One of our featured DAM vendors, Daminion, who specialise in low-cost desktop single user and client/server DAM solutions, have announced version 3.0 of their solution. Some of the major additions are:
- Permissions controls to restrict access to assets.
- Direct importing of assets from digital capture devices (e.g. cameras, mobile phones etc).
- Improved interface options.
- User specified thumbnails and previews.
- Various bug fixes general enhancements (approximately 50 alterations).
There is some more detail on the Daminion blog:
“The new Daminion 3.0 (994) version allows you to limit the access of certain groups of users to certain documents. Now your digital repository can be protected on the functionality level (by user roles) as well as on the document level…Another cool feature of version 3.0 is the ability to import images directly from mobile devices and digital cameras. Professional designers can import their Large Photoshop (PSB) images. The new version of Daminion can import people from Picasa people/faces as well as from other DAM programs that can write faces into XMP/MWG regions.” [Read More]
The DAM market these days is almost entirely dominated by web based products, but it was not always the case and even now, the benefits are somewhat less obvious if the users are all in the same building. For enterprise requirements where staff are spread over a wide area and assets are being contributed by a multitude of external asset suppliers, hosted software clearly makes sense, but there are still many DAM users, especially smaller photographic studios where a SaaS product impairs productivity because you have to wait for files to be uploaded and downloaded over slower internet connections.
The other potential use case for this type of product is where a small group of heavy users are required to assemble digital assets before they are uploaded and catalogued. A substantial amount of the core production and prep work often still ends up being done in some desktop app like Adobe Lightroom, far more than is widely acknowledged in the DAM industry. On quite a number of occasions when helping clients design production workflows, I have found it necessary to recommend products like this to fill the gaps left by the limitations of hosted software (either due to the context they are used in or actual missing features). I will acknowledge that it is a far smaller group of users and they tend to get given derogatory titles like ‘Mac Monkey’ or ‘Photo Geek’ etc, but they are also responsible for large swathes of the assets consumed by the rest of the business. This is one of the many complex issues with assessing DAM ROI, not all your users are equal and these mythical averages you see quoted by analysts etc all mask some huge differences across different personnel and their styles of interaction with your DAM of choice.
This is a subject that those DAM vendor marketing people who are new on the scene tend to discount and not understand properly. Similarly, many of the people with budget responsibility for it don’t have a full grasp of their production workflow and the impact it has on their organisation’s bottom line. It’s entirely reasonable to require that anything purchased by the marketing department should be properly branded and not look ugly or obscure, but fundamentally, this is a productivity tool and it needs to save you time and/or money.
At some point in the near future, there will need to be a conceptual resolution of the differences between old school production DAM and DAMs as brand communication tools. Until then, you may well find yourself having to invest in something like Daminion etc so production personnel can get on and do some proper work in order to supply assets that everyone else can download via the funky ‘glide and slide’ interfaces that more mainstream DAM vendors are currently focussed on.