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  1. 1. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch Home / Features / Product Watch / Featured Product ProductWatch: DAM Landscape Glossary Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape Application Server by Chris Lynn, DAM Consultant 2002-08-23 Asset Management Newly updated, Spring 2003: Document Management objective reviews of E-commerce q 25 CMS products Digital Asset Management ("DAM") has q tips to avoid common been around for a decade or more, but Java CMS pitfalls it is only in the last couple of years q plain-English advice that mainstream I.T. analysts and Metadata on implementation reporters have paid much attention to q how to negotiate a it. In the meantime, some very Personalization good price powerful asset management technologies have emerged, but DAM Syndication is likely to play only a supporting role in larger corporate "enterprise content management" (ECM) frameworks. Workflow XML The Emergence of DAM "This training class The term Digital Asset Management arose from the printing really made some of and publishing industry, and its variant, Media Asset the pitfalls and Management (MAM) from the broadcast industry. CNN uses drawbacks glaringly a system from IBM and Sony to manage their news obvious, and really got archive, and large printers such as R.R.Donnelley have me excited about the implementation of a multiple DAM systems for storing and retrieving their CMS." clients’ print ads, magazine pages, and catalogs. Even small ($5m annual revenues) pre-press shops will often (1 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]
  2. 2. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch have a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of DAM software -- Kelly Lynch, Web running on a server with a terabyte or more of RAID Editor-in-Chief, storage. This is no small investment, but one that is TrendMicro justified by the productivity gains that can accrue from the system, by the increased switching costs to help lock a client in, and – as clients are given web-based access to their assets – by the potential for incremental revenues. Sign up now to receive But DAM remained a niche market until relatively recently, our monthly newsletter when several factors coincided to drive it toward the mainstream: enter email q The availability to low-cost storage to hold rich- media files online Contact Info q High-speed connectivity, both on the LAN and across the Internet, making the digital transfer of such files CMSWatch feasible q The general "democratization" caused by technology, V: + 301 585 7004 so that work that was previously contracted out to a 9110 Warren St. specialist can be done by the generalist user (of Silver Spring, MD course, this has driven Web Content Management – USA 20910 WCM – as well). q The desire of corporate marketing groups to become more efficient "I think 'content q The beginnings of a confluence among document management' means so management, content management, knowledge many different things management and DAM (of which more later) that it’s almost a useless term. Everyone Market research company GISTICS, which has been claims to be in the content management tracking the use of DAM systems in media-related business." businesses for many years, now lists no fewer than 616 "DAM solution providers" and 1246 "knowledge asset -- Chad Dickerson, management solution providers" in their latest review of CTO, InfoWorld the field. This suggests an industry that is bursting with life, but in truth there are few pure DAM vendors with the Our Feed kind of balance sheet or market cap that the mainstream (RSS 0.91) (2 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]
  3. 3. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch WCM vendors enjoy - even in the latter’s current beaten- Syndication Terms down state. So what is DAM? DAM is of course a type of content management, as is DM and KM. DAM systems are characterized mainly by their facility in handling large composite files and specialist file- types. But much of the distinction between these acronyms is a question of perspective. The first WCM vendors to attract the attention (and beneficence) of the investment community -- Interwoven and Vignette -- were slow to realize that they should be thinking more broadly than managing "web content." Their focus was on publishing to the web, and the idea of a searchable multimedia repository to underlie the template-driven publishing engine was almost an afterthought. These vendors, along with almost all CMS vendors, have claimed that DAM is a non-issue: it just represents another set of binary file types that they too can handle. But this is a superficial response – the essence of today’s DAM systems is that they not only store the original digital asset (often at high-resolution) but also then create derivatives of this "gold master" for publication in various media, both online and offline. Ideally, the system will also maintain the parent-child relationships so that any change to the gold master will be automatically reflected in the derivative "children." The Old Guard Responds Coming from the opposite direction, the leading DM vendors -- Documentum, FileNET, and Stellent (formerly IntraNet Solutions) -- were slow to appreciate their ability to compete in this new web information management field (3 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]
  4. 4. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch by adding to the workflow, publishing tools, and the document databases they already offered. Arguably, Documentum has done the most to demonstrate a coherent vision for what it (and other vendors) call "enterprise content management." Documentum has brought together its document and web content products with some of the DAM expertise from its acquisition of Bulldog, to deliver an offering that it calls "marketing content management". Some CMS vendors, notably Day Software and Stellent, would claim equivalent functionality. In Day’s case, its "ContentBus" normalizes different media types for publication while keeping a pointer to the original asset, and it has built some comparatively impressive homegrown DAM capabilities as well. Stellent’s "Rich Media Suite" provides similar capabilities. So there is clearly a confluence of the different elements of enterprise content management, and "ECM" is probably as good a shorthand name for it as any. But what of the original DAM vendors? The original DAM-focused vendors have mostly split between those who continue to focus on the (increasingly saturated) media and entertainment industry, and those who are chasing corporate marketing departments to sell them "brand asset management," a.k.a. "marketing content management" or "brand resource management" solutions. Of the latter, Artesia, Canto, eMotion, MediaBin, North Plains Systems and Webware Corporation are the pure-play DAM vendors that show up on corporate RFQs the most often. (4 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]
