If your brand has loads of images and videos, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with content chaos. Perhaps you need a graphic for a campaign that only exists on an ex-colleagues desktop. Maybe you need an image for social media, but it’s buried in a labyrinth of folders on your company’s network drive.
Awful right? If that rings true, it’s no wonder you want to make sure your content is managed properly—and are considering SharePoint to do just that.
But hold on a second. Whilst SharePoint is fine for teams looking to manage documents, and especially handy if your business already has Microsoft systems, it’s not great for managing your visual content.
That's what a digital asset management system (DAM) is for.
And the better news? You don’t need to pick a DAM over SharePoint, or vice versa. You can use SharePoint to manage your documents, and a DAM to manage your visual content. Done right, they can work nicely in collaboration with each other.
SharePoint is part of the Microsoft Office suite. It’s a file management tool that allows you to create internal workspaces and websites for your team. You can upload news items, post updates and create individual department SharePoints, all linked by one main site.
Think of it as your company intranet—a place for teams to share documents and look for the important information they need to do their jobs.
One area SharePoint isn’t so great at, however, is visual content management. That’s where a digital asset management system comes into its own.
What’s digital asset management?
Tools like SharePoint (and Drive and Dropbox, for that matter) excel at file management. Managing your visual content, however, is where DAM tools come into their own. Put simply, they let you organise, manage and share your brand’s images, video files and marketing assets with ease.
Think about how you’re currently storing your visual content. Rather than wasting hours trawling through shared drives for campaign assets, wouldn’t you rather get on with your job? If yes, then a DAM could be just the solution you’re looking for. If no, then … are you alright? Because I’m worried about you.
What makes DAM so useful is the ability to quickly search for the assets you need. You can search for the actual content of your content - like ‘chair’ or ‘beach’. And clever DAMs, like Dash, let you assign your own fields to assets.
This is handy if you’ve got loads of product lines and you want to search for individual products. With Dash you can add relevant product tags to your assets and use the handy search functionalities to find them again. Read more in my introduction to digital asset management.
Does Microsoft have a DAM solution?
As we’ve mentioned, SharePoint’s not ideal for managing visual content. If this is the case, surely Microsoft has built its own digital asset management system?
Alas, no. Instead, many companies make do with SharePoint’s limited features for their visual content or look elsewhere. But it’s good to know that you can use SharePoint alongside a digital asset management solution, like Dash. Scoot down this article to learn how both tools can work together.
DAM vs SharePoint - weighing up your options
Now you know a bit more about the two contenders, let’s dig into their similarities and differences in a bit more detail. We’ll start with their pros and cons.
DAM vs SharePoint: Pros and cons
What are the benefits of SharePoint for file management?
- Collaboration: SharePoint is a single place where your teams can go to view digital files like documents, PDF files and spreadsheets.
- Sync up with Microsoft Office: For an extra price, you can connect up with MS Office to make collaboration even easier. That includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook. You’ll also get access to Skype, Teams and OneDrive.
- Productivity: SharePoint helps you keep track of different projects within your teams. You can keep an eye on deadlines, see who’s working on what and feedback to your team, all within the system.
What are the cons of SharePoint digital asset management?
- You can’t easily view your images - SharePoint asset management just doesn't exist. You can't easily view and manage your images and videos and is an issue we often hear from clients moving from SharePoint to Dash (our DAM). It’s really hard to browse through images. You have to click on each tiny thumbnail in order to find the content you need.
- Confusing and unintuitive: You don’t want to get lost looking for your visual content. However, some SharePoint users say the system is outdated, clunky and it's hard to find anything.
- Hard to share files with external teams: Sharing your content is a must, especially if you work with agencies or freelancers. You might need to share brand guidelines with content writers or logo variations with designers. This is tricky to do in SharePoint. One user says: “It is not easy to share documents with people outside of your organization.”
What are the benefits of digital asset management solutions?
- Save time and money: One of the biggest benefits of DAM (and one your boss will thank you for) is the amount of money you’ll be saving. Think about the time you currently spend searching for company assets. If you’re on a salary, your boss is basically paying you to search for the latest product shots. Investing in a good DAM will see you reaping ROI in no time.
- Protect your brand: If your audience sees your brand pushing out old, poor quality and off-brand content, they may begin to question your integrity. Having fresh, up-to-date digital content in a DAM will mean your marketing teams are far less likely to share outdated assets with the world.
- Get your visuals to market, faster: This links back with our first benefit. The quicker you can get your visual assets to market, the quicker you’ll see the results of your marketing campaigns and those all-important conversions. 🤑
- Manage the full life cycle of your assets: Creating an asset, for it to be instantly lost in your shared drive is not a good use of time and resources. DAM lets you manage the entire life cycle of your assets—from asset creation in tools like Canva, through to the delivery of content to your agencies, partners and social channels.
What are the cons of DAM for general file management?
- You’re unable to edit documents: DAM tools are built for image and video organisation. Whilst you can store documents and files in a tool like Dash, you won’t be able to edit them within the DAM system itself.
- You can’t create intranets: Digital asset management doesn’t do the job of SharePoint when it comes to creating company intranets and workspaces. Sure, you can create collections and comment on assets (more on that later), but you can’t build a full-scale intranet like you can with SharePoint.
In summary, SharePoint is a good choice for document storage and if you need to sync up with your existing MS Office tools. But if you and your partners need access to files like images and videos, you’re better off using DAM software (like Dash) specifically designed for managing images and videos.
DAM vs SharePoint: Features
Let’s start with what SharePoint and DAM tools let you do.
