The tremendous growth of web-based collaborative tools and file-sharing platforms has led to people wondering what exactly the difference is between these kinds of solutions. More specifically, what’s the difference between a digital asset management solution (DAM) and a tool like Microsoft SharePoint? Secondary to that: if you have one, do you need the other? With some overlapping features and capabilities, it’s understandable that there’s some confusion.
In this post, we’ll cover the differences between the two systems and answer various questions you may have when considering these platforms. Specifically, we’ll touch on the definition of a DAM and SharePoint, the key features of each solution, and how to choose which is best for you.
TechTerms describes SharePoint as “a web-based platform used for sharing files and information. It is designed for teams and provides collaboration features, such as project management, messaging, and shared document storage.” As a Microsoft-designed file sharing platform, what makes SharePoint stand out is its collaboration features for teams. SharePoint generates pages and subpages to be used collaboratively by multiple teams at an organization. The main page or SharePoint Site (SPS) is where users collaborate, share, and access digital assets and information—using it as a dashboard. A typical use-case for SharePoint would be geo-dispersed teams who need to work together on a project, access information, communicate and track projects and tasks. It is not, however, recommended for primarily managing large amounts of media files, like photos or videos.
Three Key Benefits for Using SharePoint
1. Collaboration: It offers one place to easily share documents and information while working simultaneously with colleagues.
2. Communication: It acts as a company intranet, encouraging effective communication throughout the entire team, boosting engagement, and helping project coordination.
3. Productivity: Subsites help smaller teams within the organization working on projects to keep track of tasks and deadlines—getting more work done on time.
The Bottom Line
SharePoint is a great solution for project-based teams who need to be updated on tasks in real-time, communicate and collaborate simultaneously, but don’t need to navigate vast amounts of company media. If you're a larger team that requires more features to support the amount of media you have, using a DAM might be a better solution.
Digital Asset Management (DAM)
TechTarget defines digital asset management solutions as “system[s] for organizing, storing and retrieving rich media and managing digital rights and permissions.” A DAM is used to help marketing teams organize, collaborate on, and distribute their visual media (photos, videos, graphics, etc.) from within one central library. Typically focused on brand and marketing-related assets, it’s conventionally owned by the marketing team, but can be accessed by many other teams. A DAM allows users to manage any type of digital file from within the system and perform a variety of beneficial functions, including re-sizing and re-formatting their media, tracking usage history, and sharing large files easily. Additionally, a DAM provides organizations with increased media security, such as user permissions, compliance regulations, and watermarking.
Three Key Benefits of Using DAM
1. Asset Organization & Discovery: It makes storing, managing, and finding brand and marketing material (photos, videos, etc.) easy with artificial intelligence, keywords, and advanced searches.
2. Asset Control: Access permissions for internal and external users give organizations tighter rein on their digital media, plus it offers version control and history tracking.
3. Easy Sharing: A DAM includes features that enable easy sharing of large media files, such as high- res images, large-format videos, etc., over email or branded portals.
The Bottom Line
While a DAM allows for text-based file management, it’s best for companies that need a better way to produce, store, collaborate, share and distribute large amounts of marketing content (photos, videos, audio, etc.) If you’re a smaller team looking for a narrower solution in storing, organizing, and distributing documents alone, you may not need all of the features a DAM provides.
So, What’s the Difference?
The main differences between SharePoint and a digital asset management system are seen when there’s a demand for storing and sharing vast amounts of visual assets. Where SharePoint is a great platform to provide a shared workspace for team members, a DAM extends this workspace to another level by incorporating the ability to share media assets, files and information with everyone in one place. Only using SharePoint limits the efficiency and productivity levels that a DAM is able to provide.
Key Differences Between SharePoint and a DAM
- SharePoint is more of a document-focused system designed for collaboration and communication amongst team members, where a DAM focuses primarily on the organization and control of media files (photos, videos, etc.)
- Team members are able to share media files amongst each other within SharePoint, but not nearly to the same degree as a DAM. A DAM is a much broader tool that allows users to perform a variety of functions within the system while also making it easy to share digital files both internally and externally.
- A DAM allows users to distribute their assets across multiple different applications, through integration, while SharePoint offers one primary location where only those included in the system have access.
To simply answer the question: If I already have SharePoint, do I still need a DAM? The answer is YES!
Complementary, Not Competing
After a deeper look at the functionalities of both a DAM and SharePoint, it becomes clear that the systems are complementary to each other, rather than competing solutions. Integrating these two tools can help organizations streamline their workflows and increase productivity. Having a DAM as a single-source-of-truth for all assets while tapping into the effective project management and communication capabilities of SharePoint, offers a more complete solution.
With a DAM and SharePoint integration, users have access to video, 3D and creative files from within SharePoint, simplifying workflows and securing assets. Learn more about how MediaValet integrates with SharePoint here.
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. See MediaValet in action today.