Frédéric Sanuy

Frederic Sanuy

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

I had a couple of experiences as a DAM manager, starting in 1999 working for Gamma Presse Image starting the launch of the first photo press website for Gamma ( Then I became IT and production Manager for a French agency CA COM ( working with creative operations teams and retailers. Finally, I am CEO and co-founder with Malika Kechich of Activo.  I work as DAM product owner for a couple of brands, retailers and agencies as DAM product owner such as Michelin, Accor etc.

How do you describe Digital Asset Management to others?

For the last 25 years a DAM system is an engine for rich high definition assets and metadata (standard IPTC/XMP and custom). DAM 3.0, DXM etc with workflow capabilities or some marketing automation are not part of the core DAM features. I see a couple of DAM systems that are not even able to mange a large volume of assets. But in the new ecosystem DAM powered by API can connect to other systems like PIM, CRM or CMS.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

If we want to put a DAM system as a foundation for the whole organization, customers need a strong DAM system able to sustain hundreds of uploads across the world without slowing down and able to retrieve powered by metadata any type of assets. It is not because you have thumbnails in a browser that you have a DAM system. A PIM system is not a DAM etc.  A DAM system enables and facilitate the usage of the right asset with the right copyright to the right people. From one asset DAM systems can distribute the content on many output channels.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

For the last 30 years, I have had a passion for photography and the first DAM solution I saw was in 1994 during the Seybold conference.  I started a project for CERN, who I was working for at the time. Then I discovered Orphea a French DAM solution aimed at photography agencies.  I learnt everything from the user and customer perspective. As a photographer I had to find a solution to store and archive my assets quickly, with efficiency and simplicity.

What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?

Today my challenges are to deploy with my team DAM systems across large organization between brands and retailers in ecosystems with CRMs, PIMs and CMS. The one DAM vision is always a challenge not from the technology standpoint but the processes standpoint! Success is 95% people, 5% technology.

What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?

There is a lot of fragmentation and we will see lot of acquisition in the next years.  One challenge for customers is to select the right DAM, looking beyond just the technology. Alongside these acquisitions I would not be surprised to see a large company like Sales Force, Adobe, Microsoft entering these markets.  We see more and more DAM systems adding marketing capabilities (often connected to Sales Force or a CDP) or pure technology vendors from CDN, assets traceability or image services. Finally AI will be more and more integrated in order to more deeply understand the user journeys in DAM systems (and moving beyond auto tagging). I would like to see what a company like Contentsquare can bring to a DAM as for example. Of course, all this will be cloud driven.  It will be more about services than systems and technology components.

What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?

A few times in the past, vendors I have worked with have over promised.  For this reason why I changed my approach and insist on live demos with customer assets and scenarios.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

Deploying a DAM system for a large retailer across the world producing 30 000 RAW files per day.  It is still working years afterwards and the solution is part of a strong ecosystem.

If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?

I started as nuclear physics researcher with a PhD and I am still passionate about this subject.  Alternatively, maybe I would like to be traveling the world as a professional photographer sharing beautiful destinations to be a witness of our world.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

I try to learn everyday from the customer perspective and during my monthly image workflow to feed my DAM (2 millions of assets). I would like to see more innovation with more smart partnerships for more customer benefits.


Frédéric Sanuy is CEO & Founder of Activo you can read more about him on his firm’s website and  connect on LinkedIn


This interview was published in DAM News on 30th September 2021. For more DAM News interviews, see the interviews index page.

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