By Ed Breault, CMO, Aprimo
When the term “automation” was coined in the 1940s at the Ford Motor Company it referred to the systematic acceleration of the metalworking process as it pertained to the development of cars. A rather narrow, meager beginning, but today the concept of creating systems that simplify and enhance the processes of organization, production, and output touches nearly every corner of human activity, most notably within the digital sphere.
A lot has happened in the last 80 years. Continuous technological evolution has expanded our understanding of what’s possible within the digital work ecosystem. Deployment of digital asset management (DAM) systems is one current method which enables organizations of all kinds to move toward more automated, efficient, agile work environments.
A properly implemented DAM system can revolutionize many aspects of a company’s performance and ultimately improve relevance and value to customers. In this article I’d like to explore the future of digital asset management and four ways I believe it will continue evolving as a software that is helping redefine this moment in history.
#1 Ecosystem is everything
It’s interesting to look back in history and see where visionaries put their money, often despite widespread skepticism: at the turn of the 20th century, The New York Times claimed that the automobile would never outpace the common bicycle as a means of travel.
Despite economic headwinds, Gartner is predicting that enterprise software spend will grow by 9.3% to $856 billion in 2023, up from 7.1% last year (738 billion). Fervor around foundational tech remains high amongst investors, who will continue spending more in this arena throughout 2023 while everything else sees bigger cuts.
The reason for this is because businesses need a strong foundation of composable, best of breed content stacks. A DAM with composable extensions can integrate seamlessly with a businesses’ existing ecosystems to improve the ROI of all other apps and services. Unified solutions of this variety can handle content management, content planning, and work management on the same platform. This style of open architecture can bring data back into the DAM for richer, truer content performance analytics. It also works excellently with the ever-increasing abundance of emerging AI tools, many of which further expand connectivity and collaboration.
#2 Different approaches to content ops at scale
The centrality of content is becoming increasingly evident within work management and customer experience. Consumers are wanting more content faster, and they want their experience of content to feel more customized.
Modular strategies are gaining traction as a means of making smart use of content in a variety of settings at different levels of depth, which sets the groundwork for both scalability and malleability. DAMs that combine content relationship orchestration with intelligent automation deftly allow for the nurturing of customer relationships via insights gained through the application of metadata, as well as greater efficiency within the reviews and approvals process. This translates to the potential for more efficient and thoughtful content that can connect more meaningfully with audiences.
DAMs also provide expanded support for brand governance and rule enforcement across apps. A smart DAM ensures progressive regulatory protections without sacrificing company vision around content creation. Features such as legal overview and approval workflows, checklists of compliance standards and requirements, and shelf-life of assets are all part of a content-centric framework that keeps essential processes front-and-center while maintaining quality and protection.
#3 AI and decisioning
One wonders what Henry Ford would think of the generations of technology that have developed based on the automation he helped create. The self-driving car relies on Artificial intelligence (AI) as a key component in its design, and many other industries are also being radically changed by this powerful form of technology.
DAMs that are leading the way in 2023 will be focused on leveraging world class data-driven automation and AI to attack specific industry challenges. Brand and regulatory risk AI, Open-AI driven end-user enablement, and trainable AI are all methods expanding the scope of content intelligence and paving the way for more effective planning, creation, and distribution of content. The addition of AI to a DAM solution provides insights into the return on effort (ROE) and well as the (ROI) of a content campaign as well as highly finessed, granular details into the performance of a brand’s own digital assets, resulting in cost savings and marketing insights.
Other significant optimizations AI will provide within the DAM include facial and image recognition to eliminate the time-consuming task of categorizing images by subject, automatic tagging (in which AI creates a term to describe a keyword and then assigns metadata tags to a media asset, saving time while also broadening categorization and classification systems), and metadata application to allow for the agile and integrated organization of a company’s taxonomy.
#4 Bias for speed & agility
Agile content operations with DAM at the core empower teams to work faster within a content-centric approach without sacrificing brand, regulatory, or legal compliance. In order tocreate and distribute content that’s effectively personalized, teams need better internal discoverability, more sophisticated collaborative tools across the content lifecycle, and a system that can generate buyer specific content recommendations.
It’s true for cars, and it’s true for content: there’s no appetite for going faster and breaking things, it’s going faster with laser precision.
The evolution of digital asset management must continue
Every generation has its unique contribution to humankind’s collective evolution. Ford revolutionized the way we think about travel and tapped into our instinctive hunger for adventure. In this era of technological revolution, our vistas continue to expand as our processes become ever more streamlined, sophisticated, and digitized. More effective use of digital assets is crucial for paving the way toward a more balanced and thoughtful approach to business and taking that road will require some big evolutionary steps for digital asset management.