THE Digital Asset

In my previous post “It’s Basic, Man” – I pointed out that often exciting and shiny new features try to steal the show. Actually, it’s usually the case that the department of smoke and mirrors, aka Sales and Marketing, that needs and easy conversation starter.

I’ve seen very few people in DAM sales and marketing that actually know the basic requirements and capabilities up to the point that they can actually use those to differentiate their product from any shiny new contestant.

What should be basic in an Enterprise DAM then?

Basic – let’s first agree on what a Digital Asset Management actually manages.
Some systems start with a file being the nucleus of an asset. File type determines the asset type, metadata gets extracted – searchable, sprinkle some access control over it – done!

I would consider these systems file management systems – as they are file centric and will fail one way or the other when workflows and integrations start to become file-less.
Even the job of managing slides, videos or non-digitizable items can’t be handled adequately.

I understand the file centric approach is historically grown. Start with a simple job: manage digital media files – more files, more functions. In the context of a sustainable, flexible and integrated enterprise DAM, I consider a digital asset a combination of six aspects in a defined state at a point in time:

  • Metadata
  • Paradata
  • Access Control Properties
  • Relations
  • Bytes (one or many files)
  • Domain Specific Representations of associated Bytes (e.g. derivatives)

Not every asset will have all six facets. Not every asset will have history of different versions.

None of these six facets is THE digital asset – only the combination of at least two brings the asset into life, while it gets enriched by adding more and more facets or changing any of the facets thus creating different newer versions.

To be continued…

Kai Strieder

On Choosing a DAM Consultant

by Kai Strieder

I’ve been working in the DAM space since around 1996 – long before the term DAM or even MAM was coined. I loved and still love to help clients to make a sense of the technical, organisational and legal challenges of handling media assets, creating value and ensuring that content, stories, emotions can be shared, communicated, and set in place.

DAM has come a long way – databases for media content have started as pure systems for media companies.

News, agencies, editors, the occasional photographer. At that time even FileMaker solutions were prevalent – as were simple catalogs with a pure text-based slide catalogue: some keywords, a slide number, the drawer or cabinet where the slide resides.

What part of DAM – Digital Asset Management has come a long way?

Digital Media has come a long way. Remember drum scanners? Slide scanners? Waiting up to 90 seconds for a slide to scan in a Nikon desktop slide scanner with automatic feed? Remember the batch of 50 files named up to “Unnamed File (#49)”?
Remember the first digital SLR being a really big deal? The IBM micro-drive — a thick CF card with a spinning hard drive inside it? (I still have the 1 Gig version sitting on my desk).

Digital media has evolved in a infuriating speed: 22 years where resolutions have exponentially grown on a regular basis. Doubling the resolution of a screen, CMOS or CCD sensor isn’t even big news now.

How has the management part evolved?

The output of assets — files — over enormously over time, mostly because the availability of devices that now can take a photo or video is now ubiquitous. “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You” is the title of a book from Chase Jarvis, containing photos taken only with his iPhone. It perfectly illustrates how prevalent today cameras are and that’s one of the points why the amount of “available media” has skyrocketed.

Available media – photos, videos, audio recordings that can be shared, referenced, used, curated – that is why the Management in DAM is really challenged. Making media available was a significant effort 10 years ago. You chose which photos to upload into a dedicated database, creating a scan, retouched it, compressing the file, uploaded it – that was a major project. Think before you shoot, be selective in what you scan, check what you upload.

Today, every shot is synched into the cloud, apps help to curate stories – a timeline of media assets made available in seconds.

Mature DAM vendors have evolved their solution or suites along. Alongside clients they accompanied for ten or even 20 years, they have stayed focused. The purpose of DAM for any organisation is to create the most value from a digital asset and then stay out of the way.

While individual users might argue that an approval process isn’t exactly “staying out of the way” – for the organisation it is a necessity to ensure that value is sustainable.

