Two things should now be clear. First, most of the software program families you already use have a way to tag and filter all kinds of digital assets and files and setting up a file structure is within everyone’s reach, so money is not a barrier to robust asset management. Second, no amount of money or software takes the place of creating naming, filing, and tagging conventions AND developing a consistent habit of using them across your organization, big or small.
So why would you spend money, or add another piece of software, to tackle this problem? Well, from my point of view, maybe you shouldn’t, unless or until you already have the other pieces of the puzzle under control. Have you agreed this is an issue? Have you given someone on your team the authority to set up a system and get compliance from the rest of the team? I don’t mean buy-in, that’s theoretical, I mean compliance, that’s behavioral.
Chances are that someone in your organization will know when you have outgrown your current processes. It’s probably also true that it will take a while before everyone else listens to that person and takes action.
When you are ready, here are some thoughts and resources.
Here’s a link to an article by a company that sells it’s own DAM (digital asset management) software called BrandFolder. I can’t endorse it, and don’t even know the cost, but I think it is a great summary of the issues to think about: https://brandfolder.com/blog/digital-asset-formats.
A of these systems were originally created for and are used by visual artists or journalists, so they are mostly designed for photos or other image types, and maybe video – in other words, maybe not so useful for full presentations. The “best of” lists you are looking for are probably called “photo management software”. These can help a lot, and generally aren’t all that expensive. I’d recommend one or two, but they are always changing. Here is a link to a recent (2021) article recommending the “best of” this type of software: https://newspacephoto.org/best-photo-manager-software/
If you move into a more robust system, one that can handle lots of types of assets along with documents, the list changes, and so does the investment. There’s a broad range of option out there, at many different price points. If you decide to go down this road, make sure that integrations are possible with all of the software that you use to create or source your assets – don’t spend money on a system that only integrates with the Adobe Family, for example, and leaves all of your MS Office or Mac files out. Most of the newer versions are introducing artificial intelligence features and OCR scanning to reduce the need for manual tagging.
Here are a couple of vendor pages at different price points:
Brandfolder (not very transparent on pricing, but seems to be at the high end): https://brandfolder.com/
FileCamp, which bills itself as a Brandfolder alternative and is MUCH cheaper: https://filecamp.com/brandfolder-alternative/
And, thanks to Gerri Lawing or GVEC and her marketing team for sharing their research with me, here is a link to BigMind, one that looks good to them: https://www.zoolz.com/bigmind/pricing/#product_selection
SO, that’s it for this series, not it’s time for me to take my own advice and get things cleaned up!
I’ll be talking about this topic with C2ER at their Annual Conference in June, so reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to share your stories, and I’ll post any new insights after the conference.