What is Digital Asset Management?

Posted on: January 20th, 2012 by Charlie Wright No Comments

The Alphabet Soup of Digital Content Management

          We recently spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Madison E-Business Consortium.  What a great group of engaged attendees whom are all wrestling with content management issues.  It was surprising how much the acronyms just add to the confusion about choosing some type of software to manage digital content. Every company had different acronyms to reference the different repositories, i.e., artwork, files, pricing, marketing collateral, etc.  No one could agree on what constituted an Enterprise system, Content Management System or even a Web Asset Management System. Before the end of the day it sounded like a jumble of letters, none of which helped people understand the functionality they had or needed. 

          I had great empathy for those customers whom were looking for some way to manage, collaborate, edit, and distribute their content. When customers call saying they need to look into a DAM system, many times the functionality they are looking for bleeds over into PIM (Product Information Management – managing product and pricing information) or Web publishing. Rather than picking the alphabet solution, companies should be thinking through their entire work flow as well as identifying desired pain points.

4 questions companies should ask themselves:

  • What are you trying to manage and why?
  • What are you using it for?
  • Who else needs to have that information and how do you want to get it to them?
  • Who decides what the FINAL source is and how is that controlled?

          Instead of starting with a search for a product, it’s time to take a step back.  Putting a software solution on top of an inefficient workflow just makes that inefficiency faster.  Software alone won’t solve the issue without understanding how it fits in the larger needs of the users and the company.  A good place to start is evaluating your work processes from start to finish.  Step outside of the “we’ve just always done it that way.”  Ask why?  Is there a better way to do it?  Are there steps that are redundant? Step outside the legacy systems that may already be in place.  If those were not there, how would you do it? Once you can identify the work that needs to get done and the resources you will need to do it, then you can look at the solutions, regardless of the acronym du jour for those products.

Digital Asset Management – Start Somewhere

Posted on: December 15th, 2011 by Charlie Wright No Comments

These are the kinds of phone calls we get:

  • Right now we’re emailing files back and forth so it’s hard to keep track of the most current revision.
  • We send the pages out for everyone to edit and give feedback it takes a long time to compile all those changes.
  • We have people that need to upload content, but they are not attaching metadata so it gets lost almost as soon as we get it.
  • We want to use the same images for our print material and our web page, but the images are not in the same place and they’re not in the same format.  How can we make them consistent?

For those of you that have moved in the the digital content world without having a good strategy for tracking, managing, sharing, or editing, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed about where to start.

Starting Line

Where should I start?

When we talk to people, we tell them there are solutions that can address their problem, get an understanding of their pain points, and at some point we usually walk though the software to let them know what options are available.  

During the discussion, invariably it turns from “Wow, that would really be helpful for our most pressing problem.  While I have you on the phone, we also have this OTHER problem….”

The Snowball then Becomes an Avalanche 

 The wish list starts to grow.  

  • Wait – we can pull SKU, Pricing, Copy, and Images from multiple databases and merge them on the page?
  • Do you mean to tell me we can replace multiple silos of information from different departments with one central repository all in one fell swoop?
  • I can use this system to power my eCommerce site as well?
Yes – all of those things are true.  Here’s what we see happen next.  The “Blue sky, let’s try to solve every proble we can identify” thinking begins.  Additional groups get involved.  Meetings across functional “silos” begin.  Requirements are debated as different groups have different needs. Budgeting allocation begins for which departments will cover what percentage of the solution. AND THESE ARE ALL GOOD THINGS!
 

HOWEVER……  Progress slows down to a glacial as the scope of the project grows.   Requirements can turn into wish lists.  It becomes harder to get people to agree on what’s on the MUST HAVE list vs. what’s on the NICE TO HAVE list.  Progress slows to a glacial place and the original problem is buried at the beginning of the avalanche.

 

Don’t let the Best be the Enemy of the Good – Voltaire

Start with a manageable project.  Select a solution that gives you the flexibility to add on addtional functionality as the scope grows.  Get some “wins” for making changes, getting user adoption, learing to get comfortable with your new solution.  Sometimes it’s easier to get changes if you wade into the shallow end rather than try the high dive into the deep end.  

BUT START SOMEWHERE.  

If you’re not sure where that might be, contact us and we’ll help.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

MediaBank Gold Tour Launched

Posted on: October 3rd, 2011 by Charlie Wright No Comments

Finally!  After hundreds of hours writing code, desigining specs, and creating workflows, we’re ready to come out and show you our new release of MediaBank.  We started our tour here in Orlando, hosted at AAA.  The feedback has been wonderful.  Things like:

  • “Exceded my expectations”  
  • “Can’t wait to get it.”  
  • “Love the new interface:
And we’re excited to bring it to you!  We’ve got our truck all snazzy – so look for us on the road. Our next stop is Atlanta on 10/4 and then onto Dallas.  Next week is California and Nebraska.   As we drive across the county – we’ll be posting pictures of our road trip on twitter (@wavecorp ) and also have a state trivia contest question for every state we travel through.  First one to post back on twitter with the correct answer gets a MediaBank Gold Piggy Bank.

