What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

Despite the industry existing for some time now, one of the most common questions we get at Canto is “what is digital asset management?” Well, there’s a short answer and a long answer.


The short answer:

It’s that thing that manages your media files and makes you go “oh, there’s a name for that!”


The long answer:

The long answer is purposely more dense, since digital asset management systems are all about being feature-rich and capable of solving many needs. The definition of DAM is a business process for organizing, managing, storing, and retrieving media files and managing specific rights and permissions. “Digital assets” is the term attributed to business-oriented media files, including images, videos, audio files, presentations, documents, and more. They’re considered assets because their value is to help generate revenue through marketing campaigns, media services, and more.

Digital asset management can be a solution to a variety of different use cases. It can solve the needs of:

  • a photographer needing to add watermarks to his or her photos
  • a real estate company that has to organize property photos by locations and pricing
  • an educational institution with lots of images to manage for their website
  • a sports team that has to relate different types of media files to specific marketing campaigns
  • an enterprise company with thousands of assets to be securely distributed to hundreds of collaborators
  • a marketing agency that wants to share media files through portals that are branded specifically to their clients
  • a small team that just needs to easily find files, and ideally more quickly than other file storage options


That, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg for what DAM is and can do. There are plenty of resources available for DAM novices to learn more, including topics on integrated applications, smart collaboration practices, and simply following through on that desire for a better workflow.

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