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