How CMS and DAM complement each other

Published on August 22, 2016 by Guest blogger

Content management systems (CMS) were created to allow non-technical users to publish and manage online editorial content. A CMS manages editorial content for publication on websites, blogs, apps, shops etc. - In most cases, this content consists of articles with text, images and even videos, arranged in a pleasing layout. Digital Asset Management (DAM) Systems on the other hand are designed to organize content such as documents, photographs, presentations, videos, photos or even complete InDesign layouts and PDFs.

Both systems therefore manage digital content, but there is a difference between CMS and DAM. Most CMS feature a 'mini DAM' - a media library that lets you search and filter for assets to enrich articles with images or other content. However, these media archives are not designed to effectively organize and manage content. Professional DAM systems include in depth search functionalities, complex metadata schemes, approval workflows and the ability to manage copyright information. So while both managing content somehow, CMS and DAM have a different focus – on the one hand publication of content, and on the other the organization of media files. This makes DAM and CMS a perfect combination. You need media files like images and videos to publish content and communicate visually. Therefore, DAM and CMS do not compete, but work best together in combination. Their integration provides strategic advantages for companies, especially when there are a lot of different channels and languages to manage.

The DAM saves time by streamlining the asset production and approval workflows and by delivering the asset in the correct resolution and dimensions, it also avoids manual errors. A professionally integrated system makes all required content from the DAM available in your CMS – with DAM you can manage the whole asset lifecycle from creation to publication while having features such as versioning, embargo date and license management.

This is why we’ve built an out-of-the-box integration that connects Magnolia CMS and Cumulus DAM. Images from a Cumulus system are transferred to Magnolia CMS as a reference, so no copies of a file are created. (Duplicate files not only take unnecessary disk space across the organization and various systems and file drives, but also when you have duplicates, it takes up unnecessary time, because you end up reviewing a few different files, maybe downloading attachments from emails, or checking different systems and doing some type of manual evaluation to determine if you have the latest correct version of a file. Imagine if a product shot is updated, having to make sure all your various systems have the latest, and that old versions are retired. It’s hard to manually check the right files are correct across all channels.)

One could also integrate both systems with a regular schedular/ cron job, that copies the assets one system to the other. Whether you chose to send a link or a copy to your CMS depends on the technical set up of your systems and on the way that you run your business.

Both options increases the efficiency and make it easier for teams to improve digital workflow. There are different technical solutions for integration. Your decision, however, should depend on how digital workflows are set up in your organization.


In a nutshell: By integrating Cumulus with Magnolia, Magnolia users can easily use their digital assets in website and mobile content without ever leaving the intuitive, 'appified' Magnolia CMS interface. This improves efficiency, eliminates errors through automation as well as asset duplication through a centralized, searchable asset repository and ensures a coherent and consistent digital presence on all channels.

Please contact Canto to learn more about CMS and DAM integrations in general or the Magnolia-Cumulus integration in particular.

Canto will be exhibiting with Magnolia at dmexco, taking place at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany from Sept. 14-15 on Stand C021, Hall 6. Join Canto and Magnolia to find out more.

Lucas Schnabel

Lucas Schnabel is a Business Development Manager at Canto. He  is a business development expert, strategy consultant and digital marketer with a passion for working in fast-paced environments making proprietary decisions about where to play and how to win. With several years of experience in technology and telecommunications, he loves creating digital business models. He currently builds and forms Cantos' technology partnerships by creating cooperative go-to-market/ growth strategies. 


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