On Friday, one of our featured DAM vendors, ADAM, announced Workflow 2.0 (which is an actual upgrade from 1.0, rather than a marketing play on words). ADAM are are firmly in the Microsoft camp so their workflow solution uses Visio to allow users to employ visual tools to plan and assemble their workflow design. The front-end is probably one of the less significant elements of this release though. The details on the upgrade are a little sketchy, but there is some information on one of the feature pages:
- Drag-and-drop workflow design (using the aforementioned MS Visio 2010 or 2013)
- Redesigned API based on AgilePoint technology
- Extensible and configurable business process management (BPM) framework
- Project-based workflows that allow processes to be split into sub-processes and consolidated for macro-views
- Custom workflow activities that allow business analysts to create user driven workflows or automatic workflow operations
- Bulk operations on several assets
- Sample workflow templates for various common operations (e.g. order approval).
- Integration with other ADAM studios
There is more detail on a PDF datasheet about Workflow 2.0. This is the quote from Jan Dejosse, ADAM’s CMO:
“Teams need to be able to collaborate seamlessly and efficiently across organizations to create, manage, and deliver the rich media assets their marketing success depends on. ADAM Workflow gives every member of the marketing organization more efficient ways to work, both individually and as a group, and enables a faster, more agile response to changing requirements. By improving productivity and providing visibility into agency costs, the solution helps people get more out of their marketing budgets for even greater impact.” [Read More]
What is interesting with this release is the general direction of travel for ADAM and how it measures up with other current trends in the DAM sector.
ADAM appear to share my own view that workflow is more like the ‘DNA’ of DAM operations (although they might see it more in the context of the marketing oriented users they deal with). In this sense, every process is effectively either workflow or a component thereof, so it permeates all activities. In terms of our wider discussion about DAM Value Chains, this positions ADAM as providers of the infrastructure – i.e. the chain rather than the value add. That said, they do also provide many components (or ‘studios’) which run upon it. For how long they can sustain both segments (or even want to) is another question.
Very early this year we covered North Plains and their Connect-R interoperability protocol to enable communication between their three different DAM solutions. ADAM’s Workflow 2.0 has a different agenda than just integrating their components, so is more extensive as a result, however, the objective is leading towards a similar goal. I gather there are various other tools that integrate with ADAM, including a few ancillary tool vendors like ConceptShare and they have an extensive third party reseller/channel partner network who can make use of their product’s services at a reasonably low-level (via their API and developer support tools).
What neither vendor appear to be doing yet, is opening this up for anyone to participate, in the same way that you can with a web services platform like Amazon AWS. Amazon offer SWF (Simplified Workflow Services) but at much more basic ‘building blocks’ type of level and it is not specific to either DAM nor marketing applications (in the wider sense). Whether ADAM are currently large enough to support an applications communications infrastructure of that nature is debatable.
Since we’re in December and theme of the month tends to be predictions at this time of year, I’ll get one of mine in now. I can see some much larger vendor deciding they need to acquire a sizeable position in marketing workflow and operations and at least one vendor with DAM heritage getting acquired as a result. Whether it will be ADAM, North Plains or one of the other funded players remains to be seen. At present, given the revenue generation opportunity in DAM that currently exists, it does seem that nearly all those with a reasonable market share are still way too small and they aren’t going to get large enough to sustain their value chain ambitions via exclusively organic means.