Same goes for tediously crafted mandatory metadata, where on might argue that’s way over the top for just the web page illustration. Again, the purpose is to create most value over the lifetime of the asset and reduce single-use cases. These DAM solutions have matured to a point where sharing, enabling, integrating, fitting, transcoding, have evolved up to the point where a DAM itself provides CDN capabilities.

So is it all ponies and rainbows now?

Unfortunately, in a lot of conversations with enterprise clients, I have learned that there is a huge maturity gap. And it’s neither the vault of vendors and the capabilities of their products, nor a lack of interest (read: budget) of clients to get beyond the obvious.

It’s a lack of maturity in DAM consultants.

DAM Consultants can mostly be divided into two categories:

The experienced old dogs whose rinse-repeat approaches that have been successful the first gigs. Old dogs, new tricks – you get the point.

The fresh domain-driven consultants that usually are coming to DAM from an adjacent angle, be it SEO, product and e-commerce, social media, apps — and are more or less ignorant to the whole rest of the DAM potential or the value cycle of a digital asset.

Both types are either implementation-driven (read: rinse-and-repeat a specific integration), or vendor-selection process, helping their clients navigate the path to the best tool.

When you chose a consultant, or a consultant choses you, decide wether you are perfectly clear on what your immediate goals and criteria for success are, and what your asset roadmap is – before you decide who should help you along the way.

Kai Strieder

OpenText Has a Good Day – Gartner, Enabler for Microsoft Dynamics 365

OpenText, the global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), announced that it has been positioned as a Leader in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms. Gartner can be pretty thorough, and their research is practical and generally available, always a good thing:

OpenText Named as a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms

They also announced “the availability of OpenText Extended ECM Enabler for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service. The new solution, developed in partnership with Contesto, integrates OpenText’s leading Enterprise Content Management (ECM) portfolio with Dynamics 365 for Customer Service to deliver a complete set of content services to enrich business processes flows, and enable seamless customer engagement,”:

https://www.newswiretoday.com/news/168349/OpenText-Announces-Extended-ECM-for-Microsoft-Dynamics-365/

Articles on Widen sunsetting Orbit – why no migration path from ‘DAMLite’?

Digital Asset News has a good article on Widen Collectives Sunsetting their free DAM solution, SmartImage, which serves the “free” DAM Market – free not considering adoption, development, training, implementation, training, and other corporate adoption costs.

Personally, I feel a vendor might be better off developing a free or open source DAM “lite” system that offers an easy migration path, and a usefully similar UI, with basic functionality. I thought that was kind of the purpose of such an acquisition. DAM News wisely cites Bynder’s closure of Orbit, equally ill-considered, IMHO.

Bynder cites  “focus,” which they say is a good thing, but things take time to come into focus, and a good free solution that is similar or offers a relatively smooth migration path to your product allows the kid of test bed that can be idea for small-to-medium-sized companies considering and cutting their teeth on DAM, arguably their largest market. Yes, it would cost money and time, but it could also provide a feature test-bed, be monitored for user-interface improvements using things like Clicktale’s UI monitoring tools that track mouse movements and interface confusion without freaking out the paying customer base. Short-sighted, short-term profit focused, I’d think as an IT buyer of expensive systems.

Widen Close SmartImage: More Proof That The Current DAM Software Market Does Not Scale

DAM/EAM News Summary, September 18, 2018

Widen Collective

The Widen Collective’s blog site, https://digitalassetmanagement.com has a decent article on “What to look for in a DAM/EAM Administrator“. Nothing shocking, but well thought-out and a good baseline for a job description for your Execs and HR department.

They also released a downloadable paper called “Understanding RFIs and RFPs” (PDF) which has a good template/baseline of FRP questions (Registration required). It is not actually quite so much about understanding RFIs and RFPs, but one does come to an understanding of them based on the categories and excellent questions under each, including some clever ones you might not have thought of

They are experienced enough to factually point out that “[t]he most helpful DAM system evaluation tools are a good internal assessment, development of user scenarios, and a prioritized list of requirements from a DAM system.” This is the hardest work that goes into giving your DAM/EAM project, vendor and team the best chance of success, and that’s all on you and your teammates… or, probably, available for a price. There’s an argument to be made that a potential vendor has more experience building these with the energetic participation of your company, if that’s part of what you need. But, you will have to pay for their time, and it may not help you as much with an RFP that goes to several vendors.

