NetXposure Upgrade NetX To Version 7

Earlier this week, one of our featured DAM Vendors, NetXposure upgraded their flagship NetX DAM software to version 7.  The new features include:

  • A revised HTML5 user interface.
  • Auto-matching of input fields based on a CSV tagging map.
  • Controlled Vocabularies.
  • Auto-selection of metadata based on user category selections.
  • Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator integration.
  • Amazon Glacier integration.

More information is on their blog.

I am not sure of the NetXposure release cycle intervals, but this certainly gives the impression of being quite a significant upgrade compared with a few I have read from other vendors.  Having said that, many of the new features only bring NetXposure into alignment with functionality already offered by a cross-section of their competitors, e.g. integration with Glacier and Adobe CS integration.  NetXposure highlight their enhanced usability and improved user interface.  This might have been a point of differentiation in DAM around five years ago, but it is less unusual than it once was – in fact now it is more of an end user expectation about any DAM solution on offer rather than a selling point.

This trend points to a general slowing of innovation in DAM and the consensus view here is that this might encourage pressure on vendors to lower their prices as an expedient way to give themselves an edge.  We have reported on ‘DAM Lite’ systems recently and how it is getting harder to tell the difference between those products and others that are promoted as ‘DAM Full’.  I must make it clear that I am not suggesting NetX is a low-end solution, just that the decision to go with a product or not is now more about whether you like the user interface and the vendor’s pricing model rather than its unique features because there are less and less of them on offer.

To an extent, this might be a positive trend as it forces vendors to optimise the user experience (a term I am still not 100% comfortable with).  From a commercial perspective, however, it might not do those vendors that pursue this strategy many favours as they are now one of the many rather than a select group of the few.  I note that last year, NetX were discussing on their blog how their application was frequently used as a back-end DAM engine by other integrated solutions, see Get The DAM Out Of The Way as an example.  No doubt, they still want to go after the front-end market as well and their take is probably that they are just serving the needs of different classes of users by providing an interface that is best suited for the task at hand.  That isn’t an unreasonable point, but I wonder how long maintaining all of these different routes is going to be sustainable, especially if some of the new wealthier interests in DAM decide to get more aggressive about using pricing as a customer acquisition strategy.

Choosing your battles carefully would appear to be the pre-eminent management skill for DAM vendors in 2015 and 2014 might be a good time to start the research in earnest (if not commenced already).  For customers of DAM vendors (especially prospective ones) a point to consider is whether the vendor is clear about their positioning and preferred niches, or if they are still stuck in a generalist ‘pitch for anything that moves’ mindset.  If so, do they really have the financial resources and market clout to sustain all of their ambitious plans?

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