5 Benefits of a Third Wave DAM for your business

October 11, 2023
5 Benefits of a Third Wave DAM for your business

We’ve entered the Third Wave of DAM. Digital asset management has moved beyond asset repositories and content hubs into an engine for digital transformation and personalization. 

But what does that mean in practical terms? 

In short, Third Wave DAMs open the door to faster, more powerful, and more personalized workflows. Take a look at a few of the benefits of moving to a Third Wave DAM:

1. Offers a smooth, two-way flow of information

Information can flow in and out of the DAM easily in whatever direction you need it to. This goes beyond the simple workflows of a Second Wave DAM. 

Because the Third-Wave DAM is API-first and can operate as a headless DAM, integrations work more smoothly. As a result, users can access information from the DAM from their favorite systems, pulling assets out and replacing them with new, updated versions when they’re done. All this happens as easily as you’d open a file that already lives on your computer. 

It’s even possible to automate this process. For instance, you can change a parent asset in your DAM and have your content management system (CMS) automatically update the public-facing version of it.

2. Maps to your business processes

Second Wave DAMs try to squeeze your current processes into your DAM system. They don’t always fit, meaning you can have trouble accomplishing everything you want to from within the DAM. 

In the Third Wave, the DAM can be configured to adapt to your existing business processes, making it easier to use your DAM as a hub for content and workflows. There are plenty of departmental DAMs that can meet the needs of one department or group. However, these are often limited in terms of configurability. A Third Wave DAM adapts at a granular level, letting it give departments, groups, or even individuals what they’re looking for to get their job done.

3. Able to build and automate where needed

The less time you have to spend doing repetitive tasks, the more time you can focus on high-level, important work. And the more complex your organization, the more important those automated tasks become. Third Wave DAMs lean into time-saving automations and services, such as artificial intelligence, freeing up your users’ time.

A simple example is using auto-tagging when you upload assets. A Third Wave DAM can automatically tag new assets using one or more AI tools. Then the system can automatically assign an administrator to review the new tags for accuracy. 

However automations can grow much more complex. For instance, you can set up chains of automations. Say a series of people need to review a video:

  • When the video is ready for review, it can be automatically routed to a reviewer on the Marketing Team. 
  • Once the Marketing Team approves the asset, the asset can be automatically routed to the Legal Department. 
  • When Legal approves the asset, an automation can change its status to “Public” so external users can view it. 
  • Then the system can automatically generate different formats to share the video on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms.

4. Makes assets broadly available

First and Second Wave digital asset management systems already house and make assets available, but there are limitations. Usually assets are localized within marketing or archive teams. Third Wave DAMs make room for more teams, making assets available for ecommerce and sales, either through integrated PIMs or native PIM offerings. 

But beyond that, a Third Wave DAM lets you share your assets more broadly. Headless architecture gives users access to DAM assets in the systems they’re most familiar with. So DAM assets can be shared to your content management system, opened in Figma, or edited in Adobe Premiere, as just a few examples.

5. Allows less technical users to do more

One of the traditional challenges of a Second Wave enterprise DAM is that enterprise systems are often difficult for the average user to comprehend. Third Wave systems offer low-code or no-code systems with a user interface that’s easy to understand, giving users the ability to do more with less training.

For instance, users in a Third Wave DAM are able to configure their own workspaces without involving admins or IT, creating unique layouts that are personally tailored to a user’s workflows. 

For example, a Third Wave DAM might be set up like this:

Video Team
  • Quick and easy access to Premiere
  • Dedicated infrastructure for fast transfers
  • Facial recognition & captioning AI tools
  • Access to video assets
Marketing Team
  • Campaign planning functionality 
  • Advanced calendaring tools
  • In-app digital rights management 
  • Connection to Adobe Suite, CMS, and social media
  • Access to approved assets
Creative Team
  • Automations
  • Commenting and annotations
  • Integrations with Figma, Adobe, and stock sites
  • Access to in-progress assets


Unlike earlier waves of DAM, the Third Wave of DAM is more holistic, letting you connect assets and workflows with the tools you use most. It gives you a new way to bring order to the complicated swell of programs, people, and assets that all need managing. 

If you’d like to learn more about the ways the Third Wave of DAM can be applied to your business, check out our white paper “Brace Yourself for the Third Wave of DAM”.