Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems get a bad rap. They're often criticized as pricey, overly complicated, hard to navigate and difficult to manage and use.

Research from Microsoft shows only 30 percent of small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have adopted a DAM solution because of costs, implementation and maintenance concerns. However, two DAM vendors are taking steps to address those concerns.

Cheaper and Simpler

Both Extensis and Widen, the 65-year-old legacy firm in the DAM space, have new offerings. Extensis is offering Portfolio, a revamped version of its modular DAM, while Widen is introducing Smartimage version 4.0, a cloud-based  “DAM lite” solution.

“We’ve found that small businesses and teams are looking for something simple, professional and affordable,” said Kara Bubb, Smartimage product manager. “Many are looking for more control and flexibility than what personal tools provide, and they don't need or can't afford all the functionality of a true digital asset management solution.”

Jim Kidwell Sr., product marketing manager at Extensis, agreed, noting, “DAM doesn't have to break the bank. Customers should not be held hostage by $100,000 price tags. We believe a medium sized business should be able to implement a DAM solution for less than $10,000.”

In addition to touting affordability, both companies claim their new DAM systems are simpler to use. That, they hope, will address some of the core concerns of smaller companies who worry about the complexity of implementation and adoption.

“Just getting DAM up and running can be a challenge for most companies. Identifying that they have an asset management problem starts the ball rolling, but when engaging their teams to find a solution, the desires pile up and quickly outstrip the budget and technical ability,” Kidwell said.

What They Offer

Extensis Portfolio features include:

  • Single-day set up capability
  • Price, which starts around $2,100
  • Capacity to hold millions of assets, file into one or more catalogs
  • Ability to catalog thousands of assets per minute and provide millisecond results
  • In-house or cloud hosting

Widen Smartimage 4.0 features include:

  • Public and custom portals that allow users to create links to share content
  • Batch editing
  • Quick search
  • Enhanced app speed
  • New subscription plans, which include multiple storage options

Can solutions like these attract and retain smaller businesses? Hard to say. But there is evidence to show that DAM can give a boost to companies of all sizes by helping them trim marketing costs, update marketing materials and improve use of staff time.