At first sight, many DAM vendors can appear pretty seductive. When you invest in software, you can take advantage of free trials, make comprehensive migration plans, and still not really know how well a solution will pan out in daily practice. All vendors, naturally, will put their best foot forward when courting your interest. It’s only when things go wrong that you discover whether you made the right decision.
A DAM solution is a major investment. That’s not to say that they’re cost-prohibitive, per say, but that you’re putting a great deal of trust in a vendor solution that could change the way your team works on a daily basis (ideally, for the better). As a result, it’s crucial to consider the most important features you need and to ask the right questions before making a final decision. Here are a few important questions to ask when evaluating DAM vendors to help you choose the solution that’s best-suited for your company’s needs and best-equipped to support your team’s working methods.
Is the solution flexible enough to meet your digital marketing objectives?
The point of utilizing a DAM solution is to help create, store, organize, and secure your many digital assets. You want a solution that works with you and not against you. In addition, every company will use a DAM vendor in their own unique way.
On the other hand, some DAM vendors require each and every user to access the system the same way. At first, that may feel like it’s not such a big deal. Yet, when you continue to add more users, update your methods for access, and increase the number of files, you start to realize that this can be too restrictive to meet your needs.
Not all DAM vendors are rigid, however. Vendors such as MerlinOne offer flexible, scalable features for a fully configurable solution that can be customized to meet your organization’s unique needs. In fact, you can even configure metadata, common collections, saved searches, and more. Features like these are imperative as your needs change and your volume of assets grows.
So, you should ask whether your preferred vendors offer the capability to configure the underlying software structure. You want a vendor that offers flexibility along with upgrades on a consistent basis.
Will the solution meet your needs today and in the future?
We understand what our needs are right now. But, those needs can and will change in the future. Purchasing a brand new solution, learning the system, and training staff every few years would be an exercise in futility.
It goes without saying that brands, people, and processes are fluid and change regularly. And, as you grow, you want a solution capable of growing right along with you – meaning you want a platform with the ability to scale. It should also offer the option to make changes as needed. For example, Flight by Canto lets you personalize features such as the user interface and also the search functionality.
Is the vendor stable?
You will have a long-term relationship with your DAM vendor. This won’t be a once-and-done purchase experience since you will have ongoing questions and potential issues. As a result, you want to stick with a vendor that conveys stability.
What you don’t want is a vendor that will go out of business a year after you have purchased their solution – then, you’ll be stuck with software that can no longer be upgraded, serviced, or even updated to eliminate bugs or incorporate feature improvements.
So, you must consider vendor stability when selecting the right DAM solution for your company. A vendor like Widen Collective would be considered stable. Widen has thousands of customers, including Cornell University. It just makes sense to take some time to look at a vendor’s client list and reviews.
Will the platform handle spikes in activity?
There isn’t any question that some days will be busier than others. One day, you need to load 500 high-resolution images, while the next day you might be uploading 65 videos or trying to locate that presentation you delivered two years ago that needs to be updated for an upcoming event. Then, in the same week, you might share a press release for a new product and receive thousands of downloads.
Ask your prospective vendors how these ebbs and flows in daily activity are handled, as well as sudden spikes in activity. Will the solution slow down if thousands of people start downloading the same document at the same time?
Are the download and upload speeds optimal? Do they work well even in other countries? You need a solution that offers consistency, such as WorkFront, which continues to offer seamless access to features even under chaotic workloads.
Is the interface user-friendly?
When selecting the right DAM vendor for your company, you want a user-friendly interface that’s simple to use – otherwise, your team simply won’t use it. One key component of usability is search. What you’re looking for is something similar to the “Bing” or “Google” search functionality experience.
On top of that, results should be conveyed in an organized manner. There isn’t any point in storing your assets if you can’t find them quickly at the moment you need them. A vendor like Brandfolder offers a user-friendly interface with straightforward, efficient features.
An increasing number of digital marketers and creative teams are using a DAM solution as their content hub. With the right vendor, you get to take advantage of unified features that help to manage your digital assets in a productive, efficient, and successful manner. Of course, the only way to ensure a long and profitable vendor relationship is to ask the right questions from the outset.