Web Extra: DAM: Look Before You Leap

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 05-23-2003

While digital asset management can prove itself valuable for both cost savings and repurposing content for profit, Gartner Research Director Toby Bell tells CIO Insight Reporter Debra D'Agostino that CIOs need to make sure they have a well thought out plan before jumping on the bandwagon. What follows is an edited transcript of his remarks.

CIO Insight: It seems that digital asset management is being adopted by companies outside the entertainment and publishing space. Why now?
Bell:
I think it's mostly bandwidth and customer expectations, and the potential for use, the notion that a lot of information can be repurposed and sent to different outlets.

We're seeing some instances where companies are starting to look at ways to use digital asset management to create new revenue streams. Is this also a trend?
I would say the entertainment and publishing industries certainly are looking for opportunities to package digital content for broader use. It's a real opportunity because it gives some people a taste, and in other cases the full content.

What about outside the media and entertainment space?
Corporate training departments are probably looking at this very closely. Another opportunity is based on homeland security. That might be one area because there's going to be a lot more video surveillance. So I think that security concerns in general are driving implementation of cameras and storage devices, which will need to be able to be searched fairly quickly, and a digital asset management system would be the back end of that.

What's the market going to look like five years from now?
What's probably going to happen is a lot of the DAM functionality is going to migrate upstream toward content management offerings. This actually has to be taken into account in the larger content management picture even now. I think the signal that Documentum sent by buying Bulldog was that digital asset management is one component of a large content management strategy. At present I can't price this market independently, but I can tell you that over the next couple of years, most of the DAM players will either be bought or a lot of the content management players will build out their own capability. So the market will shrink, but it'll be subsumed by the larger content management market.

With that in mind, what advice would you give to a CIO who is thinking about implementing a DAM system?
Enterprises should understand that this is a volatile market. Gartner is cautioning against selecting a DAM vendor because a lot of them are going to be acquired by larger content management players or by Web content management players.

That said, the first thing that I think any enterprise should do is assign a content strategist role to someone who will review the existing backlog of media assets, and start to catalog them and consider their potential for further dissemination. The most important thing is the cataloguing, creating a tagging structure for the metadata. I recommend enterprises start doing that now, do an inventory management, because you've got a little bit of downtime right now.

So because of the downturn and the lack of new projects, now's a good time to get your ducks in a row?
Yes. I think a lot of IT shops are reviewing contracts, looking for cost recovery, doing some ROI calculations, trying to eliminate a large number of moving parts, and at the same time they should be doing some strategy work in reviewing what the prospects are for using their existing assets. Since they have a little bit of time, if they've not yet focused on strategy and process, if they haven't assigned a content strategy role, and if they haven't started to catalog their assets, now's the time to decide that.