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Graduating from a File Sharing Solution to Digital Asset Management

Nuala Cronin avatar

Nuala Cronin

Content Manager

5 min read

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You’ve probably heard the expression “content is king”. Whether it’s support materials for a new marketing campaign, a product catalog, or a simple blog post, content helps drive business in the modern world, every single day. And because of this, your organization likely has a serious amount of photos, videos, graphics, and other marketing assets.

To manage these assets, many organizations use a file-sharing system. While this can work for a time, as their content library continues to grow, many find that their file-sharing solutions aren’t quite enough. If you find your organization in a similar situation, it may be time to graduate to a more sophisticated solution. The next step? Investing in a cloud-based digital asset management (DAM) system.

In this post we will cover

Why Do Businesses Initially Choose File Sharing Solutions?

Before we get into everything DAM, let’s take a look at what exactly a file-sharing system is and why many businesses choose to use one in the first place.

File-sharing systems manage data files on a singular computer, business network, or cloud platform. They're primarily aimed at individuals or teams and are limited to storing, managing, and sharing documents and records.

One of the main reasons that companies choose a file-sharing system is for convenience. They have files that everyone needs access to, and the system promises to make it easier for companies to manage all files (documents, spreadsheets, photos, videos, etc.) in a centralized location and collaborate with co-workers and clients across great distances. In addition to convenience, cost is a top consideration for organizations that choose an in-house or online file-sharing service, as many file-sharing solutions, including Box, Dropbox, and others, offer free or low-fee accounts.

What Limitations Come From Using File Sharing Solutions?

There are 4 key limitations that companies face when using file-sharing solutions:

  1. User Error: When systems have no defined admin roles or user permissions that are controlled by the organization, the library can quickly become the “wild west” where everyone can access everything. User error is inevitable and simple file sharing systems often don’t have enough safeguards in place to prevent this.
  2. Narrow Search Capabilities: Finding media files, such as photos, videos, and audio files, can be challenging in a file-sharing solution. Searchable metadata is often limited to basic details such as name, upload date, etc., making it difficult for users to efficiently find what they’re looking for.
  3. Reformatting Issues: When using file-sharing solutions, assets aren’t always stored in the format required. As a result, users need to make requests to the design team, as they’re unable to reformat the asset themselves.
  4. Limited Scalability: While many file-sharing solutions start out relatively inexpensive, as the organization grows, the solution becomes significantly more expensive, especially when paying per user.

Moving From a File Sharing System to a DAM

Once organizations feel the limitations associated with file-sharing systems, they tend to begin looking for a better solution, like DAM.

Digital asset management systems (DAMs) are focused on managing media assets, such as photos, videos, animations, graphics, audio files, and more. A DAM enables your entire organization to quickly and easily find, use, render, and share the assets they need — when and where they need them, increasing ROI and improving collaborative work.

How Can a DAM Mitigate Problems Associated with File Sharing Systems?

Here are the top 4 ways that DAM can help organizations address the limitations of file-sharing systems and, ultimately, improve your team's workflow:

  1. Control: A DAM makes providing access to assets significantly more secure by enabling organizations with top-down control of how their digital assets are organized and who can access or use them.
  2. Searching: With a DAM, users are able to search all metadata associated with assets, including embedded metadata, attributes, keywords, and categories. A DAM also enables filtering by star rating, asset type, and more.
  3. Reformatting: A DAM enables users to choose the format and size of all assets when they download or share them. Users no longer need editing software or the help of their design team to get the assets they need.
  4. Cost: A DAM system, like MediaValet, offers robust, enterprise-level software without enterprise-level costs and headaches. It’s quick, easy, and cost-effective to both set up and maintain the DAM over extended periods of time. There are no hardware costs, upgrades, or maintenance costs, and unlimited support is just a phone call away.

Along with addressing the problems associated with file-sharing systems, DAM solutions offer additional features that enhance user experience and boost overall productivity. Learn more about what a DAM has to offer.

When Should Organizations Consider Upgrading?

A lot of companies start the process of implementing a DAM when they get frustrated with the shortcomings of their current file-sharing system. The best way to evaluate if your file-sharing solution is simply not meeting your needs any longer (and if it's time to look at other options) is to look for some of these indications:

  • Fast company growth, which makes user access and permissions hard to manage,
  • Ramping up the creation of visual media assets,
  • A challenging number of asset requests that affect your team’s workflow, and
  • Misuse or loss of assets.

The best course of action is to be one step ahead!

Get Ahead with a DAM

As the need for and creation of digital assets continues to grow, companies that invest in a more sophisticated solution will get ahead of the curve. If you’d like to set your company up for success with a cost-effective, scalable long-term solution, a cloud-based DAM is the way to go. See how your team can manage user permissions, easily search, render, and share assets, and improve workflows by booking a MediaValet demo today.

This blog post was originally posted in October 2015 and has been updated.

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