The Ins and Outs of Digital Asset Management Workflow

digital asset management workflow

In today’s complex data-driven world, businesses are constantly generating a sea of digital assets – images, audio, videos, documents, presentations, animations, and more. Managing this ever-growing stream of digital assets can become a hassle that hinders your business productivity and brand consistency without digital asset management (DAM) workflows.

In this blog, we’ll see in detail about digital assets, how to manage them using DAM systems, why you need DAM workflows, the best DAM tools, and how Cflow lets you unlock your true potential for transforming your DAM system into a powerful tool for managing your digital assets. 

What are Digital Assets?

A digital asset is created and stored digitally in a central repository, is identifiable, discoverable, and has value. As technology advances, digital assets have become increasingly popular as they come into our daily lives and professional lives. A business’s digital assets include the company’s brand that has assigned value either monetary or intangible. 

There are different types of digital assets in an organization but they are broadly categorized into these two main types:

Intangible digital assets and financial digital assets. The intangible digital assets are those that hold value. They can be functional or creative. Some examples include:

Creative content

  • Images
  • Video files
  • Audio files/music
  • E-books
  • Design files
  • Graphics


  • Presentations
  • Spreadsheets
  • Emails
  • PDFs
  • Logos
  • Code
  • Manuscripts

Any other digital media that requires the right to use

On the other hand, financial digital assets include digital representations of financial instruments that are tradable such as cryptocurrencies. Some examples include:

  • Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.
  • Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) are unique digital tokens that represent an ownership of an asset. 
  • Stablecoins are pegged as crypto currencies with a stable price that is pegged to a fiat currency such as gold or US dollars to reduce price volatility. 
  • Security tokens are digital securities that represent ownership of an asset in a company. They are used to access peripheral devices that are restricted electronically and the token is used as a password. 

Why are They Important?

Digital assets have become a part of our lives as everything gets digitized more than ever. For instance, if you want to learn something you simply turn to the internet for help as it is quicker and easier rather than going to a library for resources. For organizations, digital assets are their lifeblood as they encompass a wide range of creative and information content. Digital assets are important as they improve brand recognition, and brand credibility, influence customer engagement, enhance content creation efficiency, and improve knowledge sharing and collaboration. 

Digital Asset Management Systems (DAMS)

A DAMS comprises the workflows that power the lifecycle of a digital asset – from creation to publishing to archiving. It helps streamline asset management and optimizes the production of rich media with sales and marketing by enabling a centralized management system for digital assets. 

Digital Asset Management Systems features to look for:

1. Asset lifecycle support

Your DAM solution should be capable of managing different types of digital assets throughout its lifecycle – right from creation to archiving. It should also provide access permissions with the granularity to preserve the integrity of the assets. 

2. Capabilities

The DAM that you employ should act as a central repository for all your digital assets. This makes it easier for team members and stakeholders to access them whenever needed. Make sure that the DAMS enables you to manage all types of digital assets such as images, documents, videos, graphics, etc., and has unique features like version control, workflow automation, and integration with other creative tools of your choice. 

3. Functionality

Not just capabilities, you should focus on choosing a digital asset management system that performs all of its functions. You need to consider other factors such as ease of use, speed, and other special features such as search accuracy and enhanced overall efficiency. 

4. Ease of use

The DAM system should have a user-friendly interface which is crucial for easy adoption and overall improving productivity. It should be intuitive, easy to navigate, and easy to understand for all users even with no technical knowledge. 

5. Performance

You need to ask certain performance-related questions such as: how fast is the system? Is it capable of handling large files and complex workflows without lagging? Performance is crucial for a smooth workflow. 

6. Compatibility

This is another important feature where you need to ensure that the DAM system you choose is compatible with the file formats that you work with and integrates with other third-party software that you rely on such as creative suites and marketing automation platforms. Also, your DAM system should come with good import and export capabilities where they should not isolate an island of data but share digital assets including their search results and other related data to other systems. 

7. Support

Reliable customer support is of utmost importance as it is essential when you encounter issues or need help with using the software. Choose a DAM system that has a good reputation for support. 

8. Security

Security is paramount when it comes to safeguarding your digital assets. The DAM system should have excellent security features such as encryption, regular backups, and access controls. 

