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Shopping For a DAM

How to Choose a Digital Asset Management System: 8 Essential Steps

Nuala Cronin avatar

Nuala Cronin

Content Manager

6 min read

How to Choose a Digital Asset Management System: 8 Essential Steps

Getting new software can be hard but choosing a digital asset management system can be even more difficult. From researching and evaluating vendors to onboarding your employees, the list of tasks can leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused.

That's why we’re here to help.

Once you’ve recognized your need for a DAM, it's time for the challenging part - deciding which vendor to partner with. Selecting a digital asset management system is a crucial business decision and it takes effort to find the right one. Ensuring the DAM fits your needs can be a lengthy and complex process.

We've broken down the 8 essential steps to help you understand your needs and choose a DAM system. These digital asset management tips are crucial for making the right decision for your business.

  1. Determine your stakeholders first,
  2. Understand what you want to allow (and restrict),
  3. Think of your existing tools,
  4. Set realistic timelines,
  5. Include IT early on,
  6. Leverage review sites,
  7. Do discovery calls, and
  8. Choose a partner, not a vendor.

Let's dive into more detail below.

8 Steps to Choosing a Digital Asset Management System

1. Determine your stakeholders first

It’s important to know what internal and external partners will be impacted during your DAM implementation. You need to on board from the start. What functionality do they need? How can you help them be successful? Make sure you’re communicating with them over the course of your DAM journey and that they understand how the system will benefit them (especially if their budget is involved).

A key part of having digital asset management success is getting buy-in right from the start. It won’t matter how great the system is if people aren’t using it, or are using it incorrectly.

Here is a list of 3 types of users to consider in your DAM buying process.

2. Understand what you want to allow (and restrict)

Once you have a clear understanding of who’s going to be using the system, it’s time to start thinking about what each group needs access to - and just as importantly: what they don’t. One of the great benefits of a DAM is the ability to segregate. You can segregate each group or user into various permission groups to dictate what they can do and see. While it can be easier to allow everyone to have access to everything, this approach doesn’t realize the full control benefits of a DAM.

Take your marketing agency, for example. You want them to have access to categories containing your brand logos, some stock imagery, and maybe a few headshots, but it would be unnecessary and potentially harmful for them to have access to any other assets.

When choosing a digital asset management system, ensure you understand the vendor's approach to category and user permissions. This will impact how granular you can get with access levels. MediaValet offers unlimited categories and custom user groups, allowing you to create different permission levels without restrictions.

3. Think of your existing tools

Something to consider when trying to get buy-in from stakeholders is to leverage existing systems that your stakeholders are already used to. Would your social media team benefit from a Hootsuite integration? Can your creative team improve processes with an Adobe Creative Suite connector? Research DAM systems that have integrations into your existing tools to maximize buy-in and happiness for your users.

Not sure where to get started? Here are the top 6 DAM integrations to consider.


4. Set realistic timelines

Setting a realistic timeline can be tricky – especially when you have multiple departments that all want the DAM system up and running ASAP! This kind of pressure can make it tempting to try to pick a vendor, onboard, and integrate with your tools within the next month, but it’s important to take the time to ensure you do it right.

Separating your implementation into phases can mitigate some of these pressures because stakeholders can see the project moving along and boxes being ticked, rather than just wondering when the project will be completed.

MediaValet's DAM maturity model can help you identify where you are in your DAM maturity and where you'd like to be.

5. Include IT early on

Leaving IT in the dark until the last minute can be tempting – they can be frustrating, demanding, and slow projects down. But, the reality is that IT has more knowledge and experience in implementing technology and can quickly tell you which DAM systems don’t meet your needs. Forming these relationships early can speed up the selection process and help eliminate vendors from the selection process right off the bat. It can also be helpful to map DAM benefits to IT priorities, to help get your IT decision-makers on your side.

software screenshot

6. Leverage review sites

A quick way to narrow down your digital asset management search is to use the many technology review sites out there, such as G2Crowd. This is where each vendor’s existing customers are talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly of their digital asset management systems and where you’ll get unbiased insight into which will work for you.

Here are 4 of the top vendor review sites you can leverage today.

7. Do the discovery call

When searching for a DAM, we often see people wanting to skip the discovery process and jump right into a demo. Of course, we can do a demo without the discovery call, but this call is where the vendors can discover your needs and tailor the demo specifically to your use case. While it can be a pain to have 15-minute calls with each of your short-listed vendors, it ends up benefiting you in the long run.

8. Choose a partner, not a vendor

As you narrow your search down to the final few vendors who can meet your functional requirements, it’s important to look at them as a company, not just a product. Does their direction align with your future goals? How are they with support after onboarding?

When thinking about how to choose a DAM, it’s crucial to select a partner that’s going to pursue an ongoing relationship, not just someone who will onboard you and forget you. Remember that the people component is just as important.

MediaValet offers unlimited platform training and support to ensure that all customers are set up for success. For more complex projects, you can take advantage of our professional services program.

Choosing a Digital Asset Management System for the Long-Haul

If you're still wondering how to select a digital asset management system that's right for you, our eBook, How to Buy a DAM, provides an in-depth guide to choosing the right DAM vendor.

MediaValet is a leader in cloud-based digital asset management that helps organizations manage, organize and share their digital assets, improving productivity and increasing ROI.

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