DAM Content Flow
As these and other standards emerge and are adopted, experts say, digital asset management (DAM) systems should be integrated with other data systems—including financial databases—throughout the enterprise to improve overall corporate performance, says Jennifer Neumann, CEO of Germany's Canto, Inc.
Others voice similar themes. Stand-alone DAM systems are not enough anymore for total management, experts believe. "The trend to automate all work steps and to integrate various, data-centric information technology systems of a company is becoming quite common," says Neumann. "The immense pressure to increase efficiency, eliminate errors, and reduce time to market significantly drive the trend."
Neumann notes that "digital assets" are commonly found in marketing, communications, and sales departments. But integrating those assets—strategically—would actually take digital asset management to the next level. "Strategic planning is required for these system integration projects," says Neumann, which she characterized as enterprise content integration projects.
There are problems for many companies in reaching this goal, however, she points out. This kind of planning is long-term, something that conflicts with the need to reduce financial and operational costs now and the typical approach, which seeks to "achieve system installation in a short time," she says. Neumann recommends that companies take a tactical, even pragmatic, approach. "Start small, and grow as different systems are integrated."
According to Theresa Regli, director of content management at Molecular, Inc., publishing executives need to build a case for an asset management-system architecture. This involves understanding the company's goals and objectives, strategic capabilities, and the IT architecture. Asset management projects are not simple, she stresses; they are cross-functional and require a focus on "methodology" before they can be implemented.
New software coming to market may help facilitate that, if embraced by the publishing industry. According to Jurgen Kurz, SVP of publishing products at Quark, Inc., publishers, ad agencies, and corporate communications departments are all looking for "integrated" solutions that enable them to manage documents created in an array of media formats. "You need tools to work together productively and efficiently," says Kurz. "But since publishing environments are heterogeneous, tools can't be proprietary."
Neumann points out that in many cases, those who try to implement DAM systems find that workflow is choking, but they don't know how to diagnose or solve the problem. Often, the upstream process may be the problem, she says, suggesting that DAM would be better integrated into other workflow processes.
Another issue could be the collection of the right metadata throughout the enterprise for the production project. If the right information is not collected, that could cause bottlenecks too, Neumann says. "The DAM system eventually needs to be integrated with many, and sometimes all, other data systems of an enterprise," Neumann believes. "That means ample strategic planning is required."
One system that many are increasingly integrating with their DAM systems is the Internet, according to Barb Pellow, CMO at the graphic communications group of Eastman Kodak. Pellow recently spoke with a printer whose entire business had come from Rochester, N.Y. "Now, after using the Internet to drive the business, 70% of the work comes from outside Rochester," Pellow says.
Last year, revenue from the industry was $163 billion, but a major share of that came from services, according to William K. "Kip" Smythe, VP of NPES, the Association of Suppliers of Printing, Publishing, and Converting Technologies. "The print portion of printers' revenues has actually been declining for several years now," says Smythe. "These developments mean that publishers must be more innovative and take a broader view of their businesses," prompts Smythe. "Leading publishers are reassessing their entire range of products and services, looking for opportunities to unbundle services, as well as charging for services they previously performed for free."
That includes publications, like Dow Jones' flagship, the Wall Street Journal, which charges customers to access old content online, and has set up its "reprints" unit (www.djreprints.com) to handle all manner of reprint requests. The sales copy at that site boasts that customers can, with a few clicks of the mouse, order content from WSJ, Barron's, and other Dow Jones pubs, for use as hard-copy reprints, to send as email, to repost on one's Web site, or "to republish as a book, republish on a CD-ROM, republish in a newsletter, [or] republish in a magazine." One would expect no less from the bible of capitalism; but other publishers are just now converting to the content standards gospel.
Companies Featured in This Article
Canto, Inc. www.canto.com
Eastman Kodak www.kodak.com
Global Graphics Software www.globalgraphics.com
Molecular, Inc. www.molecular.com
Premedia Technology Solutions www.premedia- technologies.com