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Ten Core Strategies for Reducing Risk When Selecting DAM

Ten Core Strategies for Reducing Risk When Selecting DAM
    Ten Core is a standard--possibly the only recognised standard--in the Digital Asset Management industry. in 2014, discussions between leading industry professionals and the DAM Foundation led to “The Ten Core Characteristics of a DAM System”, an agreed and conclusive list of functionality necessary for software to be truly considered Digital Asset Management software. IQ Equity devised a certification process and in collaboration with the DAM Foundation, have accredited 35 vendors since September 2014. 
    Ten Core is accepted as a reference point for DAM functionality by DAM professionals and the vendor community. Users can look to it for guidance and vendors can reference it to demonstrate competence.
  • DAM systems ingest assets individually or in mass sets, and allow for the manipulation of those assets and their metadata individually or with mass actions.This is accomplished in part by assigning a unique identifier to each asset on ingest.

Ten Core Characteristics of DAM: Ingest

  • DAM systems secure the assets they contain. Security in a DAM extends to defining access control lists (ACLs) for assets and defining roles for users accessing the system.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Secure

  • DAM systems store assets as both binaries and metadata. A DAM system can store multiple file types and allows for the customization of metadata fields and the metadata in those fields attached to the stored files.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Store

  • DAM systems render/transform assets on ingest into new forms, such as thumbnails or proxy files. The new forms generated on asset ingest via transformation should all be stored as asset parts of the original file uploaded.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Render/Transform

  • DAM systems enrich assets through the extension of metadata and metrics regarding the use and reuse of the asset throughout its lifecycle.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Enrich

  • DAM systems relate assets by tracking the relationships between and among an original asset and versions/variants of the original. Versioning and version control tools are central to an asset’s life in a DAM system.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Relate

  • DAM systems regulate a structured process in the management, creation, and review of assets with workflow tools. Via programmed workflows, DAMs allow for a decentralized work force to collaborate together in a centralized system.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Process

  • DAM systems allow for users to find assets and to retrieve those assets by facilitating search through metadata, collections, workflows, and access control tools. By increasing the discovery of assets that may not have been easily accessible before ingest, a DAM assists workers in leveraging existing content for maximum work potential.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Find

  • DAM systems have a preview function that allows users to view assets before downloading or opening a file on their own device. By allowing users to take a look at assets in search quickly, without download, DAM systems reduce the amount of time users must spend in search.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Preview

  • DAM systems produce/publish content by providing methods whereby assets may be shared, linked to, or otherwise be distributed outside the system. This DAM function may be as simple as generating a URL on ingest or as complex as allowing users to build collections of items for sharing with a work group.

DAM Ten Core Characteristics: Produce/Publish


The fact that Ten Core covers the fundamentals of DAM means that it should be part of your strategy when it comes to DAM selection, especially in a ‘Bake Off’ situation.

Learning the language of DAM is one of the toughest challenges for marketers, creatives, archivists, brand managers and the C-Suite. We don’t mean there’s an actual language barrier—although sometimes technical language and acronyms can be daunting--but it is useful to have a basic understanding of the key functionalities of Digital Asset Management solutions.

This will help you communicate the benefits of DAM within your organisation and will aid you when asking questions about the software in your dealings with vendors.

DAM is central to marketing technology and underpins everything you do with the content your organisation owns. It centralises and manages rich media, and image files as single source operational master files from which all things flow-- whether it’s distributing web ready content to your CMS, pushing visual content to your Product Information System or making strategic business decisions based on data.

“25% of vendors calling themselves DAM systems have actually failed the ten core standard test ”

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