Digital Asset Management software can yield impressive ROI results and organizational benefits.

The ROI of employing a Digital Asset Management solution varies among organizations. To estimate your ROI, follow the guide below or simply check out the example we've created by reading on.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a critical tool in the tech-driven marketing organization. We know the challenge of making the case for DAM software to bosses or executives who are not part of the day-to-day creative and marketing activities. Follow this guide to generate an estimated cost savings you can achieve by implementing a DAM in your organization.

“The Buck Wear Sales team was able to self-serve 16,000 assets within months of implementing DAM.”

Rate Calculations

The first step is to get an estimate hourly rate. Look at all of the DAM users in an organization: marketers, creatives, production and other user types. The equation we can use to help us get this estimate is

Hourly Rate = (Direct Compensation + Indirect Compensation*) / 40 hours per week
* Benefits, taxes, vacation, etc

This assumes that all of the users are salaried. Hourly employees do not require the division by 40. Use a weighted average of multiple hourly rates to generate a single rate.

You might not be in a position to know everybody’s compensation. Use rates from an external source such as a contractor or a pay scale website. Use a 31% premium on wages as a quick rule of thumb (in the US) for indirect compensation. In this case, showing your math and logic is more important than the accuracy of the rates. You will be able to get more exact numbers when your DAM initiative gains momentum in the organization.

For our particular example, let’s go with an hourly rate of $50.

“We were impressed with the passion and focus MediaBeacon brings to the DAM space. In publishing, we need that mobility of metadata and workflow that XMP brings by being strongly attached to the assets and only MediaBeacon enables that for us.”

Paul Nicholson, VP Technology, Showtime Networks

Enterprise DAM solutions provide organizations with a single source of truth for assets. Multi-faceted, organizational search is a critical feature in DAM for knowledge workers. You can use the hourly rate you calculated above to determine how much time can be saved by searching the DAM instead of using manual methods.

Determine how many hours can be saved per week searching for assets manually on a file system, shared device, or asking the SME and waiting. A realistic range is 2 - 6 hours saved per week searching for assets, depending on the role of your peers. We will use 4 hours in this example.

Multiply the number of employees that will use DAM by the the number of hours saved per week. We will use 10 employees using DAM as an example.

Right now we have 4 hours per week X 10 employees = 40 hours saved per week.

We have already calculated an ENTIRE employee in savings per year. This means that DAM for a normal department in a medium-sized organization can add the equivalent of an employee per year. This is before we add any dollars to the math.

Let’s do that now with a $50/hour rate based on the numbers we calculated above.

40 hours per week X $50 per hour = $2,000 per week savings. $2,000 per week savings X 52 weeks per year = $104,000 per year.

Summarizing the math in three steps:

  • 4 hours per week X 10 employees = 40 hours saved per week
  • 40 hours per week X $50 per hour = $2,000 per week savings
  • $2,000 per week savings X 52 weeks per year = $104,000 per year

Search time alone solidly consumes one-fifth of the workday infographic.

“19.8 per cent of business time – the equivalent of one day per working week – is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively.”

“The knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information… 60% [of company executives] felt that time constraints and lack of understanding of how to find information were preventing their employees from finding the information they needed.”

The Cost Of Assets

The other financial consideration is the value of assets in your organization. This math can be used to determine the cost of a lost asset. The first step is to determine the number of assets. The cost of those assets is built from the following items:

  1. The last 12 months of direct creative labor on those assets. Include internal and external labor. 12 months is a good rule of thumb because most assets become dated or archived outside of that time frame. The highest value assets are created in the last 12 months. For this example we will assume 2 full-time creatives at $80,000 each and a part-time contractor that billed $23,000 in the last 12 months. The example total is $183,000.
  2. The cost of licensing and royalties on stock photography, video and illustrations in the last 12 months. The example total is $40,000.
  3. The costs of commissioned artwork that was paid per piece in the last 12 months. The example total is $80,000.

Adding the examples together gives us $303,000 total. If 15% of those assets were lost, corrupted, misused, mislabeled, deleted or otherwise devalued in that 12 month period, then DAM can save an additional $45,450 per year.

Combine the savings from search, $104,000, and the cost of lost assets, $45,450, to provide an annual savings grand total of $149,450.

Example Numbers Summary

Hourly Rate:

Search Savings:
4 hours / week • 10 employees = 40 hours / week
40 hours / week • $50 / hour = $2,000 / week
$2,000 / week • 52 weeks = $104,000 per year

Cost of Assets
Asset cost with 15% asset loss = $45,450 annually

Total ROI
The total 1 year return on investment with our example is $149,450.


Use the same quick and easy calculations to communicate the savings and ROI on DAM in your organization. The language of money, productivity and efficiency will illustrate that DAM is an excellent investment for your organization. Your boss and other executives can be advocates instead of barriers.

You don’t have to do this alone. We can help. Let us do the math and help you justify a DAM initiative at your organization.

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