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WoodWing Acquire Elvis DAM Developers Dutchsoftware

by Naresh Sarwan on October 5, 2012

Yesterday, WoodWing Software, developers of the ‘Enterprise’ multi-channel publishing software system acquired DAM vendor, Dutchsoftware, who develop Elvis DAM:

Our publishing system, Enterprise, and Elvis DAM are very much complementary,” said Erik Schut, President of WoodWing Software. “Enterprise streamlines the publishing process through collaboration, an efficient workflow and easy publishing to multiple channels. Elvis DAM is all about securely storing a quickly growing amount of media assets, classified with metadata to make them easy to find and re-use. Depending on the industry and requirements, our customers can choose one of these solutions or a combination of the two. Media assets in Elvis DAM can be accessed directly from within Enterprise through the already best-in-class integration. Now, that we develop both products, we can bring the integration to an even higher level.” [Read More]

A number of other DAM vendors have WoodWing integration components and it wouldn’t be the first time that a tech vendor has started competing with its own customers.  The circumstances for this merger seem a little different, but still have some (in my view) unavoidable negative effects for other suppliers.  Both the vendors are Dutch and in very close geographic proximity to each other.  They also share a similar market (publishers), so from a business perspective, this makes sense.  In addition, for now at least, WoodWing probably still need the support of their other DAM ‘ecosystem channel partners’ (to use the sales & marketing jargon) and depend upon the revenue that they either directly generate, or by proxy through recommending their solution to clients on the basis of their existing integration with it.

There will be a few WoodWing partner DAM vendors who might be considering their position today, however.  One would be expecting lots of reassuring noises to be coming from WoodWing towards their DAM vendor partners along the lines of ‘we still love you’ etc.  Where it might get more complicated for everyone is if they start pitching for the same publishing clients and offering a similar service with products that tick the same set of boxes.  I’m not sure how that situation would get resolved, the combined entity looks set up to corner the publishing digital media supply chain market to me – which may not be great news for other DAM vendors who are active in that market, especially if they were integrating with WoodWing to help bolster their offer.

These kind of horizontal integrations are likely to become more common in the DAM sector and are further evidence of a shakeout that is now in play as the maturity phase of this market gathers pace.  There are a few other close horizontal DAM industry partnerships that exist (unavoidably due to the features that DAM systems provide).  Based on this recent activity and other similar moves, I would expect many vendors to be assessing their position also now and maybe contemplating the threats/opportunities that these situations present.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

David Diamond October 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Nice assessment of this situation, Naresh. Though we now find ourselves in a position of competition with our partner, WoodWing, Elvis was always an option for WoodWing customers, so this isn’t something new. Further, our integration was based on the fact that WoodWing customers (by WoodWing’s own admission) were asking for a DAM back-end that was truly enterprise-worthy, offering clustering, load-balancing, fail-over, etc. Picturepark offers these enterprise-critical capabilities, whereas Elvis, Cumulus and the like do not.

So we still believe that the class of WoodWing customers who previously saw Picturepark to the best best DAM solution available for WoodWing, will continue to see it this way, for all the same reasons.

We have a page on our website that speaks to this in more detail:
http://w4.picturepark.com/products/connectors/woodwing-connector/

In closing, I would like to say that WoodWing, and our partners who sell WoodWing (and now Elvis too), will continue to be valued partners and friends to us. For some organizations, Elvis will work. We just have our doubts about whether it will be enough for the more serious publishers using WoodWing, which is why Picturepark will remain an option for those companies.

Colin Manning October 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Just to re-iterate what David said, there are a number of good DAM options that work very well with WoodWing, and as the designer and developer of the WoodWing connector David mentions, I have a good understanding as to the technical merits of a number of DAM systems.

In fact the Woodwing DAM connector I developed in conjunction with WoodWing partner Modula-4 is far more advanced than any other existing WoodWing DAM integration, including Elvis, being fully configurable via an XML file, and requiring no software development to adapt.

I have been asking WoodWing management to indeed provide us with good information as to their plans with regard to external DAM suppliers, that goes beyond the nice words in the press release and marketing campaign, so hopefully we will get a clear picture in the not too distant future.

Having worked on integrating various DAM systems, including Cumulus, Picturepark, Elvis and Alfresco, I have found Elvis to be behind the others in functionality, despite some nice features such as the UI and Adobe Drive integration. If interested, you can have a look a a blog entry I wrote on the subject: http://colinmanning.weebly.com/3/archives/08-2012/1.html

Naresh Sarwan October 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I can take everyone’s point on board here, but why do you think WoodWing took the decision to acquire Elvis?

I can’t speak for them, but my guess is that it would be the opportunity to maximise the potential market opportunity and increase the ‘one stop shop’ effect so they can find it easier to answer ‘yes’ when asked about what DAM features they can offer.

When showing prospects their cross media publishing tool, they can demonstrate a DAM to go with it that either is (or soon will be) tightly integrated. If you’re buying, that means one vendor, not two and reduced risk of partners falling out with each other or some unforeseen incompatibility between different apps.

Of course, there might also be other issues relating to the functionality available in Elvis. But, whether Elvis is more or less sophisticated in terms of functionality is a point I wouldn’t like to comment on as this isn’t a fair forum for an evaluation and they may choose to refute that assertion.

I think that’s less of a significant issue, however, it’s more a case of, is it good enough for your needs as a DAM?

The other double-edged sword for Elvis is that in the past, you might have chosen their DAM, but not WoodWing and instead wanted to integrate with a different product. I can’t see lots of development budget Euros being set aside for that now, however, which would be one area where existing partners can still differentiate. The ‘one stop shop’ effect swings both ways and also may mean that you might decide to buy nothing from them too.

All this said, I tend to find there’s less interest in the specifics of a given vendor’s corporate manoeuvring and more in the overall direction of travel and what this means for the wider industry.

Colin Manning October 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Hi Naresh,

I agree with the point regarding single vendor, I think this will be a key selling position for WoodWing and Elvis. I think Elvis need to have a major player behind them, as I’m not sure they could make much more progress alone. In particular, it is difficult to differentiate players such as Elvis, and Celum who are pretty much using the open system stack to build their DAM systems.

However I also see the logic for WoodWing in a number of ways. I expect WoodWing is looking to fill gaps in their product offering, so that they are better positioned for a trade buyout (Adobe makes lots of sense) or an IPO.

Anyway, it makes life interesting for us all, and makes us think a bit harder as to how we move forward – stong competion is in my opinion a good thing.

Naresh Sarwan October 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hi Colin,

You might well be right about positioning themselves for a buyout.

On the competition, there certainly is (and will continue to be) a lot of it, how much is that strong, is another question, however :-)

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