Buying DAM Systems
Special Report: How To Buy Enterprise DAM Systems
If you are looking to replace your DAM, Daydream can provide a range of services. Look through the following common issues and see if any of them apply to your own situation:
Upgrading or Replacing?
Many organisations already have an existing DAM solution which they may have introduced previously and now is no longer delivering what they require. The advice typically offered by vendors and consultants is to replace an existing DAM with a new system, but this might not always be the best option.
Replacing DAMs involves selecting vendors, implementing new solutions and migrating digital assets. None of these activities are without risk or cost. We can carry a critical evaluation of your current DAM and give you a neutral and balanced assessment of the pros and cons of replacing it. Further, if you decide to upgrade rather than replace, we can liaise with your current vendor and brief them how to resolve the issues so you can continue using the same product.
We are a vendor-neutral consultancy, we don’t resell DAM solutions so we can give you a balanced, honest and fair assessment of which of the two options (replacing or upgrading) is the better choice for your specific needs. If you do decide to replace, we can help you pick through the bewildering array of different options on offer, see the next section for more details.
Researching The Market
Based on the number of entries in the DAM News vendor directory, there are well over 100 DAM vendors (and some others have over 250). There are likely to be several thousand different firms globally who claim some competence in this field.
To help refine your selections down to a more realistic set of candidates, we have a well-established process we have refined over numerous client projects. Our method is informed by our 25 years’ experience of developing, implementing, using and migrating DAM systems. We are unique among DAM consulting firms in that we have direct, practical hands-on experience of every aspect of Digital Asset Management. We are confident you won’t find another consultancy with the same breadth and depth of experience as Daydream.
You can download a copy of our approach to helping you choose a suitable vendor and either use this for your own internal purposes or have us help you with any or all of the required stages.
As with all our client services, you can cherry pick what you want and leave out anything you don’t. Our service is flexible and adaptable to your requirements as well as your budget.
Managing Vendor Briefs & Demos
We recommend clients carry out at least two rounds of demonstrations. More than two will almost certainly be required and you will probably need to augment these with some other methods which are described in later sections, however, this is a baseline to work with.
The initial demonstration should be relatively short and based on a standardised brief which all candidate vendors are required to follow. The initial demonstration can be used to derive a shortlist from a long list of prospective candidates. The objective at this stage is for you and your users to get a feel for each system so you can decide if you would be comfortable using it longer term.
We schedule each of the demo sessions, arrange mutually convenient time slots for everyone on the selection panel and ensure demos are recorded. We also make sure vendors stick to the brief provided and leave any extraneous functionality out.
At the end of this stage you should have a good idea of the look and feel of each of the candidate vendors and a pretty good idea of who you want to work with.
We work closely with you to define your requirements for a replacement DAM solution. To achieve this, we help to formalise your digital asset supply chain: the upstream sources of the digital materials which your digital assets will be derived from and the downstream destinations or channels where they will get used.
We have a methodology we have used successfully with numerous other clients where we draw up a diagram of how your DAM needs to integrate and interact with the rest of your business (both internally and with any external suppliers you may use). From this we can relatively quickly gain an idea of the nature of the candidate system you will need. We further augment this primary analysis with a series of structured interviews and fact-finds to identify specific features and characteristics of the desired solution. Lastly, we add in any general business requirements as well as procurement policies that you may need to include.
The result is a completed vendor brief and an associated series of questions. We strongly recommend that you do not distribute this to vendors without having conducted an initial demo with a long list of possible options (the preparation of which is included in this service). This is described in the next section.
The vendor brief should provide the bulk of the information about what you need from your solution. There will almost certainly be further technical and functional requirements that do not fit into the core brief. There may be other procurement policy compliance and legal questions also and we can help collect all these additional items and assemble a completed document for you.
We carefully check RFPs before they are dispatched to candidate vendors and ensure there are no duplicate questions, anomalies or unclear guidance. Further, we favour asking vendors to provide screenshots and to keep the narrative to a minimum (with an appendix for more detailed responses, should they be required).
The objective is to develop an RFP which collects the right amount of detail from vendors without it being onerous to respond to (nor time consuming for you and your colleagues to read).
One of the particular challenges of reviewing RFPs is that it might be difficult for those without much prior expertise in DAM to identify potential issues or red flags in vendor responses as they can be quite well hidden and vendors are likely to be aware of areas where they are weaker than the competition .
We go through the documents in fine detail, reading the response to each question and can prepare a list of follow-up questions. Successfully reviewing DAM RFPs requires not only attention to detail but a deep knowledge of the subject and the implications of a vendor’s response to a given question.
Having reviewed the RFP responses, we can prepare a summary of the key points highlighting areas of concern or where a specific vendor has an advantage over the other candidates. We do this not only from a functional/benchmarking perspective but also the way in which vendors have responded, for example if they are evasive over a given point or potential benefits which they may not have drawn attention to themselves.
The emphasis is on rationalising the RFP so you can get a deeper perspective than solely the text of what the vendor has said in their response.
We can help carry out more in-depth evaluations of your candidate vendors. We use a number of different methods including any combination of the following:
- Solution scenarios or user stories
- Proof of concept prototypes
- Extended vendor-guided demonstrations
The most effective way to conduct in-depth evaluations is to focus on the kind of tasks you will need to carry out most frequently. The scenarios or user stories are then oriented around those activities.
For some larger or more complex requirements, a proof of concept demonstration prototype is appropriate. We can devise a functional specification to provide to vendors and help to translate your business objectives into technical guidance and plans for a prospective vendor to implement.
We also usually seek to arrange trial editions of each system and go through the application with you independently of the vendor.