by Nigel Machin – SharePoint Solution Architect 

What is Digital Asset Management?

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is the effective organisation, retrieval and distribution of digitised files such as images, videos and documents. It helps you get more value from creative assets like images and videos by making them easy to organise, access and distribute.

Why do I need Digital Asset Management?

For all organisations, there is a cost involved in the production of this type of asset, whether in storage, authoring or production costs. But the ability to swiftly locate these assets to get the most out of them is often a challenge.

In fact, many companies are losing productivity by the duplication of effort – the time spent recreating already existing information and repeating information requests. Time is also wasted searching around for existing assets and many are at risk of the loss of intellectual property by emailing attachments in and out of the business.

Without proper organisation, there is also a risk, in some instances, where users could access an incorrect data asset, which could have devastating financial and business consequences, such as accessing an incorrectly stored flight maintenance manual.

How Microsoft Office 365 helps with search

Many organisations have adopted Microsoft SharePoint or Office 365, which offers powerful toolsets, but the organisation and classification of assets are often overlooked.

Did you know Office 365 contains a large number of search capabilities, from native SharePoint search to powerful content search capabilities within the Office 365 Security and Compliance centre? And “Bing for Business,” which uses AI and Microsoft Graph, will shortly be fully available in Office 365. All these solutions promise great search solutions. However, many organisations overlook the business value of a well-designed and configured search, which is essential in managing and discovering information, maximising existing assets and ultimately, driving workforce productivity.

Digital Asset Management within Office 365

The powerful capabilities of Office 365 offer huge potential for asset management, but to fully leverage its capabilities, organisations need to understand the tasks and effort involved before the efficient management of digital assets can occur:

  • Organisations need to have an understanding of the importance of digital asset management and obtain sponsorship at board level.
  • Agreement on what constitutes an “asset.” Is every piece of data, a formal asset or only specific data? In large, knowledge-driven organisations, such as life sciences, a large amount of data would be a formal asset.
  • Form a working party to agree on common term sets and build a taxonomy of assets.
  • Formulate access policies to digital assets. Many systems fail due to unnecessary restrictive site access policies.
  • Communication planning and training.

At a technical level, it is important to translate the asset definitions into coherent information architecture. There are multiple ways to create and configure sites, libraries and content types. But two principles should be applied:

  1. Simplicity – Don’t create 1,000 SharePoint libraries each containing any more than 10 items when a centralised library simplifies navigation, access control and search.
  2. Sharing – Many Office 365 deployments do not live up to expectations because of unnecessary restrictive site access. “Hidden” assets locked behind restrictive access policies means they cannot be found across the wider community.

Effective data asset management can boost knowledge sharing and drive productivity within an organisation. But an asset is only an asset if it can be found and used.

To get the most of out the powerful search within Office 365  – and effectively your SharePoint licences  – your digital assets need to be set up right. Contact us for more details.

About Nigel Machin

Nigel has been an IT professional for 30 years, nearly 20 of these have been working with Microsoft collaboration technologies. He has extensive experience across government, professional services, retail and healthcare sectors.