The digital asset management and creative production industry commonly mistake Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Work In Progress (WIP). People often believe they need a digital asset management (DAM) system when in reality, they’re looking for a Work In Progress system. There is overlap between the two, but also some distinct differences. Below are the key differences that will help make sense of it all and where globaledit fits in among enterprise solution providers.

What Is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

Digital Asset Management is the practice of storing, cataloging and handling digital files to make them more findable, reusable and available for distribution and monetization. The term “DAM” is used industry-wide to refer to not only this concept, but also the software system used to manage files.

A DAM system provides a centralized asset library for ingesting digital files. These files can be catalogued, searched, retrieved, distributed and archived. The DAM system stores these digital files in a database or on a file system. Metadata attached to each asset is entered at the time of ingest to categorize and make files easier to find and secure. The metadata is typically stored in a database alongside the files. The combination of the digital file and its associated metadata is referred to as a “digital asset”. Users can browse and search the DAM to retrieve the assets they need, as well as download, share or deliver the assets.

Benefits of a DAM:

  • Maximize asset reuse and minimize duplicate content production efforts by making your existing assets easily findable
  • Enable teams to share and collaborate on content production
  • Enable distribution and monetization of digital assets
  • Learn the value of your media assets by gathering metrics about usage patterns

Globaledit focuses on Work In Progress. But what Is Work In Progress exactly?

Work In Progress usually represents the first step of the creative production workflow, right after the photo shoot or the digital asset creation. Work In Progress is the practice of sharing, collaborating and distributing media files including photo, video, audio and collateral documents (pdf, doc, etc.) prior to final delivery. Various groups within an organization generally co-managed WIP systems. They’re typically accessible to internally or external stakeholders in various geographical locations. This phase of the overall creative production process is the most chaotic and requires multiple collaborators to take action simultaneously in order to move that perfect asset along.

A WIP system is similar to a DAM in that it can provide a central repository of digital assets. However, unlike typical DAM systems, WIP systems include additional functionality that is specific to team collaboration; such as rating systems, contact sheet generators, communication tools, and fast upload, download and ingest methods for large media files (photos, videos). They also provide vehicles to easily share assets with various stakeholders while managing user permissions. These tools enable an organization to collaborate on assets and manage their creative workflow process in a more streamlined, efficient way.  The results are shorter production times and work that gets to market faster, at less cost. A DAM system doesn’t care so much about getting the asset to market faster, but rather provides a organized repository for your employees to find approved assets later.

Benefits of a WIP:

  • Manage visual assets at scale, right after they are created
  • Streamline the review and approval process
  • Centralize all the assets into a single repository
  • Enable teams to easily share and collaborate on assets in real-time and from any device (web, tablet, mobile)
  • Workflow unification across departments, divisions and brands
  • High Speed Distribution to teams, stakeholders and vendors – saves time and money vs. manual distribution methods

Cloud-based WIP platform like globaledit appeals to enterprise creative teams because it needs little to no IT intervention. Implementation ramp up time is minimal. The ability to work anywhere, anytime and remain in sync is even more appealing. Globaledit provides easy-to-use and beautiful interface (along with enterprise-level security) to encourage adoption.

Of course each company, process and team structure is different. It is important to find the right partners that understand your specific creative production workflow to recommend the best solution. The first step to improving your creative operations process is not putting all of your eggs in one basket. Speak to the “workflow wizards” within your company, as well as your vendors. Globaledit may just be the best egg. Happy hunting!


To learn more about the difference between WIP and DAM or the globaledit platform contact us today.