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WebDAM Updates SaaS Platform

by Ralph Windsor on July 16, 2013

DAM SaaS vendor, WebDAM solutions, have announced an updated version of their platform with a particular focus on the User Interface – or ‘User Experience’ as these things now get referred to.  The stand-out items are:

  • HTML5 & JQuery admin interface with drag & drop features – what sounds like all the usual ‘glide and slide’ stuff that has become de rigueur for web apps these days.
  • Centralised and updated reporting (‘analytics’) interface.
  • General web content management capability to enable the development of custom pages.
  • Extended range of preset media encodings for use with different delivery devices and platforms

The boss quote from Jody Vandergriff is light on details, but fortunately not too heavy on the platitudes either:

With the advancements in the digital world, creative teams have been forced to completely rethink how they work together, grow and control their brand, and produce materials faster than ever to stay competitive. We are constantly striving to provide the best user experience to get the job done. This release is another example of how we have been able to take difficult challenges and makes them beautifully easy for end users and the enterprise — no training required.” [Read More]

It’s probably the second two items of the list above that are more noteworthy and especially the penultimate point about the CMS features.  I’m not sure of the exact motivation for including a Web CMS, but my expectation is this is less full-on than say, Drupal or EPiServer etc and more likely it’s to allow ‘brand guidelines’ type sites to be added to the DAM system with links into featured assets so you can remain within their app and manage it all from one interface.  These features seem to be acquiring some popularity among those DAM solutions that are more targeted towards marcomms and brand managers and it is an obvious add-on.  Last month, Brandworkz announced that they were including a similar module called ‘Showcase’ (which is also independent of the main DAM system, I believe).

There appears to be some points of differentiation emerging between those DAM platforms that are providing their own specialised form of CMS (like WebDAM) and others which act as service providers to more established and conventional WCM products where the DAM solution runs more silently in the background.  My guess is the former will still want to get some of the action of the latter too via APIs and various other interoperability features, but the buyers of these two platforms are probably represented by different people with the single-platform SaaS vendors getting favoured by marcomms managers who want a turnkey platform they don’t need IT personnel to help them with and the integrated DAMs being purchased more by technically advanced personnel with job titles like ‘digital media manager’ etc who need (or want) to architect their own solution from various different components – the ‘best of breed’ approach in other words.

In the short-medium term at least, there probably isn’t going to be a case of one route being more popular than the other, however, it does seem likely that those who want to build bigger and more functionally diverse platforms are going to give themselves more maintenance work to do as time goes on just to keep all those functional plates spinning.  What impacts that will have, longer term, is more difficult to assess but I have to note that they are putting themselves into an almost mandatory growth trajectory as otherwise they won’t be able to sustain their platforms.  If you have bought into these type of solutions (especially anything purely SaaS-based) then you not only need them to still be around, but to keep growing also so they can continue to mow and water the section of their turf they have provided for your use.

In fairness, I have not fully examined the impact of how much development and maintenance work the more back-end oriented solutions will have to take on.  As is becoming apparent now, management of  multiple APIs and practically handling the interoperability task is more of an undertaking than than many first thought.  It will be interesting to see whether the DAM market further fragments, or if some kind of loose consensus is established on where the boundaries between DAM systems and related technologies should lie.

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