The DAM Playbook
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DAM 10 Core Accreditation
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Contact NameDavid MacLaren
MediaValet is the world's first 100% cloud-based, enterprise class, SaaS, digital asset management system. Built from the ground up to leverage the massive scalability and global network of data centres that Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform offers, MediaValet can meet the needs of any size company, large or small, no matter where they're located or how much content they have to manage.
Contact Telephone1 (877) 688-2321
Company Turnover Category
The turnover of the vendor can give an indication of their size. US Dollars is used as common currency to allow comparisons. Note that turnover is not necessarily any indicator of financial stability but as part of any procurement due diligence you are obliged to carry out by your organisation, any vendors who have not agreed to show their turnover here might be required to do so if subsequently appointed.
Percentage of Revenue From DAM Software
A vendor might have a large turnover and many employees, but their DAM software division is a very small element of what they offer. If a large proportion of their revenue comes from DAM solutions (licenses, support, hosting, consulting etc) then this may mean they are more specialised, but also there are risks to their overall financial stability if there is a downturn in the DAM software market.
Number of Full-Time Employees
Along with turnover, the number of full-time employees gives an indication of the size of the vendor. Note that although a firm might have many employees, not all of them might be dedicated to developing DAM solutions, so this cannot be relied on in isolation.
Latest Version Number4
Date Of Last Release1/01/2017
Online trial linkhttp://www.mediavalet.com
Company LinkedIn URLhttp://www.linkedin.com/company/mediavalet
Company Facebook URLhttps://www.facebook.com/mediavalet
Clients & Customers
- Suburban Propane
- US Naval Institute
- University of Wollongong
If the vendor operates through a sales channel they may use intermediaries who have regional focus or additional specialisms in a given vertical market.
Partner Network Notes
MediaValet has a partner program with different levels of engagement ranging from referral programs to co-sell partnerships. Partner network includes Technology Consultancies, IT resellers, Microsoft Partner LSI, integration agencies and software providers. Here's detailed information about MediaValet partner program:
This refers to the type of licence the DAM system software is supplied under. Proprietary means that the developer restricts access to the source code (the instructions used to generate the software). Open source means that the developer provides full access to the code so you can modify it yourself. Split model is hybrid and means they may offer both options with some restrictions removed (or added) depending on the model chosen. If split is selected, it is advisable to verify the differences with the vendor.
Use of Open Source Components
Many DAM systems use freely available open source components to deliver key functionality. The products themselves may not be open source, however. This question will help to identify to what extent they are open source.
- Some open source components used, but core product is not open source
Open Source Component Usage Notes
The following Open Source components are used:
- Apache Lucene is a high performance, full-featured search engine
- Interface is created using AngularJS and is run on an Azure website with Node.js
- FFmpeg, an open source transcoding tool, to enable users to download files in the required formats and sizes
Software Delivery Methods
Client refers to the type of hardware or software device that can be used to access or control the DAM system.
- Web client
- iOS mobile app
- Android mobile app
Server Operating Systems supported
This only applies for installed or hybrid DAM systems and refers to what types of OS they can be run on. This question is less relevant for DAM systems where a third party will be hosting it for you.
Software Development Technologies Used
This means the programming language or development technology used to implement the DAM system. This question is more important for open source software or if you have IT policy restrictions that require you to use (or not use) some technologies. It may not be relevant if you require a hosted DAM and never intend to host the system in-house.
Server Technology Notes
MediaValet is built exclusively on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform using Azure Blobs, Queues and Tables.
This refers to third party search components that the vendor uses to provide the text search features (and sometimes other related search functions).
Service Oriented Architecture
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) means the vendor's product uses a modular architecture where each core DAM function is delivered as a service which can be separated out independently from other functions. It is important for large-scale Digital Asset Management implementations or more complex integration requirements.
Service Oriented Architecture Definition
Some vendors have widely differing opinions of what Service Oriented Architecture means. Their response to this question allows you to understand if their definition concurs with your own. If you are not contemplating a large scale DAM implementation or one with many complex integration requirements, SOA may not be relevant to your needs.