  5. 5. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch The challenge for all of these vendors is to achieve critical mass in a difficult, early-stage market. Few software providers who can claim robust financial health in today’s market, and DAM vendors are no exception. They are small (50-150 employee) companies with annual license revenues under $20m. They offer products to marketing executives who typically have no background in buying enterprise-scale technology solutions, or to I.T. executives who have little understanding of the specialist needs of creative graphics people. None of the DAM vendors has the marketing muscle to educate the market as a whole and drive awareness of its brand broadly enough to ensure dominance, and profitability remains elusive for now. Each is reacting to these pressures in a different way: q Artesia continues to rely heavily on its publishing roots, recently winning a contract at Simon & Schuster, but also includes General Motors in its client roster and is betting on e-Learning initiatives and government contracts for part of its future sales. q Canto, based in Germany but with an operation in San Francisco, is trying to move up-market from its desktop- and workgroup-solution origins. q eMotion is possibly the weakest of the group, straddling its broadcast industry customers along with new ASP-based offerings to corporations like ExxonMobil with limited resources. q MediaBin boasts an impressive list of corporate clients, ranging from Ford and Microsoft to Reebok and Samsonite, and is betting on its capacity to integrate with WCM systems like Interwoven’s (5 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]
  6. 6. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch TeamSite, divine’s Content Server, and Microsoft CMS2002. But its ability to raise new capital is hampered by its status as a Norwegian public company. q North Plains Systems’ "Telescope" product is one of the most venerable DAM offerings on the market, and was originally sold for under $10,000. The company has moved up-market and increased its services profile, seeking engagements in the $250,000 range. It has chalked up impressive wins at Disney and AOL Time-Warner, but is still seen as a mainly publishing-oriented solution. q Webware has probably done more than most of its competitors to internationalize its "Mambo" product line, and to promote both an ASP and a licensed sale model. The NFL and Martha Stewart are examples of Webware clients under each business model respectively. So how will this unstable situation resolve itself? Consolidation in the DAM business has been predicted for years, but most of the M&A action has recently taken place in WCM: Microsoft’s acquisition of NCompass Labs, divine‘s ingest of Eprise and Open Market; FileNET’s takeover of eGrail, the demise of Reef Systems, and so on. Documentum’s acquisition of Bulldog late last year picked off a weak DAM player for a low price ($8m or so in stock) but most of the DAM vendors listed above are privately- held corporations whose owners are reluctant to abandon their progeny at the market’s current low prices. So they’ll struggle on, conserving cash while trying to expand their sales footprint through strategic alliances. Meanwhile, the bigger players are noticing that the management of corporate media assets is indeed a market (6 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]
  7. 7. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch worth considering, and that serving it requires more than claiming support for a few graphics file formats. They are unlikely to buy a DAM vendor for its client base (to pick an example at random, FileNET has probably ten times the combined number of customers of all 6 DAM vendors listed above). But as a shortcut to an in-house technology development, one of them could make a tempting morsel. Confluence – then what? The value proposition on which DAM systems have been sold to corporate marketing groups is essentially one of self- service access to brand-approved assets, bringing the benefits of cost-saving, brand consistency and speed of deployment. Collaboration tools may be bundled with this, along with automation to distribute assets ("push" rather than "pull") but for the most part, this is identical to the idea behind the corporate portal – a popular application space right now. So here is another strand to the confluence -- portal software joins the components of ECM to provide a distribution layer. The next step: distributed repositories and federated search. No one believes any more (if they ever did), that a system for managing "enterprise content" meant that all of this content had to reside in a single database. The reality is that there will be a variety of repositories distributed across the extended enterprise, and there will be a need to be able to selectively publish content to certain of these and to search an index of the contents of all or many of them. Companies like Context Media, Venetica, MetaMatrix, and Agari are addressing this issue, but the big players already understand it well – IBM’s Content Management Server featured federated search back when it was still called "Digital Library." (7 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]
  8. 8. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch So "CMS" has come to mean more than a system to keep track of the contents of the website and to let generalist users publish to a template-driven site. It increasingly entails the management of a subset "enterprise content," and delivery of this content to relevant stakeholders via some kind of portal. What DAM vendors bring to the ECM party is their understanding of the needs of print publication as well as publishing to the web, and their ability to handle the arcana of print publishing – color management, vector-to-raster conversion, composite files etc. So DAM is certainly relevant in corporate content management, but it will not remain a stand-alone discipline. However powerful the technology, DAM vendors themselves remain weak, and will likely be absorbed into larger ECM suites or confined to the media and entertainment niche. Email this story Printer Friendly version Send Feedback Chris Lynn has been involved in the marketing of technology for over 20 years, and in systems for digital content creation and publishing since 1986. He is a former vice president of marketing for a DAM vendor, and has published many articles and spoken on managing brand assets. Chris advises companies on technologies for marketing via his consulting company, Scott Hillam Associates. see more products (8 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]
  9. 9. Digital Asset Management: The Product Landscape : Featured Product : from CMSWatch Send This Page to a Friend... About | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | SiteMap | Free Report Sample | Feedback Copyright © 2001-2003 by CMSWorks, Inc. (9 of 9) [31.07.2003 14:41:06]