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Improving DAM In 2017: Building Time Machines For Digital Assets

by Ralph Windsor on March 9, 2017

Continuing our series on Improving DAM In 2017, I have written an article with a suggested architectural model which DAM solution developers may wish to consider. In The Digital Asset Transaction Management System – A Time Machine For Digital Assets, I outline a granular and modular API-First method for recording digital asset activity and modifying it at a later date:

This article is a narrative specification for a feature that allows each interaction with a digital asset to be dissected and rolled backwards to any point in time. A technical description would be a digital asset transaction management system. For readers who prefer more poetic terminology (and for the benefit of anyone who may not have understood what all this is about) an alternative title might be a ‘Digital Asset Time Machine’.” [Read More]

The details of the benefits and a description of the components required are included in the text of the article.

As a number of other contributing authors in the series have recognised, the key improvement required for DAM solutions in 2017 and beyond is to create the conditions to enable innovation and this needs to be carried at a far more fundamental level than has happened for some time in DAM now. In my opinion (and I acknowledge that this is not universally the case) most of the vendors who profess that they are innovating are either delusional or are engaged in conscious attempts to deflect attention away from the fact that their products operate in much the same way as most of those offered by their competitors. I cannot comment on the relative ROI of PR exercises as opposed to building better product for software businesses, but I would observe that you cannot reasonably expect to fool all of the people all of the time and get away with it.  A sizeable and increasing number of stakeholders in the DAM market are beginning to notice that DAM solutions are not making the kind progress that was anticipated for them and this is going to feed through to end-users getting fed waiting for products that meet their expectations and alternatives (of all types) may get considered as a result.

To evolve their platforms and ensure long-term prosperity, DAM vendors now need to do far more than just cannibalising third party products to bolt-on to their over-burdened functionality stacks or resorting to hyperbole and fashionable buzzwords about how ‘disruptive’ they are etc.  The range of new types of non-content oriented digital assets that will set the pace for DAM innovation will necessitate a far more robust and versatile digital asset application infrastructure: that is the reality of what DAM solutions must progress towards in 2017 and beyond.

In my article, I have offered an outline of what I think DAM developers need to be thinking about from a low-level perspective (having already covered the business aspect in many previous articles). If you build DAM software, it now (more than ever) needs to be free of hacks, shortcuts and “the client probably won’t notice” type of excuses for not re-engineering your solution to survive and prosper over the longer term. Not only does the platform need to be robust, it has to look beyond the content digital assets that our field has been historically associated with too.

Devising (and implementing) complex models to build platforms with the kind of functionality I have described is going to be a lot of hard work which is news that DAM vendors might not want to hear. With that said, those DAM development teams who are able to innovate at a deeper level than the competition are likely to reap the benefits and gain an upper hand over anyone else who has failed to make the same investments while they still had the opportunity to do so.

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