9. Customization

A certain level of customization will provide users with the flexibility to tailor the DAMS to their specific organization needs and workflows. This might include customizing metadata fields, user permissions, and branding. Moreover, the DAM systems should be agile and provide bidirectional flexibility with exceptional metadata search and repurposing assets by other functional groups within your company. 

10. Cost

Pricing of the DAM system varies with the features, storage capacity, and the number of users. You need to decide the budget and choose a system that offers the best value for your business. 

The DAM system that you choose can be deployed on-premises in either the cloud or in a hybrid topology. But, opting for cloud-based deployment is cost-effective, secure, scalable, and a flexible digital asset management option for your business.

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Digital Asset Management Workflows

IT teams want to help the company but they do it otherwise because they tend to keep lots of assets that can no longer be used. While some may come in handy if you can claim a warranty or get it repaired, some products are just e-waste. Collecting them in large numbers through the years will affect newer products and they may not which is useful, and which is not!

The digital asset management workflow can be defined as a series of defined steps within a DAM system that specify how digital assets are created, managed, ingested, and archived. It’s like a recipe for handling digital content by ensuring efficiency and optimization throughout its lifecycle.


These are the different types of DAM workflows that organizations generally use. These workflows differ based on the project type, asset type, etc. 

  • Project-based workflows – this type of DAM workflow focuses on the steps needed for completing a specific project, for instance, a product launch or a marketing campaign. Here the assets are created and managed within the project scope.
  • Asset-based workflows – this type of DAM workflow focuses on an individual asset’s lifecycle from creation to distribution to archiving. This ensures that the assets are properly indexed, and version control and access permissions are provided correctly.  
  • Campaign-based workflows – this type of DAM workflow is specifically designed for marketing and advertising campaigns. They might be involved in creating camping-specific versions of existing assets.
  • Collaborative workflows – this type of DAM workflow is designed for assets that involve working with multiple teams from different departments. They facilitate real-time communication, shared editing, and feedback loops for efficient collaboration in creating quality assets.
  • Approval workflows – these DAM workflows involve multiple tired processes for approving assets before they are published and distributed. They help in ensuring that there is consistent brand presence and adherence to quality standards.
  • Transactional workflows – these DAM workflows mainly involve managing sales and licensing of digital assets where they track and automate tasks related to payments, downloads, and access control. 
  • Archival workflows – finally these DAM workflows focus on preserving long-term access to historical and inactive assets which might involve specific storage formats, data migration strategies, and restricted access controls. 

Components of Digital Asset Management Workflows

Understanding the different components of the DAM workflows can simplify its creation and enable smoother configuration. The components include – an asset repository, media library, metadata, taxonomy, keywords, progress tracking, files, and access levels/personnel roles, asset approval process. 

  1. Asset repositories – these are centralized repositories that store all your digital assets including images, videos, and files, and structured content such as blog and press releases that need to be published. This acts as an easy-to-use control center with multiple inputs and outputs. The question is whether you will have a single asset repository or multiple repositories at different stages of the workflow.
  2. Metadata and taxonomy – asset metadata is the description of the digital asset such as filename, metadata fields, keywords, geolocation, etc. Asset metadata is crucial for improving searchability. Taxonomy is creating labels for organizing your digital assets and easily finding them later. Metadata asset type can be
    1. Workflow ID helps identify which workflow is currently processing or which asset is waiting for approval. 
    2. Approval status – AR (awaiting review); UR (under review); RR (revisions required) and AP (approved). These labels inform members about the current status of the asset. 
    3. Publish status – this is for the publishing team where P(published), S (staged), W (workflow), and N (No Status). These labels indicate to the team whether the created asset is approved and published or not. 
  3. Progress tracking – this helps in knowing what are all the stages used throughout the workflow lifecycle to see if the workflows are audible and generate reports.
  4. Files – it is essential to set up a file-sharing strategy to enable data sharing and exchange of information that improves collaboration.
  5. Access levels/personnel roles – access levels can be modified to include creators, reviews, approvers, publishers, and administrators. The roles that you create differ from the business needs. 
  6. Asset approval process – here you need to identify the stages for approval and automate the process wherever possible. 

Now, you can assign team members with specific roles where they can have multiple responsibilities depending on the task. These roles also differ based on your asset type and business. 

