We crunched through the numbers from our recent publication of the 2014 Digital Asset Management Gleansight benchmark report and found a few notable trends that are worth keeping eye on if you are in the market for a DAM investment or considering improvements to your existing DAM infrastructure.
You can also check out vendor comparisons in our FLASH vendor rankings on Digital Asset Management.
If content is king, it needs a castle.
These days, content creation demands on marketing have never been greater. But it’s not just about creating content, it’s about creating and re-using the right content for the right channels. This has elevated the role of digital asset management tools to a strategic importance for marketers who continue to place excessive dependence on shared drives and personal hard drives for storage. What many organizations are rapidly finding is storage of content is only half the battle. Use of online storage platforms like box, Google DRIVE, and Dropbox are common substitutes for DAM when line of business users weigh implementation efforts and costs. But it’s not just about storing the content, it’s about what you can do with the content. A new generation of DAM tools are starting to surface and they are flexible, user friendly, automated, and scalable. This makes metadata capture, search, and collaboration accessible for marketers in turnkey and affordable DAM offerings.
Workflow is a differentiator.
With over 57 DAM solutions on the market today, you might be wondering how these platforms differentiate themselves. In most cases, it comes down to the level of customization a buyer really needs and whether and tradeoffs between ease of use and functionality. Workflow plays a critical role in the integrity of the assets in the system and how content is used. Having briefed with 50+ solutions its common to see workflow interpreted very differently by different DAM providers. Sometimes it’s a flexible rule based engine for basic security and approval gates. Sometimes it’s just email alerts. Sometimes it’s included in the platform and sometimes it’s an add-on module. Make sure you pre-define your workflow business requirements before reaching out to vendors and then ask them to prove how they will support your needs with their capabilities.
The move to SaaS.
The last 5 years have been a springboard for innovation in the DAM space. Many on-premise providers spun off best practices from on-premise solutions into cloud based solutions (usually built from the ground up) that are marketed as DAM lite offerings. These are usually drag and drop functionality, mobile accessible, and more intuitive than robust on-premise offerings. That means they are a good fit for companies of all sizes. They are also very affordable for line of business users to invest in. But keep in mind, just because a solution is less costly and rapid to implement doesn’t mean it’s a silver bullet in your digital asset needs. Cloud based DAM investments fail too, especially when insufficient attention is placed on taxonomy, role based usability, and upload compliance.
Multiple solutions can still prevail.
According to survey respondents, the average organization supports three or more DAM and content management tools. You are likely to come across a variety of case studies and globally known brand logos that DAM vendors showcase as clients. In many cases these are investments by business units, regions, or smaller internal teams inside the organization. We mention this because the truth is, even Top Performers support multiple DAM tools internally. It’s okay to consider investments in different DAM tools, especially if they are a good fit for the users, business function, etc. So don’t worry about ripping and replacing legacy apps that may be used more effectively by other internal stakeholders. Next generation DAM solutions and the low cost of storage are rapidly lowering the bar for the line of business to see faster time to value. That said, you should always involve IT in the investment decision, even when it’s a low cost cloud-based solution. They can help ensure things like security, access, metadata, and taxonomy standardization help support a return on investment.
Less is more.
Adoption has been a core challenge in DAM for the last 2 decades. Just because you build a DAM solution doesn’t mean users will come and use it. For this reason, Top Performers continue to see value in keeping implementation requirements as simple and accessible as possible. There will always be a need for some customization depending on the industry, company size, and nuances of the company culture. But stay away from excessive customizations. One, customization is costly (consultants, extra services, etc.). Two, customization may prevent (or limit) your organization from making future upgrades to the platform (especially with on-premise solutions). Third, users are typically turned off by more options and unnecessary steps.