Top 4 benefits of using a central storage system for digital assets
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Most organizations store digital assets in many different locations. It’s an easy thing to do when other vendors are sending images through different platforms, such as Google Drive or DropBox. And then, different team members download images, so some end up on desktop computers, others on a LAN server. It’s a sad state of affairs that, unfortunately, exposes organizations to high risks of losing valuable materials. Furthermore, such storage mediums make it so hard to find some assets when needed, let alone knowing that they exist.
The answer to this chaos is using a central storage system for digital assets. How well you store and organize your assets will have a definite impact on what value those assets deliver. When efficiency is critical – a central system makes the difference.
In this article, we’ll explore the top benefits of using a central storage system for digital assets specifically for eCommerce, and how it can help you streamline operations, improve customer experience, and increase your bottom line.
Read on to discover why you need to start using one.
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What is a central storage system for digital assets?
As the name suggests, this is a centralized platform for storing and managing digital assets such as images, videos, audio files, and other digital content. Everything about the organization’s digital assets is done from this central storage, and this is why it’s commonly referred to as a single source of truth.
Through controlled access, everyone who is authorized to access the company’s digital assets will get them from this centralized system. Users typically include employees, contractors, clients, board members, etc.
These digital asset management platforms are particularly useful for organizations that have a large volume of assets. They can be cloud-based or on-premise.
The top 4 benefits of using a central storage system for digital assets
Many studies have shown that visual content carries a lot of weight in eCommerce. For one, the human brain processes visual content way faster than it does text content. This explains why videos, for example, are shared many more times online than links. Videos and images enjoy more love or like if you like.
This is the kind of value that digital assets bring to your business. But the value will be elusive if the assets are stored “everywhere”.
Hence, an asset management software or simply, a central storage system, on the other hand, brings every single asset to one place, and with that, your organization gains the following four benefits:
1. Improved tagging and categorization
Tagging is the process of adding descriptive keywords or phrases to digital assets such as product images, or videos, to improve their searchability and discoverability. Tags essentially describe the characteristics and features of a product, such as color, size, material, brand, and more.
For example, a furniture manufacturer adds a new sofa to their line of products. They categorize the sofa under the “living room furniture” category, and use tags such as “leather,” “modern,” “gray,” and “three-seater.”
This makes it easier to find the sofa when browsing the living room furniture section, or when searching for specific product features, such as leather or size.
Improved tagging and categorization offers these benefits:
Automated tagging saves time
Many central storage system for digital assetss can automatically tag assets based on their content. With such capability, it’s possible to identify objects or people in images and tag them accordingly. This saves time and effort.
Digital asset management platforms are equipped with powerful capabilities that allow analysis and interpretation of the content of uploaded assets, making it possible to achieve automated tagging. Such systems are also pre-trained on a large dataset of assets and specifications of different products.
Example: Let’s use a manufacturer of industrial kitchen appliances
When the manufacturer uploads an image of, say, a commercial oven, the system first performs object detection to identify the oven within the image. Once the oven is detected, the system can then use image recognition algorithms to analyze the specific features and characteristics of the oven, such as its size, capacity, cooking functions, and design.
Based on this analysis, the system can then automatically assign relevant tags to the image, such as the oven model number, product name, color, and any other relevant specifications or features. These tags can be used to easily search and retrieve images of specific products within the manufacturer’s library, and can also be used to enrich product information across eCommerce channels.
Of course, the exact algorithms and methods used by the system may vary depending on the manufacturer’s specific needs and requirements.
Standardized metadata simplifies search and retrieval
A central storage system for digital assets is different from cloud storage because it enforces a standardized metadata schema for all assets. This means that all assets will have consistent metadata fields, such as title, description, keywords, author, date, and file format, making it easy to search and retrieve them.
Controlled vocabulary makes it easy to find related assets
It’s easy to enforce a controlled vocabulary in a central system. This ensures that all assets are tagged with the same set of standardized terms, which makes it easier to get hold of assets that are related or have the similar vocabulary.
Example: Let’s consider a manufacturer of an industrial digital multimeter (DMM) that is used in electronic testing and measurement.
In this case, the manufacturer could use a standardized set of terms to tag DMMs based on their specifications, features, and application areas, such as:
- Specification: voltage range, current range, resistance range, accuracy, resolution, input impedance, etc.
- Features: auto-ranging, data logging, backlit display, battery life, safety features, etc.
- Application areas: electronics testing and measurement, automotive diagnostics, HVAC troubleshooting, electrical installations, maintenance, etc.
