Digital Asset Management Education Experts
Special Report: Buying Corporate DAM Systems: A Manager's Guide To Procurement Best Practices

This report offers purchasing and procurement tips for managers involved in decisions about selecting a DAM system. Also included is an example RFP with questions that specifically relate to Digital Asset Management.

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Enterprise Digital Asset Management: A Guide For IT Professionals

Practical advice for IT professionals on issues from systems integration to the IT infrastucture requirements for Digital Asset Management.

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Video Digital Asset Management: 12 Crucial Points For Marketers

Marketing managers are invited to consider 12 crucial points that will determine the success or failure of a web video archive.

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Four Cornerstones of Digital Asset Management

Daydream's methodology for analysing Digital Asset Management requirements

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Buying Corporate DAM Systems: A Manager's Guide To Procurement Best Practices


Purchasing managers who are tasked with the complex problem of reviewing and buying DAM systems face a multitude of challenges to get through the process and decide on the most suitable product for their business.

Having been involved in many procurement exercises, we have accumulated a body of knowledge about what works and what does not. This article is our attempt to distil our experience into a guide to the DAM system procurement process that purchasing managers can use in combination with their own expertise to get the best value for their organisation.

The DAM System review process

The following groups of questions should be answered as part of the review process:

Business Case

  • Who are the end users?
  • What do they really want?
  • What is the business case?
  • What will the impact on the business be?

Vendor Selection

  • Who are the candidate vendors?
  • How should we manage the selection process?
  • Once we have decided on a vendor, how should we proceed?

This document is not intended to be a general guide to corporate procurement policy and you may prefer to handle things differently to our proposed model. We would expect, however, to see all the questions answered in any software procurement exercise and have used this framework to illustrate how each relates specifically to Digital Asset Management.

The stages described are not necessarily to be carried out in linear order. For example, the business impact might require the business case to be amended and alternative candidate systems to be contemplated that were not originally. It makes sense to build flexibility into the process and selectively apply the recommendations to your own circumstances.

Who are the end users?

There are usually specific groups within a business that lead the requests for a DAM system, some more common examples include: marketing communications managers, media archive owners (e.g. photo, video or audio librarians), marketing operations managers and sales or key account managers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but they are the groups we see consistently when dealing with existing and prospective clients.

In addition to staff end users, DAM systems frequently get used by external providers, especially design, PR or advertising agencies. In a number of cases, they can be heavier users of a corporate DAM than most internal staff because they need the media it holds to originate artwork and other assets. Several organisations also use a DAM implementation to audit and retrieve their intellectual property that external suppliers hold and that can form part of the business case also.

What do the end users want?

The Digital Asset Management market is composed of hundreds of vendors from numerous backgrounds, furthermore, the sector has blossomed commercially in the last 5-10 years with demand increasing at rapid pace as more new digital media of all kinds is generated at an exponential rate. As a result, new participants have joined the market and existing ones have changed the description of their product offerings to take advantage of it. There is often a marked difference between what one vendor might call 'Digital Asset Management' as compared with another. Even within the various related markets and sub-divisions such as Brand Asset Management, Marketing Resource Management, Content Management, Media Asset Management etc there is confusion and conflict amongst participants about what they actually mean and no formal definitions that can be relied upon.

This means it is not advisable to depend upon what end users are calling a 'DAM system' when assessing whether to buy one and from whom. Better methods are to require users to describe the facilities they are looking for in terms of how it might work and what it would do. This will be easier for some end users than others, but for the purchasing manager, it does offer some focal points to base a selection strategy on. Increasingly, end users will have seen a solution somewhere else that matches what they are looking for, or at least has some of the characteristics of what they think they are looking for.

The detail collected as part of this exercise can be re-used once implementation commences in order to assist the vendor to configure or modify their product so it more precisely fits the needs of the end users.

Example RFP

The report includes an example RFP with eleven pages of relevant questions specifically relating to Digital Asset Management which readers can use as the basis for writing their own documentation.


111 pages, 33,500 words



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