Too Many DAM Solutions!

By Jeff Lawrence, Delivery Director on Jan. 30, 2013 View Comments

Too Many DAM Solutions!

You’re sitting in an IT strategy meeting when suddenly someone says, “We need a DAM project!”

Someone else responds “Don’t we already have enough damn projects! Why do we need a DAM?"

 Many companies are faced with a tough decision of late: to either install a new Digital Asset Management(DAM) system to better manage their assets or replace an existing legacy system. The choice can be daunting with hundreds of vendors offering good DAM solutions that range in price, functionality and complexity.

Although the process may seem overwhelming, rest assured there is a DAM solution that will fit your company’s unique needs and budget. The key is to get started – and soon. Many companies can no longer afford to implement “silo-ed” point solutions, or continue operating legacy IT systems, while their digital assets multiply by the hours.

So, what DAM solution is right for your company? And how do you get started?

Before starting to look at vendors, you need to develop the objectives and goals for the DAM project. Key questions to consider include:

  • Why do we need a DAM? What problems are we trying to solve with a DAM solution?
  • What do we want to do with a DAM? What are our use cases? What are the benefits?
  • What kind of assets will the DAM need to manage? You’ll want to make sure the DAM solution can handle all your file formats: images, documents, graphics, creative files, audio, videos, etc.
  • What systems need to be integrated? Are there other systems that could be integrated in the future, such as DRM, Document management, BI tools, CRM and CMS? How will these systems be integrated?
  • Will the DAM solution support our metadata? Most DAM solutions will support standard metadata such as, IPTC, Exif and XMP out of the box.
  • What will be the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)? It’s crucial to clearly define the business case for implementing a DAM. Will the DAM yield a positive ROI? Ideally, you’ll want to leverage the DAM to reduce IT costs through workflow optimization, streamline processes and efficiencies, and eliminate or consolidate outdated legacy systems.

Once you’ve confidently answered these questions, you’re ready to begin evaluating best-fit DAM solutions. DAM solutions range from enterprise platforms that require a high-level of customization to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products that are basically plug and play. What’s the difference between the two extremes? I’ve provided a high-level comparison to describe the pros and cons of each.

Enterprise Platforms:

Pros

Cons

  • More flexibility for customization
  • Typically more scalable for enterprise
  • Complex / custom workflows
  • Integration with other systems
  • High-level of effort
  • Typically more expensive (TCO)
  • Longer timeline to deploy
  • Higher level of on-going support

COTS Products:

Pros

Cons

  • Quick to deploy, short timeline
  • Less expensive
  • Easier to maintain
  • Less flexibility, you get what you get
  • May not be as scalable
  • May not deliver the full vision of project

If you’re stuck trying to figure out which type of solution will work best for your environment, you can usually narrow your options by asking:

  • Do we need a large scalable enterprise solution? This is almost always a very expensive solution.
  • Do we need a small niche solution? This solution will be less expensive, but will have limited capabilities and may not scale well or provide the flexibility you need.
  • Do we need something in the middle of these two options?

Understanding how the solution will fit into your organization’s current environment and culture is key to selecting the right digital asset management solution for your business. A well-designed and implemented DAM solution will allow you to leverage your assets to increase productivity and revenue. Additionally, the right DAM solution can be a great way to improve your competitive advantage by providing faster time-to-market for your products.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to get that DAM project started!

See how we integrate Digital Asset Management as part of our Enterprise Technology Solutions.

Check out Jeff's presentation at Createasphere's Digital Asset Management Conference.

Posted in: Enterprise Technology, Digital Asset Management