How to Control and Manage the Life Cycle of Your Digital Assets with ITAM


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Like typical hardware and software equipment, digital assets are also an essential part of modern-day businesses.

They must be effectively stored, organised, managed, and distributed to different departments of an organisation. All of which can only be achieved by the effective management of a digital asset’s life cycle.

In fact, businesses that focus on the life cycle management of their IT assets generally reduce their cost per asset by as much as 30% in the first year.

In this article, we’ll highlight the effective use of your digital assets and the typical life cycle stages that they’ll progress through. You’ll also learn how IT Asset Management (ITAM) software can help you to successfully manage your equipment to help prolong their usable life and achieve a greater ROI. We’ll cover:

What are Your Digital Assets

What are Your Digital Assets?

A digital asset is a type of media content file used for business activities such as an image, video, podcast, or document. Branding elements, product photos, social media graphics, sales brochures, CAD drawings, blog posts, analytics data, and employee onboarding guides are some specific examples.

Every company has digital assets, and ownership of them may be spread across different departments. For instance, the marketing department is usually responsible for the creation and management of promotional and branded media. In contrast, the HR department would typically look after digital employee documents and training guides.

Digital equipment is often distributed across the company for input and approval, and where promotional assets are concerned, out into the public domain via the internet.

What are the Life Cycle Stages of a Digital Asset

The life cycle of a digital asset refers to its journey from creation to expiration. An IT asset’s life cycle can be broken down into four distinct stages:

1. Asset creation

This is when a concept is brought to fruition, resulting in some form of design, drawing, written document, photograph or video footage. It may also be an action, such as scanning a paper document to make it digital.

2. Management

Once created, and the asset is recorded in a system with a unique identifier, the task of managing equipment begins. This might include the approval of design or document, minor adjustments being made, or further information being added. A product photograph would need keyword-friendly metadata to help search engines find it in search results, for instance.

3. Distribution

This stage involves the distribution of a digital asset to employees or the general public. Consider the government’s coronavirus messaging campaign. This has already involved countless digital assets, ranging from social media graphics, video addresses, and informative articles on the government’s website. Each asset would have first been sent to various teams for publishing.

4. Archive

Then comes the point where a digital asset reaches the end of its life. This is the time when an asset is no longer relevant and therefore becomes outdated. Having a proper process in place for dealing with obsolete digital assets is crucial. A company that has gone through a rebranding would need to ensure old logos, straplines, images, and email signatures are removed quickly so as not to confuse customers or employees. In fact, consistent brand presentation across all channels can increase revenue by up to 23%.
What are the Life Cycle Stages of a Digital Asset

How do Digital Assets Compare to Other IT Assets?

IT assets can be classed as any company-owned hardware, software, or technological system. Examples include:

  • Laptops
  • Audio equipment
  • IT servers
  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets
  • Cloud-based software
  • Software licenses

IT assets also include a company’s intellectual property. This is where digital assets fit into the equation. These, and other IT assets, should be managed as part of an overall ITAM strategy.

How ITAM Can Help Track and Prolong the Life Cycle of Digital Assets

ITAM is a business process that brings together inventory, financial, contractual, and risk management functions in the IT environment. This supports strategic decision making and asset life cycle management. By implementing an ITAM software solution you can ensure that all IT assets, digital ones included, fit with the company’s operating needs.

Here are some of the main features you’ll come across in a robust ITAM tool, and how they can work to support digital asset management (DAM):

Registering each digital asset

Each one is assigned a unique identifier upon creation in an online register, which avoids the chances of duplication and makes the equipment conveniently searchable for users. This helps users spend less time searching for content and more time doing productive tasks.

Within the asset register, you can log additional details about each asset, such as its purpose and where/how it should be used. As well as metadata, photo licensing details, and version control numbering for individual documents.

Access management

This feature allows you to set up permissions and approval rights for your digital assets. This ensures only the relevant parties can upload, edit, use, and distribute them. Collaboration efforts can be much improved as a result.

Take the franchise restaurant group, Five Guys, for example. Before finding a DAM tool, this company stored its branding assets in multiple locations like Dropbox, personal computers, and hard drives. When it came to sharing assets, large files had to be distributed via WeTransfer. But, implementing an ITAM system allowed Five Guys to centrally store all digital assets and share files via a simple link.

Asset tracking and Life Cycle Monitoring

With ITAM software, you can have greater visibility over digital assets and also track the performance of them at each stage of their life cycle. This enables different parties to identify when new content needs to be created or existing assets repurposed. You can also set expiration dates for when equipment should no longer be used.

Managing the Life Cycle of Digital Assets with ITAM Software

A Summary: Managing the Life Cycle of Digital Assets with ITAM Software

In 2015 the UK DAM market was valued at $113.2 million and is set to grow substantially by 2025. This is due to expanding volumes and densities of digital assets in organisations. But effective management of IT equipment with ITAM will help to cut costs and maximise ROI in several ways. Including:

  • They are much less likely to get lost, deleted or stolen; therefore avoiding the need to recreate them
  • Performance tracking can be carried out to check the effectiveness
  • Helps to identify opportunities for repurposing rather than getting new content created
  • Enables consistent company messaging and brand identity

ITAM software is one type of application that can be used to store and manage digital assets effectively throughout their life cycle. Having a centralised database for equipment means users can find what they need quickly and be assured that they’re using the most up-to-date version.

By assigning user permissions, you can ensure that digital assets aren’t used without authorisation, or incorrectly. And when they are no longer relevant, they can be easily archived using ITAM; retained safely rather than deleted entirely, in case they are of use in the future.

Learn more about ITAM software and how it can benefit your organisation in our IT Asset Management Software Buyer’s Guide.