- What DAM functionality do I actually need?
- Does SharePoint offer this functionality?
- What are the additional benefits I get from purchasing a DAM system?
- What is the difference in cost between customising SharePoint or buying a separate DAM system?
So, what is SharePoint and DAM anyway?
What is SharePoint?As per the Microsoft Office website, they say that:
Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox.
What is Digital Asset Management?DAM Glossary’s definition of Digital Asset Management:
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a collective term applied to the process of storing, cataloguing, searching and delivering computer files (or digital assets). These may take the form of video, audio, images, print marketing collateral, office documents, fonts or 3D models. Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems centralise assets and establish a systematic approach to ingesting assets so they can be located more easily and used appropriately
Okay, got that… They look pretty similar definitions. So, what’s the difference?We must admit, the definitions above are confusing on first read because they are quite similar. Let’s put it another way so you can understand the intended usage of these systems:
Let’s look at SharePoint in more detailSharePoint is the platform that creates pages (and subpages) and can be used by individual members of one or several teams. A SharePoint Site (SPS) is the specific website area where you and your team share, collaborate and access information. For example a user in the Marketing team, primarily uses the marketing SPS but may want to view the HR site for information about latest personnel incentives or they may want to access the Sales SPS to review how sales are progressing over the month.
How does a DAM system work?
A DAM system works differently. Users from different teams and project teams use one DAM system to manage, access and share digital assets.
As you can see all team members (depending on access permissions) can potentially use the DAM site to store and access Digital Assets. The assets uploaded onto the DAM site have metadata added to them and are categorised accordingly. We’ve created another diagram below, of how a team could potentially use a SharePoint site and a DAM system together. As you can see these systems don’t replace each other, instead they work side-by-side to enhance the team members performance. In some respects they do have similar features, but they aren’t supposed to be used in place of each other.
It is important to note, that these structures are only suggested set-ups for a DAM and SharePoint solutions. There are lots of other set-up solutions out there for you to consider if you decide to proceed with implementing these systems.
What features do these pieces of software feature?We’ve used an article by DAM Foundation’s Elizabeth Keathley ‘What is a DAM? The 10 characteristics of a Digital Asset Management System’ to help identify the key characteristics of a DAM system and explore how SharePoint measures up.
|Features||Digital Asset Management||SharePoint|
|Uploading and Downloading Files||Yes||Yes|
|Methods by which assets can be shared and/or linked||Yes||Yes|
|Administrative capabilities and the ability to have different user types||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to perform actions on ‘batches’ of assets, such as upload, download, add to gallery, add metadata etc||Yes||Some configuration required|
|Unique ID codes for assets||Yes||Some configuration required|
|Can handle several different types of files most commonly images, documents and audiovisual files||Yes||Limited functionality|
|Workflow Capacity||Yes||Significant configuration required|
|The ability to create metadata fields/categories in addition to the meta data standards (IPTC, EXIF, XMP etc)||Yes||Significant configuration required|
|A robust and extensive taxonomy built on metadata fields/categories described above||Yes||Significant configuration required|
|Advanced search where metadata fields/categories described above||Yes||Significant configuration required|
What can you take away from this article?You should now be able to clearly recognise the difference between a DAM system and SPS. We now suggest that you think clearly about what you need to enhance your business processes, as the required software is likely to be a big and expensive purchase for your business. Here’s a bit of advice on the next steps on your journey to selecting a system that matches your needs:
- Make sure you do your research
- Read technical articles about SharePoint and DAM solutions
- Work with your team and manager to compile a list of the essential functionality of your system
- Find other organisations with similar needs and find out what solutions they use
- Read online reviews of solutions you are considering
- Shortlist solutions that are well-reviewed and match your requirements then give them a trial.
- Discuss the proposed solutions with your IT team