SharePoint has many virtues and capabilities but it is not a DAM (Digital Asset Management System), MAM, ECM or any other acronym for organising your digital content. Due to the volume of digital content we are creating today and the demands to deliver that content to more platforms, the need for a way of managing this data is essential. Just buying DropBox storage is not the answer and many SharePoint customers end up looking for solutions that are external to SharePoint that do not work with it, or they have to create bespoke integration which costs time and money.
So what defines a Digital Asset Management? Well the DAM Foundation have published a list of 10 characteristics that make a DAM a DAM and you can read the article here http://damfoundation.org/?p=31150. You will see that SharePoint has a few of those but certainly not all of them, so what elements should to be added to SharePoint to make it a functioning DAM?
The first is Metadata, this is essential given the volume of content you have in your libraries, you need to be able to identify each file as simply as possible. It is not just the standard data like EXIF or IPTC that you see in SharePoint today but the ability to add custom data to travel with the files is vital and this data should be able to be added in a batch process at import or at any other point. Once you have this metadata you need to be able to search for it offering a really deep search capability. It is amazing how many assets get lost and end up having to be re-uploaded or worse re-created due to a lack of robust metadata and search functionality.
The next thing is the ability to perform actions on ‘batches’ of assets and methods by which assets can be shared. Firstly the ability to upload files in a large batch rather than singularly is key, being able to access whole folder structures in a single process would be even better. Once you have uploaded the assets and used the powerful search you need to be able to create collections that can be easily delivered to clients, your website and process the assets to meet the requirements of those outputs. Ideally you would be able to automate this processing which could include things like changes to size, format, compositing graphics, within the SharePoint environment without the need to move to external apps. This would mean having the ability to add functionality like having a self service model to your libraries which means control over asset usage and reducing the impact on creative resources for simple work,
Another key element is the ability to handle many different file types, whether they are Office documents, Adobe CS files, linked PDFs for construction drawings, or 4K video. It is not just the ability to upload them but to be able to view them in place even multi-page assets or video, within SharePoint on any device whether this is a PC, a Mac, a smartphone or tablet which is key in the BYOD era. For this to work you need to use open standards that works across all these platforms like HTML5. The advantage of this is in the first instance is you can immediately see if this is the correct asset without having to download and open it in the host app which takes time and could be impossible on mobile devices. Secondly it encourages SharePoint adoption across your business as it will be usable on any platform.
A final feature I would add is that it should be seamlessly integrated with your SharePoint environment whether that is on premises or in the cloud, to minimise the need for expensive support and integration projects.
Turning SharePoint into a fully functioning DAM will reduce costs as the time spent finding and delivering the correct files will be cut significantly, it will also drive the adoption of SharePoint across the whole company speeding your ROI and make you more productive.
About the Author:
Chris Duke is VP of Product at Equilibrium makers of MediaRich ECM for SharePoint the leading solution that turns SharePoint into a visual asset manager. They have just released version 5, which is a game changer making the seemingly impossible – possible, instantly providing your users something to smile about.
To learn more about this or any of their other products visit http://www.equilibrium.com/eq-software/ or visit them at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago in May on Booth 250 where they will be showing version 5 and new Azure features that could save you months when deploying solutions!!
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European SharePoint Conference 2015 takes places in Stockholm Sweeden from 9-12 November 2015. View Programme>>