When considering a DAM SaaS model, service providers need to determine whether they will make, buy, or partner with a vendor for this offering. In any case, working with a vendor well-versed in delivering DAM as a service is an important factor. There are both technology and business considerations that an experienced partner can offer, such as understanding the details of managing a hosting center, as well as software and infrastructure issues. As the driving force, the hosted software itself needs to be a scalable, high up-time application and operating environment.
There are important technical considerations you will want to explore. When hosting software, it is far more economical to host multiple customers on one system. This “multi-tenant” model benefits both the service provider and the customer. As the ‘vendor,’ the service provider is able to easily manage one system (OS and database updates, software upgrades, etc) with a single resource while serving many customers at the same time. The benefit to the service provider is minimum impact on the organization and higher margins; the benefit to the customer is more favorable pricing and faster deployment. The multi-tenant model only works, however, when the DAM software is designed from the ground up to support such a model. Otherwise, multiple instances of the software are required, which increases operational cost, overhead, and complexity.
Security is absolutely critical in setting up a DAM service. Each client “domain” needs to be cleanly separated from others. And within a client organization, the security model needs to support a wide range of users, roles, privileges and asset permission. For large companies, literally thousands of users within a single client organization could need access to the digital repository and workflow processes, from internal MarCom contributors to designers, print houses, and even external teams like sales or retailers. It’s essential that the DAM system be equipped with an access control system that can easily manage any size group of users, with very granular, yet manageable, controls for roles, privileges and permissions on assets. This ensures that access and functions match the participant’s role, and the whole security model can be administered easily by a single person.
User Interfaces must be easy to use. Because there is a diverse range of non-technical people who contribute to the digital media supply chain, a successful DAM service must be useable with little or no training, and with clear and complete online help.
Open standards is a critical consideration for media service providers delivering specialized solutions. The DAM system must support customized workflows or readily integrate with other systems or tools as part of the solution. A DAM designed from the ground up with a services oriented architecture (SOA) and open standards is critical for supporting rapid development of applications that support the business user’s workflow.