It's a delicate balance to develop a hybrid strategy for Digital Asset Management. While Cloud SaaS solutions appeal to many organizations as a way to reduce costs and infrastructure, there are compelling reasons not to move all assets to the cloud. The secret to finding this balance lies in understanding what assets should be moved to the cloud and what should stay in-house.
SaaS and in-house DAM solutions have distinctly different approaches with each offering advantages and disadvantages, as previously discussed in “SaaS vs. In-House DAM - Which is Right For You?” A hybrid solution can provide a damn perfect balance of SaaS and in-house by leveraging the advantages of both solutions.
In-House DAM Workflows
Let’s consider a scenario where in-house DAM is the best choice:
A photographer returns from an assignment for a new marketing campaign with thousands of High Resolution (HiRes) raw camera images. The creative team ingests their Work In Progress (WIP) into the DAM. The fun begins.
The HiRes raw camera files and large creative, illustrator and InDesign need to be quickly and easily moved between internal groups by leveraging complex internal workflows and internal high speed connected networks. The final approved files are shared broadly to your external customers, while the thousands of outtakes are safely archived in a secure internal system.
A workflow can be developed specifically for that photographer that includes an ingest folder that automatically appends known and consistent metadata to their images. Additionally, IPTC, EXIF and XMP metadata is automatically extracted and ingested into the DAM. Thumbnails and preview images are automatically created upon ingest. In some systems the raw images can also be automatically transformed into standard jpeg format. The images are flagged for editing in the DAM.
The photo editor selects a few images as candidates for the campaign. The selected images are toned, cropped and routed to the creative team working on the campaign. The outtakes are archived and preserved in the DAM.
The creative team ingests their work in progress (WIP) into the in-house DAM. The WIP is shared amongst the internal teams to collaborate on the project to for approvals.
In-house DAM solutions are best suited for video, creative, marketing and image workflows where asset managers are responsible for a large volume of HiRes files. Internal teams depend on the ability to rapidly distribute and route these files to the appropriate team members for collaboration on the project. These complex workflows are tightly integrated with internal systems used for collaboration, designed review and approval for publication/release.
Ingesting a large number of HiRes files to a SaaS DAM would not be practical in most cases. Leveraging the internal infrastructure for these types of WIP provide the best experience for your internal teams. The reasons are simple: fast internal networks provide seamless distribution of assets for collaboration of teams, complex internal workflow can be created to integrate with internal systems and finally, governance rules can be enforced to insure assets are secure and controlled.
Additionally, many of the original HiRes file may never be released for publication. Consider all the images that are edited and how many make the final cut. Consider the raw video that is shot -- hours of raw footage that is squeezed down to a minute or two that will be produced for a releasable short.
Finally, in-house solutions provide more control over the security and access to the assets.
Hybrid Solutions Support the Full Life Cycle
Let’s take this scenario one-step further. How does a hybrid strategy provides the missing piece to create a full life cycle solution for asset management?
In the scenario above, large files were quickly and easily exchanged between groups to create a new marketing campaign. When the campaign is approved and ready for external distribution, the assets need to be converted into the appropriate format(s) for distribution. This is when a tightly integrated hybrid DAM solution shines. The final releasable assets are delivered through a secure workflow to the SaaS component of the Hybrid DAM. These assets can now be broadly distributed to your global external customers by leveraging the SaaS CDN.
Hybrid DAM solutions, with integration between the in-house and SaaS components, offer workflows that can be easily configured to deliver assets to the SaaS component for distribution.
Where in-house DAM solutions are challenged to rapidly and broadly distribute assets to your global external customers, SaaS solutions are designed to rapidly distribute assets by leveraging a content delivery network (CDN) with CDN nodes (servers) in multiple locations across the Internet. CDNs provide external customers with high availability and high performance.
The SaaS DAM pay-as-you-go approach allows the client to purchase as little or as much services as needed. As demand for a product increases, the SaaS DAM quickly scale to meet the increased requirements.
Finally, you can control what assets are being released externally and carefully monitor and track how well they perform. Assets that are not performing well can be removed and replaced with assets that trend upwards.
Finding the Perfect Balance
A hybrid solution can effectively serve the needs of the internal customers, while efficiently distributing assets to external customers. Additionally a hybrid solution allows the organization to rapidly scale externally to meet market demands while reducing the time-to-market.
Not every organization needs a hybrid DAM solution, but if you do, this may provide you with a perfect balance between SaaS and in-house.