One of the main purposes of a digital asset management tool is helping to safely store and organize a company’s intellectual property, namely in the form of digital assets.

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property sounds like a pretty vague term, so what is it? According to Investopedia:

Intellectual property is a broad categorical description for the set of intangibles owned and legally protected by a company from outside use or implementation without consent. Intellectual property can consist of patents, trade secrets, copyrights and trademarks or simply ideas.

So it’s a term that encompasses a lot of content—both tangible and intangible. But how to protect it all? While a DAM platform offers a secure solution for the majority of a company’s intellectual property, many organizations are likely to have many important digital assets that aren’t actually ingested into their company DAM platform.

This could be for a number of reasons; maybe it’s beyond the scope of your DAM to organize and retain these important assets. It could be that there's confusion over what exactly constitutes intellectual property that is worthy of enduring value to an organization—it's not always so black and white.

Whatever the reason, you should typically follow these three broad steps to help you define what digital assets in your company have value that is worth protecting with a DAM:

  • Define what a digital asset with enduring value actually is in your organization
  • Work with off-boarding specialists, HR, and IT to make sure assets of value are ingested and retained
  • Clearly define a scope for what assets are worthy of retention (and re-use)

Learn how to increase the ROI of your digital assets with our definitive guide to DAM

Defining ‘valuable’ digital assets

You may know what a digital asset is, but is it clearly defined and communicated to the rest of your organization? What exactly is a digital asset with enduring value?

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) defines enduring value as:

The continuing usefulness or significance of records, based on the administrative, legal, fiscal, evidential, or historical information they contain, justifying their ongoing preservation.

Adding to that, it’s important to know that digital assets are not exactly the same as digital files. An asset implies value and usefulness. Not all digital files are useful and have value.

Losing employees shouldn’t mean losing digital assets

Employees inevitably leave companies. But between the exit interviews and resignation letters, it’s all too common to forget about an official digital asset handover. When there’s no centralized platform for employees to store digital assets, it’s so easy to lose valuable intellectual property that are unknowingly wiped clean from a leaving employee’s personal storage.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that digital asset appraisal is an essential step in the off-boarding workflow for each and every employee. Download the DAM appraisal checklist here.

Defining what’s valuable for a DAM ingest

But remember, not all files are worthy of preservation and retention. Not all of them are true “assets” to an organization. That’s why it’s good to identify the assets that actually have current and potential future value to your organization before uploading them to a company DAM.

If you want to learn some best practices about ingesting your digital assets to a DAM, check out our 5 tips for preparing digital assets for ingest article.

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