I have heard Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendors use a lot of words to describe their technology, their components, those configurations, the possible customizations and the variable functionality of their systems. What some DAM vendors are lacking when they use these exciting (and sometimes confusing) words is a concise, glossary of terms. In writing.
Speaking the Same Language?
In a world with clarity, these words would mean the same thing between vendor X and vendor Y, but they sometimes mean something different. It sometimes depends on the vendor. Or the individual explaining it.
Some vendors like to confuse clients, but they will never publicly admit this. Why would any vendor (or anyone for that matter) want to confuse a client with special words to describe their systems?
- They simply do not know, nor ever bothered to ask.
- They forgot or simply missed that hour of training.
- They are too embarrassed to ask.
- They may have not been explained how to use the DAM themselves. Ever. (As mind numbing as this may seem, this actually does happen).
- They are guessing and hope you do not notice.
- They come up with their own way of explaining it (which becomes different explanation each time).
- They will continue billing you as a client because the confusion is continually not clarified (Yes, please do note the lack of ethics from some people. They know who they are. Shame on them).
Since there is a DAM Foundation and DAM Coalition out there, maybe we could all work together on creating "a global community of best standards of practice for Digital Asset Management." This community (that could involve everyone in DAM) that "brings together" the best could create a global glossary of terms and definitions we could all use and understand in a vendor neutral sense. A compendium of DAM terms which is industry wide. This could help "...provide the best qualified advice and guidance for best practice and standards within the Digital Asset Management space."
How does that sound? Do I see any takers on creating such a free and open glossary of terms without any pop-up ads?
In Pursuit of Clarity
Some vendors can produce a short list of terms either online or upon request, but I dare them to have a complete compendium of all industry terms and acronyms even if they do not have that option or feature. I believe it would only be fair for each vendor to include a list of all terms they may use months down the road from their first canned demo, through contract negotiation, through implementation, through user acceptance testing, past go live and even past the final sign off of the system because that is just the starting point.
It would only be acceptable to clearly define terms not listed on Wikipedia nor commonly used dictionaries with an understandable definition of what they are actually talking about. Anyone up for this challenge?
In the meantime, ask for the glossary. When you see terms missing, point them out and ask for clarity. In writing.
Whether you are a potential DAM user, a current DAM user, a business stakeholder, an analyst, a vendor, an implementor or anyone else involved in the DAM community, we might be able to know exactly what all these terms mean if they were clearly defined.
Of course we can find a handful of existing DAM glossaries online (created by a few vendors), but these are unfortunately incomplete and occasionally use words in their definitions that are not clearly defined. Having a question which leads to confusion to end up with a lack to clarity is not the answer.
Verbal definitions are not good enough by today's standard. Instant clarity would be. A compendium of terms should be readily available online at all times, updated regularly (not on paper) and free of charge for everyone to use. Open disclosure as a standard.
Where is your DAM glossary?
Image courtesy of Patryk Kosmider (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: I believe Henrik has thrown down a gauntlet with this one! For more of his thoughts on DAM, read Digital Asset Management: Why You Need Version Control