top of page

Digital Asset Management Capability Model

Welcome to the Digital Asset Management Capability Model


The DAM Capability Model (DCM) is designed to help give the global DAM community a tool to self-assess against the common measures for how an organization is doing with DAM. Capability models provide a stable, neutral and apolitical view of many different types of organizational operations – from technical IT to human resources to architectural project management. Capability models are in widespread use in a variety of industries.

Free Download

The Digital Asset Management Capability Model

Screen Shot 2021-11-02 at 11.43.52 AM.png

Why use a Capability Model?

Capability Models offer many benefits. They include:

•    A place to start
•    A way to gather the organization’s common experiences
•    A framework for prioritizing actions
•    A way to define what “improvement” means to your organization
•    A common language and shared vision

For DAM, the DCM acts as:

•    A common gathering place for understanding all the areas and skillsets required for DAM.
•    A
tool for DAM managers to educate and set the expectations of colleagues and advocates within the organization
•    A
roadmap with a starting point for DAM managers looking to understand what is important 
•    A way to
organize DAM content, programming and conversations within the organization
 A way to categorize and find best practices and case studies
•    A good reference point to develop and re-evaluate



How do Capability Models work?

Capability models generally describe a range of five criteria for each important aspect – in our case – of DAM. The DCM has the following five measures for your use:

1.    Initial: Processes are based on individuals and not the organization – getting started
Emerging: Processes are beginning to be in place – generally at a departmental level
Standardizing: Processes are agreed upon and centralized
Operationalizing: Processes can generally be quantitatively managed
Optimizing:  Humming along, with deliberate process optimization and improvement


DCM Categories


The DCM has four broad categories that create an overview of DAM:


The “people” roles, responsibilities, technical know-how, strategic alignment and talent in an organization's use and management of DAM


The core material and context (such as metadata) that enable using an asset


The related components that work together to facilitate the asset lifecycle


The repeatable set of procedures and operations designed to realize each stage of an asset’s lifecycle

Within each DCM Category, you will find the everyday building blocks of DAM. Look across these fifteen measures and within each one, the DCM presents criteria to help you define and plan your DAM journey:

How to use the DCM


Starting out - Mapping the Current State:

Using a Capability Model begins with the interested parties using the model to map where you are in your current DAM journey. The DCM is intended to be recurrently referred to as your DAM capabilities improve. You may find that you are “initial” on some measures, and be standardizing or operationalizing on others. There is no proscribed “right or wrong” place. Think of this first self-assessment as your core starting place and keep it for reference. Executive sponsors and any colleagues involved in making DAM work – perhaps a Creative Director, an Archivist, a Videographer, IT colleagues or others – should be involved in the first mapping exercise. The DCM plays a central role in developing an organization’s coherence and belief in DAM – even if the organization is on its third or fourth DAM.

Ongoing use - Continual improvement with DCM:

The DCM is designed to become the timeline of your DAM journey. Once the initial mapping is complete, the conversation continues with “what’s next?” The core group charged with answering this question convenes to identify what are the next milestones for increasing the DAM capability. For example, a new Rights Management tool is being implemented, and the DAM system is going to receive relevant data from this new system. This is likely moving from “Emerging” to “Standardizing.” You may identify several desired improvements in how DAM is working; the DCM helps you to express them. The next steps are to determine which are the most important. Following this, a plan is created to work collaboratively to understand the resources necessary to make the desired changes. Changes don’t exist in a vacuum – it is critical to create the correct reporting and analytics that will measure success and impact. These reports and concurrent Return on Investment and Return on Initiative analytics form the basis for governance and budget reporting as DAM unfolds.

How not to use the DCM:

There are three ways we recommend to not to use the DCM:


  1. The DCM is not a checklist. The DCM measures a point in time and keep moving!

  2. The DCM is designed to be used and reused – kind of like digital assets. Don’t use once.

  3. The DCM is designed to be a collaborative tool – and not used by yourself. Even if you are a DAM Team of One, involve your creatives, web team, e-commerce team, collections manager – anyone who uses DAM-based content.


Best of luck!


The reach and purpose of DAM changes as does digital – constantly and unpredictably.  DAM has no set geometry and its ability to nest within an ever-changing landscape makes it our digital shape-changer. The DCM is designed to help bring order to this ambiguous growth. We hope you will find the DCM helpful. We await your success and will value your journeys insights and feedback at


Thank you to all of the Sponsors of the Digital Asset Management Capability Model.

vector AV Logo-01.png
Blue Trail Logo.png
CyanGate Logo.png
Expert System logo-01.png
Extreme Reach png-01.png
Merlin all colours-01.png
Tenovos Logo Wide (1)-01.png
Terentia Logo-01.png
bottom of page