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Managing Digital Assets

(September 2009) posted on Wed Sep 23, 2009

Organizing and archiving digital images and other assets.

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By Stephen Beals

It’s become increasingly necessary that a print provider be able to keep individual source images as well as completed graphics on file—and that these be easily searchable and findable. For most shops (and individuals), a plethora of icons litter desktops, file folders, servers, and storage drives. Eventually, however, this unmanageable herd of digital images and other assets will overwhelm the user’s ability to remember where a particular file may reside.

In time, only an asset-management system will serve to truly organize the array of files and prevent graphics losses and, ultimately, a customer catastrophe.

The current economic climate has changed the way companies are evaluating asset-management solutions, reports Aberdeen Group, the Boston-based research group. Just one year ago, the top two challenges that companies were seeking to address with asset-management investments were improved return on marketing investments and overall brand consistency. In 2009, however, these two challenges are now identified as secondary pressures. “Today, the number-one reason all companies are turning to digital asset management is operational productivity,” explains Ian Michiels, director of Aberdeen’s Customer Management Technology Group and author of the study, “Justifying Investments in Digital Asset Management.” “Companies are desperately trying to supplement a lack of top-line revenue with increased productivity to
maximize profitability.”

Which is where digital asset management enters the picture. As the Association of Graphic Solutions Providers (IPA) reports, “Brand owners’ increasing number of multi-channel targeted marketing programs has caused an explosion in the number of digital assets to manage. Clients are recognizing the need for a sophisticated DAM system that supports marketing across multiple media and allows for increased collaboration between their communication suppliers.”

What should asset management do?

Digital asset-management (DAM) systems are a solution for appropriately naming, organizing, storing, and, thankfully, finding those much needed digital files. For large clients who want the print provider to keep jobs on file for on-demand service, or small companies who have just one key high-resolution image used on every graphic, it’s the print provider that can ensure an image’s safety and quick recovery that will retain large and small clients alike.

But as you look about the marketplace for what asset-management systems are available to you and which might be best suited for your operation, you should also consider the bigger picture of DAM in your company.