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Nicolas Athanasopoulos is a featured contributor to Why Digital Asset Management has Become a Must-Have for Marketing Teams report.

Here's the complete contribution:

What we've seen in the past few years as the biggest movement in marketing technology is data aggregation. Whether it was to fully map the customer's journey through the connection of CRM with business operations in SAP or the way from simple web analytics to integrated platforms like HubSpot.

If we're now trying to create an outlook for the evolution of DAM in the next 3-5 years, we first have to acknowledge that we're dealing with nothing more than data either. Although from a technological point of view, it's more about the centralization of assets rather than an aggregation, as an overall topic this will be the driving force for DAM. Unfortunately, current tools couldn't achieve this point yet, they still feel too uncomfortable to use and companies often struggle with the implementation. But how DAM technology needs to evolve?

Rather than just being a file management system, DAM needs to evolve towards an integrated enabler for productivity for streamlined marketing operations. Especially marketers shouldn’t have to care about administration, rights management or versioning any longer. That‘s why simple tagging functions and shareable collections aren't sufficient in the future. The upcoming generation of DAM technology needs to have enhanced image processing, cognitive theme recognition and automated cataloging trained through machine learning. At the same time, DAM has to be so intuitively developed that no major IT department is required to implement it into existing company structures.

Another bottleneck of current DAM technology is the urgent need for more available data ports, either import and export. Very often there is no issue as long as files remain inside of the company‘s DAM architecture. But as soon as they quickly need to be delivered outside of that pre-defined loop, current tools hit their limitations. Obviously, you will always get support for the biggest players in each media channel. Deploying content into a CMS like Wordpress or transferring assets to another cloud storage like Google Drive is natively supported but for marketers, in particular, the variety of new channels is growing exponentially. This means the amount of native APIs needs to evolve either.

As an ultimate result, marketers will hopefully soon experience a gapless workflow no matter if they‘re internally supplying product information, sending out a press release or setting up a social media campaign with the rich media content.

Under the umbrella of data centralization, you can detect three key trends that credibly underline my previous predictions: an increasing demand in decentralized working structures, an exponential growth of dynamic channels and cloud computing as the enabling technology.

The startup culture initiated a hype around new working environments where everybody has the chance to work whenever and wherever he or she likes. Simultaneously, companies are growing without boundaries and co-workers from all over the world are working collaboratively together on different projects. These decentralized working structures need to have a properly centralized management of all crucially important assets. For this reason, DAM technology will soon become the backbone of effective workspaces that luckily know no borders.

Marketers are facing new varieties of dynamic media channels every day. Not only that the big players are constantly optimizing the way they're reaching out to their users, but a globalized society simply has access to millions of digital touchpoints. What happens is that on top of the budget intensive task of content creation, maintaining the channels with these assets becomes even more expensive for companies. If DAM technology evolves from simple management to a complete toolkit which can be used to edit and deploy assets, this could be a huge momentum.

Last but not least, all of the previously mentioned trends can be only achieved if the technological base is given. In case of DAM technology, the answer has to be cloud computing. A lot of companies already went from local instances on their own servers to externally hosted cloud solutions. And mostly all available asset management tools are cloud-based. But in both cases, we're just talking about storage. If DAM technology should be the answer for decentralized work environments and should offer more tool capabilities, the computing power needs to come out of the cloud.

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