By Dave Jones, VP of Product Marketing, Nuxeo
The more that digitally ambitious Financial Services (FS) firms become with their marketing activities, the greater the complexity associated with managing their rich media assets, and connected digital rights and permissions.
Over the last 20 years or so, companies have responded by establishing some level of digital asset management (DAM) capability. Yet, as use of digital assets (photos, audio, videos, animations and more) become more sophisticated and widespread in FS, the systems for coordinating, keeping and checking everything must evolve too.
In many cases, companies are still using relatively rudimentary content management platforms, or DAM infrastructures that have been cobbled together from piecemeal solutions. This leaves FS marketing teams at the mercy of poor visibility and coordination, and general inefficiency as users have to hunt around for the latest versions of files, or to understand how and where digital assets are being used.
As a result, and to support new generations of digital campaigns, banks and other FS firms are beginning to revisit their approaches to digital asset management. It’s not uncommon for large companies to have amassed up to 20 different technologies for storing and managing digital assets. Each may have been put in for a specific use case, in a particular part of the business. This has resulted in legacy silos and restricted functionality.
All of this may be holding FS firms back, but market-leading DAM technology can now help address such issues, in these five critical ways:
- Intuitive Asset Management
Legacy DAM systems tend to require that any content fits neatly into specific categories. But what happens when the content doesn’t fit that mould, or when each set of users has its own perspective and priorities?
These differing perspectives are not reflected in traditional content organisation systems, and this can limit their effectiveness. A social media manager who only needs to see an image with specific dimensions, may have to wade through irrelevant metadata fields and image renditions.
Ideally a DAM system will be readily configurable for individual teams, so that each person sees only what’s relevant to them and can manage their assets intuitively. Similarly, product teams should be able to organise their ideas and workflows around individual products; campaign marketing teams in terms of campaigns; photographers by photo shoots.
By supporting the creation of objects such as ‘product’, ‘campaigns’, and ‘photo shoots’, a modern DAM will allow assets to be cross-referenced and accessed by teams according to the organisational structures that matter to them.
Importantly, adaptation should also be possible without recourse to the software provider or IT team – both of which can drive up the cost of ownership of a DAM system, or set of systems.
- Highly scalable
To ensure longevity, any new solution will need the ability to scale to cope with soaring digital asset sizes and volumes. Content needs in many FS firms have been doubling every 12-24 months and signs of strain are common. File transfers are slow; transfers of large files are difficult and error-prone; and searches can lag badly – or even timeout – during peak DAM usage.
A modern DAM should also be able to handle high search volumes, advanced searches, and rapid, full-text searches of assets and metadata, and foster global collaboration and content reuse with fast file transfers – even for the largest file formats.
New solutions should also allow for additional processes around digital assets, e.g. asset project management, approvals, direct publishing of content to web content management (WCM) and social channels, and automatic content updating based on data and metadata from other systems.
- Asset production and a single source of truth
A good digital asset management system should provide some level of work-in-progress functionality and workflow automation, to optimise what happens to digital assets and keep track their status.
A leading DAM will ideally act as a single source of truth for all asset production. Each version and change should be viewable directly within the DAM interface. A good system will employ cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to enable automatic tagging and metadata creation.
Efficiency improves again when the DAM is a near-invisible layer on top of applications already used by teams, and has shortcuts for tools that are relevant to their roles. A designer, for example, could search for an auto-tagged image directly from InDesign, find it instantaneously, and keep the project synced with the DAM for easy collaboration with other designers.
- Instant asset control
A fragmented or inefficient approach to digital asset management creates potential not just for inefficiency, but also for risk. A contemporary DAM, however, will allow for detailed user-level and asset-level permissions, so no user can access content they’re not supposed to see. It will also safeguard the FS firm’s reputation – from digital watermarking to automated legal review processes based on specific language or images, configurable workflow automation and security integration helps keep teams protected.
Then there’s the ability to act swiftly in the event of a crisis. A bank or other FS firm affected by negative publicity associated with a sponsor or model, which go on to terminate the relationship, will want the assurance that every associated campaign and asset can be located and action taken promptly.
With such a DAM, with linked talent records for each model or sponsor to campaigns and digital assets, teams within the FS firm would have instant control.
- A first-class outstanding customer experience
Original DAM systems were intended primarily as repositories for finished assets. Today, DAM is increasingly linked tightly to the customer experience. The right system will help FS firms simplify the creation, review and publishing of new, personalised content using ‘atomised’ assets. Automation of asset personalisation can cut the time to create such content by up to 80 per cent, according to Nuxeo research.
A good DAM solution will also enable a more complete view of the customer, via full tracking of asset access, making it easy to see which are getting traction and which are less effective. The best solutions can even serve assets directly to end customers. This reduces duplication with experience and web content management (WCM) systems; ensures customers always see the latest approved content; and makes it much easier to track the value of assets upstream.
In a fast-moving digital-first world, the ability for FS marketers to locate and manage rich-media marketing assets more easily, quickly and cost-effectively makes good business sense. As long as any new investment allows for new waves of changes yet to come, now is the time for FS firms to redevelop their DAM strategy for the maximum possible competitive advantage.