It’s Basic, Man!

When the time comes to select a new product – either to replace your current solution or augment your landscape to a new level – features get uttermost of attention. Every vendor knows that of course – and to dress up the bride just common sense before you go on the pitch.

And, of course, every vendor communicates the unique and revolutionary new features of their product as bold, loud and aggressively as possible… .hat’s marketing 101. In product development, this also follows a specific pattern which is described in the Kano Model.

Kano knows three classes of product features: excitement, performance and basic.

Excitement features are usually perceived as the innovation differentiator – which is not a correct attribution. As the name indicates, these features create excitement but might not be directly applicable to a practical problem domain or business challenge. However, they are shiny, new, exciting, super cool, and nobody else has them.

See, that’s the point. Some features are so cool, that nobody else will ever have them – and that’s not a problem of innovation, code quality or a “blockchain based cloud AI in the augmented reality deep learning quantum computer.”

Of course, the 2% of excitement features mature, prove useful and applicable, and will move to performance features. Performance features aren’t exciting any more – they are not unique. But they can be either fast or cheap, or have a better user interface – they differentiate one product from the other. Both have the capability – but on the same level. Excitement features are not on your requirements list, but a vendor answering your RFP will put them there.

Performance features are more likely to be on your requirements list, and that’s where you rate it with points.

What doesn’t get enough attention are basic features. It is often assumed that every solution in a specific domain has them – that’s why a product is in a specific domain. See, for example, a new phone – nobody would put the requirement “can it actually dial a phone number and connect me to any other user of a public phone system?” which may call to mind the unreliability of the first voice-over-ip phones. There’s a disclaimer stating that you might not use them for emergency calls, right? But that’s pretty basic…

In a product space, new vendors tend to give basic features or requirements less attention, and concentrate on excitement and performance features. Mature vendors are in a slightly better position. Basic features are their legacy, performance features have once been excitement features and excitement features live in the roadmap. When selecting a product, make sure that you put your shortlisted potential solution providers to a test on basic domain specific capabilities. I will continue with a drill down on basic domain specific capability sets for enterprise class DAM systems in the next days and weeks – stay tuned.

Kai Strieder

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

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)


To take just one,


…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.”


“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:

Digital Collections

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!