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Planning and Strategy

Searching for a DAM Platform

Ben Owen

By Ben Owen | Sep 16, 2021

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DAM platforms, like any other major system working across an organization, are powerful tools. They transform how an organization’s digital assets are used by making assets easy to organize, search, share, approve, and reuse.

This eliminates redundancies and significantly reduces the time spent looking for specific assets. Implementing a DAM platform will not only save your organization time, but it will also save it money.

Rather than relying on new photoshoots for visual content, you can use an internal stock library of assets you already own.

Read more about the benefits of DAM platforms.

While these systems are powerful, they are also complex and expensive and there are many to choose between. In this article, we’ll provide a roadmap to help you determine which platform is the best fit for your organization.

What are my options?

Suppose your car breaks down and, after taking it to a repair shop, you discover you need a new vehicle. You’re urgently in need of a new car in order to get to work or school and only have two options:

You can either buy the first bucket of bolts available or you can try to find a car that truly suits your requirements.

If you go with the first option, your need for a car is immediately satisfied. You’ll have a vehicle to get you wherever you need to go, but it may not be large enough or in good enough condition to meet your needs for very long.

The other option isn’t perfect either. Finding a car that meets both your immediate and long-term needs will take time and is likely to cost more money.

Because time is of the essence, you’ll need to narrow your search by determining what your budget is, what make and model of the car you like, what features your new car must have, and what other factors you should consider.

The same is true for the process of searching for a new digital asset management (DAM) platform. There are several reasons you might need to search for a new DAM. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your current system, need a different suite of features to fit your workflow, or need to downsize.

However, as in the first option in the car analogy, buying the first DAM you find is not ideal. You don’t want to purchase an expensive platform only to have to replace it in a couple of years because it isn’t large enough or does not have the features you really need. Take time to determine what would make a DAM platform work for you.

What do I look for?

When building a roadmap for selecting a DAM platform, there are several steps to take. Below, we outline the most important ones when choosing the platform that will scale with your organization.

Educate yourself on the space

There are a lot of DAM platforms to choose from, each with its own set of unique features and workflows. These platforms cover a range of use cases, from handling millions of assets on an enterprise-level to less complex systems for smaller teams and organizations.

It’s important to understand the differences between platforms, required features versus nice-to-haves, and identify the major players in the space. This type of expertise takes time to acquire. Resources like Capterra, the below landscape overview from Real Story Group, and DAM consultants can be very helpful at this point in the journey.

DAM Platforms from Real Story Group
Real Story Group evaluates a portion of the DAM Platform landscape

Decide on your “must-have” features

While there are a large set of features that are common across most DAM platforms, there are some that set each system apart from the others.

Some platforms are specifically designed for photographers, with a full suite of editing features that allow the user to edit in the cloud.

Some offer more security, with encrypted file sharing and complex permission hierarchies.

Others are best suited for collaborative efforts, with approval suites for those outside the organization.

To find a platform that will efficiently fit into your workflow, determine which features your platform has to have.

Determine your budget and timeline

Once you’ve done your research and determined your “must-haves,” it’s important to develop a budget and timeline for the implementation of your platform.

We recommend doing this before contacting any DAM Platform’s sales representatives. It will provide leverage in your conversations with them and allow you to continue to reduce your choices.

Additionally, determining a budget with the other decision-makers within your organization will help create buy-in for the project.


Without a proper roadmap, the process of searching for and selecting a DAM can be extremely difficult to navigate. Take the time upfront to establish what you’re looking for and how you’ll narrow down the list of platforms.

At Stacks, we look to help with this part of the Digital Asset Management journey.

Fill out our DAM Platform Finder Survey today to get an idea of what you’re looking for. From there, we’ll help you seek out the contacts you need!

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