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Digital asset management is a phrase that gets tossed around in business conversations, but what is it, really? And how do businesses derive value from it?

As the name implies, an organization’s “digital assets” exist in the digital realm, and have intrinsic value to a business. Digital assets can be as simple as a spreadsheet of customers’ contact information, or as complex as a searchable library of a feature film’s visual effects, script, schedule, musical score, and legal documents. Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems store, organize, retrieve, and share an organization’s digital property.

DAM delivers value in two ways: security and productivity. Bethany Landing, VP of Client Operations for DAM services company 5thKind, discusses both aspects in an interview for this article.

Regarding security, Landing says, “5thKind serves film and television clients. No one in a film studio wants to have scripts or film clips leaked to the press or the public ahead of time. If the audience already knows what happens at the end of, let’s say, “Black Panther,” why would they buy a ticket? The potential loss of income is enormous.” Likewise, in other types of businesses, there can be significant financial consequences if confidential agreements or patient records or financial documents find their way into the wrong hands.

Landing mentions the work-from-home (WFH) trend as a potential security risk that DAM helps to mitigate. “Every film clip and digital document is watermarked, and access is controlled and monitored. Film executives can review clips and documents from anywhere, on any device,” she says.

Any business with paper documents that are ordinarily stored safely in an office runs a risk when those papers are removed to a WFH setting. Converting paper documents to digital format keeps the information secure yet accessible.

As for productivity, DAM speeds up information search and retrieval many times faster than manual searches through paper documents or other physical elements. One of 5thKind’s clients estimates saving $1.5 million per film, thanks to the speed of digital search. Fast digital searches allowed producers and editors to find and re-use various animated backgrounds and visual effects, without spending hundreds of hours (and many thousands of dollars) on manual searches.

Other industry sectors, too, find DAM to be a productivity winner. The American Records Management Association estimates that office staffers spend 7.4% of their time looking for documents. That’s nearly 3 hours of each employee’s 40-hour work week. If your business has paper documents, you’re paying for a lot of unproductive hours. What does it cost your company to lose 3 hours of productivity multiplied across an entire staff, week after week?

When you add up those lost hours across an entire organization, one thing is clear: It’s definitely time to go digital. And that means document imaging –  transforming your paper documents into a secure, searchable database of digital assets. Talk to an imaging expert and get all the latest digital benefits for your business.


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