We had an opportunity to talk with Brian Ahearn, CEO of evolphin Software, so that we could discuss some of the challenges the company is finding in the DAM space and how its solution is able to help people work through and solve those problems. We asked him how the DAM space is changing for individuals and corporations and what people can do to make sure they stay ahead of the curve. We also try to figure out whether evolphin truly has created a revolution in asset versioning and workflow and what sort of impact this technology will have on the industry.
DAM Coalition: Tell us about the formation and evolution of evolphin and Zoom. How long have you been around?
Brian Ahearn: My business partner, Rahul Bhargava, founded evolphin in 2007. When I joined Rahul in October of last year as CEO, I was excited – Rahul is the innovation behind evolphin. Now, a lot of companies call themselves “innovative,” but what makes evolphin truly innovative is that we drew from multiple disciplines outside of our “sweet spot” to create a comprehensive DAM solution. We didn’t focus on just one aspect of the creative process – but on all of it. Therefore, Zoom, as a digital asset management and workflow system, formed out of twenty years of experience in enterprise infrastructure and distributed architectures, database management and communication, deduplication, and interoperability, among other things. You could say that we were creative in solving the creative process.
What sort of capabilities does Zoom possess? Can you give some examples?
Zoom in a fully functional DAM and Workflow solution that integrates tightly with the desktop environment; the consistent look and feel throughout works the way the creatives want to work. The solution delivers all of the traditional DAM functions, but exceeds competitive solutions with features like Zoom Analytics. Analytics provide real-time insights into the creative process enabling project managers and creative directors to better manage their projects. Data about project duration, tasks, resources, and asset iterations are available at the touch of a button providing deep visibility into the progress being made. This level of visibility is critical to the on time, on cost delivery of key projects.
Out of the box, Zoom Workflow is completely integrated with Zoom DAM. This is unique among competitive solutions and provides iterative task routing, version control and digital asset management from within one common system. The level of integration coupled with the uniform interface is the foundation necessary to deliver the type of intelligence and automation necessary to streamline and maximize the efficiency of the creative process.
How does Zoom compare with other similar products out there? What makes it different?
DAM is a crowded space. Our integrated approach is certainly a differentiator, but the way that we apply the technology also differentiates us from our competitors. Zoom evolved from a database project into a massively scalable and highly performant solution designed to manage unstructured data. Zoom software enables the production, management, distribution, and retention of rich media assets that includes images, graphics, audio, and video; we focus specifically on the end-to-end creative process. Interestingly, while the creative process is core to an agency’s business, so too are systems like CRM, Finance and HR. Another key differentiator is our platform of 350 API’s enabling Zoom to integrate with virtually any enterprise application.
Zoom is the operating system for creatives because it takes away the operational issues and problems that plague the creative process.
If someone is looking to freshly install a DAM system, what sort of benefits does Zoom offer, both from a competitor standpoint and in terms of necessity?
Executives often overlook the hundreds of thousands of dollars potentially saved as a result of reducing the time and labor which employees spend outside of creative tasks. Also overlooked are the commercial benefits delivered through reduced IT costs, active stakeholder involvement and a faster time to market. The Zoom solution brings order to the chaos. During DAM implementation, assets are consolidated, repositories are standardized, processes and procedures are put in place and by leveraging Zoom workflow, manual intervention is replaced with streamlined automation. What this does is drive an increase in productivity because each stakeholder is now able to complete his or her respective tasks in a consistent, repeatable and coordinated manner.
Out of the box integration is important again. Competitive solutions require on site integration services, and as a result some estimates suggest that the implementation services can be as much as three times the software license fees. The fact that the solution is already fully integrated means less cost. It also means that a customer can have a solution up and running within a matter of hours.
If someone is already using a different system and wants to explore moving away from it, what sort of advice would you give them in general and specifically?
My first question would be why? My second would be “what do you need a system to do that your current system does not”? DAM drives productivity improvements and delivers commercial benefits from reduced IT costs, active stakeholder involvement and a faster time to market. If the current solution is growing the cost base and even worse, driving productivity down, then it inhibits the business and needs to be replaced. Consider as well that any solution must work the way that a creative works. Implementing a solution that forces the creative teams into a completely different way of working will ultimately fail.
When DAM is strategically implemented, the whole value chain can visually access, manage, edit, share, reuse, version, distribute, and archive assets reliably and consistently. Companies maximize their DAM ROI when technologies and processes enable all stakeholders to complete their tasks efficiently. When this is not the case your business depends on hope and hope is not a strategy.
What kind of learning curve is there for Zoom?
The learning curve for Zoom is minimal. The pre-integrated nature of the solution means that it can be installed and configured within hours and available to the users shortly after that. Training is necessary and is provided by video or face-to-face. In our experience, most users become proficient after one to two days of using the system. This means that the ROI of the tool is observed almost immediately.
How do you see Zoom impacting the industry?
The industry is changing. Business is global and highly competitive. Creatives are not office bound. Digital files are larger and more numerous. Users want outcomes instantly. Manual intervention proves expensive and stakeholders, including end customers, want to engage throughout the process. Zoom eliminates the prevalent issues in the creative process, and also provides features and functions to meet the demands of an industry going through such rapid change.
The Zoom solution is simple, agile and meets the most demanding requirements. The days of heavyweight solutions requiring lots of integration, configuration and setup are gone. Zoom is pioneering a simple, yet effective digital asset management system that will stand up to the scrutiny of any competitive product offering. Zoom will change the industry because it directly addresses the wants and needs of the creative professional.
What sort of developments are you working on for future versions and products?
We have numerous exciting product developments in the pipeline, including federated search capabilities, personalization, and user customizable analytics. These new features will not only contribute to ease of use, but will also continue to maximize the ROI of implementing Zoom. We invest in our product development process and concentrate on addressing the needs of our customers. We strive to stay at the forefront of our industry. Upcoming releases will include capabilities not provided by our competitors but most importantly, capabilities that change the way businesses operate.