Integration Into Workflow
Regardless of what organizations use their DAM solutions for these days, technology providers say they are doing all they can to make these solutions more user-friendly. “We’re getting more users, from the corporate CEO to the distributor of a mom-and-pop store selling pet supplies, and we need to make [the technology] more intuitive for them,” says Lam. “From ActiveMedia to the FeedRoom studio side, that becomes one product, and we have to make it intuitive enough so anyone can go in and understand and use it.”
Integrating DAM solutions into the workflow is the main way in which DAM technology providers have been able to make managing digital content an easier, more user-friendly experience.
“Workflow is another critical component,” says Bowen. “It’s not just about cold storage. It’s about management; what’s identified and found and putting those assets in motion and having a workflow engine that will allow you to do that in a controlled or collaborative fashion is important.”
Sauder agrees that workflow integration is the key to DAM success. Organizations should “start using the DAM early in the process and put it into the creative workflow rather than use it as an archive product,” according to Sauder. “By doing that, you get many more touch points for both the users and the assets themselves.” For instance, FeedRoom’s Lam notes how a company’s workflow automation tools help facilitate an asset’s routings, reviews, and notifications to the userbase.
Yet some users don’t want so much direct contact with a DAM solution but still need to leverage its capabilities. Bowen says that Open Text recognizes that some users just don’t want to have an active role in the digital asset management process. He notes how some creative professionals don’t want to leave their workspace, such as Photoshop or Adobe InDesign, to enter the DAM. So Open Text offers a Creative Desktop tool that has plug-ins to various creative tools so the user can remain in the creative application while utilizing the DAM. “It creates a few new menu items in the [design] application, so someone can search the DAM and literally drag and drop a photograph from the DAM into a layout.”
Offering functionality that works the way a user needs it and that fits into each user’s day-to-day business activities can only help increase companywide buy-in for DAM solutions and yield success that can be seen in the bottom line.
“When you are deploying technology, especially during tough economic times, you have to prove ROI,” says Sauder. “Let’s face it; a library doesn’t generate very good ROI. You may be able to find assets later, instead of having to retake a photograph, but that’s not really where your chief gains are. The real money, the real savings and real benefit of using digital asset management, comes from the workflow streamlining, decreasing time to market, and increasing collaboration.”
At the same time, a successful DAM initiative also ensures that organizations maintain a consistent brand with materials they use for both internal and external purposes. “We manage the whole process to a point where it can be packaged and distributed to [a client’s] internal branding groups,” says Lam. “By going through this process, they maintain a level of consistency with what’s going to the [end consumer]. They’re managing their brand. They’re managing their channel.”
Expanding the channels in which those assets are available is another area in which DAM technology providers are working to further guide their clients. “We will continue to be very aggressive in the distribution networks to work with companies like Amazon, Sony, and others to figure out the most effective way to get publishers’ content into their
platform,” says Ruse. “We will actively discuss new technology, including formats, metadata requirements, and distribution requirements to help publishers get into those channels more effectively and more efficiently.”