Digital Asset Management Trends for 2021

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After one of the most unpredictable years in living memory, 2021 looks to be the year when we learn many lessons from the unprecedented shifts in technology in 2020.

Creative workflow management systems got stress-tested like never before in the year the Covid-19 pandemic turned the world on its head.

Although the next 12 months could see a return to normality, some stitched-together solutions from 2020 could become part of the furniture this year.

Work from home makes a centralized asset hub more important

Few people could have predicted that for many of us our homes would become our offices at the start of 2020. Working from home wasn’t invented in 2020, and it didn’t take a global pandemic for the notion of some work-life balance to trigger a relocation to a more homey setting.

However, it will be forever remembered as the year when a huge chunk of people suddenly had to get to grips with the limits of their home broadband as well as Zoom meetings, Slack chats and a host of other apps and forms of communication.

Even after the virus will be banished, though, the trend towards work-from-home looks set to continue, which is why 2021 will be a big year for Digital Asset Management (DAM). Team members on any particular project could be scattered across a dozen different locations, but that won’t change the fact they will need access to the same creative assets.

Creative DAM acts as a central hub for all assets required for creative production. This year will improve many DAM systems’ functionalities to take into account more permanent remote working arrangements. 

Making files, dates and creative assets more accessible no matter where a team member is will be key in 2021.

Using DAM for brand consistency

Although the trend towards online shopping and e-commerce was very much on an upward trend before 2020, the pandemic confined most people to their homes, with a large part of their purchases being made online. 

Most significantly, the uptake rate in online grocery shopping accelerated in 2020, and studies show that this could be a tipping point for e-commerce. Previous online grocery shopping skeptics have had a taste of it in 2020 and liked it, meaning 2021 looks set to be the year when those abnormal rates start to become the norm.

And with increased commerce online comes the need for more digital marketing across the many different platforms that find themselves in front of consumers’ eyes daily.

DAM will play a huge role in omni-channel marketing this year as brands try to grab consumers’ attention wherever they are looking. A DAM allows marketers to create different content for relevant platforms that retain consistent brand identity with a centralized source of assets such as logos and branding.

Greater reliance on automation for creative workflow

DAM helps you find relevant assets at the touch of a button. Still, given that creatives might need to use that asset in several different programs, it must be compatible with the various platforms it gets used on.

To do this, it requires metadata and tags be added, which will allow for it to be repurposed for each particular use. Automating this process is essential to the smooth running of creative workflows, but studies show that only 6% of users of DAM systems are on board with AI.

That gives enormous scope for an increase in reliance on automation in 2021.

Integration for greater efficiency

With an increasing number of SaaS players, it is more important than ever that whatever creative software you use, it is compatible with other platforms. 

Software integration is crucial to an efficient, creative workflow. While software purchases should be carefully considered and weighed up, this year could also see companies putting significant stock in plug-ins and APIs.

This will make software investment much more valuable if users know that content can be created and shared seamlessly across different programs and platforms.

While 2020 may be a cautionary tale for making predictions, it seems that the many ways we were forced to adapt to new ways of working quickly have encouraged us for what’s to come next. Many of the last 12 months’ developments were already in the pipeline and had been accelerated by outside events.

In 2021 comapnies should adapt trends which have made workflow management more efficient and sustainable.