Where did you work before this?
I worked at Adobe for 10 years where I was the Vice President of Product Management for all of the Adobe Creative Suite. I started out managing the first releases of InDesign, and I picked up the management of a variety of Creative Suite applications until about 2004, where I picked up all of the Creative Suite applications (with the exception of Photoshop and Premiere). I left around 2008 and started a consulting business around Adobe technology.
We built custom solutions for customers, typically around InDesign. In that effort, we stumbled upon the concept for our very first product: PrintUI. We launched that product in 2012, naming our company after it, calling ourselves PrintUI Incorporated. A few years ago, we rebranded as Santa Cruz Software because we broadened our portfolio of products and services.
What got you involved in DAM?
Early on at my time at Adobe, I was asked to champion some of Adobe’s early DAM technology, which was quite interesting. At the time, people at Adobe did not want to be involved in digital asset management. While I was there, I was almost always involved in any conversations around early DAM initiatives at Adobe. My team and I drove Adobe’s development, deployment, and adoption of the Adobe metadata standard XMP.
When we started PrintUI, we were a technology company that was selling to end users. Fairly early in our time selling PrintUI, we started to notice that Digital Asset Management companies were becoming aware of our technology. From the very beginning, PrintUI was architected and built as an integratable technology. Around 2014, one of our DAM customers talked to us about integrating PrintUI to their customer base. Since that time, PrintUI has become a standard in the DAM world for InDesign based design and production of marketing material.
Because we had access to many DAM vendors and their customers, we paid close attention to the problems those customers and those vendors encountered. For example, we noticed that customers, users and designers wanted to stay inside their tool. There was only one vendor in the market that had a connector between DAMs and Adobe applications, so we decided to enter that space with our tool, LinkrUI. Similar to PrintUI, we have quickly attracted attention from many DAM vendors, who are now integrated with our LinkrUI technology.
We have also been active in the DAM community in terms of going to DAM events, exhibiting at DAM conferences and we’ve held DAM webinars.
How would you describe your company’s role with DAM?
We started off as experts in Adobe products and Adobe technology. For DAM vendors, it is often not a high priority to have core expertise in Adobe technology; however, it is a priority to have a solution. We provide a means of building and delivering Adobe technology solutions that are best in class. More recently, we’ve expanded our LinkrUI capabilities to add a connection between a DAM and Microsoft Office products. We solve that solution so that DAMs can focus on the core values of a DAM and not the peripheral applications.
What are some of the issues users have with using DAMs and their creative tools?
Creatives just want to use their creative tools. They don’t want to bounce from interface to interface. With our solutions, they can find the specific asset that they’re looking for, right within Photoshop or Illustrator or InDesign or Premiere or After Effects. LinkrUI provides that solution right within their favorite Adobe application. They can search using metadata; they can drag and drop; they can accurately track changes and make updates from linked assets; and then they can save directly back to the DAM. That’s an incredible value for the creatives. It becomes an even greater value to the enterprise that uses the DAM since the enterprise can know all of their valuable assets are being managed effectively within the DAM that they’ve invested in.
With our PrintUI technology, the same is true from a DAM vendor’s perspective. They would like to see everybody use the DAM to store and retrieve assets. DAMs are often limited to the creative team in this context. With PrintUI, end users who would want to create marketing material can go to the DAM, search for a template to create their marketing material and then produce that material. This broadens the scope of users who will use a DAM. With the recent announcement we made for Microsoft Office, DAMs can further broaden their application to an enterprise.
We started out by helping the creative team. Then we expanded to help users who are associated with creative content: marketing, sales partners, and so on. With the Microsoft Office integration, now, we help a much broader group of people within the enterprise, those who typically use PowerPoint, Word and Excel, like manufacturing, legal and HR. Now even those groups have a reason to have a seat with a DAM connection. One of the core values we bring to the DAM through our technology is that we broaden the base of users who will need access to a DAM, even if it’s access through a Microsoft Office application.
What is your vision for what the DAM will look like in five years?
In 5 years DAM will make inroads to broader adoption in the Enterprise through better integration with the everyday tools that everyone in the enterprise uses, tools such as Microsoft Office and Google Workspace. DAM doesn’t have to be the center of an Enterprise, but it should be the backbone and a center of innovation for sharing, collaboration, communication and management.
About Mark Hilton
Mark Hilton is the CEO and Founder of Santa Cruz Software – a US company offering a suite of tools to connect Adobe and Microsoft applications to DAM systems and cloud storage services.
This interview was published in DAM News on 16th March 2023. For more DAM News interviews, see the interviews index page.Share this Article: