In the business world, 2014 was the year of buzzwords like ‘Content Marketing,’ ‘engagement’ and ‘mobile friendly’.
This year, Digital Asset Management (DAM) Platforms will be one of the hottest concepts – and most in-demand services.
In simple terms, think highly-sophisticated cloud storage.
Tessa Court, CEO of IntelligenceBank shares her top 10 DAM predictions for the year ahead.
1) Goodbye basic cloud storage. Say hello to DAM platforms.
Cloud storage such as Dropbox is a commodity and while such services have their use, businesses will begin to realise they need more than just a spot in the cloud where they can simply ‘store’ their digital assets.
In 2014, DAM providers across the world saw increased demand from businesses recognising a need for proper processes and workflows around managing their digital assets. Once that realisation hit, businesses that may have been in the dark were suddenly made aware that solutions for managing the lifecycles of their digital files were available.
In 2015, businesses will find increased demand for a system that allows them to find those files using keywords and metadata rather than generic title searches; to sort those files by usage rights, categories, and versions; to run creative approval processes, and to share those files, as well as monitor digital assets.
You certainly can’t do all that using a free and simple cloud service provider and businesses worldwide will seek a better, more powerful and more accountable solution.
That solution, of course, is DAM.
2) With great Content Marketing comes great organisational responsibility.
Regardless of their industry, Content Marketing will continue to be key tactic for businesses in 2015.
This explosion in Content Marketing has already led to an unprecedented need for the generation of creative content for multiple media channels. Everything from copy and images to audio and video is being used as rich branded content across social and traditional media networks. This need will only increase, but how will businesses keep track of all their digital assets and the various versions needed for each platform? How will they organise the growing gigabytes? How will they manage the edits and approvals, and stay on top of the intellectual property information associated with each file?
It’s going to take more than a hard drive crammed with countless folders and naming conventions. In 2015, businesses will require an easy-to-use and intuitive solution for keeping track of the terabytes of data they will be handling. Using a DAM will be unavoidable for businesses wanting to take their Content Marketing seriously.
3) Sharing is caring and DAM Platforms will integrate seamlessly with social platforms.
Marketers have a need for speed, especially when managing digital content across multiple environments. What’s the point of creating and owning all this juicy (and expensive) content if you can’t use, track, and share it?
The concept of sharing digital files in 2015 will expand to be about more than merely sending employees, clients and customers links to giant files. It will also be about disseminating assets and digital information painlessly, and socially.
Expect to see DAM platforms become seriously social- savvy. They’ll offer much more in the way of integration with social media networks and we’re not just talking about the ability to post to Facebook and Twitter. We’re also talking about embedding audio, video and image content, as well as being able to manage versions across social channels.
4) Analytics will become dynamic – and even more crucial.
Analytics are crucial but what’s that got to do with your digital assets? Everything.
Without a DAM system in place, users must to do a lot of guess work when it comes to managing talent, creative over-use and to understand where the assets have been placed across media. A better, more intuitive solution would be to provide analytics that are smarter and more dynamic, which DAM Platforms in 2015 will do. T
hey’ll start providing analytics capable of offering true business intelligence, with features such as the ability to alert users about files that are being overused, which will help with ensuring creative freshness but will also help avoid potentially costly breaches of licences and usage rights. The ability to run customer reports on your digital assets to analyse metadata, and usage trends will be standard, as will measuring views and downloads across embedded media.
The best bit?
Analytics in 2015 will offer the ability to give you an ROI on your DAM Platform like never before.
5) It’ll be all about using your DAM’s processes and workflow.
According to a recent study, 92% of top performing users of DAM Platforms say workflow is a critical component for DAM. The problem is that, until now, few DAMs offer workflow functionality with any real muscle. Without workflow in a DAM, you have storage – not a system. The benefit of workflow is that it streamlines business processes, creating efficiencies, and ensuring the use of business-wide standards that guide users through a recognised (and company approved) process to ensure common tasks are completed thoroughly and properly.
Some of the most common types of workflow for marketers include:
Publish Approvals: Before final creative is released, it goes through an approval process.
Download Approvals: Before a user can download a file that may have talent or usage parameters associated, they must request approval stating how the file will be used.
Feedback Approvals: Teams can collaborate on creative with image annotations, version control and comments that are tied to each version of the asset.
