How to Select a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system
What to look for when choosing a DAM system?
Posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

There are many vendors that offer DAM Solutions; however, with so many choices, how do you choose the right product?

First of all: budget and resources should be established before looking at possibilities. Some companies have resources but do not have the budget so Open Source options like TACTIC would work. Some do have limited budget and resources so vendors that offer services around Open Source solutions may work best. Others have no restrictions but have intense technical requirements that only a few vendors can match. Once you have narrowed down the list based on your position you need to look at the technical requirements when evaluating DAM systems.

Cloud, On-Premise or Hybrid: How you store your files and how you host your workflow solution would determine the right product. Ideally, you want a solution that’s flexible for you for now and for the future. Many products and vendors have restrictions so once you know what you want will reduce the vendor candidate list.

Number of users: Is there a restriction to the number of users that can use the system? Does it impact the cost of the tool? Some DAM software requires a per seat license model and so the cost of the license goes up with the number of users.

File Size: Different solutions could apply depending on the number and the type of files that will accumulate over time. For Cloud solutions, file size could also lengthen the time it takes to upload which in turn affects the user experience. Most digital asset management vendors will charge extra for handling high volume storage.

Integration: Ideally, your workflow solution should work well with the database engines out there. For example, TACTIC integrates well with Sqlite, PostgreSQL, MySql, Oracle, SQLServer and to some extent MongoDB. Therefore, you may want to list the database type preferred in your firm so you are able to match the provider capabilities to yours. TACTIC is also able to connect to multiple database server type simultaneously. For large companies we suggest you look for this ability in a vendor solution.

Version Control: As you or your team make changes to your assets, it is very important to have version control which will enable you to keep track of your asset’s history and revert back if needed.

Search: It is important to be able to find files based on file type, keyword, metadata description and owner to name a few. It is handy that directory and file naming convention can be pre-defined so every user will adopt the same rule on a check-in of a few. Alternatively, the user can focus on one item at a time and try to organize the associated files underneath in the Repository browser. One advantage of TACTIC is that it provides a customizable directory structure that the administrator (or users) can understand if the browser based UI was removed and you needed to present the user with the file system in Windows Explorer or Finder.

Security: Security has many facets to it. In the age of ‘social media’ we are familiar with ‘what’ content and information about ourselves should be visible to people and with different access levels. In the same context, having the right level of access for the right group of personnel in the company could also lead to enhanced security (reduced human error with bonus of improved efficiency). Then there is also the technology used in the server and the client. At the bare minimum, you want them be considered secure by today’s standards.

Support: Finally, with many options in both open source and paid solutions available to companies it is important to choose a vendor that is customer focused with a strong customer service ethos and a team of developers ready to help when/if needed. This is probably the most overlooked feature when evaluating solutions but it is often the most important one. This is why TACTIC is created and backed by the company Southpaw Technology, which, has a customer service team and a team of developers ready to assist for any level of deployment.

This overview is just a starting point for most companies. Most will have very specific requirements which should be discussed and well documented with your team prior to searching for a DAM Solution.

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