Credit: Georgia State University
Why does the DAM industry expect you to treat your digital assets like physical photos stored in a box on a shelf? Sure you can manage the creation process and some light distribution capabilities, but most of the industry has built a photo library. I think user experience is important (sometimes critical) but the DAM industry needs to mature more, get out of the days of the photo lab and move into the age of digital transformation. Larger media assets have been changing how we perceive of DAM uses, for example, transcoding and conversion of large pictures, once handled by high-end dedicated broadcast systems, is a common need now - this is changing the nature of software for DAM. There is tremendous opportunity for organizations that are able to actually extract the value in their assets.
Digital Asset Management Users Want More
Jeff Lawrence from the Celerity Group asked a great question (well it got me thinking) in his CMSWire article, “Is the DAM Industry Heading in the Right Direction?” To find the answer, he took the customer centric approach, yes he actually asked people who need to use these solutions to accomplish business goals. Interestingly the community wanted capabilities, such as integration, sharing, and distribution of digital assets. They wanted to find the ROI on their assets and understand how they move through the asset lifecycle.
This is more than just thinking of a digital asset as a data version of a physical picture and applying physical rules to it, it requires thinking about about the asset as something totally digital. Thinking of it as something that can truly transform and support your processes and goals. This type of content management is what has been called Deep Content by Eric Barroca, or to put it another way the ability to get tremendous value moving from slow, paper (or physical world) oriented processes to software enabled ones - ones that can’t exist or scale with the old way of thinking. Research firm Gartner in its just released 2015 CIO agenda recognized that to truly reach digital transformation their CIO clients need to flip from “legacy first” to “digital first” regarding information technology - there is immense value to be gained moving from regular content to deep content.
The real Digital Asset Management community, the actual users, want to see DAM solutions fit nicely into their workflow (current and future) and, if necessary, incorporate other systems, e.g. Digital Rights Management tools. They want to be able to use the system that best suits them for the job at hand and keep the physical asset (the file) in other places, Dropbox or Google Drive for instance, while maximizing the benefit of the information and processes around these assets and systems. Users need to be able to seamlessly work in your DAM on the real file and not a copy of it. This is a true 1+1=3 approach to sharing and collaboration.
They want to be able to determine the ROI of their assets, and to understand how they move through the assets lifecycle. To track the effectiveness of these assets. Let’s apply the deep content way of thinking and create business automation as part of the asset, whether the asset is destined for a marketing campaign or a video distribution system, that can help improve the results of the company. A lot of organizations either don’t do this because the data is overly burdensome or they consume large amounts of time collecting, managing and analyzing that data.
Handling large media files can be tricky, so can the management of the enormous volume of assets that many enterprises have accumulated. Some of our customers are doing more traditional management of marketing and creative process via their DAMs, albeit on a deep content scale, still others are using their DAMs to drive new revenue streams for their organizations or huge cost savings by pushing assets to customers or automating delivery.
The New Use Cases for DAM in the Enterprise
The way companies can use their digital assets is changing. Collecting and managing media files, then displaying and managing information creates all sorts of new and interesting use cases for organizations that know how to step away from the old paper-based processes - away from the picture libraries of old.
Another Nuxeo customer GSD&M, an advertising agency helping to promote major brands like Southwest Airlines, AT&T and the US PGA Tour, needed a “next generation” DAM platform. They needed a solution to manage their client’s large digital asset libraries. They are able to collaborate internally on projects while simultaneously supporting their client needs to view their assets.
A top tier, fortune 500 financial services company has been able to utilize the Nuxeo DAM as a central repository. They use the Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) Standard to connect to a multitude of external applications to store and distribute all of their brand assets. They didn’t just want to have a record of the assets in their DAM, they wanted their DAM to work for them. This customer is able to drive the assets to all of their digital properties, millions of requests an hour no less, and do so in real time as their customers interact with them digitally. Not only huge cost savings, but improved customer/prospect interaction and more revenue.
What We Need From Our DAM Systems Now & into the Future
The needs that are being placed on digital assets are now well beyond what the photo libraries of the past are able to handle. When you service live assets, you have very different availability requirements than when you host the photo library for marketing (as important as it is, it’s hardly mission critical for the business). These use cases may need horizontal scaling, distribution, conversion queue optimization, that’s not easy. But that’s why fully scalable, extendable platforms such as the Nuxeo Platform are designed to give you the flexibility to go beyond just storing and managing assets - to true value.