A number of vendors in the DAM industry were asked one question, "What innovative new features and technologies will you offer in 2015?" And while the DAM and MAM industry is diverse, four clear trends emerged. We covered the plans for reimagined user interfaces and approaches to making video more accessible yesterday, which leaves us with the question of interoperability between systems and vendor's efforts to meet the demand for built in business intelligence and analytics.
Interoperability Between Systems
Many DAM vendors describe DAM as a central component to any organization. Most are looking to provide better interoperability by improving APIs and providing connectors to other systems.
Chris Hall, founder and CEO of Bynder, said, “DAM is dead. It's all about having an integrated solution.” To Hall, the term DAM is a siloed technology term for a type of database, not an end user solution. DAM is quickly evolving into something that should be invisible to users. There will always be a need for DAM and DAM may be more important now than ever.
My understanding of what Hall means by all this is that traditional DAM was an archive, but today DAM is an important component of a larger ecosystem of connected tools that must have the ability to work together. Without an integrated solution, a siloed DAM is essentially a lost opportunity for the business.
Razuna has taken a big step to providing an integrated DAM Software development kit (SDK). Jens Strandbygaard, CEO of Razuna said they just completed an 18 month effort to build a completely refactored SDK that allows clients to build any kind of software that requires a DAM using Razuna. The full-featured DAM SDK can be integrated into a customer's enterprise software and is targeted for Q1 /Q2 2015. Strandbygaard said “most DAM vendors are focused on a certain vertical, whereas Razuna provides the tools needed by customers that can be easily integrated with their software.”
Chris Williams, senior vice president world wide sales at Evolphin Software said, “We see companies reducing their investment in IT, so they are not able to managing complex software ecosystems.” There is a need for vertical and horizontal integration of disparate systems and the ability to provide federation with multiple asset management systems. This will allow companies to be more efficient with the systems they have in place.
Business Intelligence and Analytics
Mimi Thigpen, CEO, North Plains Systems said is, “working to develop models that help clients understand the ROI and make it easier for the customer to understand the true value of their DAM.” Its new business intelligence and analytics tool will help asset managers understand how assets are being used, and provide standardized reporting on the DAM’s ROI. One of the challenges Thigpen explained is getting the market to understand the value of these solutions.
The Media Collective is a core business tool for connecting content across all channels and helping determine its value," says Deanna Ballew, director of product management at Widen. "Our goal is to help marketers and creatives capture, organize, share and analyze their marketing content, so we’re providing insights that will help them make better decisions about each piece of content, based on its efficacy."
Media Collective tracks all asset usage including number of downloads, posts to social networks, views of share links and video analytics to provide administrators with data on assets are performing
Charlie Ward Wright IV, business development engineer for WAVE Corporation said customers are asking, “How can I mine all this data and make my content smarter?” Customers want to know everything about their assets analytics, business intelligence and customer segmentation. WAVE is integrating, implementing new features around customer information, adding a basic CRM that tracks businesses and contacts against their asset usage, which is starting to become powerful. For example, WAVE turns all system users into contacts, which means anyone that uses the system can be tracked.
Future of DAM
Andrew Forber, CTO, MerlinOne Inc., said, "DAM will be integrating more tightly not just with other business systems, but with business processes. They’ll become more focused not just on storing and accessing objects, but on coordinating how people interact with the assets and each other. This will have huge benefits for cross-‐enterprise and cross-‐brand consistency, productivity and quality assurance, and better control of licensed content. The challenge for vendors, as usual, will be to make their products conform to their clients’ needs without becoming overly complex and difficult to use and support."
"I hope that there will be more improvement in data discoverability through automated metadata enrichment and search tools. These will be particularly important in businesses like “citizen journalism” outlets which crowd-source assets via social media, and large organizations with diverse sources of content. The difficulty of finding files without consistent metadata, the challenges of curating those collections manually, and the lack of dedicated research staff present interesting challenges for people who are searching for the right picture, video or graphic."
When asked about the future of DAM, Leslie Weller, Director of Marketing for Canto, responded,
With the proliferation of visual communications, companies will increasingly realize that today’s DAM workarounds -- such as online file sharing and network drives – simply do not scale. We anticipate businesses will shift away from considering DAM as a luxury technology to a must-have strategic investment in order to protect digital property and compete effectively in today’s digital first landscape.
The future of DAM looks like an integrated enterprise digital ecosystem where systems talk to each other and share data in such a way that moves organizations closer to a 360 degree view of their content -- that is, improving transparency of the entire content lifecycle and deriving actionable data accordingly. Professional Services and external consultants will continue to play a key role in architecting and implementing workflows and system integrations that meet the evolving needs of global organizations.”
In response to the question, Wright said,
We are starting to see a convergence between DAM, MAM and ECM. The functionality will continue to converge and provide better, more manageable security.”
Strandbygaard's response to DAM's future,
I believe the future for DAM software is formed by cloud services. A DAM system must be at the core, handling true DAM features and at the same time allowing user to freely choose, which cloud service they want to use for which operative task."
Thigpen of North Plains said, "The market right now is fragmented and ill defined. Consolidation is still likely to happen as DAM vendors try to figure out their center of excellence. There is a strong need for collaboration that enable common applications for mobile, WCM, CMS. How do you tie it all together to be effective for global customers?"
Dan Huby, Montala Limited ResourceSpace, said,
We're noticing a trend towards cloud storage / SaaS with nearly 70 percent of our income now derived from this delivery model. Driving factors are speed of set up, minimal involvement from corporate IT, and increasing bandwidth, and a need for tighter security." Huby explained that, "Another area of growth is social media. Via social media integration, organizations can quickly realize potential in assets that would otherwise be simply archived away."
The DAM Road Ahead
As you can see there are many exciting new features coming in 2015 and beyond. The DAM industry is working hard to improve the usability of DAM, provide better interoperability, address the demand for more videos and provide much better analytics that will empower the DAM owners to understand the true ROI of their systems.
There is so much more to cover. Any vendors that I was unable to speak with for this article, please share your 2015 roadmap by commenting below or emailing me. I want to hear from you!