April 12, 2016
Digital vs. Physical Assets: Don’t just focus on hardware
The big buzz some years ago was around tracking physical assets, brought about by several trends:
- The shift to client/server computing – which brought more horsepower to individual devices and made those devices much more costly
- The mobility of assets – laptops are meant to be in motion and used in many places to optimize the workforce
- RFID, barcodes and other tracking mechanisms – these improved the accuracy of device inventories
While all of the above made for easier asset management practices of the physical inventory, what about the digital assets and their inventory? Digital asset management wasn’t severely impacted by most of these trends, so emerging standards or improvements were largely ignored in the rush to barcode hardware.
Why is that? Should we not protect the digital assets (IP?) in the same fashion, considering they may be more valuable than a laptop or server?
If managing these assets is of paramount importance to your organization, here are a few suggestions for bringing your asset management practices forward:
- Start with good data from wherever you begin. Recall the old paradigm of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ and apply it to your assets.
- A good digital asset management system is a must. Optical media, tape drives, network drives and folders systems are outdated and DAM technology has become affordable and easy to deploy.
- Focus on metadata since that’s what transforms a file into an asset. Files with no data to search on are like a book with no table of contents or index – you can probably get what you need, but it’s difficult to find.
- Get smart with your metadata taxonomy. Start with a modest list of terms and allow users to add terms as needed. Try establishing standards they will use in naming conventions, and review those often to keep on top of bloat.
Without following these tips you’re destined to repeat the mistakes of the past where assets went missing, turned up in the wrong places, or simply weren’t being used as assets of the business.
If you’re interested in learning more about Digital Asset Management and best practices, this guide to DAM is a great starting place.