Should You Use Your CMS for DAM?

By Patrice Meadows — Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 at 11:00am
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Content Management Systems (CMSs) and Digital Asset Management Systems (DAMS) are related software solutions that are sometimes confused for one another. In fact, we developed this blog explaining the difference to help our readers keep things straight.

Now that we have that out the way, it’s time to tackle a bigger question surrounding the two systems--whether or not both are necessary.

The short answer is, it depends.

Let me explain. Although both systems involve digital content, they offer very different benefits to users. CMSs make adding, removing, and displaying content simple. DAM systems, on the other hand, make finding, tracking, storing, and classifying content easy. Although most CMSs have content libraries, some of which can function as DAMS, few offer the storage capacity, searchability functions, and document control mechanisms that are typical of DAMSs. That said, how do you know when to use both?

Again, it depends.

In short, if you have a lot of external and internal documents to track, store and distribute, then a DAMS is probably a good idea.

Here’s why: although CMSs make publishing easy, they may struggle with automating content classification--like knowing the difference between internal and external content for instance. This can be problematic without the appropriate quality controls in place to ensure that sensitive information isn’t accidentally released. Adding this functionality to your CMS could require lots of customization that add time and money to your project.  

Now, on the other hand, if your site is relatively simple and uses content almost exclusively for external publication, a DAM system is less appealing. Without tons of content to classify, DAMSs become just another cost, tool, and thing your team has to do each day.

Let’s review. CMSs and DAM systems both deal with content online but in different ways, with different benefits for end users. Organizations with complex sites that have lots (and I mean lots) of digital content to track and pass between internal and external systems are likely to get more out of a DAMS than organizations that don’t.

Why together?

  • Greater efficiency
  • More versioning control and brand consistency
  • Less chance of human error (uploading the wrong image, version, video, etc) 

Why separate?

  • Lower software costs
  • Streamlined processes

How does your company manage digital assets? Share your strategies below or tweet us @hannon_hill #CMSvDAM to join the conversation.

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