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The Role of API in DAM: Definition, Use Cases, and Benefits

Once an enterprise makes a decision to make digital asset management software a part of its technology stack, it’s essential to integrate the new system with all other company’s apps, and API is a perfect tool to do it.

Consequently, the ability of the DAM vendor to include API functionality within its features list becomes one of the key factors impacting a purchase decision. As a result, Pics.io’s all-in-one digital asset management solution is not lagging behind the competition and is presenting Pics.io API functionality for its current and potential customers. With the help of the Pics.io API, any enterprise can access a variety of DAM functions from within other platforms, to create a seamless workflow for their users.

The aim of this post is to shed light on the basics of APIs and explain how they can help your organization achieve its goals.

Let’s start with the basics…

What is the API?

The API stands for “Application Programming Interface”. It allows any two applications to talk to each other. Basically, it’s the “messenger” used to communicate with a system and return the correct response. In fact, each time you use an app like Facebook, send an instant message or check the weather on your phone, you’re using an API.

API real-life examples

To explain this better, let us use a familiar example.

Imagine you’re sitting at a table in a restaurant with a menu of choices to order from. The kitchen is the part of the “system” that will prepare your order and knows which courses are available at the moment.. Imagine that you order a specific course and the waiter is not sure whether it’s still available. The waiter has to consult the chef and get back to you. That’s where the waiter or API comes in. The waiter is the messenger – or API – that takes your request or order and asks the kitchen – the system – what to do. Then the waiter delivers the response back to you and you understand that you can expect your specific course.

Here is another real-life API example. You may be familiar with the process of searching for flights online. Just like the restaurant, you have a variety of options to choose from, including different cities, departure and return dates, and more. Let us imagine that you’re booking your flight on an airline website. You choose a departure city and date, a return city and date, cabin class, as well as other variables. In order to book your flight, you interact with the airline’s website to access their database and see if any seats are available on those dates and what the costs might be.

However, what if you are not using the airline’s website––a channel that has direct access to the data? What if you are using an online travel service, such as Kayak or Expedia, which aggregates information from a number of airline databases?

The travel service, in this case, interacts with the airline’s API. The API is the interface that, like your helpful waiter, can be asked by that online travel service to get information from the airline’s database to book seats, baggage options, etc. The API then takes the airline’s response to your request and delivers it right back to the online travel service, which then shows you the most updated, relevant information.

What is the role of the API in DAM?

Image from Pexels
Image from Pexels

Although most digital asset management solutions have an extensive library of out-of-the-box integrations, it's near-impossible to instantly integrate with every platform out there. This is where an API becomes an important component of a DAM.

An API allows developers to connect to the DAM’s endpoints to create custom integrations that connect assets with existing productivity tools and desktop solutions. It provides the flexibility to choose the desired digital asset management vendor, even if they don’t have the required integration.

Many business systems lack DAM capabilities, such as video preview generation and file format conversion, and APIs allow developers to implement these capabilities in other systems without writing digital asset management functions from scratch.

An API will typically provide programs with access to both assets (files plus their metadata) and commands available in a user interface (keyword search, create gallery, convert to jpg, etc). Providing programs with API access to assets allows sending and receiving files and metadata to and from other systems, further enhancing workflow efficiency. An API takes all the complexity out of things like working with metadata and displaying previews -- with a DAM handling all the hard work behind the scenes.

API use cases for DAM

An API allows accessing a variety of DAM functions from within other platforms. Some common use cases for an API include:

  • Resource Distribution: it provides easy access to resources from other platforms and allows for various actions, such as downloading, sharing, version control, and transformation. A good example is the integration of the website on WordPress with DAM, making it easy to store, catalog, and use digital assets inside WordPress.
  • Fast loading: the transfer of new assets to the DAM software can take place directly from the desktop or from another application, mapping the relevant metadata. For example, by syncing CRM such as Salesforce with DAM, it’s possible to pull in the supporting photos, videos, and documents — to build and deliver personalized digital communications. Whether your sales teams are focused on specific products or regions, they need the right content to support their process. With CRM & DAM integration you can automatically make your latest sales materials available in CRM when it meets certain criteria in your DAM system.
  • Direct publishing: to create embedded links or upload digital assets to other publishing platforms. For example, by connecting your Shopify store with DAM you can use tags and metadata to associate images and videos in the DAM with your products in Shopify and publish them in your online store
  • User management: it allows you to create new user groups and add, delete or modify users of digital asset management within other platforms, such as the corporate identity and access management solution.
  • Integrated advanced search via API: it allows you to find digital resources using account search features, such as advanced filters and tags generated by AI, within other productivity tools.

Getting started with APIs

An API represents an opportunity to leverage DAM in other business systems to provide a customized solution that does everything you’d ever want it to -- the sky’s the limit. Get acquainted with Pics.io API documentation and let us help your company to effectively incorporate DAM within your existing workflow.

Pics.io Team
Welcome to Pics.io blog, where you'll get useful tips, resources & best practices on how digital asset management can help your business to manage & distribute digital content on top of cloud storage.