Another DAM Blog

Blog about Digital Asset Management


Why does a DAM need an API?

Most reputable Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendors offer a solution with a GUI and API. Not all DAM clients use the API though. At least not yet.

With the growing need to converge DAM, WCM, CMS, wikis and other ECM solutions, the API is one way to tie all these solutions together on the back end so each solution can talk to each other instead of us jumping from one solution to another repeatedly and also playing the endless copy/paste game. Since many organizations are only accumulating more digital assets by exponential numbers each year, this convergence will be needed faster than most people realize. Or people could continue living as if it was still the 20th century because they wish to continue getting buried further underneath poorly managed digital assets on a daily basis. Some people may have not awakened to the possibilities of how the solutions listed above can assist their daily work rather than needlessly burning time at the office, shuffling paper in order to act busy even though they can’t find that file created a year ago, a month ago or even a week ago. Do you know anyone who meets this description?

People need to make the conscious decision to work smarter with digital assets. This involves:

  • Finding the right tools for the organization’s business needs regarding digital assets
  • Finding out how digital assets should be managed within an organization (that is managed and organized, not one or the other)
  • Having up to date documentation explaining the process and systems involved today
  • Having training and ongoing support for users of these systems and processes
  • Following through with a standard workflow or process (how do you spell consistency)
    • What do I do with a digital asset once I have created or acquired it?
    • What do I do if I need to use a digital asset again?
  • Having scaleable systems that can grow with your organization (rather than be limited to what seemed adequate or cool or shiny at one time)
  • Holding people accountable (If you don’t know, ASK lots of questions and push for decisions instead of making lots of mistakes. If you do know, document it so others will know as well.)
  • Having someone who can program systems to communicate with each other via the API
  • Having an API on the systems which will ‘speak and listen’ to the same (programming) language(s) both to and from each system

Does your organization’s DAM have an API? Does your organization use the API?

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What is the best DAM solution?

What specifically is your organization going to do with Digital Asset Management?

For those of you who have not read this blog before or did not realize it, I am and remain vendor agnostic. Everyone should realize there is no one DAM fits all solution. Many DAM vendors will claim their solution is the best for you and they may try to sell you a solution even if it does not meet your needs.

I have looked at 90 DAM solutions in the past. Someone claimed there are as many as 150. Which solution is right for your organization?

The right DAM solution for your organization will depend on the following:

  • Your business needs
  • Your organization’s particular use cases
  • The types of assets you are dealing with in the past, present and near future (Are they all supported?)
  • The file size of the assets (can that solution deliver your assets or is there a bandwidth issue using one model versus another?)
  • Usability of the DAM system
  • Your potential users, their geographic location(s) and their available bandwidth
  • What features you need, want and/or would like to have (not just because it is shiny or sounds cool, but is proven to work)
  • How many users, number of assets and fields of metadata can the solution scale to
  • Internal IT support (Got any?)
  • Your budget (Cost is not the only factor, unless you only want to pay for something that does not meet your needs)
  • Your schedule (make room)
  • Your organization’s adoption of change
  • And many other factors

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all DAM solution. There is not one DAM system that could monopolize the whole field of Digital Asset Management. Of course, there are bigger vendors than others, vendors that only do DAM, some open source solutions and some systems which will work together with other systems you may have.

Each DAM system and solution is different. Some upload differently. Some handle file names differently. Some have more strengths in some areas than others. Some have more weakness because they are less developed or updated less often. Some DAM systems are constantly updated, versioned, changed and/or bug fixed. While others are not so much.

What is the best DAM solution? There is no one answer. It depends. What are you going to do with it?

First, research within your organization what your organization has in place now and what it really needs going forward. Where are the gaps? This includes researching the people, processes and technologies you have now. In case your organization has no idea how to do this, look into using a consultant. Select a consultant that is not tied to any specific DAM vendor(s) unless you have already made a decision on using a particular system. Hopefully, it will meet your organization’s needs.

What are the goals of the organization (not just one person) for the DAM? Which systems meet those goals?

Which system meets the business needs as described early on?

Which DAM system is scalable? (scalable for your assets, metadata, users and workflow)

Which DAM vendor and system can your organization work with? Is it too complex with too many features? Is it too simplified with not enough features? Is the vendor available before and after the commitment to using their system/services? Or is all outsourced?

Which DAM system make no sense to your engineers nor  IT department?

Which DAM system can work with your organization’s use cases?

Which DAM vendor can tell you how it would work and then show you a working example from start to finish using your assets?

Which DAM vendor is friendly to you just for your business, but has no existing support for you after you sign up?

Which DAM vendor can not show you anything that works, but will promise you the moon and stars? Which DAM vendor should you run (do not walk) away from?

Which DAM vendor, integrator and system will deliver what you need? Which will/can not?

Which DAM vendors will offer you a white paper to download and have 5 different reps call you about the exact, same thing? (This would require them using a CRM system properly)

Which vendors will invite you to a webinar which you attend and you ask some questions by typing them in (which can be captured), but they ignore them and then call you a month later asking if you had any questions? Then, you ask what was the topic of the webinar, but the person calling you does not even know. (If you only knew how many webinars I attend per month)

Which DAM vendor is financially stable? Many DAM vendors are private companies while some are large publicly traded companies which have DAM as part of their available offerings.

Which DAM systems has had so many owners and different names and different development teams that barely anyone knows how to manage it or use it even on the vendor’s side?

Would you pick a DAM solution without consulting your IT department first? Not a good idea.

Would you pick a DAM solution based on a game of golf with rep or sitting in a sauna with them? What does either of these have to do with selecting technology that meets your organization’s needs? Analyst Theresa Regli warns us about this. Heed that warning.

Did you really think I was going to mention one vendor? One product? One service? Seriously? No.

Be wary of any vendor (or anyone for that matter) saying they have the right solution for you without them knowing anything about your organization, the people, the technology you use, your use cases and your specific reasons for seeking a DAM solution.

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What is a DAMMY award?

Based off the idea of DAM Awards, Createasphere is calling all Digital Asset Management Innovators for their first annual DAMMY Awards.

“If you or your organization has broken new ground in managing digital and media assets, it’s time to stand up and be recognized! Createasphere is excited to announce the first annual DAMMY Awards, recognizing innovators who have created new revenue opportunities, efficient workflows, exceptional storage and archive solutions, and more. An outstanding individual or organization will also be named DAMMY of the Year for positively impacting the success of digital asset management for the good of the global community.
But don’t wait for the August 20th entry deadline- submit your project or solution today and be acknowledged for your hard work in front of your community of peers. Winners will be recognized at a special awards ceremony luncheon at the Digital Asset Management Conference and Expo, September 24 in New York.”

The categories include:

  • DAMMY of the Year
  • Best Storage, Archive, and or Preservation Solution
  • Best Strategy or Solution for Digital & Media Asset Management during the Acquisition of Content
  • Best Example of Asset & Media Repurposing

Submit all entries and nominations between July 6, 2010 and August 20, 2010

Do you know someone who qualifies for a DAMMY? Well then what are you waiting for?