WoodWing Release Enterprise 8.2

One of our featured DAM vendors, WoodWing, who recently acquired Elvis DAM last year, have updated their publishing system, Enterprise.  The main updates seem to be:

  • Closer integration with Excel to insert tabular data into InDesign documents
  • Tighter integration with Elvis DAM
  • Usability enhancements like additional keyboard shortcuts

WoodWing has released version 8.2 of its multi-channel publishing system Enterprise. The new version simplifies direct placement of structured information from Excel files into InDesign layouts and offers a deeper integration with WoodWing´s digital asset management solution Elvis DAM. Based on customer feedback, WoodWing also made further improvements to the user interface for higher usability and productivity.” [Read More]

The update doesn’t exactly over-sell itself and one could be forgiven for thinking that this is a marketing inspired release where WoodWing feel the need to generate some activity to remind prospective buyers that they still exist.  I also note that today, their arch-rivals, ADAM have put out another generic press item with some nonsense or other about “expansion of their ecosystem partners” – obviously the lunatics have taken over the asylum in their marketing department again.

Being more reasonable with WoodWing, I do have to acknowledge that if you work on software projects, an issue is when exactly to tag a new release and often it is easier to get some smaller incremental updates out, especially if you are planning some more significant modification which might delay less headline grabbing features that existing users are urgently requesting.

My own experience of the commercial software world (admittedly mostly acquired well over a decade ago) was that there was often a conflict between the marketing people’s need to ensure that they were gaining continuous press exposure and the development staff who needed time and space to work on some major feature that had potentially atom splitting implications for the rest of the system.  As an end-user of these products, the other issue is that unless someone else hosts and supports it for you, there are likely to be outages involved to deploy it and in-house staff resources required too.  Even with SaaS products, some seemingly innocuous UI change can introduce numerous unexpected side-effects (especially if not properly tested – as is more common with point releases).  In that case, you have to hope the vendor has built in a feature to switch the feature off – and that this is available across all their tenants too.  Overlaying both those software delivery routes is the whole training and documentation issue with upgrades.  These alone can transform the task into an entire job creation scheme for both vendor and client.

If you are planning on buying a DAM product, it’s worth examining not only what the vendor’s stated release policy is, but also how this has actually played out over the last 12-24 months.  Most vendor sales staff will quote some generic frequency they think is acceptable to buyers – like “every 3 months”.  In reality it won’t be that regular and you might end up with six urgent fixes being rushed out in a month then nothing for  a year, or products being launched in beta for several months where the vendor wants to get new versions out, but not commit to supporting them properly while they iron out the multitude of bugs that may be coming to the surface.

The release policy of DAM vendors can have implications for end users.  It’s a double-edged trade-off where end users often want to see lots of progress before they invest into a product but then are less keen for anything other than essential fixes post-deployment – when they have moved on to other more pressing projects and now just want the DAM to work in a reliable and predictable manner.

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