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Enterprise Digital Asset Management And Scalability Resources

by Ralph Windsor on June 7, 2013

In addition to our own whitepapers which we featured earlier this week, there have been a few others published.  In the interests of balance, we’ll cover two from different vendors: Picturepark and Extensis.

The Picturepark “Enterprise DAM Checklist” is fairly comprehensive and covers a lot of ground, including:

  • Using a proven RDBMS like Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL etc. Non-relational databases like NoSQL are also briefly discussed
  • Multi-tenancy – where a single system instance is used to house several collections
  • Clustering – increasing the availability and redundancy of DAM systems
  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – this is having a DAM system which is modular and composed of integrated services that are used to deliver the resulting application
  • API and integration options
  • LDAP – ability to integrate with enterprise authentication systems like Active Directory
  • Granular permissions – the ability to fine-tune exactly what functionality and assets users have access to
  • Reporting and stats – getting intelligence about what users are doing on the system and with the assets
  • Web based client – i.e. users can access the system via a browser
  • Metadata flexibility – being able to vary the metadata model based on the type of content, support for controlled vocabularies and metadata standards

The term ‘enterprise’ is used so liberally by digital asset management software vendors that one might assume all DAMs are worthy of enterprise-wide deployment. The fact is, enterprise-wide DAM deployment requires specific underlying technologies that only a handful of DAM systems provide.” [Read More]

The Extensis paper was written last year (in May 2012) and covers some similar material but with less detail:

  • The necessity for DAM systems to have APIs
  • Clustering techniques to improve processing and file transcoding performance (converting asset between formats and generating proxies – or derivatives)
  • Integrating DAM systems with LDAP and Active Directory – not only in terms of authentication but also direct mapping of LDAP groups into the permissions configuration of the DAM system

For DAM to reach its full potential, the benefits of digital asset management must be leveraged throughout the enterprise. To that end, Extensis has created a free Enterprise Digital Asset Management Technology Whitepaper that describes key technologies for integrating DAM into your business.” [Read More]

The paper looks to have either been co-authored (or at least sponsored) with ancillary vendor, Equilibrium, who provide the NetMediaMax add-on for Extensis which powers a lot of its more advanced and large-scale processing options.

Both the documents seem fairly well written.  The Extensis one has a very slight extra technical edge, but is also more sales-oriented and is a lot shorter (8 vs 48 pages).  It’s probably more suited to IT managers who plan to implement DAM and are looking for in-house or on-premise options.  The Picturepark report uses their more consultative, advice oriented style and discusses a few capabilities that are outside the scope of their current products (e.g. using NoSQL as database engine).  It appears to be more targeted at managers who need to get up to speed with DAM because they are likely to be involved in an implementation exercise either as project managers or decision makers.  The Picturepark paper requires registration to download but the Extensis one does not.

In addition to these two resources, there is a short article by Thersea Regli of Real Story Group from earlier this year with some further tips for those planning a larger-scale DAM implementation:

All vendors will tell you their platforms are “enterprise grade.” Don’t believe them.  If the real story is that DAM systems range from single-user desktop applications to full-blown enterprise software systems, how do you know the difference?” [Read More]

Many enterprise DAM resources seem to divide up into one of two routes.  Either you get more detail, but you have to accept the fact that the vendors are subsidising the expense of writing and promoting them from their profits, so they need at least a few people to cough up for a licence (and maybe some professional services too) in order to cover the cost of doing it to begin with.  On the consulting/analyst side, you can’t get too much detail before you need to put your hand in your pocket for much the same reasons as the vendors.  They tend to lack a big ticket product so the fees have to be requested much earlier into any interactions with prospects.

As I have noted before, these days, you can assemble a series of free or low cost resources from vendors or consultants that will give you a good amount of detail to assist with your own DAM implementations.  However, you need to retain an  open mind and be prepared to reality-check anything you are being told by verifying it from multiple sources and never take anything at face value.

My employer provides DAM consulting services and, in general, those clients that understand the issues associated with DAM (and have clear objectives about what they want to achieve) tend to get the best value out of any funds they might subsequently decide to invest, whether that is on consultancy or a vendor’s products and services.

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