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Issue Date: December 2006

DAM brings order

1 December 2006
Grant Hodgkinson, business development director, Mint

Digital asset management helps bring order to the unstructured content frontier.
One billion gigabytes: the expected amount of digital content to be produced across the globe in 2009, according to a 2003 study conducted by the University of California at the Berkeley School of Information Management and Systems. The content will comprise graphics, images, movies, sound clips, documents; anything stored in digital form. Despite the mind-blowing figure, this also shows how the storage of content is changing quickly; from documents, we are now storing sound, graphics and videos as well.
Businesses are skirting the edge of a veritable digital frontier, and the management of these resources is absolutely critical.
Digital asset management, otherwise referred to as digital media asset management, refers to the effective consumption, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of a company's digital assets, particularly graphics, images and multimedia content. As a market, it is expanding rapidly to the point where independent research firm IDC believes the industry will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of more than 25% during a five-year forecast period. At this rate, it will speedily outperform the overall content management market.
Hot on the heels of this statistic, however, is the next: more than 40% of organisations still lack a commercial content management system and any accompanying digital asset management solution (IDC).
Implemented in the right way, as a component of an overall enterprise management content platform, digital asset management will enable organisations to manage images, video and other media assets. It will reduce the time and cost associated with content production and maximise the return on investment in media assets. It will also greatly improve the handling of any media asset in a collaboration environment.
Easily view all media assets
For example: an organisation embarking on a marketing campaign is required to source the most recent company logos, photographs that would be useful, previous artwork that has been created for earlier campaigns; in fact, any media asset that can inform and benefit the new project at hand. The first impact of digital asset management in this case is that it enables the organisation to easily view all of its media assets, some of which it may have forgotten or misplaced.
The second impact is that it enables the organisation to work with the necessary media assets in file formats and sizes that do not negatively impact on company bandwidth. The original image can remain untouched, while the scaled version can be moved between the relevant parties until the final moment, when the original can be used to guarantee the necessary levels of quality.
The third impact is that a digital asset management solution empowers true collaboration, thus increasing productivity and reducing the chance of error or miscommunication from creeping in.
According to research conducted by GISTICS, creative professionals spend an average of one out of every 10 hours on file management alone. Searching accounts for a full third of that time. A media file is searched for on average 83 times a week and failure to find the file occurs more than 35% of the time. Digital asset management can reduce this figure significantly by empowering workers to spend less time locating assets and more time working on the project at hand.
A good working example of the power of digital asset management is its application in the textile industry. Using appropriate platforms in the background, many US-based textile mills have boosted business by making available images of their weaves. These images can be moved around and the viewer can zoom in or out to see the product from different perspectives. The image on the website is not the original as that would be too cumbersome to enable such flexibility.
It is this kind of innovation which will ensure success on the frontier of unstructured content.
For more information contact Grant Hodgkinson, Mint, +27 (0) 11 700 4560,

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