in 2016.

This article will run through five of the main trends we can expect to emerge as DAM software providers rush to meet the evolving needs of remote businesses and teams.

The inclusion of analytics for marketers

The core function of a digital asset management system is to organize, store, and share digital assets, such as videos, PDFs, social media creatives, process documents, reports, and any other digital content your company produces. So the next logical step in DAM evolution is tracking and analytics functionality that will allow businesses to assess the performance of various file types throughout their lifecycle.

For example, marketing teams focus a lot of time and effort on content marketing as a way to generate inbound leads. Currently, they have to use a separate system, such as a content management system, to track the performance of an asset once it’s been published or distributed.

By integrating data analytics features into a DAM platform, marketers will be able to identify high-performing assets, A/B test assets they’re conflicted on, and optimize their marketing efforts to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t — all within a single software platform.

These features will enable teams to organize their digital assets in a new way, prioritizing their best-performing assets so that other team members can easily access and replicate them.

Automation takes over

Automation has been a buzzword for a few years and is another trend expedited by the onset of the pandemic. Automating routine tasks and workflows has enormous payoffs for both companies and employees.

For example, when employees spend less time on repetitive, tedious tasks, they have more time to dedicate to enriching or meaningful work experiences. This increases productivity and helps keep employees happy and engaged at work, which in turn reduces employee turnover.

For businesses, the benefits are obvious. Having an engaged workforce means greater productivity — not to mention the gains made by investing in a DAM solution that lowers costs by reducing the time spent searching for digital assets.

Another major advantage of automating DAM processes is that it can help teams strengthen their brand consistency. Brand consistency is essential as it can help create a better customer experience and foster brand loyalty and increase sales.

For all of these reasons, we can expect to see DAM providers continuing to add more automations, including:

  • Making better templates
  • Suggestions on digital asset organization
  • Collecting and storing metadata according to pre-set rules.

DAM platforms become complete content and design hubs

For marketing and creative teams who manage and share assets in a variety of file types, a natural next step in the evolution of DAM software is to become a hub for creating, editing, and distributing media files across multiple channels.

This means DAM will become so much more than just an asset library and file-sharing tool. It will serve as a central hub for distributed teams and global companies to synchronize marketing materials and other digital media, allowing for consistent brand management — even for fully remote teams.

Some of the features you can expect from the digital asset management tools of the future include:

  • A central location for media assets of all file types for all customer groups
  • An all-in-one platform for creating, finding, sharing, and curating digital content
  • A central portal containing product information, master data, and media assets
  • Customer-facing portals that bring together the best features of:
  • Product information management (PIM)
  • Master data management (MDM)
  • Content management systems (CMS)
  • Digital asset management

Unprecedented integration capabilities

To truly become the tool of the future, every digital asset management platform will need to add integrations with as many other SaaS apps as possible to stay competitive.

Facilitating work across multiple platforms is crucial for DAM providers to deliver on their promise of streamlining the lifecycle of digital assets, supporting marketing and creative teams, and improving the customer experience — all while saving time and money and increasing productivity.

This is why many DAM solutions are prioritizing application programming interfaces (APIs) to offer integrations with a variety of systems that businesses already use — for example, content management systems like HubSpot or Bynder and e-commerce platforms such as Shopify.

But that’s not all. DAMs are also incorporating integrations with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, Adobe products such as Photoshop, Microsoft Office, and other commonly-used business software.

These integrations take DAM software beyond asset management and into operations, making it an integral part of your tech stack that can improve workflows and transform an organization’s core processes.

Intuitive user experience

Last but not least, let’s not forget what a DAM platform is meant to do — provide a simple, user-friendly interface and file management system that supports all file formats. Functionality will be one of the main features that will make a DAM system stand out — and it may even make or break a DAM provider’s success.

DAM platforms of the future will boast advanced search functions that make it easy to find what you need when you need it — whether you want to repurpose a social creative or reference a report from five years ago.

You can also expect to see continued improvements in version control, making it easier than ever to make sure you give the right permissions to the right people and retain full control over your assets.

DAM platforms of the future will feature benefits such as:

  • Role or workflow-specific interfaces that reduce complexity
  • More scope for customization
  • Instant exchange of data with other software via integrations
  • Integration of helpful DAM features in third-party systems
  • AI support

Step into the future of digital asset management

DAM solutions will continue to shape the future of remote work, and eventually, the folder/subfolder system will be relegated to tech history — along with dial-up internet and floppy disks. Teams will finally have an intuitive and reliable way to create, store, share, and manage digital assets throughout their entire lifecycle.

The role of DAM will grow increasingly important as remote work becomes the norm and businesses look for better ways to harness and manage their proliferating digital assets. Companies that prioritize early uptake of the next evolution of DAM will have a competitive edge over those still using traditional DAM systems, such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

One platform that’s at the cutting edge of digital asset management is Playbook. Playbook is a digital asset management platform designed by creatives for creatives. Its collaboration features make it easy to organize your creative files in a way that makes sense — whether you’re an in-house designer or freelancer — and that your colleagues or clients can easily find and reuse.

Plus, artists and creators get 4TB of lifetime storage absolutely free. So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and be part of the future of digital asset management.