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Digital asset management: a solution for marketing

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As a cloud-based product, WebDAM was quick to deploy and turned out to be as easy to use as Lightfoot had hoped. "In past situations with other DAM systems, administrators who had gone through training still had problems because they were not using the DAM system on a daily basis," Lightfoot says. "With WebDAM, employees in that role were able to jump in and start contributing after very simple training." The same was true for users, who after minimal direction were able to search for and download content.

Building the taxonomy of the file structure was a collaborative effort involving Lightfoot, the global product marketing team, regional marketing managers and the director of marketing communications. "We kept it fairly simple," Lightfoot says, "so the users would not face a complex hierarchy." Users can either drill down through the folder system or use a key word search. The metadata includes product name, treatments, type of asset, such as brochure or presentation, and other categories.

Expansion plans

WebDAM has been instrumental in  providing the ability to distribute consistent branding and messaging. "Now, our staff can be sure they are getting the latest version of each brochure and image, since those assets are being managed centrally," says Lightfoot. "In addition, users can be alerted when new versions of relevant materials are updated or added to the system."

In the future, Lutronic plans to link WebDAM content directly to the website so it can be automatically kept up to date. The company also plans to expand its use of WebDAM to store the latest version of materials such as HR forms and information from other departments, so that employees can readily access them.

Ron Selvey, director of marketing for WebDAM, says, "With the exponential growth of online marketing channels, digital assets can easily get out of control in most enterprises. Our solution is built on a cutting-edge cloud infrastructure and can be deployed very quickly, providing great ROI. WebDAM manages the entire media lifecycle from asset creation to distribution, and is known for its usability. WebDAM also provides analytics that are essential for understanding the usage patterns of rich media."

The role of the chief marketing officer (CMO) is changing. "Today, marketing influences half of all IT purchases in most companies," Selvey says. "The new channels and responsibilities extend from print, to websites, social media, mobile collaboration and events, so marketing automation is essential." DAM systems play an increasingly important role in that automation, maintaining and delivering all the content.

DAM workflow evolves

DAM systems initially functioned as static repositories rather than as part of business processes. For many companies, just getting the assets organized and searchable was a big step forward. As products evolved, simple workflow that allowed for review, approval and publishing became a part of most DAM solutions, followed by more complex rule-based workflows.

"The main trend now is to have a visual way to build a workflow," says Theresa Regli, analyst at the Real Story Group. "Users can design a workflow with Visio diagrams or a standard business process management tool and import it into the DAM system."

One of the early developers of such capability was ADAM Software. "Our customers may start with the goal of centralizing their digital assets," says Jan Dejosse, chief marketing officer for ADAM Software, "but they usually move quickly toward wanting to integrate with other enterprise processes." Customers also begin looking into opportunities for collaborative annotation and approval, managing digital rights and reusing assets, each of which entails additional workflow capabilities. ADAM provides business process management (BPM) system capabilities to meet those enterprise needs.

In May, ADAM Software established a partnership with ConceptShare, a markup and annotation tool for digital assets, to integrate it within the DAM system. The result is ADAM Teamwork Studio, released in August. "We are trying to evangelize the fact that DAM is not a silo solution and should not be put in just one department," says Dejosse. "It's  about processes that flow throughout the enterprise to deliver greater efficiency."

The next step in workflow for DAM systems will be to expand those processes to allow interaction with other enterprise systems. "The DAM system might need to get a piece of marketing collateral or a logo that is stored in SharePoint," Regli explains. "Automating that retrieval process requires a BPM system that sits above the DAM and is coordinated with other systems."

Another example is automating the delivery of a digital asset to a client once a contract is signed or a payment is received-information that may be in another system. "Integration with enterprise processes outside the DAM is one of the main trends in DAM," Regli adds.

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