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When utilizing Sitecore Content Hub I quickly realized that this is not just another DAM product. It is much more. Let’s break down what Asset Management looks like in the current state and what could be a much better way of managing Digital Assets? In this article we discuss a proper digital asset management structure for content hub.

Digital Asset Management Structure (The old way)

Managing assets within a folder structure (One Drive, Google Drive, Shared networks Drives, local folders, etc…) can be challenging and time-consuming as data grows it becomes difficult for users to find relevant information and reuse the existing digital assets. The most common categorization or structure that can usually exist are as follows:

  • Time-based categorization: Creating folders for years then months and even dates if there are a lot of assets. More common when it is necessary to look for assets that are published periodically such as magazines, articles, or journals.
  • Department-based categorization: Creating folders for usage based on users/teams who are interacting with the underlying assets. Another way of structuring asset is to structure using projects (I admittedly use this on my OneDrive, Google Drive structures) This helps users contextualize the assets and allow users to easily differentiate most of the assets.
  • User-based categorization: Creating folders and subfolders for each user, such that the work can be independently structured within these folders for each user to manage on their own. More common with teams that have relatively less dependency among team members and most of the members are individual contributors.
  • Type-based categorization: all images, videos, or audio files stored in a separate folder. Think of this similar to how one might store HTML, CSS, and JS files on a server. This categorization is especially helpful for users that would want to look for a specific file type within the context of a Project, or created by a certain individual.
  • No categorization: A pile of files, documents, assets, etc. By name it may feel like the most disorganized form, however, every folder structure, in the end, culminates to a pile of files.

There is no set pattern as to which categorization is better, and in certain cases, there are multiple categorizations that are utilized. Project categorization within Year specific folders, User-specific folders within date folders.

The Problem

  • An exponential increase in asset creation: As more and more assets are created it becomes increasingly difficult to manage and find relevant assets, at a certain point it becomes too difficult to manage. Organizations can even have reduced operational efficiency if the problem gets out of hand.
  • Sharing assets: Increased collaboration between teams and users means that the assets are now going to be shared among many with different visibility. 3 files in a folder visible to person A, 4 files visible to person B, and managing them can be a headache of its own.
  • Using various file formats to support and use various tools and create final assets: Creating an asset is not a single tool game now. One might
    • Combine video and audio in Adobe premiere to create a final asset
    • Refine images in Photoshop and export in different sizes and formats in order to utilize them better on various platforms.
    • Combine image and copy(text) in Adobe Illustrator to create a PDF for Digital Marketing and in HTML format for publishing on the web.
  • Duplicity: When the number of assets is too high and the information is siloed between different folders there is a high chance of duplicity of digital assets and each with a minor variation or changes thus making it increasingly difficult to manage a single source of truth.

It starts well-intentioned and with a structured framework that can work for ages, but often fails fast due to the ever-persistent problems mentioned above.

Digital Asset Management Structure (A better way)

Asset Management

The way users/people are now categorizing information is becoming increasingly search-driven. No one likes to navigate down a path of folders and subfolders to find the information needed to complete the work.

Traditionally assets were meant to ensure assets were accurately categorized, governed, tracked However with an increasing number of variations, categorizations, combinations of assets it is necessary for organizations to seriously rethink the way digital assets are being managed as of now.

Leveraging a search based relational asset management system is an answer to ensure:

  • Ease of search: Finding information can never be easier, think of having a google search for all your digital assets that not only looks for the name of the asset but what is inside the asset within the pdf files or text documents to provide better results every time.
  • Relations are maintained between digital assets: between similar asset types, variations of assets in different languages, or variations iterated over time. Assets are used to combine a composite asset or be it the relationship between video and the caption file.
  • Single Source of truth: No more duplicates
  • One-stop publishing: No need to share/store assets in various different servers, databases, or storage platforms when you can deliver directly from your DAM.

Sitecore Content Hub does this and much more.

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