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Building Your Digital Media Supply Chain Today for Innovation Tomorrow

What can we learn about digital asset management (DAM) from COVID-19? In the 2022 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Kasra Ferdows, Hau L. Lee, and Xiande Zhao explore how the COVID-19 pandemic created an environment for innovation in supply chain management. In “How to Turn a Supply Chain Platform into an Innovation Engine,” the authors identify keys to creating a supply chain platform that drives innovation. 

The lessons learned from this important research are not limited to physical supply chains; they apply to digital media supply chains, too. While digital asset management tools don’t have physical ships to track, or widgets to count, your DAM can serve as a media supply chain platform that can help your team innovate. Open systems for digital media enable teams to build a better media supply, faster, and distribute those resources efficiently and beautifully.

According to to Ferdows, Lee, and Zhao; a physical supply chain drives innovation by:

  • Enlarging the supplier network quickly
  • Looking beyond procurement
  • Generating new opportunities and solutions

Let’s explore how the right digital asset supply chain extends the same innovation-driving benefits as a physical supply chain. 

Your digital media supply chain is dispersed, whether it’s physically with your internal creative team, or dispersed among multiple creative firms or photographers. 

Multiple suppliers fuel your media supply chain.You may interact with these suppliers (internal or external) through workflow tools like Workfront, Wrike, Asana, and others. Your company may also use storage tools like Dropbox or Box to facilitate sharing these assets over email. If your operations are really old school, you might even have an FTP server where your creative teams are uploading creative assets.

Without a clear way to ingest and organize the creative assets coming from these stakeholders, they can get lost in the process, or your suppliers may not have clarity regarding the proper way to transfer their work to your organization.

The right media supply chain tool accommodates the various tools that your suppliers use, and provides a unified process to ingest those creative assets and properly categorize and organize them.

This unified process also applies to user generated content, whether it be reviews, feeds from social media, or content directly uploaded by users their own content. The same asset management principles apply regardless of the source of those assets. 

Creative assets live well beyond your own hard drives or even your cloud systems. They are requested by far more than one team of people who have a login to your DAM.

In retail, creative assets may be used in product information management (PIM) systems, e-commerce tools, or ERP systems. E-commerce managers, front-end developers, marketers, product managers, and more all need creative assets to drive revenue.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a stakeholder could just open their PIM, or e-commerce tool, and see their product images populated with all the appropriate versions of their creative assets and their metadata?

How happy would your marketing managers be if the promotional video they approved minutes ago magically appeared on the landing page ready to publish for their spring promotion, across every type of device?

Imagine news editors automatically seeing the image they selected for their lead being sized properly for the article column, the front page, the online article, the mobile app, and any other applications.

Hotel and travel companies source media from individual properties, consumers, corporate contracted photographers, and more. A simple repository of that media can’t meet the needs of all the individuals and applications that call on it.The best metadata schema in the world is only useful if it can help guide where that media is published and  how it is sized, all the while ensuring the highest fidelity possible.

Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) are a crucial part of your experience architecture. They provide the connection between content platforms, data platforms, and publishing technologies. The right media supply chain connects easily to expedite publishing and personalization of your creative assets.

How many initiatives, projects, or great ideas get shelved because you don’t have the media tools to make them work?

The immersive product experience with an interactive 3D model that you’ve dreamed of can be a reality with a digital media supply chain that does more than store a file.

As you build your AR, VR, or metaverse experiences, your media supply chain needs to enable all parties to source, store, and deliver assets across all your channels. This helps reduce redundancy and turns those immersive experiences you’ve dreamt of into a reality.

For years, personalized experiences have been a holy grail of e-commerce, but few had the power to deliver. Decisioning engines, analytics tools, and content management platforms build a framework to deliver experiences and measure their efficacy, but building customized experiences at scale is the elusive missing piece.

The right media supply chain not only makes assets available, it customizes them, on the fly, to enable mass personalization with minimal human effort.

Businesses often have to choose between multiple, overlapping technologies to make their digital dreams come true. Whether those dreams are fueled by driving more revenue or improving process efficiencies, businesses need to shift their paradigm from buying a document repository to building a media supply chain.

Building the right media supply chain — one that enlarges the supplier network and procures and disseminates creative assets at scale — leads to the kinds of innovation that generate new opportunities and solutions.

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