When the pandemic hit, businesses yet to embrace remote working had little choice. Office-based workers shifted to home working and with little hesitancy, organizations accelerated adoption of tools now seen as a business necessity.
Since then, the pace of work has only increased, and if anything, expectations have risen that people are now capable of working seamlessly over distance. As we emerge from Covid, the concept of hybrid working has flourished – meaning employees can work from a mixture of the workplace office and home office. Some will find themselves on the road again as normality returns.
Now is the prime opportunity for businesses to review not only their employees’ employment contracts to confirm where and how their teams will work long-term, but also whether the technology they use every day can enable the much-lauded productivity gains of hybrid working.
Zoom, Teams and Slack have become part of business vocabulary, but many organizations are now moving to the next level and evaluating specialist software such as digital asset management (often called DAM) to give their teams the edge.
So, exactly what is DAM, how is it supercharging hybrid working, and why is it no longer only the preserve of large companies?
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An introduction to DAM
It’s simple. DAM provides a centralized library where digital content – such as imagery, video, documents, design files and presentations – can be stored, managed and shared. And it offers heaps of features that improve organization and transform team efficiency.
DAM is cloud-based meaning internal teams and approved third parties can securely access the same files wherever in the world they might be. It ensures that everyone is working in the same consistent way and that files and content are easily discoverable.
But why, you might say, is this any different to popular file storage services like Google Drive, SharePoint, Dropbox, or Box?
With built-in features such as image recognition, smart tagging and version control, plus integrations with design programs and desktop suites like Microsoft Office, DAM software is dedicated to helping you to organize and distribute thousands of media files.to save, find and share. It removes dependency on internal shared servers, bulging online storage folders, as well as needing time-consuming WeTransfer type services.
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The benefits in a world of hybrid work
Before Covid-19 struck, every organization was already experiencing content overload. The number of digital assets created and stored on a weekly basis is rising exponentially. Tracking down content is becoming ever more challenging, and when new recruits arrive the problem is compounded.
The risk now is that time lost to searching for files, and team members distracting each other virtually, can be magnified through hybrid working. Yet DAM is helping forward-thinking companies to overcome this. Remotely based team members and third-party contractors, agencies, suppliers, partners and distributors can locate what they need immediately.
Here are five reasons why organizations across all industries are now turning to DAM:
1. It means everyone works in the same way.
DAM software aligns all users to save files in the same secure way, so that they’re then discoverable by colleagues regardless of location and timezone. It means no more saving to desktops, shared servers or cumbersome Google Drive, Dropbox or SharePoint accounts.
Businesses in many industries are recruiting right now. For new joiners, being able to find files immediately, by simply searching for keyword tags or with the help of AI and facial recognition means they can hit the ground running and don’t need to distract teammates as they gain an understanding of content and how their team collaborates.
2. It makes it smoother to work with external partners.
Most organizations work with agencies, consultants, contractors, freelancers, or other temporary staff in some capacity. They need access to files but sharing what they need can take time. It’s often not appropriate to give complete access to a shared drive or folder to a third party, but splitting files into multiple folders or sending individual files can be a drain. WeTransfer can involve time-consuming uploads and download links automatically expire. Using DAM is far more efficient. With a few clicks, admins can provide access to only the files that need to be shared, avoiding duplication or file transfer. This is particularly useful for commercially sensitive projects where confidentiality is required.
If you work with international offices, major clients, distributors, franchisees, members, influencers, or even the media, a branded Portal can be set up that allows invited parties to log in and download assets that you can regularly keep updated.
3. It offers hundreds of tools, features and integrations.
This is where DAM sets itself apart. For example, image recognition, facial recognition and optical character recognition (OCR) technology within DAM mean team members can find all imagery featuring objects, people, locations or designs in just a click or two. Integration with software your team already uses – like Microsoft Office and Slack – means DAM is easily adopted. It makes life easy for designers too. Integration with Adobe design programs like Photoshop and InDesign allows for faster image and video editing and saving – with the latest versions immediately synced for all to see.
4. It’s a scalable cloud solution.
As your organization’s DAM usage increases, it’s no problem – it sits on the likes of Amazon Web Services to offer ample and secure storage capacity. DAM usage often grows once it is embedded into workplace culture – it is quickly adopted by more departments when the use case is clear. No matter your number of customers, partners, brands, product groups or franchisees who need access to assets, you can create unlimited branded Portals.
Subscription models that suit start-ups to SMEs to enterprise mean DAM is no longer only an option for blue-chip firms.
5. It’s quick and easy to get started.
Brilliant user experience is an expectation for cloud-based software and DAM is no different. It’s designed so neither your team nor your external partners will need support using the platform. New team members can dive in without lengthy training inductions.
DAM platforms are designed to make the migration of files into your new library a pain-free process. Uploading the folders you need from a shared server or desktop to your DAM platform is fast, and you can easily sync folders from OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox. You’ll be better organized and able to take advantage of the features DAM offers right away.
With office-based team members already using tools like Zoom, Slack and Teams daily, the case has been proven for software that enables communication and consistency at work. The next step, in the new world of hybrid working, is to look at the software which will help you fulfill the promise of greater productivity. If this matters to your organization, DAM is worth investigating.
Not only can DAM boost your commercial performance, but it can also aid culture and talent retention by making it easier for employees to do a great job, wherever they may be.
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Mike Paxton, digital asset management expert, Canto