A Look Back at Digital Asset Management in 2012

6 minute read
Barry Levine avatar

DAM, what a year.

Some highlights of digital asset management in the soon-to-be history of 2012:


Trends in DAM

In September, DAM expert Edward Smith took a shot here at CMSWire.com to list some of the big trends, including integration with other business systems, larger and larger collections and automation of asset/metadata ingestion.

Let’s Work as a Team

Collaboration strategies and techniques are among the growing trends in virtually every kind of work-based software, and their emergence in DAM systems is exemplified by new features in WebDAM, with email notifications and alerts to keep team members up to date on where things stand on a given asset or action.

One of the most impressive displays of teamwork, for which a medal of some sort should be given, was undertaken at the London 2012 Olympic Games by OpenText. Its Content Hub for Publishers cloud-based solution was used by over 4 dozen sports and news photographers in the National Olympic Photo Pool to transmit their photos from diverse locations. The workflow included editing by photo editors, the addition of semantic metadata and distribution to over 1100 media outlets.

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Major product news during the year included updates to Widen, such as new digital watermarking integration, enhanced analytics and enhanced PDF exporting; the launch of PublishingNOW!, Van Gennep’s editorial system that is integrated with ADAM Software’s DAM platform; new features for WebDAM; the release of Razuna's Enterprise Edition and updating of its open source edition; the launch of Canto's Integration Platform for its Cumulus DAM software; and the launch of Celum's damcloud.com, which it described as the first “highly professional DAM solution, in the cloud, with no reduced functionality."


North Plains Reinvents Itself

Building on its Telescope digital asset management software, the Toronto-based company is undertaking a total makeover, with a new visual identity, logo and website. In April, it bought Xinet, a provider of file-based management for work-in-progress visual content at agencies and publishers, and in early December, announced the purchase of VYRE, which provides marketing resource management through its SaaS On Brand management of brand guidelines, brand assets and creative workflows and Unify, a web-based marketing application platform.

With these purchases, North Plains’ new, “complete solution” is coming into focus -- Xinet for asset creation and production, Telescope for the management of those assets, and Unify for their distribution.

WoodWing Software Finds Elvis

Elvis DAM, developed in 2008 and best known for its use in Wikipedia, has been purchased by WoodWing softwaree, provider of a well-known multichannel publishing system, Enterprise. In announcing the acquisition, WoodWing CEO Hans Janssen noted that publishers and corporations are “looking for solutions that support their increasing multichannel publishing activities,” most notably rich media, which Elvis DAM can provide.

Re-Examining DAM Pricing

Value of DAM

Automated assessment of asset value is gaining traction. For example, value optimizer JumpTime announced this year that it had obtained a patent for a system and method for “determining overall content values for content elements in a web network.” The process utilizes a metric called FloPower, which expresses the value of content assets in terms of dollars and page views. The company also has a new tool, called Revenue by Traffic Referral Source, that calculates “the exact economic value in dollars of a site’s traffic referral sources,” such as social media, search, referring links and partner sites.

Google Drive = DAM Gone to Heaven?

Google Drive launched in 2012, and some users see the service, including its free tier, as having the potential of being a rudimentary digital asset management system in the cloud.

Southpaw Goes Open Source

In the summer, DAM software vendor Southpaw Technology announced it was taking a page from several proven playbooks -- in and out of the DAM field -- and was releasing its TACTIC software as open source. The company said it would continue to expand its support packages and professional services surrounding TACTIC, which is targeted at digital content creators. In November, Southpaw followed up on that pledge, with the release of a suite of custom commercial solutions to expand TACTIC’s capabilities, including customization for any enterprise data management schema or for specific workflow and asset management features.

Learning Opportunities


Tablets as Windows into DAM

As in so many other fields, tablets are beginning expand DAM’s capabilities. In November, for instance, DAM vendor ADAM Software announced ProductViewer, a Windows 8 tablet app for remote access to catalog information in ADAM PIM Studio, so that potential customers and sales personnel could browse a supplier’s current product info. Companies could offer different, branded versions of the app for different clients or vendors, each seeing different catalogs. Since PIM Studio connects product management and marketing by linking ERP, product information and DAM systems, a user of the tablet app could learn about new marketing campaigns, see drawings, read tech specs, view product images or find stock and delivery details.

Remember Light Tables?

New York City-based GLOBALedit does, and it has released a physical LightTable with a touch-interface surface that allows digital images to be swiped, stacked, compared, edited through touch movements, shared with others, or dragged and dropped into multiple ad layouts.



Gamification of DAM

In order to increase user attention and participation, game-inspired design and tactics are infiltrating many kinds of business software, including CRM, HR, personalized retail websites and sales management. Why shouldn’t DAM also have some fun?

One of the beachheads for gamified DAM techniques is at the Tiltfactor Lab at Dartmouth College, which has developed a suite of open source, free, Net-based games designed to increase the use of the school library’s digital asset archives. But this could be only the beginning of playtime. A report from industry research firm Gartner predicts more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes within the next three years.

DAM Maturity Model

A first and second version of the Digital Asset Maturity Model was released in 2012. Developed by the Real Story Group and the DAM Foundation, it provides a roadmap for organizations to assess their current state of DAM-iness and then determine the best routes to improvement. An organization might use the Model to determine, for instance, that it is not investing enough resources into creating internal metadata standards and then plan out the most efficient ways to do so.

Microdata Goes Big Time

HTML5, the booming Web standard, is now supporting Microdata as the “official” semantic markup of structured data, joining the Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. Semantic tagging is an art form that now has another major tool.

Orphans R Us

The European Union decided that digitized works, legally “orphaned” from their creators’ rights, can be used and made available online by libraries, educational institutions, museums, archives, public service broadcasters and, in some cases, commercial organizations in its member countries -- if a diligent search to find the rightful owners has been conducted. Similarly, the U.S. Copyright Office has announced that it is looking at the issue of what to do with such works.

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