In search of a perfect enterprise Digital Asset Management system – Part 1

In the past one year, we have been searching and evaluating for a “perfect” enterprise Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. The objective is to replace the legacy DAM systems that we recommended and implemented for our customers in the past.


Why did we take such a long time? Generally, after making an initial enquiry to a DAM vendor, the first persons we dealt with were usually personnel from the sales team. Almost all of them would say that their DAM system could fulfil all our requirements. Of course, we could not just take their words for it. We need to talk to the right guys. We need to see their demo. As a company specialising in DAM consultation and implementation, we are not easily satisfied or convinced by just a simple demo. Many profound questions were raised, of which only experienced DAM users like us would know.


We asked for test system and documents to work on the system first hand. We dived deep, all the way to the backend. Then more correspondences were exchanged between us until we know the pros and cons of the system. Not surprising, the information given by the sales guys are not always 100% correct.


Is there really a perfect DAM system? As you might have guessed, there is no such thing as a perfect DAM system. Some DAM vendors focus on collaboration requirements of the creative industry. Some have more social media integrations of which marketing department would like. Some focus on simplicity. Some try to be a platform not just for DAM, but also for Product Information Management, Master Record Management, etc.


In our case, a perfect DAM system implies a system which can fulfil the typical requirements of what our customers want. These are the areas that we looked at.

  • On-premises installation – host the images, videos, documents, etc within the organisation
  • Operating in an environment without Internet – both server and users’ workstations are not connected to Internet
  • Multi-tenancy support – each department manages their assets independently
  • Access rights – how permissions (view, edit, download, etc) are assigned to the assets
  • Download request and approval workflow – user who has no download permission is required to submit a request and get approval
  • Controlled vocabulary – a predefined set of words or phrases for naming consistency. E.g. the VIP’s name, building name
  • Search
  • User interface (UI), user experience (UX)
  • Backend configuration
  • User and asset activities audit trail


Continue in part 2.