One of our featured open source DAM vendors, FocusOPEN, have released version 3.4.3 of their flagship FocusOPEN Digital Asset Manager product. The new release (which is still in beta) appears to address many of the themes and issues with DAM systems which we have discussed this year:
- Improved workflow controls and user discussions about assets
- Batch ingestion of assets and metadata
- Batch modification of assets and processing of media
- Loading taxonomy values from XML and CSV data
- Enhanced API functionality
- User data importing
- Enhanced metadata controls and wider range of metadata filtering options
Eschewing a press release for a blog entry, the update is mostly free of spin, although not completely. This might be because FocusOPEN seems principally targeted at .net developers who want a DIY DAM platform they can build upon (another trend we observed late last year). However, it seems that the marketing people have still not quite ‘let the lunatics run the asylum’ and there is the obligatory sales deal that comes with these kind of updates. If you’re an AGPL user (read: have not paid them money) then you’re going to need to wait until later this year before you can get your hands on it as it’s commercial users only:
“A new edition of FocusOPEN Digital Asset Manager, version 3.4.3 has been released today. Since this is a major revision, it is being released in beta for at least two weeks to identify any potential issues. It will become stable once any known issues are rectified. In common with our other updates, this is being advance released to Commercial edition users first. AGPL users will receive this edition towards the end of 2012.” [Read More]
When exactly ‘later this year’ might be isn’t entirely clear, however.
It’s good to see vendors finally catching up with what end users want from Digital Asset Management and an understanding (from some of the market at least) that C-level execs are taking an interest in DAM because they see an opportunity to enhance productivity (or ‘save money’ in non-business speak) rather than because they care about what kind of fancy front-end or tablet interface is on offer. As we have observed, most of the real action in DAM is now as a back-end ‘media hub’ facility and increasingly the front-end is a WCM or ECM solution for many users.
It’s also interesting that the trends towards utility or functionality seems to be lead by the open source offerings. This could be a pointer for the rest of the market as it suggests that end users are increasingly looking for a bigger say in the functionality provided and are more willing to get systems integrators, consultants or their own development teams to take a product and adapt it – which is obviously where open source solutions can offer a key advantage. I have certainly witnessed more of this taking place, along with clients making use of the Cloud – but not necessarily through an intermediary vendor reselling Cloud hosting for their DAM application.
Although demand for DAM is still firm, the utility obtained from DAM systems becomes more marginal if the price stays the same but the amount of money you have to play with is decreasing and this will be plain to many of the corporate bean counters who make the real decisions about whether DAM initiatives go forward or not – and what the priorities are for delivering them. This suggests to me we could see more encroachment of open source vendors on to enterprise territory, however, the end users are likely to be tight fisted IT managers eager to not spend much of the little money they have got, rather than the same mega budgets that DAM implementations used to command once upon a time when they were niche plays that required expensive ‘specialists’.