ResourceSpace Upgraded To Version 7.2

The open source DAM application, ResourceSpace (developed and maintained by UK vendor, Montala) has recently been upgraded to version 7.2. The new features can be summarised as follows:

  • Custom links (‘dash tiles’) linking to searches, collections, statistics etc – what I would guess are arbitrary URLs.  These can be updated programmatically via plugins and the ResourceSpace hooks/API features.
  • Responsive UI for mobile and tablet devices.
  • Drag and drop extensions, including options to drag asset results into collections (aka ‘favourites’, ‘lightbox’, ‘shortlist’ etc as they are variously called on other systems).
  • System console to monitor system resource utilisation (CPU, disk capacity etc).
  • Automated updating of ResourceSpace from within the application itself.

There is a blog post with some details about it and a full list of the amendments here.

In terms of general observations about this upgrade, as is the theme in DAM at present, there isn’t anything that stands out as a being earth-shattering in its significance.  That said, ResourceSpace seems to have a relatively short release cycle so new features are introduced more incrementally than other competing systems which might be updated far less frequently.

One characteristic of software development which anyone who has been actively involved in it will be well aware of is a kind of 90/10 effect where 90% of the core functionality gets built fairly quickly and then an extended period of time goes into fine-tuning, tricky bugs and fixing fiddly details (plus the inevitable ‘by the way, we forgot to tell you about…’ from clients, product managers etc).  Since the DAM industry seems to have a fractal pattern-like modus operandi where issues within each individual solution’s sphere mirror those taking place at a wider industry level, I believe we are currently in the same final 10% of the current phase of DAM software now.  While I can downplay the magnitude of current vendor upgrades, I have no doubt that the personnel involved in implementing them have spent many days and months on details which end up sounding quite trivial when they come to write them down, but were anything but if you were one of the people at the sharp end responsible for making them happen.  This is where DAM marketing people really need to earn their corn since dressing up these updates to make them sound interesting to end users is starting to become a zero-sum game.  We see this now at DAM News where some vendors will salami-slice their product update press releases to try and make them go further than they might otherwise if contained within a single item of news (although I must point out that I do not believe this is the case with ResourceSpace).

I read a lot of articles currently along the lines of how ‘hot’ DAM is currently.  I also see other dubious statistics about the valuation of the wider market that are clearly a case of the authors swallowing some vendor-supplied revenue numbers which have a distinctly fruit-salad hue about them (or where they have just made them up to make their report more saleable).  These are usually good indicators that a previously in-demand tech sector is about to become rather tepid as the weight of user-expectations are not carried by the capabilities of the current crop of applications; technology hype is nothing if not mean-reverting.

There is an intriguing conflict in-play currently in DAM, on the one-hand, if you are a vendor, slowing innovation and a period of stabilisation is profit-enhancing since maintenance work becomes far cheaper and entire sections of staff do not need to be set aside for major upgrades (as well as all the upheaval deploying them generates).  On the other, slowing innovation means decreased customer acquisition and an increased emphasis on price and a challenge to margins from a different side of the graph.

I note that a few vendors are now trying to use their customers to identify ideas for enhancing functionality.  While consulting with users is never a bad idea, vendors can’t expect them to have all (or indeed any) of the answers about where the next great innovation in DAM will come from.  The early stages of Digital Asset Management (where the products had more sensible titles like ‘media library system’ etc) happened because those who participated essentially had to take some risks and anticipate demand for a class of software which had no definitive name, let alone a definition.  That process will need to occur again if the DAM industry is not destined to become an irrelevance over the longer term.

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