The meeting runs from 8:00 am until noon.  

We will be covering:

  • Industry trends in Digital Asset Management
  • MediaBank User Demo
  • MediaBank Admin Demo
  • Information about the Upgrade Process  

You will get to see how the upgrades handle working with a global & distributed workforce, increased security & sharing, and the upgraded, intuitive interface.

AND IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH – we’re having a bag toss contest after the meeting ends.  You need two people from your company to play.  You’ll have to beat team WAVE to win.  Everyone who wins the Bag Toss contest gets a MediaBank Gold Piggy Bank.  But WAIT, DON’T ORDER YET, THERE’S MORE……  One of those pigs will be loaded with quarter ounce gold coin.  

Don’t miss it!!  For more info – check back to our web page and check our twitter feed for #MBGTour

Software is a Small Part of the Digital Asset Management Solution

Posted on: August 22nd, 2011 by Charlie Wright 1 Comment

I recently attended a really good put on by Real Story about Selecting DAM. (It’s probably available on replay – I highly recommend taking some time to check it out.) Many of our customers come to us after reading their reports reviewing DAM vendors. I was curious what they recommended as an approach.

One thing Alan Pelz-Sharpe said really struck me. Software is a small part of the Digital Asset Management Solution. As a DAM software vendor, I have to say, THIS IS SO TRUE!! Many prospects get focused on specific functionality. While functionality is a key part of the solution, there’s a much bigger picture.

The first is getting a good understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. How you structure the solution is completely dependent on how you define the problem.

Get agreement on target solution

  • Are you trying to make sure your content is thoroughly searchable by name, metadata, or actual content?
  • Are you trying to make sure it’s easy for people to submit content and have it properly ingested with the key information attached?
  • Are you trying to develop a workflow where content is aggregated and published across multiple channels, to print, email, web?
  • Are you trying to have make sure multiple people can make revisions and not overwrite what someone else is trying to do  - always using the correct version?
  • Are you trying to make your content accessible to multiple users around the globe while still trying to enforce some digital rights management?
  • Are you trying to aggregate content from various databases to publish a seamless catalog: pulling images, sku information, up to date pricing and have it all update in real time?

When we get requests for a product demo, the question is, how many of the hundreds of things we COULD show do you actually want to see? There is no way to get a full understanding of a products functionality in thirty minutes.

There is also the fact that the DAM solution you need today won’t be the DAM solution you need in three years. Think of how much your work flow had changed in the last three years. The amount of content is growing exponentially. The possibilities for usage have increased. The complexity of tying it all together continues to rise. You need a solution that can grow and evolve as you do.

All of this comes from picking a partner, not a software package.

MediaBank Gold Tour Announced

Posted on: August 5th, 2011 by Charlie Wright No Comments

WAVE, MediaBank, DAM, ECM

MediaBank Gold Tour Map 2011

WAVE has been working diligently on the new release of MediaBank. We’ve seen the trends in the digital asset management industry with growing content, increasing needs to reuse content across multiple channels (web, print, mobile, tablet), and increasing needs to work across locations.

Our new release, MediaBank Gold, adresses the trends in the electronic content management industry and looks ahead to changing work environments.

This fall we will be driving around the country – meeting customers, industry analysts, and prospects, to review industry trends and show how MediaBank fits your content management needs.

Contact us – sales@wavecorp.com if you are interested in attending.

Follow us on Twitter @wavecorp – info on the tour will be #MBGTour

MediaBank, WAVE, DAM, ECM, MAM, WAVE

Coming to a Town Near YOU!!

The Problem with DAM Functionality “Out of the Box”

Posted on: July 26th, 2011 by Charlie Wright No Comments

We frequently get requests for a demo that ask for “Out of the Box” functionality. Yes – certainly people will have image files, metadata, documents, that they want to store, retrieve, and use. Work environments have existing software and hardware that needs to integrate seamlessly with a new solution.

The problem with focusing on “out of the box” functionality is that technology is only going to get you 20% of the solution. (Is the vendor of the technology allowed to say that?) The remaining 80% of the solution comes from workplace changes and (the hardest part) getting people to change.

The solution needs to be well defined even before any technology is evaluated. However, the workflow evolves once you implement the technology. Sometimes the work flow evolves just during the shopping process as better solutions are available. The problem with thinking the initial feature set will get you there is, in all likelihood, the feature set will evolve during the process.

“Wait – I can search not just on the title or the metadata, but also on the content?”

“Really, I can see EVERY place an image is being used across multiple channels in multiple documents?”