With this, the manufacturer will always ensure that all DMMs are tagged consistently and accurately with the same set of standardized terms. This makes it easier for users to search and retrieve DMMs that match their specific requirements, regardless of how they phrase their search query.
For example, a customer searching for a DMM with “voltage range up to 1000V and data logging feature” would be able to find all DMMs that meet those criteria, even if they are described in different ways (e.g., “1000V AC/DC voltage measurement with data recording function” vs. “DMM with voltage range up to 1kV and built-in data logger”). This improves the user experience and helps them find the right product faster.
Advanced search functionality
If just 5 people at your organization spend 1 hour each week searching for the right asset, that’s about 20 hours per month of time gone down the drain.
A typical central system for storing digital assets provides advanced search functionality that allows users to search for assets based on specific criteria, such as file type, date range, author, or keyword. This makes it easier to find assets that meet specific criteria.
User-defined tagging gives the option to customize assets
The Content Marketing Institute found that 80% of marketing material is never used by sales because it’s either wrong or doesn’t address buyer needs. Sometimes the sales teams fail to find the right assets. This feature can come in handy here.
Users can tag assets with their own keywords or categories. This can help to capture the nuances of how or where specific users deploy the assets, making it easier to find and retrieve assets that are relevant to their needs.
A furniture manufacturer can allow users such as designers, architects, or procurement officers to tag assets with their own keywords or categories.
For example, an interior designer working with the manufacturer may tag a specific desk image as “modern,” “wooden,” and “executive,” while a procurement officer may tag the same image as “price competitive,” “ergonomic,” and “sustainable.” This way, the manufacturer is essentially creating a more personalized and relevant experience for each user.
2. Central digital asset storage platforms offer up-to-date versions of assets
With 24/7 availability that is offered by a centralized system, any authorized users such as employees, customers, partners, and vendors can access the latest and most accurate files whenever they need to.
This benefit is achieved through the following capabilities:
A central system provides a single source of truth for all digital assets, from where businesses can control and manage the entire asset lifecycle, from creation to distribution.
All updates and changes are made in a centralized location, meaning all users will always access the same version of assets, no matter the changes or who made them.
When changes are made to an asset, they are updated in real-time for everyone, which means that all users have instant access to the latest version of the asset.
This eliminates the usual fear of using outdated content – a welcome peace of mind for everyone. .
Version control is a critical component of any digital asset storage system. It allows businesses to keep track of changes made to each asset over time. Users can access previous versions of assets if needed, while also ensuring that the most up-to-date version is easily accessible to all.
Let’s use the example of a building materials manufacturer that produces roofing materials. They store all their product specifications, CAD drawings, installation guides, and other related documents in a central digital assets storage system.
Suppose a contractor needs to access the installation guide for a particular roofing material. In that case, they can log in to the storage system and access the latest version of the guide. The system can also provide version control, which ensures that the contractor is working with the same version of the assets that all other contractors are working with. This can help the manufacturer to ensure that all contractors are on the same page, reducing errors, and improving the overall quality of work. The contractor can also access previous versions if they need them. All versions are the same for everyone, regardless of when they were created.
3. A central digital asset storage platform enables consistent use of assets across all channels
It’s important to use the same look and feel of digital assets across all channels, such as websites, social media, and marketplaces, to create a consistent and recognizable brand identity. Consistency in eCommerce helps establish trust with customers and encourages them to remember and engage with your brand.
A consistent brand image also creates a professional and reliable image for your business, which is especially important in today’s crowded online space.
Here are the key ways in which a centralized storage system for digital assets can enable consistent use of assets across all channels:
Central storage for brand guidelines
A centralized system can act as a repository for brand guidelines, including approved colors, fonts, and styles. Making these guidelines easily accessible to all users ensures consistency across all channels since each user is applying the same rules.
For instance, if a social media manager needs to create a graphic for a campaign, they can refer to the brand guidelines stored in the central system to ensure that the graphic adheres to the brand’s visual identity.
A central platform for storing digital assets provides usage reports
The system generates reports that show how assets are being used across different channels. An automated analysis of these reports will often reveal inconsistencies in asset usage, then trigger actions to address them.
For example, if different versions of the same image are being used in the same channel, the responsible team can investigate why this is the case and take steps to ensure that only one version is used to avoid diluting the brand.
A typical centralized system for storing digital assets integrates easily with several tools that cut across social media, marketplaces, design, and content management. This enhances consistency by ensuring that a majority of the tools that your company uses can work seamlessly with the system.