SOA is an architectural approach whereby an app is broken down into services and each service satisfies 4 properties:
It represents a specific business activity or a "bounded context" in DDD-terms
It is self-contained
It is a black-box for its consumers
It may consist of other underlying services
Unique SOA Services
If the vendor uses a Service Oriented Architecture, they should be able to identify a number of unique services that are isolated from each other. Note there is overlap between with question and the one about scalable asset processing. Some vendors do not have an SOA but do offer large scale asset processing capabilities.
SOA Other Services
- Account Management
- Asset Lifecycle Management
Service Oriented Architecture Notes
All underlying services within the MediaValet platform are effectively microservices implemented in an SOA manner. However, not all underlying services are exposed to external developers via a REST API. Only certain services such as User Authentication and Library Management have a secure REST API. The Library Management API has underlying services and it exposes Account Management, Asset Lifecycle Management, Annotation, Ingestion, Sharing, Downloads, Approvals, Library Configuration and Us
Microservices are similar in nature to Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) with the key difference being that they can be deployed entirely independently of the platform that uses them. Microservices are usually prevalent in Digital Asset Supply Chain projects.
As with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) some vendors have different opinions of what microservices are. Their response to this question allows you to understand if their definition concurs with your own. If you are not contemplating a Digital Asset Supply Chain project, large scale DAM implementation or one with many complex integration requirements, microservices may not be relevant to your needs.
Microservices is an architectural approach wherein an application is developed as a suite of small, loosely coupled services each running its own process and communicating via a secure, lightweight channel such as HTTPS or through messaging via queues or a service bus topic.
If the vendor uses microservices, they should be able to identify a number of unique services that are isolated from each other. Note there is overlap between with question and the one about scalable asset processing. Some vendors do not have microservices but do offer large scale asset processing capabilities via an alternative method.
- Asset Media Processing
- Metadata Extraction
- User Management
Asset Lifecycle Management
Downloads (including Packaging)
In the case of MediaValet, the microservices architecture was designed in a DDD-oriented approach (Domain Driven Design) and implemented following a CQRS/ES (Command Query Responsibility Segregation/Event Sourcing Pattern). Client apps including the brand portal and the mobile app communicate with the MediaValet DAM platform using HTTPS with REST. The requests received by an Azure App Service that hosts the API and it publishes these to an Azure Service Bus Topic as commands. These commands
This describes the search strategies that can be used to find assets. If you do not understand any of them, leave the options de-selected. Most DAM systems should support at least keyword search at a minimum.
- Faceted Search
Audio/Video indexing using Microsoft's AI for searchable transcripts, text and object recognition and sentiment analysis.
Image search by color, number of people, gender and age.
Index/Search Text Content Of Documents
Some DAM systems can search the text content of document assets and that might be important for your DAM solution.
Embedded metadata support (reading)
Embedded metadata refers to information stored within asset files which can be searched from the DAM system. There are different standards for this type of metadata. Some image cataloguing software like Adobe Lightroom will write this data to asset files and a device like a camera may capture details also such as GPRS coordinates where an photo was shot. XMP metadata is often used with other types of files such as InDesign or PDF. If you are unsure whether this applied to you, do not check any options.
- IPTC Core
- Dublin Core
Embedded metadata support (writing)
See the reading question above for more details on what embedded metadata is. This question refers to whether embedded metadata can be written back to files if edited within the DAM system.
- IPTC Core
- Dublin Core
Controlled Vocabularies are predefined lists of search terms. They can be realised in many different ways but the common factor is the user picks from a restricted selection rather than enters a keyword. Most DAM systems will usually support both controlled vocabularies and keywords.
User Defined Metadata Fields
The ability to configure metadata your own metadata fields is important for DAM systems so you can assign a dedicated field for certain items of information rather than using a generic classification method or one of the vendor's own standard fields.
Cataloguing Interface Options
When cataloguing assets with custom fields, some metadata will be controlled selections, others will be free text. There are further choices like date fields, file attachments etc.
- Text field
- Text area (narrative)
Business Intelligence & Reporting
Asset Usage Records
To enable reports to be generated, DAM solutions must retain records of asset usage, including searching, download and editing of records. The reporting should include the user who carried out the activity and the date/time it occurred.
A detailed audit trail that logs every user action in a central record is useful to gain insight into user behaviour. Comprehensive audit trails allow DAM system users to produce reports that address their unique needs.
A range of built-in reports that you can quickly generate is useful to answer common questions such as the "what is our most popular asset?".