The typical “Purchasing to Implementation” Evolution:

  1. Mapping out the “out of the box” feature set you think you need
  2. Talking to internal departments about what they will need
  3. Talking to some vendors about possible solutions
  4. Realizing other options exist that you hadn’t considered
  5. Revising your requirements and work flow
  6. Choosing a solution
  7. Implementing a solution
  8. Revising DAM environment during user training as more “Ah Hah!” moments occur with administrators and users.
  9. Using the system for several months
  10. Further evolution of the work environment

The reason that vendor selection matters:

  • Less about the feature set (clearly it needs to work)
  • More about how the vendor partners with you to understand your workflow environment. The vendor should give advice and best practices to help you get the most out of the set up and implementation. The vendor should be able to answer questions days, weeks, months, and years after implementation.

Those are the things that are hard to show in the demo, but the critical factors that will help determine your long term satisfaction with the solution you chose.

Shopping for Digital Asset Management Does Not Need to be Painful

Posted on: July 21st, 2011 by Charlie Wright No Comments

People shopping for DAM are understandably overwhelmed and confused about the shopping process for choosing a Digital Asset Management System. To understand how this unfortunate reality has come about, all one has to do is review the evolution of the DAM industry itself.

The Vendor Side

  • Vendors develop Digital Asset Management products and supporting sales and service business models.
  • Vendors provide product demonstrations to industry analysts while all touting their customer-first approach and high levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Eager to please, all the DAM vendors respond with a “yes” check-mark to virtually every item on the RFP feature-matrix.

The Industry Resources

  • Its much easier to compare and contrast product features rather than dispute competency and success of professional services, industry analysts provide businesses with their review of each vendor’s DAM products.
  • Trade show, blogs, and other “neutral” content sites develop into breeding grounds for product feature wars while generally ignoring the successes and failures of real-world product implementations.

Potential Customers

  • Businesses recognizing the need for a Digital Asset Management solution, begin their research by engaging industry analysts and sifting through the unfathomable amounts of content out there discussing DAM product features.
  • Finding a disproportionate amount of information about the products and little discussion about implementation, the businesses ultimately creates a RFP feature-matrix to compare and contrast their potential DAM solutions.
  • Excited businesses then receive surprisingly similar, although slightly different, product demonstrations from their leading vendors.
  • With differences now boiling down to just a few feature differences, businesses begin focusing on the cost of the solution from each DAM vendor.
  • Some may make the extra effort to demand and follow-up with customer references, inquire with industry analysts about the reputation, and/or investigate the longevity and financial standing of the DAM vendor.
  • Once a selection has been made and pricing is in an agreeable range, businesses now begin to consider the details of the implementation.

The Outcome

  • Perhaps recognizing how important the service will be and how little they know about the vendor’s capabilities to deliver, businesses will now begin to structure the contracts in a way that minimize their risk in the case of failure.
  • Sand-box trial periods, delaying payments until after delivery, requesting source-code to be stored in escrow are all typical hedging practices to minimize the risk of failure, while little consideration is typically put into ensuring and maximizing a successful implementation.
  • If the DAM vendor concedes enough to satisfy the businesses, the sale is completed and the implementation project begins.
  • Maybe the vendor delivers enough to satisfy the business. But risk is high, given that the DAM system was purchased largely on product features, but long-term satisfaction is more dependent on the competence and commitment of the vendor providing the DAM. Too often, businesses then go back to the shopping process.

Our Recommendation

  • Ask vendors for customers that have used their product for several years. Find out what kind of support they get and ask how their usage has evolved since implementation.
  • Ask about specific scenarios, not just general feature overviews. Make sure the vendor has the expertise to tailor the solution to your needs and environment.
  • Trust, but verify! Get references, ask questions.
  • Look at this as a long term relationship, you need a partner that will support you and your organization as your work environment and technology evolves.

How Print Service Providers and Marketing Service Providers use DAM

Posted on: July 8th, 2011 by Charlie Wright No Comments

The more a Print/Marketing services provider utilizes DAM, the greater their competitive advantage. As an integral link between provider and customer, DAM protects against piracy, eliminates redundancies, and streamlines workflow. The amount of content created and stored continues to increase while the channels for content delivery are also expanding. The ability to collect, update, and publish content quickly by using DAM systems, allows Print/Marketing services to extract the value of each asset and be responsive to customer needs.

There are several main ways print/marketing service providers can leverage DAM systems. Primarily, DAM reduces cost and speeds production for print/marketing service providers internally, allowing the ability to deliver product cheaper or increase margins. DAM also enhances communications and accountability between the service provider and their customers. In addition, customer retention increases as print/marketing service providers bring customer content into their DAM repository.

Marketing/Print service providers can use DAM to leverage assets by developing campaigns that reuse content across multiple channels. In addition, DAM can be used as a customer facing portal, facilitating better and more streamlined workflow and communication. DAM allows users to adapt in an environment of rapidly changing technology and customer expectations.