For example, a designer working on a graphic in Adobe Photoshop can access the latest version of an image stored in the central storage system without leaving the creative tool. From the single source of truth, the designer can access features such as brand guidelines to ensure the final outcome is consistent. The image can also be tracked to ensure the designer adheres to usage and distribution guidelines.
4. A central storage system contains technologies offering enhanced security features
It is of utmost importance to ensure that all assets are constantly secure and protected from unauthorized access due to the significant potential impact of security breaches on both businesses and their customers.
Here are specific reasons why this is so important:
- Protection of brand reputation: Often, digital assets such as images and videos are the face of a brand and are used for the communication of the brand’s message to the audience. Any unauthorized access to these assets can lead to misuse, misrepresentation, or tampering, which can cause significant harm to the brand’s reputation. This can be detrimental to a company’s success, as customers may lose trust and confidence in the brand, resulting in decreased market share.
- Protection of sensitive information: Some assets may contain sensitive information such as customer data, trade secrets such as designs, and confidential business information. Unauthorized access to this information can lead to data breaches and information leaks, which can result in significant legal liabilities and financial losses.
A central system reduces the risk of losing assets or landing in the wrong hands, which is rampant in traditional storage methods such as email, desktop folders or hard drives.
A good digital asset storage platform is armed with features that are aimed at protecting your assets.
The most valuable ones include;
A central system allows for the implementation of access controls from a central location, which restrict who can access the assets and what actions they can perform. This means that only authorized personnel can view, edit, or share the assets, and all activities are logged for accountability. Access controls can be configured based on roles and permissions, ensuring that individuals only have access to the assets they need to perform their job functions.
Encryption, backups, and disaster recovery
Encryption ensures that data is protected during transmission and at rest, preventing unauthorized access to the assets. Regular backups ensure that data is not lost in case of system failures or disasters, and disaster recovery measures ensure that the system can be quickly restored in case of a breach or other incidents.
A central system allows for the implementation of workflow management, which makes it easy to streamline the creation, review, and approval of digital assets. This ensures that assets are created and managed in a consistent and controlled manner, reducing the risk of errors and unauthorized changes.
For example, you may require that all assets for posting on eCommerce channels be approved by a compliance manager before they are published.
Without a central system, you may have to create your own workflows for serious workflows like approval processes, which can be error-prone and chaotic. The consequences of pursuing this path are evident: embarrassment, brand damage, non-compliance penalties.
Let’s use the example of a furniture manufacturer that produces a popular line of living room sofas called “ComfyCo.” Using a central digital asset storage platform like Catsy DAM, the manufacturer can configure processing controls for different categories of users such as the product team, marketing team, and senior management. These controls define how each group works on the assets.
For example, the product team can access the images and product information to review and update the product specifications, while the marketing team can access the images and videos to create marketing campaigns and promotions.
A central platform for storing digital assets enables easy search and retrieval of assets through proper tagging and categorization, ensuring that users have access to the most up-to-date versions. It also makes it easy to maintain brand identity and messaging consistency by preventing the use of wrong files that could damage a brand’s reputation. Security is equally important, and a centralized platform ensures that all assets are properly protected from malicious access.
Digital Asset Management solutions are specifically designed to fulfill these benefits through advanced tagging, version control, brand consistency, and robust security features.
Catsy DAM in particular is one of the best DAM solutions based on many digital asset management reviews that say it is distinctly user-friendly and contains six key features that streamline the storage and management of digital assets. This top yet affordable digital asset management system features include a single source of truth that is accessible to all channel partners, advanced search, version management, high volume exports, permalinks for easy sharing, and brand portals to power self-service. Watch this video for more insights.
Digital assets help businesses communicate their brand message and showcase their products, which is essential in attracting customers to their eCommerce channels. Product images and videos for example help customers to see and visualize the product before making a purchase decision. Other digital assets such as infographics help businesses to build trust and credibility with their customers, which is essential in driving sales and generating repeat business.
A digital asset management platform provides centralized storage, efficient search and retrieval, improved organizational workflow, better collaboration, enhanced security and control, and the ability to track asset usage, resulting in time and cost savings, improved productivity, and higher-quality output.
Yes, a centralized system provides enhanced security measures such as access controls which help to prevent unauthorized use or distribution of assets. This offers protection from theft or misuse.
Since the system acts as a single source of truth for all the assets, all authorized users can always access and collaborate on these assets more easily, reducing the risk of errors or inconsistencies in a company’s online presence.
It’s most advisable to use a digital asset management solution when you have a significant volume of digital assets. Without a central system and with so many assets, your teams will waste valuable time searching for files or accidentally use outdated versions. This can lead to delays, and errors, and ultimately hurt the brand.