FocusOPEN 3.4.7 Released

.NET open source DAM vendor, FocusOPEN Software have released an updated version 3.4.7 of their DAM system of the same name.  The upgrade is a point release and looks more maintenance oriented, with few noteworthy items.  There is no ‘boss quote’ for me to pass comment on, nor even a press release, just a blog entry with what looks like copied/pasted release notes which I have distilled below:

  • Metadata objects: the ability to associate metadata entities like people and building etc to asset records.
  • Rotate previews and thumbnails
  • CC users into email messages
  • Place-holders for assets

More details are on their blog.  Perhaps of greater interest, in view of my co-contributor Nick Brooke’s comments about them last year, is that they now allow the documentation to be downloaded for free, where before it had to be paid for by open source users.  Whether this is a due to a sudden outbreak of altruism on the part of this vendor, or because they have worked out that users won’t buy the software until they can figure out how they will use it is hard to say, but my guess would be the latter.

Extrapolating any trends from this release is complex since this vendor are clearly a very niche player.  Some points of interest are that their marketing seems to have been adapted towards a software developer audience.  They do not seem to miss an opportunity to remind visitors to their website that FocusOPEN is a .NET DAM system for ASP.NET and SQL Server developers.  Also, their entire range of Cloud hosting services (very unimaginatively titled “On Demand”) seems to have been axed completely and they just sell on-premises licences now.  This might be to respond to a growing market for DIY DAM which we predicted back in 2012 from VARs and IT departments eager to fight back against SaaS DAM vendors, or it could be that they now have a few key customers who offer hosting and do not wish to tread on anyone else’s toes.  I do find that many open source DAM vendors appear to have taken the OEM/channel marketing route recently and instances of this system, ResourceSpace, Razuna (and now Southpaw’s TACTIC also) often appear in demos I am asked to be present at, usually with the original logos airbrushed out and some other reseller’s badge inserted.

The other point is the limited range of new functionality.  Having spoken to a few vendors recently, many are eager to tell me how many person-days have been devoted to their latest releases and ‘major advances in system stability’ etc, but when you look at what is actually new or different, it is very limited.  One gets the impression that DAM vendors are starting to run out of ideas and that much of their time is now spent purely on maintenance activities, mostly created after all the unnecessary functionality many of them felt obliged to add between 2008 and 2012.  It will be interesting to see how innovative the DAM sector manages to be this year and to what extent many vendors have got themselves tied up in knots trying to replicate their industry peers and are now locked into a massive code management task as a result.

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