THE Digital Asset

In my previous post “It’s Basic, Man” – I pointed out that often exciting and shiny new features try to steal the show. Actually, it’s usually the case that the department of smoke and mirrors, aka Sales and Marketing, that needs and easy conversation starter.

I’ve seen very few people in DAM sales and marketing that actually know the basic requirements and capabilities up to the point that they can actually use those to differentiate their product from any shiny new contestant.

What should be basic in an Enterprise DAM then?

Basic – let’s first agree on what a Digital Asset Management actually manages.
Some systems start with a file being the nucleus of an asset. File type determines the asset type, metadata gets extracted – searchable, sprinkle some access control over it – done!

I would consider these systems file management systems – as they are file centric and will fail one way or the other when workflows and integrations start to become file-less.
Even the job of managing slides, videos or non-digitizable items can’t be handled adequately.

I understand the file centric approach is historically grown. Start with a simple job: manage digital media files – more files, more functions. In the context of a sustainable, flexible and integrated enterprise DAM, I consider a digital asset a combination of six aspects in a defined state at a point in time:

  • Metadata
  • Paradata
  • Access Control Properties
  • Relations
  • Bytes (one or many files)
  • Domain Specific Representations of associated Bytes (e.g. derivatives)

Not every asset will have all six facets. Not every asset will have history of different versions.

None of these six facets is THE digital asset – only the combination of at least two brings the asset into life, while it gets enriched by adding more and more facets or changing any of the facets thus creating different newer versions.

To be continued…

Kai Strieder

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