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Special Report: Buying Corporate DAM Systems: A Manager's Guide To Procurement Best Practices

This report offers purchasing and procurement tips for managers involved in decisions about selecting a DAM system. Also included is an example RFP with questions that specifically relate to Digital Asset Management.

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Enterprise Digital Asset Management: A Guide For IT Professionals

Practical advice for IT professionals on issues from systems integration to the IT infrastucture requirements for Digital Asset Management.

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Video Digital Asset Management: 12 Crucial Points For Marketers

Marketing managers are invited to consider 12 crucial points that will determine the success or failure of a web video archive.

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Four Cornerstones of Digital Asset Management

Daydream's methodology for analysing Digital Asset Management requirements

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This report is an excerpt, download the full edition of 12 Crucial Points About Online Video Asset Catalogues.

12 Crucial Points About Online Video Asset Catalogues Report


Many companies are now looking for Digital Asset Management Systems or Enterprise Content Management (ECM). that support video as well as images, documents and other conventional files. While there are compelling reasons for wanting to make video available to selected staff and suppliers, there are some crucial factors that determine whether projects succeed or fail.


There are 12 crucial points about online video asset catalogues that you must consider:

1. Selecting a system that can be shaped around your business

You must use a Video DAM system that can be adapted and shaped around the specific needs of your business rather than one that forces staff to change the way they work for no good reason.

What does this mean in practical terms? At it’s simplest level, videos stored on the system must be capable of being catalogued and organised in a manner that reflects your organisation’s own structure. There are many criteria you can consider, such as business units, regions and subsidiaries, the markets you operate in , your customers, or the products and services you offer.

In some cases, a hierarchy, taxonomy or other method of categorising information in your business may already exist. This is common in product oriented sectors (e.g. consumer electronics) where the distinctions between the types of goods supplied has to reflect the needs of retailers or resellers. In service based sectors the markets that your company operates in may be more suitable.

Irrespective of what method is used, the solution you work with must be flexible enough to be shaped around your business rather than being based on abstract or inflexible concepts that are derived from the vendor’s own product. Even if the system offers many advanced and complex features, if it relies on your colleagues having to learn how it relates to your company, it is likely to be widely ignored as being too hard to understand.

2. The key differences between DAM and ECM for marketers

Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) are frequently grouped together when organisations begin to look at options for distributing digital video or other brand assets (e.g. photography) to users.

The definition of each of these terms tends to vary, but, in general terms, Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECMS) provide large scale, all encompassing, repositories of documents and other content held throughout an organisation. Frequently, they may also include video footage, images and other marketing oriented content (e.g. PowerPoint presentations). The main advantages of ECMS are the ability to generate economies of scale by providing a single system for the whole enterprise. There is a further benefit of theoretically being able to link content across departments and increase collaboration as a result.

The disadvantage of ECMS is that the facilities provided for search, retrieval and management of content tend to be quite broad based and are not focussed on the requirements of any given department or group of users because they are intended to be used enterprise-wide. A good example is video previews. Most large scale ECMS will support video via a ‘generic file’ option. Typically, however, they cannot generate filmstrip thumbnails or a fast-loading preview of the footage as more specialist DAM systems do (see ‘Why it is vital that you use previews for videos’ for the reason why this is important).

Although these features can be added by an ECMS vendor - you may find that costs for features of this nature may be high and delivery times are slow. Considering that the delivery of the core system will occupy a substantial period, any additional bespoke features will extended delivery times exponentially. Furthermore, as such features are not offered as standard in many ECM systems, the cost saving advantages of an ECMS are lost at this stage.

Digital or Brand Asset Management Systems, by contrast, are far more focussed on the specific needs of marketers. Their advantage is that they can provide a high level of functionality and subject-specific features. For example, video previews or image manipulation (e.g. watermarking) are often built in as part of the standard solution. In addition, due to the nature of DAM, the project team are far more likely to have direct experience of working with marketing managers and have a better understanding of the problems you are likely to deal with.

Often, with hosted specialist DAM Systems, your corporate IS department will not need to provide any staff or equipment resources as the supplier will provide a fully outsourced solution. This can be considerably more cost-effective and easier to manage. Unlike an IS department that has many internal clients and senior managers to answer to, a good external supplier should be interested in a partnership style arrangement where their objectives are more closely aligned with yours.

Many forward thinking organisations now recognise that although an ECMS provides a ‘backbone’ of content services across the business, there is still a proven need for specialist solutions that are implemented by individual business units.

Another option to consider is a DAM Solution that integrates with a wider ECMS. With this approach, you can provide users with a system that addresses your needs as a marketing department, while still allowing the content to be exchanged and searched for enterprise-wide via the ECMS. To achieve integration, however, you must ensure that your chosen ECMS vendor supports enterprise-class features such as web services and that their system is open and extensible.

Read the other 10 points in 12 Crucial Points About Online Video Asset Catalogues.

About the Author

Ralph Windsor is a senior partner in digital asset management implementation consultants, Daydream. He has eighteen years experience of delivering DAM and content technology solutions acquired as a developer, project manager and consultant working with global clients such as WS Atkins, Major League Baseball, BNP Paribas and The British Museum.

To find out more about Daydream and our service, please email or telephone us on: +44 (0)20 7096 1471.