The only thing in life which has a constant change is time. Call me old but when I went to school the world of chemical elements looked completely different than in our days. Digital Assets did also change over time and one of the reasons is the hardware manufacturer of capturing devices like cameras and scanners.
A journey has always a start and an end. The digital transformation is a journey through digital experience.
While during my school the smallest particle of a chemical element that can exist was an atom, we look today into a macro arena of new found smaller elements.
The only thing in life which has a constant change is time
Call me old but when I went to school the world looked completely different than in our days. While during my school the smallest particle of a chemical element that can exist was an atom, we look today into a macro arena of new found smaller elements.
Elements of an Atom
Computer and data, what about an asset?
Now let me compare it to my good old school days when an Atom was the smallest chemical element, is a digital asset may be the smallest human valuable digital footprint? Since we all know it will essential break down in bits and bytes let’s see it on a different level.
Since we use computers to store data and in today’s life we value everything we have as a digital file, digital content or digital information can be as valuable as an office chair or table. Even you might not find it in your financial books. But we account bits and bytes since software is part of our financial assets in an organization.
Why not treating a still photo or marketing poster the same way, an asset which we hold in our organization for a certain communication purpose?
We have photos for our products since pictures say more than 1000 words, we have maybe a product video which illustrates the usage or showcase happy people who use our product. Everything to communicate to our potential audience more knowledge about our offering.
So can we say that every single valuable file which we store on our computer is a Digital Asset ?
Without saying yes, I would agree. Every digital content, file or information which is valuable in our organization is a DIGITAL ASSET. Now I met “Ashok” an IT Administrator for a large retail company in Dubai and first thing he told me when we meet “Dude, since 12 years I run a file server, everybody stores his files there and we make every night backups, so we for sure take good care with our digital assets, don’t you think so?”.
Yes, I agree completely, this is very good and very true. However bringing it now to the point is that certain digital assets do not carry their information machine readable inside of them.
While for example a document which can be in the format as Microsoft Word or PDF can be read by the computer and be translated into a search index, the same does not apply for media formats. To know what you can see on a photo a human needs to open it, see what is on the photo to know if this is the right one he was looking for.
Summary, did we find our digital asset?
So you see already the dilemma, we have been experts to preserve our digital assets when it comes to documents and information. We created in our past databases to store information, applications to connect this data with visualization to humans through software, document management solutions to store unstructured information in the format as document and file servers to store any type of file which we want to archive and preserve on a central repository.
But what about all these formats which are not easy machine readable like rich media files, photos, images, illustrations or videos? Don’t you think we should pay more attention to them and connect them with business relevant information? Now we are there, time to think about a Digital Asset Management solution supporting the file lifecycle of a creative workflow.
However, I want to quote some of the real important meanings of an asset:
“Anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value…”
“They’re only assets if you can find them”
“Asset = File + Metadata”
“A rich media file plus metadata”
If they’re only assets if you can find them, then the way you can find them is by using metadata. Metadata is information like keywords, descriptions, and other tags. You then search on the metadata using the find features within a DAM system. However, if you take a rich media file and add a little metadata on top … then it becomes a digital asset!