PicturePark

Like Widen, PicturePark has a community service, a bit different, called the DAM Guru Project, “A DAM Community of 1,000+ Members from Around the World: DAM Guru Program connects DAM experts with people who need their help – for free” Their Twitter account is here.

Their site has calls for volunteers, a job registration database and member profiles, some thoughtful articles specific to our industry, webinars, and a related LinkedIn discussion group.

There is apparently a blizzard of market analysis reports, which you can get weekly via Google Alerts for ‘Digital Asset Management’ and ‘Enterprise Asset Management’, which you likely have already set up.

Conferences, more research reports

Conferences:

If you want to attend a conference on Digital or Enterprise Content Management, here are the major ones coming up. Of course, this late in the yearly budget, unless you’ve planned for it, getting approval from your CFO may be tough, so make sure to plan for the May 2-3 DAM NY Conference while putting in next year’s budget! It comes from that 300-pound Gorilla* of DAM symposia, Henry Stewart Conferences, and it comes early in the year, before all the C-levels are worried about end-of-year numbers.

We search so you don’t have to:

DAM Chicago – Henry Stewart Conferences

September 12, 2018, Chicago, Illinois, USA

“As the Midwest’s largest conference dedicated to Digital Asset Management, we provide a unique environment to exchange knowledge, experiences and build long lasting professional networks. We examine through real world case studies, interactive panels, workshops, roundtables and tutorials, the latest thinking and new developments in the world of DAM – all from the user’s perspective.”

DAM San Diego – Henry Stewart Conferences

November 15-16, 2018 – San Diego, California, USA

“As the West Coast’s leading conference dedicated to Digital Asset Management, we provide a unique environment to exchange knowledge, experiences and build long lasting professional networks. We examine through real world case studies, interactive panels, workshops, roundtables and tutorials, the latest thinking and new developments in the world of DAM – all from the user’s perspective.”

CANADIAN CONTENT ASSET MANAGEMENT

November 28, 2018, Probably in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“A group for Canadian professionals in the content management community involved in DAM, MAM, Brand, Production and Creative Asset Management, Rights Managers, MLIS and Archive professionals, and the allied business operations. Canadian Content and Asset Management (C-CAM) is dedicated to build and promote the practice of Digital Asset Management (broadly defined) across all industries in Canada. The C-CAM group offers the experienced, and the new, an opportunity to be part of a community, develop relationships and promote learning / education, as we all face the challenges of growing libraries of digital images and video assets.”

AMIA 2018 (Association of Moving Image Archivists)

November 28 – December 1, 2018

Portland… Probably Oregon. (No, really, if you poke around for a few minutes, they finally indicate which Portland on the Hilton Hotel page.) #amia18

“As the world’s largest international association of professional media archivists, the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is uniquely poised to bring together a broad range of experts. Members represent corporate and national archives, media companies, libraries, historical societies, labs, post production, universities, and more. Because of this diverse membership, AMIA provides an opportunity to interact with every facet of the field and a single forum to address the best ways to preserve and provide access to our media heritage in digital and analog formats.

“For further information, visit www.AMIAnet.org and follow AMIA on Facebook, Twitter (@AMIAnet) and Instagram (@AMIArchivists).”

DAM NY – Henry Stewart Conferences

May 2-3, 2019

“The Art & Practice of Managing Digital Media – all from the user’s perspective.

“As the world’s largest conference dedicated to Digital Asset Management, DAM New York is a unique environment to exchange knowledge, share experiences and build long lasting professional networks. Join 100+ speakers across 60+ sessions covering Metadata, Integration, AI, Automation, Creative Operations, Corporate Archives, Video Workflow, Rights Management, Semantics, Governance and more.”