  • Administrator: They oversee DAM systems and review workflow processes periodically to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. They make recommendations for improvement. They have complete control over workflows and data assets where they can edit, review, and approve them.
  • Editor: Responsible for creating new assets, and editing/deleting existing assets.
  • Reviewer: They are responsible for reviewing the assets under development or revision and providing necessary feedback and comments for improvement.
  • Approver: They approve the assets for publication.
  • Publisher: They are responsible for publishing and distributing the approved assets.

Setting up and Optimizing the DAM Workflows

A good DAM system should be capable of performing multiple operations involving different digital assets. A typical DAM workflow comprises the following steps:

  • Asset creation –  this is the first stage where new assets are created. The DAM software comes with standardized templates and file formats for digital asset creation. This helps in setting up easy document search and retrieval.  
  • Review – now the new assets move to approvers and wait for comments. Assigned members will review the asset and provide feedback and the comments are implemented.
  • Index – the approved assets are indexed with relevant metadata and are categorized properly to locate them easily whenever needed. To simplify the search, metadata enables easy identification of assets based on their attributes. For instance:
    • Asset type – white paper
    • Version – new
    • Media type – PDF
    • Technology used – Microsoft Word

These identifiers group assets with common tags thus improving searchability. This indexing also helps in enabling process automation. 

  • Publish – once they are indexed, the asset can be used by different teams where they use it in their presentation, marketing campaigns, etc. In addition, you need to have version controls to avoid accidental deletion of files.
  • Distribute – now the asset gets disturbed to users and stakeholders both within and outside the organization. Here you need to give access control and only authorized personnel will be allowed to access the assets. 
  • Archive – finally, the asset gets retired, and it is time to go into the archives. Here they are stored safely for a long time and can be accessed whenever needed.

Optimizing DAM Workflows

Checklist for optimizing digital asset management workflows:

  • Improve workflow functionality by utilizing it to the fullest.
  • Need to train employees and users on workflow functionality
  • Create a plan for governing and reviewing workflows regularly
  • Ensure the assigned roles align with the tasks to be executed in the workflow
  • Always automate workflows when and wherever possible and is logical
  • Create DAM metadata that aligns with other third-party systems to keep track of asset-related workflow status.

Benefits of Digital Asset Management Workflow Systems

It is common to think that why not emails are just enough for sharing, collaborating, and managing tasks and assets. But everyone likes ROI, right? Well, without having a process flow to manage your organization’s digital assets systematically can severely impact your organization’s finances, especially in terms of poor resource and asset management and accountability which can be a costly mistake. 

Workflows are one of the most effective ways to monetize and maximize your ROI with the help of a digital asset management system.  Here are some of the DAM workflows:

  • Digital asset management workflows can simplify complex processes by modifying the order of the steps to make them more efficient by making them function independently rather than sequentially. This streamlines the processes and makes them more effective. 
  • Ensure tasks are assigned to people with the appropriate skills rather than just to anyone who is free to do them. This will result in improved communication, and adherence to process rules thereby creating higher-quality assets.
  • DAM systems help improve conversion and customer retention. When your business organizes content properly based on the buyer journey they can serve the right content to their target audience. This personalized customer experience nurtures stronger relationships and helps bring in more potential customers.  
  • With DAM workflows visibility gets improved a lot as tracking becomes effortless. You can check the status/progress of any asset instant. Also, you can identify critical points in the processes, identify problems, and monitor real-time throughout the asset lifecycle.
  • Brand consistency gets improved as DAM systems streamline messaging, positioning, and virtual representation that adheres to improving brand presence.   
  • DAM workflows leave an audit trail which is a record of what occurred in the system, who did what action, and when, and analyzing audit reports will help you regulate your asset management processes. 
  • Licensing, archiving, legal documentation, and other assets play a key role in meeting industry-driven standards and governmental compliance regulations.

Use Cases

Digital asset management systems are widely used across different industries involving digital assets. Here are some of the use cases of DAM systems:

1. Patent office

In general, patent offices are involved in managing large volumes of digital assets throughout different stages of completion. They juggle mountains of digital documents and DAM systems come to the rescue. DAM systems act as central repositories for storing all patent-related documents, drawings, and files thereby eliminating manual storage of documents. 

With version control, DAM systems enable easy tracking and any changes made to the documents can be viewed by the examiners and other members who are involved in the patent application. DAM systems index the files based on specific keywords, inventor names, application numbers, and other relevant criteria which makes the search process easier and is scalable and transferable to required departments. 

2. Food and drink industry

Food and beverage companies use DAM systems to maintain their brand presence and to streamline their content workflows to be more efficient. DAM systems enable these companies to create digital content that is shareable and accessible to teams and stakeholders remotely around the world. 

3. Retail

Retail brands come in all sizes and they use DAM systems to deliver omnichannel e-commerce experiences to their customers. Often combined with a Product Information Management (PIM) solution where they create product photos, videos, and other assets that the retailers use to achieve greater consistency with consumer engagement across different channels. 

4. Media and Publishing

The print media and publishing companies use DAM tools to streamline their content production into a single centralized hub. Publishers, content creators, and other members use DAM tools to share files and collaborate efficiently with agencies and vendors. They work together to edit and revise the content before publishing. DAM systems automatically share links and create portals for storing digital files thereby avoiding unnecessary printing delays. 

5. Healthcare

Like all industries, healthcare organizations have been digitally transforming, especially since the pandemic. Not only did the hospital workforce migrate to a cloud-based system but also the customers shifted most of their health aspects online. They use DAM systems to promote their services and educate the general public. DAM systems help create and manage quality digital assets with access control password-protected portals to deliver the right content to the right audience. Any changes made to the content are automatically updated in the DAM system and are reflected everywhere. This makes healthcare information more reliable and trusted by people.  

6. IT and other technology companies

Many IT and other technology companies use digital asset management systems across different departments to centralize their assets for secure access and ease of use. The HR department uses DAM systems to record and manage employee data, benefits, hiring and onboarding status, holidays and vacation requests, and payroll management. 

The procurement team uses DAM systems to store information related to vendor details, contracts, POs, invoices, and other specifications. The development team uses DAM systems to store development-related information, product design, software details, planning materials, images, and video files.

List of Best Digital Asset Management Tools

Choosing the right digital asset management platform depends on your specific business needs and budget. Here are the top 5 tools that you should consider:

1. Cflow

Cflow is a no-code cloud-based automation platform that emphasizes functionalities like asset creation tracking, detailed reporting on digital assets, workflow automation, and much more. It comes with a powerful document manager where you can create, store, and index with specific tags. It’s simple and reliable with version controls which lets you streamline your digital assets in a centralized location. 

Cflow offers unique end-to-end customized functionalities for managing your digital assets for different departments including sales and marketing, IT, procurement, HR, and supply chain. If you are looking for robust utility and easy adoption, then Cflow is the right choice. 

2. Bynder

Bynder exclusively focuses on brand management and provides a user-friendly platform for managing marketing assets, maintaining brand consistency, improving brand visibility, improving customer engagement, and streamlining creative workflows. This platform is particularly well-suited for marketing and creative agencies. 

3. Brandfolder

Brandfloder is another DAM tool that focuses on enterprise usability and adoption where it offers intuitive features that help manage complex assets. It integrates well with other marketing tools and also offers a high level of customization. 

4. Canto

Canto is a good choice if you are looking to create collaborative DAM Workflows. It offers unique features to facilitate teamwork on digital assets such as version control, annotation tools, and user permissions to ensure everyone stays on the same page when working on a project. 

5. Acquia DAM (Widen)

Acquia DAM empowers digital innovators by providing an open digital experience platform (DXP), an open-source Drupal to create and manage digital assets. They focus on enhancing customer experience and helping organizations make data-driven decisions.

Cflow and Digital Asset Management

Digital asset management (DAM) empowers businesses worldwide to create, manage, access, and control their digital assets. Cflow goes beyond just a point solution where it helps streamline your digital asset management and helps in crafting compelling user experiences. By implementing Cflow as a central hub integrated with your overall corporate functional strategies you can create a more consistent and engaging digital experience for your customers. 

A Forrester report states that over two-thirds of companies aim to deliver efficient content and some of the leading firms integrate DAM into their digital experience and content strategies not just as a standalone solution.  This is where Cflow becomes your reliable DAM partner. It offers centralized repositories for easy access, storage, and retrieval of your digital assets, maintains control with user permissions and access control management, and ensures data integrity with version control and audit trails. All of its features can be customized to your specific organizational needs irrespective of your business type.  

Overall, Cflow offers robust and reliable digital asset management solutions to meet your specific organizational needs. Contact us today and discover how Cflow can empower your organization’s digital assets and deliver exceptional customer experience.

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