- Most popular assets by download
Dedicated/Scalable Proxy or Derivative Asset Generation
Nearly all DAM systems will generate thumbnails and previews of media, including more dynamic types like video or audio. Some products use a separate server to do this which usually makes them more suitable for large scale asset ingestion and processing.
Multi-Page Document Asset Previews
If you deal with document oriented assets, having a solution which can generate multi-page previews (and also zoom in on them) can save the hassle of downloading a file only to discover it is not the one you need. For assets with very similar content, this can be a useful feature.
Multi-Page Document Asset Preview Notes
Multi-page document asset previews for PDF, Illustrator, Word, Excel and PPT documents
Many DAM systems allow users to manipulate images by resizing, cropping etc. Choose any features which are important to your users.
- Image re-sizing
- Format conversion
- Batch manipulate groups of assets
Some DAM systems may allow video assets to be converted or modified. If that is a potential requirement for you, specify those features which are likely to be needed. EDL = Edit Decision List and refers to providing in/out points when editing video footage.
- Format conversion
- Batch operations on multiple video assets
Importing metadata is an important feature if you have either legacy assets or metadata is generated using some other tools (for example a spreadsheet). Not all systems offer this, but usually if the feature is not available, the vendor will be able to carry out batch importing for you via professional services (note: this will usually incur a cost, unlike a built-in capability).
Metadata Import Formats
This question only applies if the vendor has features to import metadata. There are common formats like CSV, XML and Excel which DAM solutions may support. If this is a requirement you are likely to make frequent use of, it is essential to verify whether the product supports the formats you typically work with.
- CSV (or any delimited file)
As well as importing metadata, sometimes it is important to be able to export sections of it to conduct further analysis in third party applications. Not all products support this, but usually it will be possible to request the vendor provides an export via professional services (although a fee may be charged).
Metadata Export Formats
This question only applies if the vendor has features to export metadata. There are common formats like CSV, XML and Excel which DAM solutions may support. If this is a requirement you are likely to make frequent use of, it is essential to verify whether the product supports the formats you typically work with.
- CSV (or other delimited file)
API means Application Programming Interface and allows third party software to control a DAM system. If you intend to integrate your DAM with another existing solution then you need to choose the API protocol that is compatible with that.
MediaValet is CMIS compliant.
Hooks are related to APIs but are initiated by the application rather than by an external application making the request. Hooks allow other actions to be initiated based on events, for example if a user downloads an asset, an action can be commenced to notify another application that this has taken place (along with the ID number of the asset, date/time etc).
Hooks Targets Supported
In most DAM applications that support them, hooks are initiated as web requests, so the system will call a given external URL and provide some parameters. Some solutions also support initiating scripts or applications which can run on the server where the system is hosted.
- N/A (hooks not supported)
If the vendor claims support for hooks, check how they define them and see if their interpretation concurs with your own. A reasonably detailed explanation along with citations/links should be given here.
Many DAM solutions will now allow assets to be stored on the server of Cloud storage providers. This allows asset files to be distributed and/or integrated with other solutions. Some third party services use generic protocols like FTP, others are proprietary.
Storage Integration Notes
Microsoft Azure PaaS
Scripting & Plug-Ins
Some advanced DAM solutions have a scripting capability that allows users or third parties to add functionality which the vendor did not originally envisage. Usually programming skills will be required to use this, but some tools have visual interfaces also.
In addition to scripting (or sometimes instead of), some DAM solutions will have a plug-in architecture that allows third party developers to extend the core platform.
If you need to integrate with an existing corporate authentication service then this option will be important for you.
Multilingual Application Interface Support
The interface means the controls to use the DAM system. This is different from the metadata support which is usually entered by end users when cataloguing assets.
Multilingual Metadata Support
See previous question. Most DAM systems with multi-lingual support will provide it for metadata.
File versioning refers to the digital media associated with an asset record. This is usually the minimum requirement for a DAM system to claim support for versioning assets. See also responses to the related question about metadata versioning below.
Metadata versioning is separate from the files associated with assets. Many DAM solutions will track updated digital assets but only retain a single current version of the metadata. Since metadata is likely to be edited many more times than assets get replaced, this can be an important point to check.
Independent Metadata And File Versioning
This questions assesses whether the solution allows versions of either the file or metadata to be reverted independently or if both are linked to a single shared version instance.