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Embrace the Power of Digital-First Asset Management

As the world changes, so does technology. I don’t need to name more than a handful of antiquated technologies before you nod in agreement: floppy disks, Walkmans, phone booths, VHS tapes, each of which have been phased out or rendered useless by new solutions that meet the same need but much more effectively.

In today’s digital and hyper-competitive world, businesses must find the technologies that best meet specific challenges. For all that, as needs change, you can tweak or customize certain existing technologies, those updates don’t always check the box for a use case, or they turn out to be a hindrance rather than a help. At a certain point, once-trusted solutions aren’t the optimal technology they once were, requiring reassessment and exploration for other answers.

Let’s talk about solutions for digital asset management, called DAMs for short. Instead of being obsolete, legacy DAMs still do the job for many organizations. However, in the modern economy, in which visual, high-quality content trumps, traditional DAMs that did not accord visual media top priority come up short. Read on for why brands need a digital-first DAM instead.

The original DAM was created for the jump from a hardcopy-based sphere to a digital one. After being scanned, physical documents and images were stored in digital form. In fact, many legacy DAMs still serve as asset storage only and, even if they offer more features, they don’t cater to the entire asset lifecycle. As a result, creatives and marketing teams are hard pressed to keep up in the digital world.

Reality is, online interplay takes place in subsecond intervals. In an ideal world, websites load fast, followed by instantaneous interactions. Absent that behavior, brand perception suffers because today’s consumers have high expectations. Correspondingly, visual content must be timely and relevant, which means that an asset is spotlighted for only a short while before being replaced by something new and more eye catching.

Hence, the asset-management process in a digital world must be fast, slick, and automated. Legacy DAMs take unnecessary lag time, e.g., creating an asset and all its variations (crops, ratios, sizes for various devices and channels) takes on average two weeks. The remedy? Switch to a digital-first DAM, whose capabilities significantly accelerate the content-creation process and, therefore, time to market for products and campaigns. That’s because, besides being able to store a huge volume of visual files, digital-first DAMs also automate numerous transformation tasks. You can leverage assets and their various versions the moment you need them, not days or weeks later.

Pushing the envelope being the name of the game in business today, you must communicate value and intrigue to consumers post haste. The most effective way to do that is with visuals like video, motion graphics, and photos. Major brands have huge budgets along with multi-tiered marketing teams and armies of creatives and developers dedicated to building, transforming, and delivering visuals online. Above all, those teams are armed with the latest and greatest tools that support their efforts.

As channels and device types multiply, large enterprises can maintain their digital presence just fine; not so for those not equipped to keep up. Competing with digital goliaths is extremely difficult for smaller companies with stretched-thin resources. So, those companies must work smarter, not harder, by adopting a digital-first DAM.

Digital-first asset management does the following:

  • Adapts to changing business requirements by integrating seamlessly, either directly or indirectly through APIs, into existing applications and software.
  • Covers the entire asset lifecycle, from creation to delivery, by interfacing with, for example, Adobe Creative Cloud apps. Not only does this capability future-proof you for upcoming needs, it also benefits organization-wide collaboration and content delivery.
  • Offers a single source of truth for version control, leading to consistency in workflows across DAM, CMS, PIM (product information management), and CDN (content delivery network).

Here’s a case study that illustrates how automated content workflows through a digital-first DAM can accelerate content delivery, and, simultaneously, boost competitiveness.

Before adopting a digital-first DAM, a major retailer’s creative workflow for visual media started with multiple iterations for transformations, followed by manual uploads to a legacy DAM and PIM. Oftentimes, originals were lost, or confusion resulted from the various versions, leading to errors and rework. Not to mention the load of time and energy involved in the manual creation of multiple versions for the broad spectrum of viewing devices.

After switching to a digital-first DAM, the retailer saw an immediate benefit to its workflow, time to market, and competitiveness. Thanks to the DAM’s automation and AI-based features, many interim steps were eliminated, streamlining the process for creating and editing visuals with no ambiguity whatsoever. In short order, the company’s photo shoot-to-delivery cycle dropped by 90%, and tasks that once took 30 to 60 days to complete needed only six days.

Staying relevant and competitive today requires a digital-first mindset. Start with understanding the merits of a digital-first DAM. For details on how Cloudinary can advance your digital-first strategy, contact us today.

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