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MerlinOne Launch MerlinXpress DAM Lite Product

by Charles Russell on June 30, 2020

DAM vendor, MerlinOne have announced the release of MerlinXpress, a cut-down version of their platform designed for smaller teams.

MerlinXpress is a powerful DAM designed for small teams with big content goals. Leveraging the foundation of the customer-proven, enterprise-level MerlinX DAM, MerlinXpress offers a streamlined user interface and a comprehensive toolbox to make content management a breeze.” [Read More]

The evolution of the so-called ‘DAM-Lite’ species (or lack of it) has been covered in some depth by DAM News in the past, with offerings from Bynder, Widen and WoodWing all failing to gain traction due to scalability issues in an increasingly homogenised marketplace.  In his 2018 article, DAM News Editor Ralph Windsor wrote a detailed analysis of Widen’s decision to terminate its SmartImage product, concluding that the floundering of DAM-Lite products was simply a tell-tale sign of the widespread drought that was affecting the industry as a whole:

To make DAM Lite economic, vendors need far greater capacity than most of them possess,  certainly firms with less than 50 staff should consider carefully how exactly they will do better than the figures I have outlined above before they get involved in it.  Even if DAM software vendors are larger or have access to some kind of external funding, it might not be enough and there is the ever-present risk that Dropbox, Box etc. will come along and say  ‘nice idea, we’ll take it’ (and the fact they still have not might tell you something)…The key issue which underpins all this is the lack of scalability of the Content DAM software business model, by which I am referring to the ability for at least some  participants to achieve the same kind of revenue per employee metrics that other tech firms enjoy.  The current DAM software market is characterised by commercial naivety, a lack of imagination and an incomplete understanding of how to go about achieving critical mass.”  [Read More]

With no technical information about what MerlinXpress offers in terms of specifications or features and no way to compare it with their fully-fledged MerlinX DAM platform, it is hard to make a judgement about how successful this platform is likely to be at this stage.  With strong competition and an ever-growing feature list from ‘freemium’ offerings such as DropBox and Google Drive, it will be interesting to see whether MerlinXpress manages to splice anything new into the DNA of this segment.

One point we also noted in our assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on the DAM market was the likelihood that more end-users would be forced to find ways to reduce the amount of money they spent on DAM once any initial spike in demand from late adopter users had fallen away.  This might spur increased interest in products like MerlinXpress.  Whether or not vendors who offer DAM Lite will be forced to effectively merge ‘full’ and ‘lite’ products together eventually, however, remains to be seen.

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