This spring we attended the Adobe Summit in London, which was a brilliant opportunity to discover some great new features coming to Adobe Experience Manager (part of Adobe Marketing Cloud). We love to use AEM because of its versatility and power, and we’re even more thrilled now we know about the new possibilities on offer. Of particular interest are the improvements which Adobe is bringing to digital asset management.
As a marketeer you’ve probably struggled with digital assets at some point. Certainly if you are dealing with a large amount of photos, videos and other media, it’s really difficult to keep track of everything. In such situations a decent digital asset management solution is really indispensable; it saves an incredible amount of time… and some frustration.
Digital asset management: why you should care
Just in case you’re not managing your digital assets (and you should be!) here’s a quick word on what a good Digital asset management or DAM solution should do. Say you have a large amount of product and lifestyle photographs, which you use for different media, such as websites, catalogues, flyers and advertising. Regularly new photo material is added, so your collection just keeps growing and in the end becomes unmanageable. And suddenly you really need that one specific lifestyle shot from last year. How can you find it?
A good DAM takes that stress away by indexing your media collection by metadata, allowing you to search by keywords or show an asset's history on a timeline. At a glance, you’ll also see which formats and sizes are available and maybe even when a particular photo (or video, etc) was used before. Generally a DAM will also let you organize media in catalogues or collections. Basically, digital asset management makes your life easier, allowing for a fast delivery of content and helps you be more consequent to your brand when you’re selecting and using media.
Asset management in Adobe Experience Manager Assets 6.1
Digital asset management has always being an important part of Adobe Experience Manager, under the name ‘Experience Manager Assets’, but in AEM 6.1 managing assets becomes easier than ever. Let’s have a look at the five most important improvements.
1. Improved metadata support
Custom metadata schemas can be defined and applied to folders of assets. The interface now gives visual cues that are hard to miss when assets have required metadata fields that are still missing. This is also very good, as metadata is the key to making a DAM work.
Finally the tagging interface which was already present in Experience Manager Assets comes to TouchUI, the new interface since AEM 6.0. So now you can manage your metadata on your tablet or other touch screen device.
2. Asset localisation
If you are working in multiple markets (or in a country where more than one language spoken, such as Belgium or Switzerland), you probably will have similar assets in different local versions. For example, a movie trailer might be available with different subtitles or dubbing. Or you might have the same print advert in French, English and German. Experience Manager Assets now allows for multiple instances of the same asset, making management of local versions a lot easier.
3. Catalogue producer
A solution like Experience Manager Assets is really useful when you have to produce catalogues on a regular basis. After all, catalogues tend to contain a LOT of media. What is great about the latest update, is that you can turn pre-designed InDesign pages into templates. With these templates you can generate new catalogues straight from Experience Manager, saving time and layout costs.
4. Improved usability
Adobe has also worked on improving the user experience of Experience Manager Assets. One of the things we really like is the new column layout, which lets you navigate speedily through your assets. The column view gives you a good overview and allows you to quickly dive into your asset collection. Keyboard navigation is supported, which some people will appreciate.
5. Direct access to assets through the desktop
Sometimes a user needs direct access to a certain asset (collection). Now that’s possible, through the Creative Cloud-account or by using the Companion-app. If you are using Creative Cloud on your desktop or laptop, you can mount AEM Assets with a few clicks. You’ll see the assets appear in Finder (Mac OS X) or Explorer (Windows), just like an external or network drive would.
A good DAM takes that stress away by indexing your media collection by metadata, allowing you to search by keywords or plot media on a timeline. Generally a DAM will also let you organize media in catalogues or collections. Digital asset management makes your life easier, allowing for a fast delivery of content and helps you be more consequent to your brand when you’re selecting and using media.
Digital asset management has always being an important part of Adobe Experience Manager, under the name ‘Experience Manager Assets’, but in AEM 6.1 managing assets becomes easier than ever. Hopefully you are as excited about these great new features in AEM as we are. Some of them are major improvements, others seem minor, but both will save quite some time when using digital assets on a day-to-day basis.