Not that long ago, if you took a look into an enterprise content repository, you were likely to see a whole lot of text files. You might see a few pictures, such as the company logo and some product shots. What you weren’t likely to find were Flash files, videos, or a large supply of high-resolution photos—file types that generally remained relegated to the media and entertainment verticals. More recently, however, rich media files are entering the enterprise content repository in ever-growing megabytes. Suddenly, managing rich media is not just a niche concern. It’s an enterprise content management problem.
Managing rich media content adds a magnitude of complexity to the content management issue, and not just because of the size of the files involved. Employees need to be able to find rich media files, and without obvious contextual clues found in text files, it’s up to the content creators to generate metadata about the file. In addition, if you plan to expose the content outside the enterprise, you also have to worry about protecting your assets. Rich media requires specialized content management tools and techniques, which is why many companies turn to a digital asset management system (DAM) to help manage this growing content category.
Why Do You Need a DAM?
A few years ago, most companies almost solely dealt with text files, but Geoffrey Bock, an analyst with The Gilbane Group, Inc., says that is rapidly changing. "Let’s say with the 1.0 generation of the odyssey, we largely dealt with text and the media assets were just pictures and relatively few in number. Now, we are suddenly talking about delivering an immersive experience and the needs for rich media management have exploded because there are so many options and so many ways to do things."
Scott Bowen, president of the Open Text Corp. Artesia Group, says that during this 1.0 time frame, managing rich media assets was mostly an area of concern for media companies: "The notion of media management, or digital asset management, evolved and emerged out of the media space about a decade ago." These days, Bowen says it would be impossible to have a media company without a DAM to manage the rich media, but as more companies are creating rich media files, there is a corresponding need for digital asset management in the enterprise.
This is particularly true when it comes to managing a company’s brand across multiple platforms. Bock says, "The key use of rich media is around the notion of branding and the ways in which companies use rich media to develop and reinforce and create new brands." This makes rich media management all the more necessary, because there are so many forms that rich media can take and be leveraged to reinforce branding and build consumer awareness and involvement.
Bowen believes that all of these rich media assets are forcing marketing departments to change the way they have traditionally worked. "Today, given everything that’s going on, from YouTube and ad zapping with [digital video recorders], the way that big advertisers must reach their target audience is changing dramatically," says Bowen. "That means the marketing departments need to have the same strategic infrastructure as media companies." In fact, he says that companies of all types should consider investing in DAM technology to manage their growing rich media inventory.