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How To Manage Your Digital Assets

Published on 2nd May 2018 at 14:40 by Nazehat Uddin

How To Manage Your Digital Assets

Your digital assets are growing fast, your local storage is having issues keeping up, it’s taking too long to find the image you need and it’s all taking a toll on the collateral. So now might be the perfect time to invest in a DAM.

You may know that a DAM system can assist you with your day to day marketing activities and be useful to everyone across the firm, but how can you manage your digital assets with a DAM like OpenAsset? Well, here’s our top tips.


Digital Assets being saved on local storage means that everyone has access to your assets but it also means they have access to unapproved files or out of date images. On a DAM system, there are access levels which you customise so everyone can access the assets they have permission for. That’s why you will need to consider how your new Digital Asset Management system will be used in your organisation.

We recommend that the Marketing or Business Development managers team up and map out a well organised workflow. Some firm’s may even decide to take on a DAM Admin Librarian, but this is not essential.  These people will have the responsibility to allocate appropriate user permissions and define levels of access required.

With an OpenAsset DAM, you can customise your workflow in a way which suits your firm's needs:

Large Firms - May choose to limit universal access to a few designated administrators, while creating other groups with specific defined access and permissions. For example, the Marketing department may need to only see their own ‘Marketing’ category and other groups may not need to see ‘Restricted Use’ images on the system.

Smaller Firms - May choose to have a few designated administrators and not have any restrictions on what users can see.

All firms are different, whilst the above is a guideline of what most of our clients do, your system should be flexible enough to meet your requirements. No matter what size your firm is, your workflow access should be a timesaving tool in order to organise and share digital assets efficiently.

Remember you will need to review user access levels regularly as this will enable you to keep an eye on which users need more or less accessibility.

Workflows Set Up

A key part of planning the workflow at your organisation is to decide who should have the right to upload your assets. Getting this right will ensure that your assets are well organised and regularly updated so that users are encouraged to utilize the system in their day-to-day tasks. There are three ways you can approach assigning upload permissions:

  • Upload Approval Required - You can set up an approval workflow which will give groups the permission to upload, however their upload will not appear on your system until an administrator approves it. This process allows the administrator to inspect the file info and file keywords which have been applied to the image, they can then approve the upload, amend it or deny the upload which will send it back to the uploaders queue to fix.
  • No Approval Required - You can allow people to upload without needing approval so it will appear on the system immediately.
  • No Upload Permission - Users can view the library, but are unable to upload assets.

You can mix and match these permissions to different user groups on the OpenAsset system. For example, this is a typical user group set up:

  • Advanced Users - No upload approval required
  • General Users - Upload approval required
  • Basic Users - No upload permission

Each organisation is unique and your requirements may differ. If you opt for the OpenAsset DAM you’ll be able to work with your Customer Success Manager to define these workflows according to your organisation's requirements.


A project based system is recommended for the AEC and Real Estate sector, so you can customise your projects to your specific business needs and make it easier for users to pull through the images they need by finding the project.

Depending on the size of your business a team leader, project leader or manager of the firm may take control of organising the digital assets by project to ensure consistency. This is useful as they may be the ones creating the presentations or assisting the sales team or partners in creating proposals.


Keywords are an integral part of any DAM, that’s what makes it easier to find and manage your assets.

Setting up keywords might be the responsibility of the marketing team or the DAM admin, it can be helpful for them to get input into keyword lists and structures from other teams using DAM. If the keyword list and structure is agreed and transparent between the teams it will be effortlessly simple for the other teams to pick up and use.

Your keyword list and structures should be defined and tested, considering the varied content that you will be uploading. They should use terms familiar to the firm so everyone can understand. To make it even more user-friendly, you can add synonyms to your structure so they are automatically added to the tag and when one term is searched for, other images with relatable terms will also be available. For more tips on how you can create an optimized keyword structure read our post:

Grouping Assets in Categories

Not all DAM’s will be tailored to your needs.

We want to make it simple for those in the AEC and Real Estate sector which is why you need a DAM which is flexible between project based and reference based grouping.

Project based categories are for images which belong to a certain project, but we understand that not all of your digital assets will be a project. Some of your digital assets will be staff images or brand logos, these are the assets which you need to organise by reference instead. Users can group their assets by reference in a way that compliments how their business works.

For more information on categories you can read our help sheet.

Create Albums

A good tip for individual users is to create albums for personal use or to share with colleagues.
Creating albums on a DAM is like a playlist in iTunes/Spotify.  Use Albums to curate content for website/intranet integration. Set up company albums for "directors cut" of "Best new projects" or "Timber Construction Techniques". You can copy images from anywhere in your database into your albums which can be used amongst group users.

This is useful for those who might be working on tasks together such as updating the website, so they may need to decide on the order of an image carousel. It’s better to manage your images and individual tasks this way rather than editing a project which everyone may not have access to or sharing the images outside of the system.


As firms expand and new team members are introduced, it is vital for them to be trained on the DAM system. If team members aren’t trained to use a DAM, they may rely on others to locate images or files as well as not being able to create collateral.

If you are considering a DAM then make sure they have good resources to support training or a customer success team to help you with training and set up.

System Updates

Staying on track with system updates is important for your Digital Asset Management system, If your DAM is cloud based your updates will happen automatically.

Ongoing DAM updates are important in managing your digital assets as they ensure you are maximising the software you invested in and using the latest technology to store and search for your files.

Our 4 point guide to managing your digital assets:

  • Only give access to those who really need it. Utilise your user permissions and review it regularly.
  • Organise your assets by projects or by reference and tell users to create individual albums if they need to work on something with their team.
  • Don’t complicate it. Use simple keywords that everyone in the organisation is familiar with and easy enough to remember.
  • Remember to train your team to use the system and let everyone know of useful updates.

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