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Using DAM Solutions To Manage Work In Progress

by Naresh Sarwan on March 6, 2013

ConceptShare, developers of artwork annotation software which is integrated with a number of DAM applications, including ADAM, Widen and OpenText (to name a few) have written an article about using DAM to manage Work In Progress.  They describe how they have observed three common options:

  • Use a DAM System to Manage WIP
  • Use Two Systems Operating Independently
  • Use Two Systems Operating Interdependently

The third point is this:

We see organizations adopt this option when they are seeking to deploy a “best of breed” WIP solution and tightly integrate it with their DAM system. These organizations believe that users should be able to work in applications designed for their role or current task, and that information and workflows should be synced across their DAM and WIP systems. The benefit of this option is that organizations deliver functionality that is becoming a standard expectation for users involved in WIP, such as the ability to annotate an asset to communicate clear and actionable feedback.” [Read More]

Unsurprisingly, since this is a sales piece, they want you to believe that the third option is the best (since that’s what they offer).  The other two can be summarised as: use whatever the DAM provider has put together in-house or go off somewhere else and risk confusion among users with all the usual problems you may run into when trying to get users to self-integrate multiple apps.

Normally we give vendor product purchasing recommendation fairly short shrift here (whether they sell the core DAM app or ancillary tools).  I note also my fellow DAM News contributor’s article yesterday about never fully trusting tips from anyone who wants to sell you something in DAM – so I would normally be looking for reasons to disbelieve them.  All that said, I think ConceptShare have a plausible point and as we have discussed in our on-going series of articles about Digital Asset Management Value Chains, it’s going to be essential for DAM vendors who don’t want to end up spreading themselves too thinly to seriously consider making partnerships with ancillary providers.

I am not familiar with dedicated alternative artwork annotation tools that can be integrated with DAM in the way that ConceptShare appear to be specialising in – although I am sure they exist.  I have seen many tools that have been hand-rolled by client-side developers (in DAM, MRM and a few other related fields).  There seems to be a slew of JQuery plug-ins to support this endeavour and many vendors might take the view that they can plough on hacking together something that will keep their demanding clients quiet for a few more months – perhaps a few are also investing in this aspect at the expense of their server-side capability.  I suspect one way or another, however, the majority will end up using third party products, just as they usually do for media encoding. A free and/or open source alternative being developed to fulfil a role similar to ImageMagick or FFMPEG etc might be a further possibility.

A concern some vendors may have (especially the larger ones) is that reliance on an ancillary provider puts them at some commercial risk.  Artwork annotation is just one use-case among many, there are others like image modification, presentation or document creation and video editing all of which are becoming serious propositions for end users rather than just developer baubles and prototypes.  It’s hard to see how they might ever get agreed (and adhered to) but integration protocols to allow each of these plug-ins to be freely exchanged using some kind of common standards might go some way towards mitigating the perceived risk of using third party UI/UX tool providers.

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