To put it simply, ECM is the overarching content management strategy employed mostly by large enterprises, but also SMB-sized organizations.
ECM is not only concerned with digital asset management, but also other forms of content management, including marketing resources and media assets. So ECMs really need to be multifaceted to cope with the demands of a large enterprise.
The key difference between ECM and DAM is that DAM has a more specialized focus, and is primarily used to manage rich media assets such as video, audio, brand images, etc.
An ECM system is more all-encompassing and focuses on file management more generally. It is typically used to store more basic file formats such as MS Office files and PDFs. As a result, ECM systems may struggle to offer the same level of rich media file organization capability as DAM systems.
Many modern digital asset management systems have a number of features that are geared towards the storage of rich media assets such as:
Many digital asset management systems will offer extra “bolt-on” modules, which are usually related to the creation or maintenance of rich media. For example, Bynder offers:
As mentioned, users of an ECM system are more likely to work with more basic files such as office documents. Consequently, ECM systems are usually designed with a 'jack of all trades' approach in mind, trying to manage large volumes of content more generally. As a result, they may be less inclined to focus on features that primarily serve the creative fields of an organization (such as image cropping or video preview capabilities).
File management is an industry that is constantly developing to meet industry needs, so one can only guess how the relationship between enterprise content management and DAM may develop in the future. In this increasingly technological world, more and more organizations are investing heavily in content marketing. This has led to a growing demand for DAM—particularly SaaS DAM. So much so that DAM providers continually need to improve their solutions to meet the demands of organizations that are having to work with rich media files more and more. As demand for DAM continues to increase, it will be interesting to see how DAM solutions develop in order to meet this demand. Likewise, will ECM providers recognize this trend and place more focus towards rich media file management in order to stay competitive?
Digital asset management has typically functioned within an enterprise content management system, rather than as a separate solution. But as the use of rich media content is becoming more and more common for marketing purposes, DAM is starting to shift away from its enterprise content management pigeonhole. It is no longer a bit-part piece of a broader file management system anymore, but is establishing itself as an independent—and essential—software solution for organizations of all sizes.
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Check out our blog post here on the differences between ECM and content services/business object management.
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