AtTask Partner With Multiple DAM Vendors

Project management and workflow vendor, AtTask have partnered with two DAM vendors, Widen and WebDAM.  They appear to have deliberately selected both vendors as the DAM component of their strategy:

Don’t torpedo your productivity or your creativity. AtTask has integrated with leading cloud DAM vendors, Widen and WebDAM, allowing marketing teams and creative agencies to have seamless control of the digital assets associated with each project, campaign, task or request. With the full visibility and asset control that AtTask DAM provides, you’ll never have to worry about “leaving an asset” behind in the battle for creative production again.” [Read More]

I am not familiar with AtTask, but the basics seem to be that it is some kind of cloud based solution for managing project communications and allocating tasks, resources etc.  By integrating with DAM solutions, AtTask avoid the hassle of acquiring their own DAM product (and making it work with their existing stack) while the DAM vendors get to bypass the engineering odyssey necessary to offer these features within their own applications.  Marketing use-cases are where demand for DAM is currently strongest and much of that activity is project-based (e.g. product launches, campaigns etc) so I can see the synergies and (for once) they are not nonsense invented by the press people desperate to fill up lines of copy.

This is an example of DAM vendors taking the pragmatic best of breed approach to implementation that we have suspected they will have to for some time now.  As well as avoiding a pile of implementation hassles, this tactic provides a ready-made sales channel to get themselves introduced to prospective new customers.  Although this model works well for any type of delivery option, with SaaS it has particular benefits (from a sales perspective) because the end users can usually enable it themselves and be reasonably assured it will be available in a fairly short time-frame.  With on-premise, each instance has to be integrated (which can be more of a demanding task).

Of course, I have embedded some generalisations into that analysis and what you cannot fully count on is that this is as operational and fully ready to go as the glossy marketing and PR wants you to believe.  With that being said, any technical challenges are usually owned by the vendors themselves rather than the end users, which is probably the prima facie reason to choose a SaaS or hosted option.  The on-premise and hybrid vendors can counter this by developing optional modules that can integrate with similar products as required, but more effort (and cost) is involved for them to pull this trick off as the software is already deployed on their customer’s own servers and therefore more tricky to get at and change at will.

Widen and WebDAM have obviously put out their own PR about this.  The Widen quotes are more informative about why they did the deal with AtTask, especially this from Deanna Ballew, manager of development and infrastructure for Widen:

By pairing up AtTask and Widen, we’re removing all obstacles to a seamless creative workflow and marketing fulfillment process.” [Read More]

The two separate AtTask quotes from their General Manager, Nate Bowler are as follows (taken from different releases for Widen and WebDAM respectively):

We were impressed with Widen at every stage of our DAM partner evaluation. We have common customers ready to move forward, which made this the right time to integrate. The Widen reputation of trust, integrity and high service are spot-on. They have many levels of expertise across similar disciplines and we look forward to continually providing a more seamless customer experience with Widen.” [Read More]

WebDAM integration is a wonderful addition to our product.  By bringing the power of WebDAM to AtTask, we can provide marketers and creatives with a single solution for managing their valuable digital assets at every stage of the lifecycle of work.” [Read More]

Widen might be happier with the PR soundbites Nate has provided for them, but I guess, it doesn’t make a lot of difference either way.

I am not sure if AtTask actually treated this like a ‘partner selection’ exercise where there were real winners and losers, or these two just happened to be first through the door.  It contrasts with ConceptShare who take a more open-ended approach (or ‘promiscuous’ as some might prefer to call it) and have a larger number of DAM vendors as partners.  I do not know if Widen and WebDAM are restricted in their capacity to collaborate with AtTask’s competitors, but channel partner agreements where one vendor is not permitted to work with a competitor do not tend to stand up for long unless the party writing the agreement has a highly dominant market position.  With SaaS that is much harder to achieve over a longer period of time.  As such, I expect to see similar type of deals being inked with other providers (within DAM and outside it) and possibly some musical chairs with the aforementioned players eventually too.

It is noteworthy that Widen especially have partnered with many different solution providers recently (not that others have not, but they have been extra-diligent about the task).  I would not be so presumptuous as to suggest that they read all our articles and followed the advice we have been broadcasting to vendors for some time now, but it does come across as the obvious thing to do for anyone involved in delivering complex DAM solutions these days.  Last week I covered the news about Dropbox and their Carousel photo sharing application.  There was a follow-up from David Diamond and some conversation on Twitter about this.  A view was that this type of low-cost DAM solution might come along and eat everyone’s lunches.  A point I made is that it was likely to make everyone think a bit more carefully about what enhanced value they could offer in order to survive and prosper.  Integrating with different third party applications to expand the scope (I’ll hesitate to say ‘widen’ here) of what can be provided for end users is one such example.  Nothing will stop Dropbox etc doing the same, but someone has to have the idea to start with and that implies some thought about the problems faced by users.  The low cost generic applications cannot offer that kind of focus, they rely on the users self-developing their own custom integrated solutions and many may not be willing to undertake that task just yet.

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