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Extensis Integrate With Museum CMS Vendor zetcom

by Ralph Windsor on June 19, 2013

One of our featured DAM vendors, Extensis, announced yesterday that they have integrated their Portfolio Server DAM system with Swiss based Collection Management System (CMS) vendor, zetcom.  This quote from Amanda Paull, VP of Marketing at Extensis seems to be a fair summary:

Collections Management Systems are great at managing object information from a curatorial perspective, but only go so far when it comes to considering content as Digital Assets.  Through our relationship with zetcom, organizations will be able to find, manage, convert, and re-use the digital assets associated with their collection objects.” [Read More]

Usually, we don’t bother with partner related press from vendors since (as my co-contributor has noted before) it’s usually pretty turgid copy about ‘synergistic alignment’ etc that the marketing people  have to come up with to try to make this stuff sound noteworthy.  Where the partnerships are about product integration, however, things can sometimes get a shade or two more interesting as they signal intent and the direction the participants see themselves going.

Earlier this year, I wrote a feature article for DAM News: Considerations For DAM And Collections Management Convergence Projects.  This was partly a response to an item by Theresa Regli on the Real Story blog noting the convergence of CMS and DAM.  One of the observations I made in that piece was that preservation metadata modelling requirements are usually more complicated than DAM.  Many who originate from a DAM background find themselves having to deal with a lot more entities than just an asset since the artefacts or objects have a range of related subject-specific metadata that does not lend itself well to generic off-the-shelf DAM systems – especially those that are more usually applied to marketing requirements.

At present, many DAM vendors pitching for CMS business might still plan to go it alone and shoe-horn their products to cover the requirements.  There are also a range of preservation focussed solutions too which often lack some of the rudimentary capabilities present in modern DAM systems.  Alternatively, where they do, the user interface is often complex and demanding and needs dedicated training courses etc.   So it does not entirely surprise me that Extensis have teamed up with someone else who specialises in this area so they can expand their offer without having to build some monstrously complex solution of their own (with all the attendant software maintenance and reliability issues that implies).

It’s intriguing to speculate whether Extensis and zetcom would have been so keen to collaborate with each other five or more years ago and also to what extent it has been their customers who have made it more of a issue than it might have been if they were both left to their own devices.  We may never know the full story there, but ultimately it will be end users who will either directly or indirectly require these alliances to become more commonplace.

As I discussed last week, Digital Asset Management (and purchasing software products to realise a DAM strategy) is becoming less like picking a single monolithic product and more of a digital supply chain where multiple vendors are required to collaborate to add value at different stages of the process.  The era where choosing a DAM system is a bit like picking a football or baseball team to support appears to be ending as the scope of what users want to do increases beyond what one single provider can realistically offer on their own.

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