While MAMBO, the former name of WebWare's DAM Solution, may have evoked a light-hearted Latin-dance image, the latest generation renamed ActiveMedia, is all business. And business, in the minds of WebWare, is all about interoperability. The renamed ActiveMedia 4 DAM solution is based upon a new Web Services architecture, which ActiveMedia claims is an industry first.
WebWare ActiveMedia can be used as a standalone media asset management system or integrated with existing enterprise content management software (ECM) such as Interwoven's TeamSite. According to Nick Troiano, WebWare's president and CEO, "ActiveMedia 4 represents what we consider the most integratable DAM solution, bar none." Even with ActiveMedia's predecessor MAMBO, WebWare focused heavily on integration with existing CM systems. This version, however, goes beyond strategic alliances with major CM vendors and focuses heavily on Web Services. Troiano is quick to boast that WebWare was first to market with SOAP for DAM.
But the shift is more than a question of underlying standards; Troiano thinks it was high time for a shake up in the DAM marketplace as a whole. He says, "DAM as a sector has failed. A DAM repository is just one piece of the puzzle of an IT infrastructure, though vendors used to sell DAM as an end-all be-all solution." And again, that brings him back to the idea of interoperability, saying, "There's no such thing as a single company that can solve an enterprise's entire problem. We look at our software as a piece of the puzzle. To do this, we have to fit seamlessly."
That seamless fit, according to Troiano, also involves accepting existing business processes and designing software accordingly rather than trying to make companies adapt to the way software works. Thus, ActiveMedia 4 strives to: "abstract the repository from the end-user," according to Troiano who believes that "the complexity around DAM must disappear."
Thus, ActiveMedia 4 includes a tailorable interface, which features the "One-Click Access" interface builder. Thus, the user's interaction with the DAM is simplified so that a high level of functionality exists within a familiar framework. According to John Fox, the company's founder and CTO, the new interface "allows the asset management system to be used in the ways that individual persons within companies are accustomed to using assets."
The customizable interface is one aspect of WebWare's "focus on flexibility for the client," according to Troiano. Fox thinks that DAM has come of age, primarily through its "disappearance" into the framework of the overall content management solution. He says, "The reality is that it takes time for things to mature. In the Internet bubble, unrealistic expectations came about. But only companies with mature software are still relevant today. The industry has grown up and now software should interact."