Sidebar: Think Outside the Data Center
Once upon a time, when most content producers and consumers of a DAM system were employees with access to the corporate LAN, media companies stored the system, including its database and collaboration software, in the data center on the company's own servers. While that's still the most popular model today it may be changing. Why? Because it's difficult to provide first-class access to that system to outsiders, such as work-at-home staff, contractors, and outsourced providers—even to a creative agency.
Security concerns are foremost in many peoples' minds: Offering access to corporate IT resources, particularly those with sensitive and valuable digital assets that nobody wants leaked or stolen, can be a frightening proposition to corporate management and even IT staff. While virtual private networks (VPNs) can be configured to provide remote access and secure password-based Web portals can be set up, these can be time consuming and costly to maintain. Maintenance, in fact, is a big issue: If software patches or access control lists are neglected, a company's network and data security can go right down the tubes. If you're setting up external access, "you might need to involve your legal counsel on that," advises Cummings at Interwoven.
Still, "important clients are going to be on your network, while occasional users won't be," according to Chris Warner, a senior manager from Artesia. In many cases, that means giving your creative agencies and partners access to your innermost IT systems.
But not all cases. Hewlett-Packard is promoting the concept of "utility computing," which combines software outsourcing (where someone hosts your own software) with application service providers (where you rent access to someone else's software). HP's worldwide director for rich media solutions, Gabriele DiPiazza believes that signing up for an external service provider's DAM system might offer the best of all worlds. Specifically, since customers only pay for the resources they consume, there could be huge savings in terms of buying and managing hardware and software. A utility computing center could also offer secure access to partners, contractors, and licensees just as easily as it does to a company's employees—and the security is more likely to be kept up to date.
In fact, DiPiazza believes that utility computing in the DAM space can even offer new benefits. "It's good for small companies because of the cost saving, and it's good for the studios, telecoms, publishers, and agencies," he says, "but the next level will be a community of exchange of assets." A pool of digital resources, sharable between different agencies, creative firms, and media companies? That's certainly a vision worth sharing—if intellectual-property worries don't get in the way.
Companies Featured in This Article
Artesia Technologies, Inc. www.artesia.com
Interwoven, Inc. www.interwoven.com
Plumtree Software www.plumtree.com