WCM & DAM Convergence: Marginalisation Of Pure Play DAM Or An Opportunity To Demonstrate ROI?

In this post on techtarget.com,  Beth Stackpole discusses some quotes from various industry commentators and WCM/DAM end users who have their own take on the convergence of WCM and DAM, a trend we have observed for some time:

While some Web content management tools have been enhanced to include so-called “DAM Lite” functionality for more efficient storage and retrieval of image and video files, they still don’t deal with the key differentiator of dedicated digital asset management systems: their ability to classify, index, version and reformat multimedia content throughout its lifecycle. That’s made possible partly by the use of metadata that enables images and video clips stored in a digital asset management system to be searchable for retrieval and reuse.”  [Read More]

My recollection of the DAM market in 2001 was that many decision makers and buyers failed to see the difference between ECM and DAM, or to be more precise did not see the need to spend IT budgets that had been recently constrained on ‘specialist’ tools like DAM systems when the rudimentary DAM capabilities built into solutions of that era were deemed satisfactory (even though they usually weren’t).  This period ended when the first wave of mass produced digital content devices like digital cameras began to generate larger volumes of images (and digital video shortly after) and it was clear that there was a proven need for dedicated Digital Asset Management solutions that could no longer be ignored or partially addressed with diluted solutions.

It appears that many WCM tools have begun to answer this original use case scenario and the same questions about whether dedicated tools for static assets like images are worth the expense.  Most of the activity around DAM these days seems to be about video or asset manipulation – areas that it is currently uneconomic for WCM vendors to develop in any great depth.  Extrapolating these trends and with the knowledge that 50% of content management professionals do not see the need for DAM, one would expect a similar scenario where WCM vendors cherry pick the most in demand or profitable sections of the DAM market and DAM returns to being a niche solution.  This is clearly not a positive development for pure play DAM.

Unlike 10 years ago, the industry is now well served by a thriving open source sector and innovations such as the Cloud have reduced the need for vast expenditure on licences and IT infrastructure so the inertia that prevented organisations from investing in DAM has been diminished.  The key trend to watch for vendors (and anyone who has invested time or money into DAM) is whether DAM retains an identity as an integrated solution or if it is assimilated into wider content management technologies.  For end users, the distinction is meaningless, it’s about streamlined workflow and saving money.  These were always the key ROI factors for DAM, the question is whether the industry can get the message across properly that pure DAM tools can do this sufficiently better than WCM to justify the expense of a separate solution.


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