Why Modern DAM Systems Are So Much More Than Shared Folders
- Limited security
- Lack of back up (replication)
- Need to invest in IT equipment
- Lack of proper version control
“The shared folder is a tempting, easy fix for providing widespread access to digital assets. All you need to do is put all of your assets into a shared folder on the company network and—presto!—there they are for everyone to use. It’s such an easy-sounding solution that many a company falls into the shared folder trap. However, once they realize that shared folders don’t allow for effective management of their assets, and that it’s not as cost-effective as they had hoped, they usually switch over to real DAM software.” [Read More]
This article isn’t bad but as with a lot of the vendor articles, they end up reading like miniature sales pitches that your average tight fisted IT exec or COO can knock down very easily when faced with the need to find reasons to not spend any money. For example, the lack of replication, most corporates (and even SMEs) will point to their existing tape or disk back-up they already need to have in place anyway (and is ‘sunk cost’ as far as the business is concerned because they will still need it even with a separate DAM system). On the need to invest in IT gear, the counter argument is that this is offset by a need to spend budget on vendor’s DAM licence and the cost for that might not be born by the IT department but the end user’s own budget instead. It’s also a little contentious saying that a shared folder behind a firewall is less secure than an Internet hosted vendor product that potentially everyone is the world could get to via a public network (although it is the case that employees who do have access to the network can usually gain access with very little effort unlike a proper DAM system).
I can see why Widen have picked these characteristics of shared folders, but I think they’re pitching at the wrong targets here. The last point, the versioning is one of the better out of those offered, the other factors that shared folders can’t compete with at all include the following:
- Searching – when you lose something, you’re into the operating system’s own very poor search system (if it even works properly on the network). DAM systems usually have way better search tools.
- Re-purposing assets by generating them in different versions, cropping, changing colorspace etc without deploying tools like Photoshop (and having to buy separate licences for them).
- Collaboration on projects by sharing selections of assets and other social networking features.
- Metadata – the opportunity to search by metaphors other than folders and use terminology that relates directly to the business.
- Integration with Web Content Management and other asset origination tools like InDesign, Quark Xpress or even video editing suites.