How To Build A Digital Asset Management System


Businesses are tasked to produce and manage thousands of digital media every year, from advertising posters and videos to presentations and documents. As technology evolves, the use of rich media and digital content is expected to grow exponentially in the years to come.

Are you having a hard time managing your growing collection of digital assets? Well, since you’re reading this content, you probably do. If that’s the case, you might want to consider building a digital asset management system. But what is it and what does it do?

Digital asset management (DAM) system is a software that helps businesses organize, compile, filter, and locate digital assets. These assets can be creative media, planning documents, SEO-targeted content, SMS campaigns, email templates, marketing materials, and articles.

However, it’s important to understand that DAM software is only a tool. It’s a system that creates, maintains, and updates your digital media and content.

Initially, you need to accomplish other important steps like auditing the current digital library. It may be overwhelming, but once you complete the setup, you’ll get all the benefits by reducing the time spent on managing your assets. So, take a look at the following steps below:

Audit Your Digital Media And Content Library

First, you need to organize everything; but how can you do it without knowing what to organize? The answer is simple: auditing.

When you audit all your digital assets, there are two questions that you must answer. First, how many assets does your company hold as of the moment? Second, what do you think you’re doing wrong while managing them? As you try to find the answers to these questions, you’ll determine all the mishaps and lapses in your existing library organization.

For example, you might have a thousand files at first, but after the audit, you’ll realize that only half of them is useful. Or as you browse through your library, you’ll realize that your files are organized in a complicated structure that wastes your time.

Once you’ve found all the lapses and issues in your current library organization, the next thing to do is create an outline discussing what to be changed. Talk to your team about it. A proper audit will help you make your transition flow smoother and easier.

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Create Workflow

Before establishing a workflow, discuss with your team what they can and can’t do with your digital assets. For example, sales teams don’t usually upload original media. However, they need access and the ability to share these files with their clients and other third-party associates.

In other words, every team has different permissions and roles to play in managing digital media and content. The restrictions will be based on the things they can and can’t do.

Once you’ve gathered all the information you need, it’s time to decide on the workflow of uploading and updating digital assets. It should be as simple as this:

  • Step 1. Upload digital content.
  • Step 2. If the uploaded file is a revision of another, make sure it remains as a single file, not a separate one, to avoid confusion. 
  • Step 3. Double-check or triple-check the file you want to upload and make sure it’s in the right collection.
  • Step 4. Add a specific note that discusses what the uploaded file is and why you’re uploading it. This step is only optional but useful in maintaining order when sharing files.
  • Step 5. Include important metadata such as custom fields, tags, keywords, and more.
  • Step 6. Finish the uploading process and proceed to the next one.


To maintain consistency with the rules above, make use of the DAM’s essential features. For example, if you’re uploading a file without metadata, the DAM system won’t allow the uploading process to proceed, ensuring your library won’t revert into chaos. 

Select A DAM System

At this stage, you’ll need to choose which DAM system fits your operations best. Although they look similar, each has its own specialty and price range, meaning the workflow in one can turn out different from the other.

For example, DAM systems may vary depending on the price. If your team consists of 15 members, a DAM system for 15 people would be ideal. However, what if your team doubles in size? That’d mean additional costs since your current system is only developed for 15 people. 

If you don’t have enough resources for 30 people, you need to make necessary adjustments to meet your team’s needs, especially if you have no plans to upgrade your system. This is why it’s important to identify these things beforehand to prevent having problems along the process.

Determine The Folder Structure

Although using metadata simplifies the file-searching process, it’s still a good idea to create a folder structure based on how you access your digital media and content. For example, the process of accessing your marketing videos flows like this: marketing, campaigns, materials, and videos.

By then, you’ve come to realize that you’re accessing the ‘videos’ folder more every single day. The rule of thumb is to prioritize what you always need. If that’s the case, you may consider removing unnecessary subfolders and making a folder structure like this: marketing and videos.

Gather Feedback To Improve DAM Workflow

No DAM workflow is perfect. As your team uses the system in their day-to-day operations, they might encounter some lapses and constructive feedback to improve your current workflow so that the process will make more sense. Monitor how your staff looks for media and content, check if the current folder structure is helpful, and others. 

However, gathering constructive criticism doesn’t mean you have to adjust your existing workflow every time you hear a suggestion. Some comments are a result of the difficulty in adjusting and breaking bad habits.

For more effective and better results, allow some time to pass before you start collecting feedback. Let your team adjust to the new workflow and wait for a couple of months. After that, you may start gathering criticisms and suggestions.

Final Words

Digital asset management systems help businesses minimize the time spent managing digital media and content. A good solution should allow you to search, tag, revise, and share files easily. Building a functional DAM system requires a plan that involves auditing, creating workflow, establishing folder structure, and gathering feedback.

Do you think you need one? Talk to your IT developers or consult a DAM solution provider in your area right away.

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