Skip to content
62b5b844637c05f2bc2b1356 clark van der beken Tk0 B3 Dfkf 4 unsplash

If you’re looking for a question to break the ice among a new group of people, a good one to start with is, “What’s a word or phrase you say differently than most people who live here?” This question always sparks enthusiastic debate because people from different parts of the country and world use different words or phrases to describe the same things.

Carbonated drinks are a great example. Depending on what part of the United States you’re in, you can hear them described as pop, soda, or coke. For all you visual learners out there, Alan McConchie developed and its interactive graphic to map this phenomenon across the country. The static version of the graphic is shown below. Check out the website if you want to dig more into the data or submit your own answer.

Business fields follow a similar trend. Depending on the organization you’re associated with, it may use different terms to describe the same idea, product, or service than you do. To save confusion, vendors, consultants, partners, and even different departments within an organization must clarify their language and the terms they use. Stacks is no exception. We frequently use the terms DAM System, DAM Platform, and DAM Program on our blog and in our conversations with clients and partners. Since the differences between these can be unclear, this article defines what each of these terms means to Stacks and how they work together.

What’s a Digital Asset Management (DAM) System?

Your organization’s digital asset management system is simply the collection of all your digital assets in a single place. This place can be dedicated DAM software, a cloud-based file storage system like Dropbox or Box, a local server, or a collection of hard drives.

Identifying or creating a DAM system if there isn’t one already in place is the first step in any organization’s journey towards a thriving DAM workflow that delivers assets to the right people quickly. While this is the first step, an organization’s efforts shouldn’t stop there, especially if the lifecycle of its assets is complex and involves many channels.

What’s a Digital Asset Management (DAM) Platform?

Remember the saying in math class, “Every square is a rectangle but every rectangle isn’t a square?” The same principle applies to our definitions of DAM systems and platforms. To wit, while every DAM platform is a DAM system, every DAM system isn’t a DAM platform. While this saying may not roll off the tongue as well, it helps define what a DAM platform is relative to the other terms in this article.

A DAM platform is a specific type of system for housing digital assets. Different platforms offer features that enable not just the storage of assets, but also support the dynamic management of these assets as they’re used to generate value for an organization. Moving assets from file storage software or a local server to a DAM platform allows brands to more effectively and efficiently put assets to work while also minimizing the risk that they’ll be misused.

What’s a Digital Asset Management (DAM) Program?

To maximize your investment in creating and organizing compelling content, you need a comprehensive digital asset management program. The right program ensures that people understand their roles, that the processes for them to follow are clear and in line with how your organization does business, and that there’s a platform in place with the features that meet the needs of your workflow.

Looking at DAM as a program that involves all these pieces instead of a project or a platform is the best guarantee of success in this area. People need responsibilities that don’t overwhelm them and distract them from doing the job they were hired for. Processes and standards are the backbones of effective digital asset management, no matter how sophisticated your DAM system is. Platforms allow for complexity and efficiency at scale.

DAM programs grow, change, and evolve, even if the technology behind them doesn’t. They aren't dependent on an employee who could win the lottery and leave the business at any time. They can be scaled up or down based on need or budget constraints, adjustments in strategy, or significant organizational growth. They can also weather the changes due to mergers and acquisitions when direction may be lacking and time for planning scarce.

If you need help upgrading to a DAM platform from a less-sophisticated DAM system or putting a DAM program in place, contact Stacks! Our team of DAM experts is happy to help.

Cta abstract bg

Successfully Take the Next Step in DAM

Get in touch with our DAM experts today.