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Shopping For a DAM

DAM Considerations: On-Premise vs. Software-as-a-Service

Carlie Hill avatar

Carlie Hill

Director of Growth Marketing

3 min read

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While you evaluate DAM solutions to address pain points around your growing volume of content and media assets it’s also important to be mindful of how potential DAM offerings will fit in with your existing strategy and help your company move forward to reach department and organizational business goals.

Naturally, the greater the alignment of a DAM system with your technical and business strategies, the smoother the integration will be and the more value you’ll see from the system.

In addition to fitting your unique use case, it’s important that your chosen solution fits with your existing strategy. Here are two major strategic elements to consider in your DAM procurement decision:

  • Suitability of an on-premises vs. a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform
  • Potential for scalability

In this blog post, we’ll address the need for on-premises platforms vs. SaaS platforms. Be sure to also read Part 2, where we discuss the importance of scalability.

On-Premise vs. SaaS

What’s the difference and why is it important? These represent the two primary deployment options for buyers and each has its own criteria for suitability.

On-Premise DAM Platform

An on-premise DAM solution is installed on your organization’s hardware and is managed, maintained, and updated by your IT department. Your internal IT team will also be responsible for all support, along with the research and implementation of any new features.

An on-premise solution is most suitable for organizations that:

  • require custom security or have specific integration needs,
  • have IT bandwidth and expertise to manage the system and associated activities,
  • have resources to set up customizations,
  • are equipped with sufficient hardware to meet scaling needs, and
  • can support regular backups.

An on-premise DAM tends to be costlier, as it requires hardware and regular dedicated support from the internal IT department to manage the system.

In addition, organizations that implement an on-premise DAM will be responsible for backups. Because of this, there will almost always be capacity underutilization that results in a higher total cost of ownership than a flexible cloud-based model offers.

It’s also important to consider the needs of the departments who will use the system. Communication between Marketing and IT, for example, may prove to be challenging as each group has its own processes and working styles. Marketing may have issues highlighting the challenges they experience or logging requests that are in the proper format and terminology for the IT team to understand and produce.

SaaS DAM Platform

A SaaS DAM solution is hosted in the cloud by a service provider and typically includes a set-up fee and a monthly or yearly subscription fee that corresponds to the storage and user requirements of each organization. SaaS DAM features are usually configurable, but not customizable. The provider is responsible for storage, updates, and back-ups, meaning there are no internal hardware or software requirements for the buyer.

It’s important to highlight though, that the DAM is not completely hands-off for the organization, and requires on-going management that includes branding; setting up keywords, metadata, taxonomy; and being diligent with organization and routine cleanup.

A cloud-based solution is most suitable for organizations that:

  • have straightforward DAM requirements,
  • employ geographically-dispersed creative teams that communicate and work on shared assets,
  • require the ability to scale asset storage and users on-demand,
  • do not want to strain IT resources, and/or
  • desire specialist support.

Which One is Right for You?

A shorthand way of determining whether an on-premises solution or a SaaS solution is more suitable for your company is to gauge where your priorities lay on the three ‘Cs’:

  • Cost
  • Customization, and
  • Complexity.

Generally speaking, an on-premise solution is higher in all three. Reviewing your current set up and understanding your priorities in these terms will help you with this foundational DAM decision. To learn more about DAM and considerations for enterprise companies, download our latest eBook “Choosing the Right DAM”.

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