More Research and Reports:

Here are some interesting older and ewer work that seem useful to the DAM/EAM shopper:

The Forrester Wave™: Digital Asset Management For Customer Experience, Q2 2018

“In our 30-criteria evaluation of digital asset management (DAM) providers, we identified the 13 most significant ones — Adobe, Aprimo, Bynder, Canto, CELUM, Cognizant, MediaBeacon, Northplains, Nuxeo, OpenText, Stylelabs, Webdam, and Widen — and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This report shows how each provider measures up and helps application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals make the right choice.”

Market Guide for Digital Asset Management Published: 16 November 2016

“Digital asset management is undergoing a renaissance as marketing leaders face new challenges in managing the growing volume, variety and velocity of content assets. This Market Guide will help marketing leaders make sense of a very fragmented landscape.”

Representative Vendors:
Adam Software, Adobe, Brandmuscle, Bynder, Canto, Celum, censhare, Digizuite, Elateral, MediaValet, North Plains, OpenText, Percolate, Pica9, SAS, WebDAM, Wedia, Widen, Workfront

Digital Asset Management – Research, Decision Tools, & Custom Advice

“Digital Asset Management Research, Decision Tools, & Custom Advice

  • Learn how much these tools really cost
  • Learn how to negotiate a better deal
  • Learn about hidden costs and gotchas”

* Fun fact: Adult male Gorillas weigh from 136 to 195 kg (300 to 430 pounds). Adult females Gorillas weigh from 68 to 113 kg (150 to 250 pounds).

Expensive Reports

A wide variety of expensive reports on the DAM and EAM market are available. There are lots… and while they would be fantastic for an IT Director, CTO, or Program Manager to use in selecting the Right DAM/EAM For Your Company, they are not geared toward this useful purpose, unless you are particularly clever at getting your CFO to spring for four-figure reports. Here are some examples:

Global Digital Asset Management (DAM) Software Market 2018 Application, Size, Revenue, Types, Trends In Future, Scope To 2025

Global Digital Asset Management (DAM) Market 2017 | Market Status and Outlook (2017-2022)

2018-2025 DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT (DAM) SOFTWARE REPORT ON GLOBAL AND UNITED STATES MARKET, STATUS AND FORECAST, BY PLAYERS, TYPES AND APPLICATIONS

To take just one,

GLOBAL DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE MARKET STUDY REPORT COMPRISES SALES CHANNEL: DIRECT MARKETING, INDIRECT MARKETING PREDICTION 2025 

…from IDA Report, which states in it’s summary:

“The report reflects the strategic opportunities in the Digital Asset Management Software market and plans the features that will be driving the development of the market. Digital Asset Management Software industry report provides a comprehensive analysis of the Digital Asset Management Software market by revenue, by production capacity, by applications, by types, by region, and more.”

and

“Digital Asset Management Software Market Segment by Manufacturers includes: Bynder, Webdam, Adobe, Canto, Widen Collective, IntelligenceBank, Third Light, OpenText, Brandfolder, Oracle DIVAdirector, Asset Bank, FileMaker, Brandworkz, Percolate, Algoba Systems, MomaSoft, Pimcore, SproutLoud, Adgistics, Daminion Software, JGSullivan Interactive, Razuna, Zeticon, Montala, Shutterstock Company, Picturepark, TrustRadius, Strata Company, and many more.”

As is typical for these, they favor the analyst or journalist, not the corporate researcher, and they cost in the range of $3,600 USD.

We have several of these on our “Big 11 Vendors” that we’re going to start with, building a table of criteria.

We picked these (somewhat randomly, we admit, not having read the Expensive Reports,) because we’re familiar with them, they are large, and have good data on their websites… Either we’ve implemented the software in the past, or possibly their marketing departments just do a good job. Currently, they are, in alphabetical order:

APrimo/ADAM
Bynder
Canto
Censhare
Celum
Digital Collections
fotoware
MediaBeacon
OpenText
Picturepark
PixelBoxx

How does one go about choosing which of the 130 or so vendors one is going o take the time to demo? Well, we hope to reduce some of that pain for you, with a table of the basic criteria we assembled in the last post; and then expanding that list as time and feedback from you allow. More soon!

–Alex