The Real Story on Adobe DAM

I see a lot of attention paid to Adobe Experience Manager Assets — a.k.a., Adobe DAM — out in the market, including firms that went out and licensed it by reputation, or RSG subscribers who automatically add it to DAM vendor short lists for deeper consideration. 

Enteprise customers frequently assume that since Assets is from Adobe, it must be a high-end, polished DAM solution.  This is simply not the case, and I've encountered more than a few enterprise DAM leaders suffering as a result.  There's a lot to say and analyze here, but for this short blog post, I'll just copy the Strengths and Weaknesses summary content from RSG's AEM Assets evaluation — one of 27 vendor reviews in our DAM research stream.


  • If you already license "Sites" WCM, Assets will provide the potential for a tightly coupled DAM for your digital services
  • Much of the underlying infrastructure is standards driven, building on a mature (if sometimes quirky) content repository
  • User interfaces are tailored for roles, shielding less technical users from power features they don't need
  • Fairly developer friendly, facilitating advanced customizations
  • Sub-asset concept allows for parent-child relationship to be created and maintained in certain asset types such as Photoshop, PDF, Illustrator, PowerPoint/Keynote, and InDesign


  • Although Assets can be bought separately, it doesn't always lend itself to running independently of AEM Sites (e.g., you need Sites for a proper brand portal)
  • Adobe product marketing typically runs ahead of product development, and tends to overpromise on functionality
  • Adobe’s presence is global, but AEM Assets expertise outside of Europe is thin; beware Adobe specialists more conversant in Sites than Assets
  • Emphasis on an engineering acumen led to a geek-friendly system that’s complex and hard to learn for developers as well as non-technical contributors
  • Quite expensive, effectively ruling out AEM for simpler scenarios since the company focuses increasingly on very large customers
  • Surprisingly facile access controls only allow you to set permissions on folders (rather than by metadata or — crucially — content types), which often limits utility in large, distributed operations
  • Dearth of native asset tracking services mitigates against omnichannel re-use effectiveness
  • Inspiring technical visions are not always matched by similar quality on the operational and services side; Adobe can be highly disorganized
  • Large, disparate sales teams can lead to highly inconsistent client demo and POC experiences from one enterprise to the next

Consider Your Options

In RSG's evaluation research we dig into which DAM vendors address certain scenarios better than others. While not always by vendor design, some products will fit better — or worse — for different use cases. See for yourself with a complimentary sample


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