One of our featured SaaS DAM vendors, Amsterdam based, Bynder, announced the release of version 4.0 of Enterprise Cloud Brand Portal 4.0. The update is focussed on MRM (Marketing Resource Management) modules and include:
- Workflow Management
- Publishing on Demand
- Brand Identity Guidelines
The workflow management appears to be approvals related (so reviewing assets). Publishing on Demand is what other vendors term: ‘Print on Demand’, ‘Web2Print’ or, less commonly, ‘variable data printing’ and is customisable marketing collateral. The Brand Identity Guidelines is a style guidelines portal. The modules are integrated with Adobe Creative Suite.
None of Bynder’s offerings in this announcement are unique in DAM now and other vendors provide similar functionality, especially the brand style guidelines module. Last year we featured similar updates from WebDAM solutions, Brankworkz (who appear closest in terms of competing products to them) and also Picturepark’s ‘ports’ feature, which while not the same, allows users to utilise parts of their DAM solution in other applications (such as Web CMS). Those were just three I could find on DAM News with a quick search, there are numerous others available too.
Whether Bynder are more or less suitable for you than other options on offer is impossible to say without reference to individual requirements. Last week, an article by James Rourke, published over on DAM Foundation, discussed DAM user interfaces, where he advised vendors to optimise the visual presentation of their solutions to increase the chances of winning business from sales prospects. I wouldn’t disagree with that point and a fair number of vendors seem to be aware of it now (which certainly was not the case in the past). What I have noticed is that many of the SaaS DAM vendors actively target marketing oriented users already, usually because they know approval by an IT department is less frequently needed for Cloud or SaaS products, in fact a few actively position themselves as being ‘Anti-IT’ (especially those that have had potential sales opportunities thwarted by one!). Because of that, many operating in this segment have very slick and polished interfaces that tick the ‘looks good’ box to maximise their chances of winning business with marketing oriented clients (although I will concede that outside SaaS, the situation is rather more mixed and there are still a few suppliers that don’t care either way).
If the requisite ‘glide and slide’ UI features are increasingly less of a differentiator than they once were, the critical question then becomes whether the system operates in an efficient manner that is consistent with the expectations of the users. If the Bynder modus operandi works for you, then their product could be a good fit. If, however, it requires everyone to change working practices and introduces numerous additional processes (where they serve no tangible benefit) then it doesn’t matter how good it looks, it’s going to cost more than it saves. Neither I, nor they, will be able to tell you whether that is or is not the case until it is possible to see what your actual needs are.
You can see from this, there is no such thing as ‘the best DAM system’, only more or less suitable choices depending on your individual circumstances. You only know those by having a very clear and detailed understanding of your current processes, preferably having already removed any prior inefficiencies already. The purpose of DAM system (along with MRM and nearly every other item of marketing technology you care to mention) is to enhance productivity – i.e. enable you to generate more output at lower cost. For all the slick presentation in modern software applications, they are still fundamentally products built using the principles of an industrial era, even though you are unlikely to need to get your hands physically dirty to use them.