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How to choose a DAM for my company?

How to choose a Digital Asset Management (DAM) System for my business

The question is, how do you choose a DAM? Let’s go over some questions you should ask while looking at DAM software as well as some mistakes to avoid while making this decision.

How do I choose the right Digital Asset Management (DAM) System?
How do I choose the right Digital Asset Management (DAM) System?

Small and medium-sized businesses often avoid using Digital Asset Management due to a number of factors, whether it’s the initial cost setup or the manpower requirements. These are all valid objections.

The demand for adequate DAM solutions keeps growing. In the same vein, as our businesses become increasingly digitized, we grow more aware of the value of our digital assets. By 2022 the global DAM market is estimated to be worth more than $5.65 billion.

In the following sections we will:

  1. Discuss the most important considerations when you are DAM shopping for your business
  2. Mention some common mistakes to avoid
  3. Compare some deployment strategies

How to choose a DAM

Most importantly, realize that a DAM is a tool, not a solution. Your deployment is only going to be effective if you choose the right DAMS for the right job.

So, ask yourself: “What do I need my DAMS to do?” We have consulted with hundreds, if not thousands of potential customers and suggest the following questions.

Who are my users? Who is this solution actually for?

Often, we overlook the needs and the demands of the end-user. We are sold on glitzy presentations and promises of productivity boosts. If you want to know how to choose a DAM, start with your users.

Firstly, it is essential to get a solution that is actually a solution to your problem. Buying a DAMS that does not fit your organization, at the coalface, is pointless.

How to choose a DAM for my company?
How to choose a DAM for my company?

Secondly, think of your DAMS as a warehouse or a library. Some users will put stuff in and users will take stuff out. Make sure that you understand who takes stuff out (e.g. sales and publishing departments) and who puts the stuff in (e.g. marketing).

Finally, consider your company culture when you decide how to choose a digital asset management system. Your project is doomed to fail if you can not get the end-users excited and motivated about using the system. You have to market your DAM not only to the management but also to the end-user.

Ensure that you understand your user’s needs and that you buy into a solution that works for them. Otherwise, your brand new DAMS will sit as an unused, unloved, white elephant in your office.

Also, know your workflow when thinking of how to choose a digital asset management system. Make sure that you have spoken to and understand the challenges your users face when they:

  • Upload new files to the DAM
  • Use assets from the DAM and why they face these challenges
  • Like and dislike about the current (if any) system.

Users love Daminion. It is so easy to learn that even a complete novice is up and running with a few hours of instruction.

In what format (type of files) are our digital assets?

The next step is to take stock. Even small companies have many data silos to store different things. Take an inventory of all the different types of files that your users will handle. E.g. legal will have PDF documents and scans, marketing will work with videos, JPEGs, Photoshop and Illustrator files and others.

Different file formats are not an issue when you choose a DAMS like Daminion with broad format support. Daminion works for architects, educators, tourism marketers and many other creative industries. An understanding of what files you are working with will give you insight into how to work with them when you decide on how to choose a DAM.

What is the actual issue that we are trying to solve?

Office worker wonders how to choose a DAM.
Office worker wonders how to choose a DAM.

Now, this is a business or process question, not a technical one. Try to identify what you are trying to streamline. As a first step, you should try to identify where the pain is before getting the wrong medicine. When thinking of how to choose a digital asset management system, managers often skip this step.

Please feel free to reach out to us. We have a team of specialist consultants on staff that will gladly discuss your case and assess if Daminion is the right fit for you.

Rookie mistakes to avoid

Metadata? Who cares about metadata?

When you are dealing with the big picture (deployment, functionality, user experience and strategy,) it is easy to forget about the heart of the DAM. Especially if this is the first time that you are deciding on how to choose a digital asset management system, I bet that metadata is the last thing on your list of things to worry about.

However, consider your DAMS as the inventory of your warehouse, or the catalogue of your library. If you do not know where to find your stock or book, they are useless assets that do not add value to your business.

Metadata is the most crucial part of your DAMS. Daminion excels in managing your metadata. Daminion supports a variety of metadata standards including EXIF, IPTC and XMP. This is vital when you choose a DAM,

Do not underestimate the total cost of ownership

Daminion is priced on a user connection pool model. With most other vendors you have to consider that this is only part of the cost you will incur.

ItemDaminionOther vendors
Training & SupportIncluded$$$
Maintenance fees1 year included$$$

Altogether, excluding any additional hardware and networking infrastructure, this is what you need to look at when thinking of how to choose a DAM. With your Daminion purchase, there are no hidden costs or nasty surprises.


Where and how are you going to deliver your DAMS, that is the question. When you choose a DAM you have to decide if you are going to deploy in the cloud or host on-premise. Each approach has pros and cons that might change how you choose a digital asset management system.

Cloud hosting? How to choose a DAM?
Cloud hosting? How to choose a DAM?

Cloud deployment

There are a number of advantages to hosting in the cloud, including rapid scaling, low startup costs and quick implementation. However, cloud-based DAMS are less secure. Depending on the host you choose, (it might be a multi-tenant public cloud like Amazon Web Services) you have to be aware of the additional security vulnerabilities you are exposed to on the WWW.

In-house (on-premise) deployment

Firstly if you choose to host in-house when you choose a digital asset management system, you are not a tenant renting space from a service provider. All your assets are stored in-house, managed by your IT department and owned by you. This overhead presents a unique challenge when you do not have the infrastructure and human resources in place to host this scenario.

However, there is an upside…

Firstly, you are in charge of your system and you can make it as open or closed as you like.

Secondly, you own your assets. You are not beholden to any service provider and their terms of service as is the case when you host in the cloud.

Finally, in-house is more secure. There are fewer vulnerabilities to stress your IT department out.

In closing

DAMS are big time savers and when implemented your teams will wonder how they ever coped without it.

But it is a big purchase. We would love to connect with you and discuss your needs and how Daminion can work for you.

Getting started with Daminion

Are your corporate digital assets still disorganized or you want to check this? Request a demo and get all your questions answered with one of our resident customer champions.

or  visit Daminion website

Dean Kruger

Digital Asset Manager and Head of Research Department at Gatehouse Commercials. Daminion Administrator and User Training expert since 2011.

I love street photography and find every excuse I can to go out and shoot unsuspecting strangers in the urban jungle.