Razuna Update To Version 1.6

One of our featured open source DAM vendors, Razuna, have released version 1.6 of their flagship open source DAM system.  The key updates are:

  • Workflow*
  • White label branding
  • Akamai support
  • Rendition Templates
  • Metadata Form
  • Custom Metadata Fields

* The Razuna definition of workflow sounds more like hooks or triggers in other applications rather than defining what group of users are required to review or approve an asset.  Razuna might argue that their model allows the user to define that too, but this is one of these definition points that you need to check carefully and ensure the vendor’s definition concurs with your expectations.

The Akami support looks like a re-heat of an old announcement but some of the other features appear worth investigating and bring Razuna into alignment with existing features in other competing open source products such as Resourcespace, Entermedia or FocusOPEN.  The CFML (Cold Fusion) development technology is still a less appealing element of this system compared with something more conventional like Java, PHP or .NET (if you deploy into corporate environments) but it is quite an easy scripting language to understand and the core CFML engine is Java based anyway so this is less of an issue.

I have to sit through numerous demonstrations where the digital departments of design agencies have needed to hastily prepare a demo that tries to plausibly pass-off their long-term involvement in DAM implementations.  This system does often feature in many of those presentations, along with all the other aforementioned products (especially ResourceSpace because PHP is popular with web designers).  My recommendation for those considering a DAM system is to find out who really developed it and go direct to them to get any customisation done.  A number of vendors prefer to not offer professional services and require modifications to be carried out by a partner, but you at least get the benefit of their experience in recommending someone who should know what they are doing.  I have discussed before the perils of getting agencies involved in DAM projects.  At the time of writing I have yet to find any that have sufficient expertise in DAM  to deliver the task competently, the account managers especially all seem to clueless about DAM and flying by the seats of their pants.

One point in the Razuna blog article that did stand out for me was this:

Though, labeled as “Beta 1″ this version has been in production with many of our customers for the last couple of months. We are releasing this as “Beta” in order for you to give the new features a whirl. Many of the new features have been sponsored by some of our customers.” [Read More]

This is a common ploy carried out by nearly all software vendors, where the developers road-test the beta on a customer who has agreed to subsidise the implementation cost.  A point to make clear is that if the product of choice does not include a given feature, then you will be using a beta (or maybe even an alpha) release at some stage.  If that is the case, you are effectively an investor in the vendor’s product (as are all their first customers whether for the whole solution or a given element thereof).  Clearly, asking for equity is not justifiable, however, a sizeable discount and extended support period to cover the free testing resources you will need to supply them certainly is!  I encourage all my clients to never accept the first price offered for a custom feature and make sure the vendor is well aware that you understand the dynamic of the relationship and the benefit they are getting out of it.

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