You might be able to get away with using SharePoint as your DAM system. But remember it’s a file management system first and foremost. It’s not great with features or workflows specifically to do with visual content - unless you have a technical whizz on standby who can do lots of third-party integrations and automations for you.
Put simply, if you’re creating and using hundreds of marketing assets, SharePoint is going to slow you down.
💡Read our article that goes into detail about all of Dash’s digital asset management features.
DAM vs SharePoint: What type of companies use them?
Getting an idea of the types of companies using each tool might help you decide which one is suited to your brand's needs. Let's get into it.
What types of companies use SharePoint?
Companies of all sizes work with Microsoft products. From massive enterprises like AXA and Calsberg to growing ecommerce brands like Needle and Thread. They use it as their company intranet as well as their file management system. The problem is that SharePoint is just no good at digital asset management.
And, because of this, many of these companies end up using a mixture of Google Drive and Dropbox on top of SharePoint to manage video and image files. Can you imagine how chaotic that can get? 😣
What types of companies use digital asset management?
Any brand that uses images and videos for marketing will benefit from a DAM. But there are lots of different digital asset management vendors out there—each suited to different types of companies.
Dash, for example, is a DAM designed for growing ecommerce brands. Our features and workflows have been built to suit the needs of ecommerce teams. Take a look at a few below:
Many of these companies have outgrown tools like Dropbox, Google Drive and SharePoint. They need a DAM that will grow with their brand. If this rings true for you, why not sign up for a 14-day free trial? 👇
DAM vs SharePoint: Which teams will benefit from them?
All your teams are going to benefit from one or the other. It all depends on what they’re using DAM or SharePoint for. Let’s take a look at some examples:
Your marketing team might be managing video assets and product shots to showcase on the website and social media. Or, they might need to store the audio files for your brand’s podcast. DAM gives them the freedom to manage and share those assets with other teams as well as freelancers and agencies. Plus, it’s a great collaboration platform. For example, your team can also use guest uploads to get content from influencers. And set up approval workflows to manage new content from graphic designers agencies.
SharePoint, on the other hand, will be useful if they’re sharing written content in MS Office documents.
👉 Here's more on how to use Dash as your marketing asset management tool.
Creative teams who work with creative files will love DAM. It’s been designed specifically for them to manage these types of assets.
In Dash, designers can sort through their graphics and give everyone access to the latest designs. And, they search and filter through different file types like JPG, PNG, SVG. What’s more, integrations with tools like Adobe CC make using assets a breeze. Read my post all about DAM for designers if you want to delve into more benefits. 🧑🎨
SharePoint, although great for document sharing, is not ideal for design teams. It’s good for document managing—not creative assets.
🤓 Read more on how your team can benefit from design digital asset management software.
SharePoint makes a great solution for sales teams who need to manage important documents. From reports to quotes, proposals and price lists — they can keep all their important docs in one location. SharePoint also has an integration with Dock, a CRM tool that will help sales teams keep track of their customers, contracts and more.
However, for sales teams who need to access the latest product shots and branding to send to customers, DAM should be the asset library of choice. 🙌
🤓 Read how the sales team at The History and Heraldry Group use Dash to show new product lines to their customers.
For each of these functions, it's good to know that you can set up asset approval processes in Dash. So if you're a marketing manager and want to approve any graphics uploaded by your designer, it'll be super easy to do so using the approval workflow. Simply accept the designs you like or give feedback on those that need more work.
DAM vs SharePoint: Ease of use
No matter what tools you settle on, you’ll be spending a lot of time in them. It’s important to consider what the user experience feels like and how easy they are to use.
SharePoint looks like most of the file management systems out there. Its interface is pretty standard and feels similar to Google Drive, so there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve.
Digital asset management software, however, can really vary. You can get some that feel outdated and others that are pitched toward enterprises that feel ridiculously over-complicated.
And then you digital asset managers get DAMs like our very own Dash. It’s clean, easy to understand and does your visual content justice. Your images are no longer tiny little generic thumbnail icons, like they would be on SharePoint. Here’s a look at ecommerce brand, Haws. They have a gorgeous Dash home page that reflects their brand and gives them quick access to assets. 😍
DAM vs SharePoint: Pricing
If you’re in a small business or a growing brand, every penny counts - especially if you need to convince senior management. Here’s how the two compare.
Digital Asset Management pricing
Some DAMs won’t get out of bed for £10,000 a month - I kid you not. They’re often the DAMs that don’t advertise their pricing upfront on their website. If you’re looking for an affordable DAM solution which doesn’t sacrifice on quality, then Dash is the one for you. Take a look at our post all about enterprise digital asset management for more info.
Our pricing starts at £79 / $109 a month for unlimited users and all features.
SharePoint has varying price options depending on what you need it to do. You can opt for a SharePoint-only plan, or bundle it in with access to Office360. No matter which you go for, each plan is based per user. This means you could be paying up to £17.50 / $21 a month per team member.
SharePoint vs DAM: Which is better for my digital assets?
Now that we’ve compared digital asset management systems and SharePoint, where does this leave you? DAM tools and SharePoint serve different purposes, so it’s important to decide what you’re prepared to spend money on.
Our recommendation - factor in budget for a DAM to manage your visual content, and a tool like SharePoint to collaborate and work on documents and presentations. Picking SharePoint, or a tool like it, to do everything is just going to cause you pain in the long run.
💡 If you want to find an alternative platform for sharing documents, check out our article that lists some great SharePoint alternatives.
Whatever you choose for your documents, your visual content deserves better. Build a new home for it in Dash by taking out a 14-day, no-strings free trial and see what you think.