The DAM Playbook
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DAM 10 Core Accreditation
This vendor is not 10 Core accredited.
Contact NameMary Jane Mundell
Southpaw Technology is the commercial company behind the ever expanding and open source TACTIC™ web framework.
Southpaw offers proprietary products and global support for TACTIC. All Southpaw Solutions and Applications utilize the core functionality of TACTIC.
TACTIC is unique in the market in that it offers a way to handle, manage and secure large amounts of data and the workflow associated with the creation, distribution, protection and monetization of these corporate assets across a large global enterprise.
TACTIC applications are being used across thousands of companies and organizations to create everything from digital asset management (DAM) systems, to order fulfillment systems, to production and project management (PM) systems. Customers include General Dynamics, Tegna, Adidas, Mayo Clinic, Nissan, Procter and Gamble, Lockheed Martin, Viacom, Bell Helicopter and many others. For more information, please visit https://www.southpawtech.com
This is the actual turnover of the vendor in US Dollars.
- Toronto, Canada
- Los Angeles, CA
Latest Version Number4.4
Date Of Last Release05/02/2016
User group URLhttp://community.southpawtech.com/forum
Online trial linkhttp://community.southpawtech.com/get-started
Trial download or sandbox linkhttp://community.southpawtech.com/downloads
Company LinkedIn URLhttp://www.linkedin.com/company/2381508?trk=tyah
Company Facebook URLhttps://www.facebook.com/southpawtechnology
Clients & Customers
- Blohm and Voss
- Mayo Clinic
- Lockheed Martin
- Bell Media
- Procter & Gamble
- Bell Helicopter
- Turner Broadcasting
- Astral Media
- Phillips Electronics
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
TACTIC and Microsoft have teamed up to deliver powerful Workflow Management in the Azure Cloud. Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines offer the scalability and capacity to meet the demands of any Enterprise workflow management solution. Microsoft Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy, scale, and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft data centers. You can build applications using multiple languages, tools, and frameworks.
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.
TACTIC is available to companies under the Eclipse Public License, an OSI (Open Source Initiative) approved open source license. For companies, institutions and organizations that prefer or require commercial licenses, Southpaw offers a commercial license for TACTIC.
Open Source OSI Licence Used
If the vendor has indicated they offer an open source or split model licence (i.e. both open source and commercial options) then for the open source element, they should be able to provide an OSI (Open Source Initiative) approved licence. If one is not specified, their product may not be genuinely open source.
Eclipse Public License - v 1.0
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.
- Many open source components used and core product is offered under a split commercial/OSI approved licence
Open Source Component Usage Notes
CherryPy, Apache, Postgres, SQLite, Python are used in the TACTIC platform.
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
- Desktop client
- iOS mobile app
- Android mobile app
The Southpaw Professional Services team is available for onsite and offsite work anywhere in the world. We’re a partner that supports your workflow optimization from beginning to end, delivering informed advice and expertise of a vast range of topics, including workflow, workflow analysis, best practices, data management and custom engineering. Southpaw’s Professional Services team is available to handle any TACTIC implementation or customization regardless of comple
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.
Server Operating System Notes
Installations are typically Windows, Linux and OSX, but TACTIC has been known to run on any operating system supported by Python.
The type of web server software that the DAM system can operate with. Not all DAM systems use a web server and for pure SaaS products the question is irrelevant. If you either want SaaS or non-web DAM systems, do not choose an option.
Web Server Notes
TACTIC itself uses an internal web server and communicates with other web servers as a load-balanced reverse proxy. In other words, TACTIC is capable of running on any web server supporting reverse proxies.
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
The Database that the DAM system uses. All DAM systems require some kind of storage for asset metadata and they are usually based on an existing technology - but that may not always be a conventional database. If the DAM will be hosted by someone else (e.g. SaaS/Cloud) this question may not be relevant.
- SQL Server
TACTIC also supports SQLite and MongoDB
This refers to third party search components that the vendor uses to provide the text search features (and sometimes other related search functions).
- Custom (developed in-house)
Search Technologies Notes
Solr has been used by third-party clients in tandem with TACTIC's internal search technologies.
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.
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.
- Asset Media Processing
- User Authentication
SOA Other Services
- Business Process Management
- Digital Asset Library
- Business Intelligence
- Data Ingestion
Service Oriented Architecture Notes
With the client API, one can use TACTIC as a service to retrieve various kinds of information in the system, set the status of tasks to push the workflow of an asset forward, or ingest new files or directories as new assets.
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
- Linked Asset Search
Full text search in Postgres is supported thru the Keywords search UI.
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.
Document Text Indexing Notes
TACTIC has been combined with Solr by third-party clients to offer this functionality.
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.
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
- File attachment
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.
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.
Dedicated/Scalable Proxy or Derivative Asset Generation Notes
TACTIC's origins are in the computer graphics industry, where industry standard is to delegate innumerable high-computational tasks to server farms.
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.
Many DAM systems allow users to manipulate images by resizing, cropping etc. Choose any features which are important to your users.
- Image re-sizing
- Image cropping
- Format conversion
- Flip images
- Rotate image
- Change colorspace
- Effects & filters
- Batch manipulate groups of assets
Image Manipulation Notes
TACTIC Solutions offers the image manipulation functionalities listed above, either through custom interfaces or automated generation, depending on the specific requirements of the implementation.
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
- EDLs and editing features
- Timeline metadata
- Batch operations on multiple video assets
Video Manipulation Notes
TACTIC Solutions offers the video manipulation functionalities listed above, either through custom interfaces or automated generation, depending on the specific requirements of the implementation.
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)
- Excel (XLS or XLSX)
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.
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.
- Amazon S3
- Microsoft Azure Blob
- Rackspace Cloud Files
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.
Multilingual Support Notes
TACTIC administration is in English, but user solutions have been implemented in many languages, including Chinese, Korean, French, Japanese, Russian, German, etc.
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.