Last month, we reported that one of our featured DAM vendors, WebDAM Solutions had integrated with Box.net. Yesterday, Latakoo, a Cloud video management provider announced they have done the same. The press release is sketchy on detail (as they have maybe also grasped that most vendor partnership press releases compete with as paint-drying as a spectator sport)
“We know latakoo is going to prove popular with Box customers,” said Paul Adrian, CEO of latakoo. “Box is about collaboration. Our fast uploads will make it very easy for Box users to get video into their cloud and makes for more robust video collaboration between individuals and companies.” [Read More]
Latakoo don’t describe themselves using terms like Digital Asset Management or DAM, but ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’, to use that clichéd phrase. The price points are quite a bit lower than a typical DAM solution and for many cash-strapped users this + Box might be a satisfactory option.
It’s interesting to compare this with the Amazon release last week. In the past, lots of commentators made some rather disparaging remarks about Box and argued that they weren’t a serious ECM offer. If one views their services as essentially a Cloud applications hosting platform, however, it’s clear that it doesn’t need to be. As with Amazon, they can form these ‘technology integration’ partnerships with overlapping specialist vendors who will then fight it out with each other for customers. Whatever happens, the end user is paying either Box or Amazon embedded service fees (either directly or credit controlled for them by their partners). If any of the services look attractive in terms of customer acquisition and/or growth then the platform owner can either buy up the specialist vendor (if they’re lucky) or just start competing with them directly.
Reading the marketing and PR material from many of the Cloud SaaS vendors, it’s evident that most of them are going for the ‘easy to use’ angle to try and differentiate themselves. While this might be logical, it seems a lot to us that ‘easy to use’ is rapidly becoming the new ‘cheap’; it’s a beauty in the eye of the beholder proposition that depends very much on the perceptions and previous product experience of the end user. There’s an intriguing schism developing in the ECM/DAM sector between the established Enterprise players and the new Cloud/SaaS vendors. The former face a ‘sunset’ market that’s essentially in gradual decline, but still very profitable and based on corporate inertia and existing established relationships. They don’t need to worry so much about whether their product is easy to use or not and only need to make a few minor alterations to keep themselves in the game. The latter can look forward to exponential customer growth (taken across the whole market) but with competition that is both intense and fragmented. Their customers will also demand ever-simpler interfaces that can be used anywhere (but without wanting to subsidise the development costs). Behind them, however, will exist a small number of these Cloud applications hosting platforms who are the ones who will make all the money as whatever Cloud product gets purchased, they still get paid. It’s in their interest to have strong competition and progressively easier to use applications as this encourages the migration away from Enterprise to Cloud software.
It’s unlikely that many Cloud DAM vendors have properly assessed the possibility they might be used as battering rams by Cloud hosting platforms to take on the Enterprise software market but if I were representing one, I would seriously be considering what genuine differentiation options my product had. Just saying your product is ‘easy to use’ doesn’t look like it will cut it any longer.