The Confused Picture Of Enterprise Digital Asset Management Adoption

Earlier today,I cam across this item on Computer Business Review: $billion businesses lead digital content management adoption.  The basis of the article is some research by analysts Kable where they highlight that approximately 75% of larger businesses with a $1bn+ turnover have now invested into Digital Asset Management technologies (amongst others, such as enterprise search)

While 74.2 percent of higher revenue businesses used web content management solutions and 63.6 percent were considering investment in the next two years, amongst other businesses these figures fell to 65.1 percent and 56.5 percent respectively.  The same trend was more pronounced still in digital asset management solutions. 74.2 percent of businesses with over $1 billion in revenue had these solutions in place compared to 61.9 percent of other businesses.” [Read More]

It’s interesting to compare this with another item of research which I read about in Fierce Content Management a few weeks ago, that was commissioned by the Chief Marketing Officer Council:

According to the CMO Council’s report, 65 percent of senior marketing execs believe visual assets like images, infographics, and videos play a critical part in customer engagement strategies and expect their usage will continue to increase. Meanwhile, a mere 27 percent have the ability to curate, organize, and manage their assets across teams.  Given the amount of digital asset management systems on the market, a 27 percent adoption rate of those polled is abysmal.” [Read More]

These two items seem to contradict each other.  The first is saying that the opportunity for DAM in large businesses is now just 25% (i.e. late adopters or replacements/updates) the other is saying only 27% of respondents have any kind of solution at all, who is right?  Analysing commercial research is what I would imagine trying to conduct scientific experiments in the dark ages would have been like: there is a cloudy mixture of self-interest, hearsay and rumour with only some highly imprecise instruments available for the task.

There are some points which are obvious from the CMO press release, but are not mentioned in the FCM article, most notable of which is the CMO’s research has been sponsored by Libris, who until recently were a photo library, but who now are a DAM vendor also.  Since Digital Asset Management has been a software classification for about 25 years, some might reasonably suggest that Libris are a little late to the DAM party (compared with many of their industry peers) and that could potentially motivate them to tell anyone prepared to listen that the levels of DAM adoption have not been very high – at least until they arrived on the scene.

In fairness to the CMO/Libris research, the sample of data is not the same as Kable’s; only 25% of their sample is $1bn+ turnover companies and they have targeted marketing specifically.  I could not find who Kable had spoken to, but it gives the impression of being IT-related personnel and they are more likely to both remember any investments into different technologies and motivated to present their firm’s adoption of content technologies in the best light possible.  One further fact (although it might not be as relevant as the other case) is that Computer Business Review is owned by a firm called Progressive Digital Media and they also own Kable.

Based on my own experience (and in the interests of full disclosure, DAM News is now owned by my employer, Daydream, who provide DAM consulting and education services) I tend to favour the Kable thesis.  The majority of larger companies that I deal with have operated a DAM solution of some description for a number of years now.  The real issue seems to be more a case of lack of adoption.  Solutions get purchased, there is some brief fanfare surrounding their introduction but that is not maintained so they gradually disappear back into the woodwork again.  I do get the sense that is changing as more end users become knowledgeable about the benefits (the fact that more staff have now grown up using this sort of technology in their everyday lives also certainly helps).  Even so, as I wrote in CMSWire earlier this week, the single biggest opportunity to increase ROI from DAM is to just get people to use one at all.

There is currently quite a lot of pressure being bought to bear on end users to ‘re-think’ DAM and to place it within other frameworks like Customer Experience and the sub-text of that argument appears to be that this is an explanation for limited levels of corporate DAM adoption.  To what extent that is the case, or if it is more because many DAM vendors have run into a revenue brick-wall now there are not many larger customers left is harder to say.  I intend to address that topic in another article, but for now, I will offer this advice (which you can feel free to discount)

  • Stop spending money on DAM initiatives: or to be more accurate, conduct a thorough investigation, yourself, using your own staff time before you decide to contact vendors, consultants or anyone at all on the sell-side of our market.  This will involve some effort, but it is likely to be highly profitable compared with getting someone else to try and work this out for you.
  • Armed with full knowledge of where all the digital assets and any associated technologies for managing them in your business reside (or the ‘silos’ to use the currently fashionable pejorative term) try to find out the reasons why the users commissioned them in the first place and the full range of operational issues they aimed to solve.
  • Endeavour to come up with some kind of road-map for getting all of these repositories integrated.  This should cover more than marketing uses alone, since you will find that digital assets are used across your business and ideally you want some way to have visibility of where all of them are, even if not held in the same place.

As well as the CMSWire article referred to, there is also Preparing For Digital Asset Management which I wrote for DAM Coalition (when it still existed) a couple of years ago.  Contradicting my own advice, spending around $40-$50 on both DAM Survivial Guide by David Diamond and Digital Asset Management: Content Architectures, Project Management, and Creating Order out of Media Chaos  by Elizabeth Keathley would also offer a potential ROI you won’t find available from most DAM software products on the market currently.

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  • Thanks for the positive mention, Ralph. Keep writing!

  • Enterprise Brand Management Software

    Investing in digital asset management software is a must for some companies but they should be properly adapted in order to be used most effectively and efficiently. Thanks for sharing!

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