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Today’s marketing and creative teams often lack the resources or bandwidth to handle every aspect of their campaigns in-house. Even large companies with large budgets often turn to external agencies or freelancers for specialized support.
Sometimes these engagements are simple and involve a single agency or point of contact working on a single project. In other cases, however, multiple parties work together on a task that requires everyone to share content back and forth.
The rapid growth of hybrid and remote work environments has made such engagements even more complex. Organizations now need to think about how to connect their remote workers to the resources they need while maintaining smooth communication with third party vendors.
With larger projects and long-term engagements, confusion and frustration can quickly undermine productivity unless a process is put in place that facilitates ongoing collaboration.
Asset sharing challenges
One of the biggest challenges for marketing teams when working with external employees is to make their digital assets available securely and easily to manage.
Cloud storage services have made collaboration across other business functions much easier, but platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox weren’t designed specifically for the needs of creative teams.
Here are some examples of common asset sharing challenges that often result in under-productivity in the hybrid workplace.
Most cloud storage platforms manage access to files based on user permissions. In theory, this is a perfectly reasonable approach that prevents people from opening or modifying files without authorization.
However, when a company collaborates with third parties outside of the organization, it can quickly become a headache. Not every employee may have access to every platform, creating bottlenecks and confusion. Also, since organizations often use cloud platforms to store more than just content, they need to be careful about how they grant permissions to avoid potential security issues.
User permissions must be carefully managed for all users who need access, and all permissions must be removed after the project is complete. When multiple platforms are used to store and work with assets, it quickly becomes difficult to keep track of who has access to what. Every time new employees join the team, new permissions have to be set up to give them access, which makes it harder for them to start their work.
2. Finding assets
Even after the access authorizations have been clarified, those involved in the project still have to find the right assets for their current task. Unfortunately, cloud storage platforms sometimes make this process a lot more difficult than necessary. Due to the rudimentary search functions and poor organization tools on these platforms, it is often difficult to find a particular file quickly. This leads to inefficiency, frustration and, in the worst case, missed deadlines.
All of these challenges are made worse when every business uses multiple cloud platforms. Without a single source of information for digital assets, employees often search multiple systems for the content they need. That only leads to further delays.
There is also the potential security issue when a third party scans a company’s cloud storage for assets and comes across sensitive data.
3. Content sharing
Sharing and receiving content can also be difficult when multiple external collaborators are involved. Without a single source of information for all of your content, it can be difficult to know where to upload assets and what scheme to follow to organize them.
When files are uploaded, downloaded, and then re-uploaded to shared folders by multiple employees, there are numerous opportunities for confusion and error, resulting in unnecessary delays and duplicate work.
Distributing uploaded content is also challenging when multiple parties are involved. Granting access to individual assets stored on various shared platforms is both tedious and confusing, and only serves to undermine productivity.
Content sharing uncertainties are particularly dangerous as they can easily undermine version control. If reps are unsure whether the asset they are working with is the most current version, they may end up duplicating work that has already been done or not applying changes made to a previous version of a file.
While it is possible to manually maintain version control with close oversight, it only takes one person to grab the wrong file or mislabel another, creating major content production problems.
Optimizing digital collaboration with DAM software
Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions can help organizations overcome collaboration challenges by creating a single source of truth for all digital assets while making it easier to share and access them. Instead of trying to store content such as high-resolution images, videos, and audio files in multiple storage services, companies can instead set up their DAM platform to support third-party vendors.
Consolidating digital assets into a single place makes it much easier to manage permissions and limit potential security risks. Account administrators can easily grant permissions from a central control panel so they can control which external contributors can make changes and upload files, and which assets can easily view and download. Such permissions allow teams to structure collaborative workflows that make it clear who is responsible for key steps in the content creation process.
Unlike most cloud storage platforms, DAM solutions are specifically designed to make organizing and finding digital assets easier. In addition to folders and albums that can be sorted in various ways, any file in the system can be quickly found by looking for metadata labels such as tags and keywords. Sophisticated DAM solutions can even automatically tag content using image recognition software.
Even if an asset isn’t properly labeled, it can be easily found with a simple context search. This will significantly reduce the time it takes to get content.
For collaborative projects involving multiple third parties, DAM platforms make content sharing easier and reduce version confusion. The most effective way to share assets is to create custom portals that only provide access to content that is relevant to the project at hand. Permissions can be fully integrated into the portal itself and grant creative teams instant access without having to manage the account status individually. Since the custom portal only connects to assets related to the scope of work, there are minimal security concerns.
A DAM platform can also use shareable links to provide access to content or to allow third parties to upload assets. This is particularly useful for working on smaller projects when you only want content to flow in one direction. An agency or a freelancer who provides pictures from a photo shoot, for example, only needs the option of uploading content, not accessing the entire library.
DAM solutions make it easier than ever for companies to receive and share assets in a digital world. They create a single source of truth that enables internal and external employees to work seamlessly together and create memorable branded content that helps companies communicate their story to the world.
To learn more about how DAM solutions like Canto can transform the way your creative teams manage digital assets, sign up for a free trial today.