Winning CFO Backing for DAM

White Paper

World economic forces and the pervasive nature of web, social media, and mobile technologies have created significant marketing challenges for global enterprises. It’s not surprising, then, that leading enterprise companies and creative agencies are responding by developing new models for their marketing operations.

These companies and agencies are streamlining their organizations and workflows. They’re replacing small, regional, resource intensive production teams with large, centralized, easily accessible service organizations. And these new organizations are deploying enterprise-grade creative workflow technologies that can produce consistently branded, cross-media assets and campaigns more quickly and cost-effectively than ever before.

At the heart of this new model is the digital asset management (DAM) solution, which offers a centralized location for the storage, organization, management, access, approval, conversion, and distribution of digital media files. DAM systems save time and money in a number of ways. They reduce errors; they enable easy repurposing of assets; and they eliminate lengthy file searches, wasteful asset re-creation, and delivery expenses.

But perhaps more importantly, DAM systems increase marketing effectiveness by helping ensure quality, brand consistency, and fast time-to-market. And by giving globally distributed teams quick access to the files they need, DAM systems help staff focus more time on their core work.

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The challenge: Managing digital media and brands across distributed global enterprises

Digital creative assets are central to all marketing initiatives. But global ad agencies and enterprise marcom organizations report numerous obstacles when it comes to managing their digital assets.

These pain points include:

Inefficient use of resources - Too much time and money is spent on asset-management activities that don’t generate revenue, including searching for files, fixing file errors, recreating missing files, posting files to multiple locations, and delivering files via FTP, discs, and drives. And, in an effort to manage asset flow and storage across a variety of disparate systems and servers, IT resources are often overtaxed as well.

Ineffective collaboration - Globally distributed team members who use ad-hoc collaboration workflows take too long to review, approve, and hand off creative work. Delayed time-to-market means lost revenue.

Loss of quality and brand control - Distribution and publishing errors are common, resulting in the release of outdated, unapproved, or unlicensed creative. Brand loyalty and customer satisfaction can suffer as a result.

Determining DAM ROI: Financial considerations and solution benefits

Like all enterprise technologies, DAM solutions represent a substantial investment that includes costs for storage servers, staff training, and IT support. As such, CFOs and CTOs must be convinced of their value. Without a thorough understanding of DAM ROI, executives often make the common mistake of providing each small marketing group or agency satellite with its own production server - incurring much higher technology and support costs.

Executives must also be convinced that staff will maximize their investments in DAM solutions. Enterprises can’t afford to purchase powerful technology that no one uses, so every effort must be made to avoid internal resistance to adoption. Organizations need to ensure that employees understand the business benefits. They must also ensure that key stakeholders receive effective training so they can champion the technology and its workflow advantages as they train others.

So what are the bottom-line benefits of DAM investments? How do these solutions eliminate asset-management pain points and mitigate risks, ultimately helping enterprises reduce marketing overhead and increase marketing effectiveness?

Key DAM benefits include:

Time and money savings - By helping enterprises reduce marketing-operations overhead, DAM systems free up money and resources that can be applied to revenue-generating activities.

Competitive advantage - Because DAM systems accelerate the process of creating and distributing digital assets, enterprises can respond more quickly to customer needs and market forces - delivering more targeted, timely campaigns and communications.

Mitigation of business risk - By offering permissions-based access to digital content as well as digital rights-management controls, DAM solutions protect the investments enterprises have made in their brands.

New revenue streams - Because DAM systems make it faster and easier to repurpose digital content across devices and platforms, they open up possibilities for new revenue streams.the greatest and most immediate benefit? How will a new system fit in with the software tools or workflow solutions you already have in place? Is your hardware platform robust enough to handle new system components?

Implementing DAM systems: Best practices for distributed enterprise deployments

Globally distributed agencies and enterprises have found success implementing DAM systems using a flexible and economical “hub and spoke” model. The hub of these deployments is the central DAM repository, typically located at the marketing organization’s main site. This server or server cluster acts as the master archive for all digital files, and it hosts the vast majority of production activity related to file creation, approval, conversion, and delivery.

The spokes in this model are DAM servers located at key satellite offices where some production work is done, often related to prepress and other specialized tasks. These satellite servers communicate with the main server, syncing and exchanging files.

Finally, portal servers can deployed for internal corporate teams or agency clients who need to access files for viewing, approval, and download. These servers are often customized to reflect the team’s or client’s unique branding and preferences.

Additional considerations: Workflow automation, soft proofing, and robust server technologies

With this efficient DAM deployment model, enterprises can do more than just streamline their digital asset workflows. They can also reduce the need for hardware and software resources and maintenance, thus reducing the burden on their IT departments.

Creative workflow automation and soft-proofing solutions work hand-in-hand with DAM solutions at many agencies and enterprises worldwide. With workflow automation, organizations can replace manual, multi-step processes for checking document integrity, converting files, distributing files, and other jobs with fully automated workflows that save manpower and help ensure timely, accurate output. They can also enable geographically dispersed team members to track the flow of jobs from start to finish via a web browser, boosting transparency and productivity.

Remote proofing systems offer color-accurate, web-based proofing that allows distributed teams to share, review, mark-up, and approve assets in real time or at their convenience, eliminating the time and expense associated with using paper proofs. And considering the huge amounts of data that creative organizations store and move across their global networks, the right infrastructure must be in place. Connectivity needs to be excellent and bandwidth ample. Server hardware must offer extreme scalability and high performance, with the ability to move hundreds of gigabytes of data per second.

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