Hybrid working is set to have a permanent and transformative impact on organisations post-pandemic. Now is the prime opportunity to review not only your team members’ employment contracts and how and where they will work long-term, but also whether the technology they use daily is equipped to enable the possible productivity gains of hybrid working.
Zoom, Teams and Slack have become part of everyday business vocabulary, but many organisations are now going to the next level and evaluating specialist software such as digital asset management (often shortened to DAM).
This cloud-based tool provides a centralised library where digital content – such as images, video, documents, design files and presentations – can be stored. It helps people work in a consistent, secure way, and find and share the files they need instantly.
In this article I’ll explain what you need to know about DAM, why it differs to a shared server or a service like Google Drive or Dropbox, and how it can turbocharge your approach to hybrid work.
More content and more dispersed teams
Even before Covid, a rapidly increasing volume of digital content was threatening to slow down business potential, no matter how great your products or services, strong the demand, or talented your team.
Managing files from suppliers, plus your brand’s own content, and being able to find all these files quickly later has become burdensome. Documents, presentations and spreadsheets all contribute to the content challenge. Where is everything securely stored? Who has access?
Typical use of shared servers or Dropbox-style services have their limitations – content is often not centralised to be contributed to or accessed by staff in multiple locations. It can also be a struggle to share the right assets with external suppliers, the media, or any number of other partners. WeTransfer can involve time-consuming uploads and download links automatically expire. It’s clear that having the right systems to keep content, particularly visual content, well-organised and easily accessible is proving vital.
Many of those working in design, procurement, marketing, sales, and other office-based roles, are now highly likely to be hybrid working going forward – splitting time between the office and home working, as well as travelling when needed. Almost every team now uses a desktop collaboration tool – such as Slack or Teams – but how do you ensure smarter, more consistent ways of working when confronted by such huge volumes of digital content, as well as team members and partners working in different places?
The rise of new ‘digital asset management’ technology
DAM has been around for many years, but it tended to be used by big corporate organisations. However, it’s now become cloud-based – often referred to as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) – which has opened new opportunities for more businesses to benefit.
Software no longer has to be physically installed and maintained on individual computers. Team members – plus any approved external parties – can now securely access the same files via their web browser or mobile app, no matter where everyone is based. SaaS is very flexible and affordable too, and updates are automatic.
The advantages of DAM for hybrid working
There are many advantages fuelling the adoption of DAM in today’s work environment, but here are five main factors:
- Get everybody in your company working in the same way.No more saving to desktops, shared servers or overflowing Dropbox and Google Drive accounts. DAM software aligns everyone in a department or the entire company to save files in the same secure way, to be discoverable by others. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the office, at home, or even in the same time-zone as colleagues.
Plenty of businesses are recruiting at the moment. As a new joiner, being able to find content instantly, by being able to search for keyword tags or with the help of facial recognition, can help you to hit the ground running. No more distracting of team-mates – virtually or physically – when locating and saving content.
2, Provide appropriate access to third parties.Many businesses bring in agencies, consultants, contractors, freelancers, or other temporary staff to provide extra resource or expertise – but sharing the files they need can take up valuable time. It may not be appropriate to grant full access to a shared drive or folder to a third-party, but neither is it sensible to have to regularly split files into multiple folders. With DAM, admins can allow an approved individual or team access to only the files you require them to have. This is particularly useful for maintaining confidentiality around projects and deals.
With version control, the latest design or project files are clear for all to see – vital for internal and external collaboration.
- Tools and features to help different team members. Integration with design programmes such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign means faster editing and file saves are synced, so everyone else immediately has access to the latest version. Image recognition and facial recognition technology within DAM means team members can find all imagery featuring a particular model or brand ambassador in just a couple of clicks. And integration with tools like Microsoft Office and Slack means DAM will quickly become part of the way you and your team work.
- Cloud-based software is affordable and can grow with you. If your DAM usage increases, it won’t cause you a headache because it uses the likes of Amazon Web Services to offer ample storage capacity. Usage often accelerates once DAM is embedded into workplace culture and there are subscription models to suit different types of team and organisation usage.
- Get started quickly.There’s no need to worry about the time and effort it will take to migrate your folders to a DAM platform. Such platforms are designed to make this a pain-free process and ensure you’re better organised right away. Uploading selected folders from a shared server or desktop to your DAM platform is fast, and if your team uses services like Dropbox, Box or Google Drive, you can easily sync these folders quickly too.
Great user experience is an expectation for software and DAM is designed so your team or external partners won’t need support to show them how to use the platform.
Businesses need to identify every possible advantage to keep up growth and outperform competitors. Ensuring you have a team that works smarter and can perform at its best when hybrid working, is arguably just as important as your product and commercial strategies.
You can learn more about DAM here