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Finding Signs Of Life In DAM

by Ralph Windsor on March 31, 2017

Earlier this month, there was a post on the Digital Asset Management LinkedIn group by Hector Medina, with the title Is DAM Dead?:

I’ve been in DAM for more than 20 years, having worked for Canto, Celum and most recently, Picturepark. To be honest, I planned to leave the industry because I don’t see it going anywhere. Am I being crazy for walking away at this point? Is DAM dead or is it just now coming into its own?” [Read More]

There were some interesting comments made by various people on the thread and this is a subject that warrants further discussion.  Fundamentally, I do not agree with the proposition that DAM is ‘dead’, however, I can certainly understand why some have started to believe it.  In addition, I have to note that Hector himself has 20 years of experience in the DAM market (roughly the same duration as myself) so this isn’t someone who has failed to give the DAM market a sufficient amount of time to grow and develop, he is a seasoned professional who understands DAM intimately.

Hector’s comment has coincided with what appears to be a renewed interest in DAM interoperability (among some, at least) as well as increased acknowledgement of digital supply chains.  I believe these two concepts offer an opportunity for reviving DAM and with that objective in-mind, I have written a two-part feature article series: Finding Signs Of Life In DAM.  In the first article, Diagnosing What Has Gone Wrong, I will analyse the causes; in the second part (which might itself get split into two, depending on the final length) I intend to consider how interoperability and digital supply chains might improve the prospects for DAM.  As regular readers will know, I have been unimpressed by AI to date (and image recognition, in particular).  there might yet be a role for it, however, but within the context of a more established digital supply chain and associated interoperability standards, so that subject will get covered also.

My considered opinion (based on more than twenty years working in this field) is that DAM has failed to capture the same level of interest as some other enterprise technologies because the biggest DAM-related problem faced by users has never been properly addressed. The principal reason why organisations commence DAM initiatives is to allow users to find digital assets more easily (and historically this has meant content-related assets). Many organisations realise they have a lot more digital media than they ever did before and buy into the necessity to manage it because of all the side-effects that can occur if it is allowed to become a free-for-all. As such, the top priority for all DAM strategies is the need to isolate specific set of digital assets that meet a given set of criteria; it’s not searching for assets that underpins DAM, but having sufficient confidence that you will be able to find them again. A lot of time and effort has been invested into technology to index textual data about digital assets, far less on the ‘finding’ problem (which is the one users really care about). To use a well-known sales analogy, people don’t buy drills, they buy something which makes holes and with DAM, the key requirement is something that will allow them to find their assets. This is not to say a lot of other capabilities in DAM like renditions, re-purposing etc are unimportant, but if you can’t find suitable material to start with, everything else becomes meaningless.” [Read More]

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