There has been talk recently about the state of ECM and where it’s headed and how DAM has the ability to encroach into the ECM territory. In its simplest form, DAM (Digital Asset Management) is exactly what it sounds like: a way to manage digital assets within the business. But the world is changing, and so is the way we need to look at the discipline. Let’s take a look at the changing definition taking it word by word.
From the top:
Digital - At the top level, this seems pretty basic. Within DAM, we look to take care of your digital content; the bytes and bits. For the most part, this refers to the files themselves, but more and more, the “digital” content that is even more compelling is the digital metadata surrounding the files. This leads us to an evolution in thinking about the next word.
Assets - The “things” you need to manage. Traditionally, this refers to the content you have, and the focus has been around rich media. The “creative” industry has realized for years that the rich media they create has value, therefore, let’s take care of it. But what makes DAMs more useful than a file share, or just plain content? It’s the metadata. Metadata adds context to the file. It gives us the story surrounding it. Because of the metadata, we know, most importantly the history, and FUTURE of the file: we know the limits of using it, where and when.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the value in “assets” that extend outside of the traditional thinking/formats. More and more, companies see the value in, not only the files, but also, and just as importantly, the metadata that surrounds the content. It’s this metadata that is giving once-static files life and new meaning. Metadata is turning regular information and content into ASSETS; something we can derive value, and, perhaps, revenue from. It’s not just about rich media anymore. When a company I do business with can service my needs more efficiently because of the information they know about me (and they can easily retrieve it), it’s a win/win for both me and the business.
Management - Again, this has been pretty simple, you want to take charge of what you have; show your content/assets who’s the boss. As the idea of an asset shifts from a file to more of the unstructured data that surrounds it, “management” takes on new meaning. It means creating order out of chaos. Data is coming from everywhere, these days. The future of a quality DAM system includes the ability to surface assets based on the loads of data (structured and unstructured) we have. Give the right asset to the right person at the right time, therefore, giving it more value. And value = assets.
Not all DAM vendors will be ready to shift into ECM. At Nuxeo, we’re ready.