Anjali Yakkundi, writing a guest post for Stephen Powers’ Forrester blog discusses the increasing role of CXM in DAM:
“DAM is moving away from traditional ECM towards CXM. DAM has long been thought of as a niche component of ECM suites that supports heavy production-oriented needs. However, as DAM breaks out of its niche status, it is also breaking away from traditional ECM concerns. The profile of new DAM buyers is different than the profile of traditional ECM suite buyers. The DAM buyers we speak with are rarely also ECM buyers, because the fastest growing DAM use cases are those that support online rich media content and cross-channel rich media marketing content. Therefore, DAM buyers tend to be marketing departments or IT groups specifically supporting marketing teams instead of traditional IT departments. As this shift occurs, DAM is moving away from its ECM past into a CXM future.” [Read More]
I can’t say I’m over-impressed by the increasing use of the ‘Customer Experience Management’ term, despite its nascent popularity amongst the analyst community – many of whom seem to prefer to stay as far away as possible from anything ‘hands dirty’ when it comes to actual implementation (although, to be fair to Forrester, I do not know the individual backgrounds of any of the people in their Content & Collaboration practise to say whether this applies or not in their case).
As I have discussed before, CXM has all the hallmarks of a vacuous and nebulous classification, into which vendors, analysts and anyone on the sell-side of DAM (plus WCM, MRM etc) can drop in anything they think sounds plausible to deflect the need to explain in concrete terms exactly what an end user will get for their money.
I would agree with parts of the the premise of the quote given above: DAM is generally moving away from being part of a wider ECM purchase (although that is far from clear cut as I will discuss). As little as few years ago, IT managers in particular were keen to avoid the need to budget for a separate DAM on the basis that something like Documentum (or SharePoint more recently) ‘supports uploading photos, so what else do we need’? Fortunately, those days are mostly over and corporate users understand that they need to manage their rich media assets in a more specialised manner, which implies a dedicated DAM strategy, even if not necessarily a DAM system.
I’m not sure it is all going to CXM instead now though. The Digital Asset Management market is fragmenting because in itself it is too diverse and all encompassing for everything to be able to handle the multiplying range of end user needs. In some instances, it is actually getting closer to ECM at the same time as being drawn away. To illustrate this, look at the number of DAM vendors who have Sharepoint connectors. However, for contrary evidence, observe those ECM vendors who offer dedicated DAM solution, presumably because an ECM über-system doesn’t help them deal with the more specialised requirements of marketing department and others in organisations who have to deal with rich media.
This seems to simultaneously suggest that the affinity with ECM is both rising and falling – you need it in your ECM but outside too; ‘the same, but different’ to quote that famous phrase technology folks will often hear when talking to end users.
There is no properly definable trend regarding DAM’s relationship with ECM (or CXM by implication) that can be extrapolated. I think the premise of the thinking behind this is wrong. There is an implicit assumption that DAM is still some composite technology that must be an indentation under another heading. That might help analysts to organise their practise into neat divisions to help them sell consulting services and reports, but many of the problems in this market over the years I have been involved in it relate to stakeholders trying to bundle the problems into some non-specific technology strategy rather than dealing with them on a case by case basis. Replacing ECM with CXM won’t help avoid those, it will just swap one set of issues with another.
The definition of DAM is already stretched to breaking point and bolting it on to something else that appears to lack precision or clarity will soon become ineffective when users need to work out exactly how to derive a strategy for managing their digital media that allow is to be used across multiple points of interaction. I believe DAM is in the process of fragmentation into specialised sub-divisions: the two biggest are what one might refer to as the interface (front-end) and the infrastructure (back-end). I don’t believe there is a single vendor that can now properly cover all these bases, as evidenced by two of the bigger ones (ADAM and OpenText) buying into a third party technology to deliver a front-end requirements they both knew they would not be able to economically reproduce in-house.
It’s my contention that CXM is a ‘dustbin’ concept and end users would do better to not try to place their DAM strategies inside it nor should vendors waste time by getting distracted by it as compared with the multitude of problems that end users already have with existing DAM solutions. The DAM market seems likely to grow exponentially as people aren’t going to stop producing digital media any time soon and DAM itself will become too big on its own to sustain a single definition before one has even begun to try to shoehorn it into something else (whether you agree with my analysis of CXM or not).