In German, the word "entdecken" means "to discover." In Cambridge, MA, a company whose focus is on enterprise information access software is known as Endeca, a fitting ode to this German term. Founded in 1999, Endeca has relied on its core values ever since: to aid information-based problem solving across a variety of business processes. On November 10, Endeca extended this ideal to embrace more types of content, with the release of its Digital Asset Navigator (DAN) solution, a search and information access solution designed for media companies, content publishers, advertising agencies, and marketing departments.
The Endeca Digital Asset Navigator is designed to complement Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems, and to provide users the ability to explore and access images, graphics, audio/video files, and other digital assets. Companies, especially within the media and publishing field, which work with many types of digital assets, lose valuable time trying to locate specific files and worse, creative energy in recreating them. Endeca’s DAN aims to mitigate the frustrating process of content discovery by giving users a single platform in which they can pinpoint the content they need.
As John Andrews, director of industry solutions at Endeca, explains, the company’s goal is to "solve the information visibility problem, and give better insight into any data for users that need to make a better decision based on that data." Andrews continues, saying that DAN "allows editors, publishers, etcetera, to quickly and easily put their hands on the right content to help facilitate reuse." In other words, the Endeca DAN goes beyond the typical Digital Asset Management system, which merely organizes content. Endeca’s solution is designed to provide users with an interactive search experience and a one-stop information shop where they can sift through organized information across a variety of content types to find exactly what they are looking for—to make all related content completely visible to users. DAN allows users to see exactly what they need, and information they may not have even known they wanted.
Key features include a tag cloud, which presents related tags and self adjusts during a users search, providing access to relevant information. These features aim to help users discover information they may not have known existed, by bringing related items to their attention. The spotlight area promotes relevant related content, low-cost alternatives, tips, and more based on a user’s profile, highlighting the information most useful to specific users. There is also a date range filter that can narrow results based on a user’s preferred timetable. When all is said and done, the desired files can be added to the DAN clipboard for later viewing.
With a simple user name and password, employees can leverage either structured or unstructured data from a DAM program, CMS, or wherever a company’s digital assets reside. After typing a few keywords into the DAN text box, a search of all relevant digital assets is launched. The search tool even allows users to utilize a "look-ahead" tool, where computer generated suggestions are presented as a user types keywords, much like Google Suggest. Within this summary, users have the option to narrow down their results using the filter, bringing the most relevant search results to the user’s attention. They can find similar items, or filter by other category options such as license models or category, among others. Users can also choose desired file types, and view images and video from within the DAN platform.
As Andrews explains, Endeca believes DAN stands out because of three key factors: its ability to leverage any data from anywhere regardless of structure; an improved user experience; and what he calls, the "speed of thought," or a more interactive performance platform. In this day and age, we are used to being able to interact with information instantly.
The value of the Endeca DAN is simple according to Andrews; it "allows different users to interact with data in an intuitive manner that leverages the Endeca patented guided navigation and summarization platform." Today, users want to find exactly what they need, avoiding unnecessary steps in an information discovery process that reveals a multitude of content types. Endeca believes that DAN will help take the frustration out of digital asset discovery, allowing users a more interactive search experience, and perhaps most importantly, shed a bit of light on the problem of information visibility.