DAM platforms in 2015 will have to offer so much more than the mere ability for users to comment on files or to receive alerts. They must allow users to approve a digital asset throughout the production, ingestion and usage cycles.
6) With DAM, 2015 is the year where your teams will stay ‘on brand’.
If your own employees don’t know how to use your brand properly, how can you expect those teams outside your business to do so?
The basic job of any DAM is to help you keep track of your brand’s digital assets, such as versions of logos, fonts, corporate videos etc. The problem, however, is that if your employees, agencies and clients don’t understand how to use (or not use) those assets, there’s little point going to the trouble of setting up an entire system to help them do so. If there’s one thing a DAM needs to do, is to help your stakeholders stay ‘on brand.’
In 2015, we’re going to see more companies starting to take advantage of existing DAM features relating to managing their brands that they may currently be ignoring – and they’ll start reaping the benefits of ensuring only consistent, up-to-date branding is ever implemented. DAM users will, increasingly, start to use feature “custom brand guideline pages” such as those offered by DAM vendors, including IntelligenceBank Marketing, which allow brands to explain and dramatise brand guidelines.
This ability allows marketers to explain visually why stretching logos is a bad idea or which types of images properly convey their brand’s values. Non-creative people (i.e. the majority of those who work in your company) tend to have difficulty visually interpreting brand value concepts such as ‘spontaneous’, ‘bold’, ‘integrity’ without being shown examples. So, it’s likely only poor interpretations of assets such as logos, which denigrate your brand, will be used – and that defeats the whole purpose of having a brand and brand guidelines .
7) Moving beyond the Marketing Department.
DAM platforms may have brought organisation to the digital asset management of marketing departments the world over, However, in 2015, other industries, education and ICT, in particular, will start to recognise the potential benefits of DAM platforms and the efficiencies of business processes and workflow they can bring.
DAM isn’t just for marketers anymore. People across any business division can benefit from a smart and intuitive way to organise and manage digital assets, anything from product information and training videos to sales materials and internal communications. We’ll see DAM platforms being used not just outside the marketing departments of existing customers, but also in industries not previously associated with DAM software.
8) User interfaces must be mobile friendly – and just friendly in general.
In 2015, businesses wouldn’t dare release a website that wasn’t mobile friendly, so no provider should be delivering a DAM solution that doesn’t have a responsive interface. In fact, with more and more businesses implementing DAMs across a wider range of industries, DAM providers will also have to turn their minds to their interfaces and user experiences in general.
DAM providers who think the interfaces that cut it even 12 months ago are fine for 2015 are going to have to undergo more than a mere facelift. Modern DAM users won’t tolerate clunky interfaces that are not intuitive to use, let alone ones that aren’t mobile friendly. So, expect to see a lot of digital cosmetic surgery in the next 12 months that extends to more than just shiny new icons. It will no longer be about functionality over form. It will be about form AND functionality.
9) Users want their files right here, right now.
This concept of functionality will extend beyond mobile friendly interfaces to mobile-friendly access to files – big time. DAM users in 2015 will demand unfettered access to their precious assets from any device, be it a smartphone, a tablet or perhaps even a smart watch!
So, DAM systems will have to build software that not only allows access on multiple, often small, handheld devices, they’ll also need to ensure all features and functionality work absolutely perfectly on a mobile device, everything from the ability to approve images on the go to uploading – and downloading – files remotely.
10) Everything will work with everything else.
Interoperability and integration will be crucial in 2015 – and not just for DAMs.
In this era of multiple platforms, multiple devices and multiple networks, no software vendor can afford to create products that stand alone or that don’t work in the general digital ecosystem. DAM users are already demanding their tools integrate with other platforms such as product databases, content management systems and social networks, so expect this demand to increase in 2015 where it will be assumed that users can import, export and plug into their DAMs from myriad other products, both hardware and software.
The proliferation of digital and, therefore, digital assets in every industry on the planet means businesses of all sizes are seeking a simple but powerful means of managing those assets and, though DAMs of varying quality and ability abound, 2015 will bring with it an unprecedented demand for ease of use, portability, ‘sharability’ and a constantly evolving feature set. Any DAM provider who can’t keep up may not be around this time next year.
2015 is set to be a groundbreaking year for DAM. What are your prophecies?
Named one of Australia’s most powerful women in technology, Tessa Court is the founder and CEO of digital asset management specialists, Intelligence Bank.