A digital asset is, for a business, as important as property, money in the bank, a brand, etc. That is to say that it’s an asset because it represents economic value that can be converted into money. Really, what I’ve just described is closer to the definition of an “asset”, as opposed to a “digital asset”, which means that we’ve only got half the definition. Regarding “digital”, well, the only thing we need to understand is that they are electronic files, folders which usually contain videos, images, dossiers and other materials which are usually of great value to the brand or to the company in general terms.
From Document Management to Enterprise Content Management, via Digital Asset Management
Long ago, businesses discovered that documents and their management equaled money, and that’s why document management was created. Documents, however, tend to be files with different characteristics from those of digital assets. These types of files need to be shared, distributed, published, reproduced (as in the case of video or audio). Most document management systems are not prepared to reproduce video or sound. What’s more, they tend to be larger in size, which puts the base structure of the document management system to the test. For example, Sharepoint has serious problems with this because of the way that Server SQL works.
Currently, there are people in businesses who are in charge of managing collections of these types of assets, who invest time in organizing them, searching for them and sharing them: for them, and because document management systems (DMS) right now aren’t optimized to management, that’s given rise to digital asset management systems (DAMS).
As a concept, document management has come up short, which is why the term enterprise content management, which talks about “content” for grouping documents and the remaining digital assets that businesses have, and which also need to be managed.
So what’s the deal: Is a DAMS better than a DMS?
It depends on the product. Some DMS aren’t optimized, as in the case of Sharepoint (2010 and before); or, indeed, they have specialized modules for every line of business, which is the case with Nuxeo DM and Nuxeo DAM; or to be ready to manage documents and other digital assets, which is the case with Alfresco (as of version 4).
In the case of Athento, we’re aware that it’s time that businesses changed; and, with them, those digital assets that create value for them. That’s why we’re trying to get closer to the idea of ECM allowing plug-ins for the management of sound and video, among other digital assets.