Just as important as getting everyone across your business to use the same DAM (see our 3 tips on DAM adoption) is actually incorporating all the digital assets your different business units, departments, agencies, vendors, and customers generate and need. This is easy enough for a medium-size business or a particular department, but in every big organization each department has completely different terminology from the next, so it’s a really tough problem that’s been the bane of Digital Asset Management systems (DAM) since the beginning.

At enterprise scale, there’s a danger that systems become inflexible, silos choke collaboration, and customization cripples innovation. Our complementary eBook, Avoid the DAM Value Trap: 10 Key Questions Your DAM Vendor Doesn’t Want You to Ask, covers five tests to put your DAM through to make sure this doesn’t happen to you:

1. How quickly and easily can the DAM add support for new content types?

Snap is pushing circular video, AR is here, VR is around the corner, and who knows what will come after. Whatever new content types become important to your business, will your DAM be ready, or will you have to manage them outside the system because it cannot support the file type, extract the right metadata, or preview it seamlessly?

2. How easily can the DAM add new distribution points?

It’s great when a DAM gives you multichannel publishing capability to post videos to YouTube or Facebook, and photos to Instagram or Pinterest. But don’t be fooled. Your content has 10, 100, or 1,000 endpoints, from the web to mobile apps to digital signs to print shops to packaging development process. Permissions must travel with the content, and insights should flow back. You have to look beyond what’s available out of the box.

3. How easily will the DAM adapt to changes in my business?

Your business is dynamic. Some parts are growing quickly. Others are shrinking. You may be on an acquisition or divestment spree (or both). New business models emerge and old ones fade.

This dynamism works in your favor if your team and the tools you rely on can quickly adapt. Unfortunately, the content management system architecture and hard coded customizations in legacy systems are brittle and complex. The simplest changes – adding or changing a descriptive field, for example – to a production system can require a lot of advanced planning, system downtime, and careful testing. These costs of change create fear and delay. Can your business afford to be immobilized?

4.Will this DAM reduce or reinforce the silos in my business?

Most large, long-established companies have 10, 50, 100, or more DAMs (we even worked with one that had over 1,000!). Wrestling that to the ground is a long, challenging journey. Make sure you know the destination so you walk in the right direction.

5. Will the DAM underpin or undermine my digital transformation?

A successful digital transformation requires enormous executive commitment, willpower, and energy to transform people, processes, products, and platforms. Even the most advanced packaged DAM products will only meet 80% of your needs. You’ll spend thousands—or millions—on customizations to close functional gaps and train users. Inevitably as your business changes, or software releases are introduced, the customizations you’ve built will get harder and harder to maintain, until they start undermining the transformation itself. Don’t let your software lock you into an out-of-date way of doing things.

Download the ebook to learn more about what to look for and how to test vendors on each of these five topics.