Getting Real: The True Hidden Costs of a DAM

Part 2 of 2

In part 1 of exploring hidden costs of a DAM, I covered some basic thoughts on where hidden costs may be. However, there are more areas to explore of where hidden costs might be loitering. So, let’s continue by going a bit deeper into some other areas far too often over looked.

– Project Management: Another area all to often overlooked, and is especially important in larger implementations is managing the DAM Project from the start. This could be the resident DAM Expert. However someone, either you or the vendor, is providing this during discovery, implementation, testing, and rollout phases. Make sure you account for it!

Note that while most of these costs are the financial costs, there are other “costs” in terms of risk, time, and effort, and need to be balanced and traded off. For example, if customization or additional features are required, what is the risk that it will be completed on time and fit the needs of your organization? This cost needs to be weighed from a risk perspective, and may lead you to trade off functionality or other areas of cost or approach other vendors who provide lower risk.
Also note that these costs vary from solution provider to solution provider and it’s important in your selection process to get as close to an “apples to apples” comparison, and then discuss, weigh, trade-off the costs, risks, rewards in your decision making process.

– Technical Infrastructure (Networking, Storage, Bandwidth): While these may seem obvious, you will pay for it in one form or another. The caveat with this is that it can vary greatly, depending largely on scale of system, number & size of assets (storage), type of assets (bandwidth – video and large graphics files will be expensive to move around), and processing required (Are you doing a lot of video file format conversions? It may require more compute power).

“Choosing a fully hosted (Cloud) SaaS solution can save substantial amounts of money compared to physical hardware that’s prone to planned obsolescence. Because SaaS is fully hosted, it is isolated from your own internal hardware, and does not ever need to interfere with (or add to) the complexity of your existing infrastructure.

CleanPix has built a reliable system by developing software that is designed from the ground up specifically for the Cloud. By choosing SaaS, you open yourself to some key innovations that are only available from the Cloud, like high-speed content distribution networks (CDNs).

CDNs provide very efficient data delivery to users worldwide, even for the large files, such as video. In particular with CleanPix, driving files into action is paramount as our focus is on delivery rather than simply storage. CDN technology and its Cloud computing sibling fits this paradigm to a ‘T’. CDN technology allows us to make sure you are getting the Right Files, in the Right Format, Right Now where you need them to be.” Nelson Vigneault.

– Installation & Configuration: This can include initial metadata definition, user interface branding, configuration, and other configuration costs. There may also be costs for building out support for your specific workflows if the system supports automated workflows or rules. The biggest overlooked area in this category is the cost of the metadata definition work that MUST be done prior to implementation or configuration. That may involve hiring external experts who can help you discover, determine and structure a metadata model appropriate for your use cases. Because I am a stickler about metadata, please keep in mind that you’ll need a solution that can evolve the metadata model – IT IS A LIVING STRUCTURE that changes over time as your business evolves and potentially use of your DAM changes.

– Customization & Integration: Most organizations have specific customization needs. It is common for larger organizations to want some sort of integration with their “corporate system”, typically a security system like LDAP, Active Directory or a single sign-on service or possibly other ERP or marketing automation systems. And the true hidden cost question: Who will maintain the customization (and at what is that cost)? Does it get rolled into the base product or not? What happens with upgrades to the base product? Do you have to pay to move it forward and keep it compatible? Does the system need to integrate with any other systems you have or is it another silo? Some DAM implementations have to talk to a variety of other solutions, from creative tools and video editing suites to security/authentication systems, to CMSs, to ERP and billing systems. Can the system integrate? What is the cost to integrate? What is the ongoing cost to maintain those integrations? Who will do the initial integration and who will maintain it?

– Migration:Are you moving from an existing system or systems? Or what is the cost to convert, prepare or ready content for movement into the new DAM system? This can be a one-time cost and varies depending on the complexity of the existing and desired metadata models and the volume of existing assets or files. Video can take a lot of time to prepare and may need to be staged over a period of time.

– Maintenance & Technical Support: There are two kinds of support & maintenance: 1. vendor provided and 2. internal (your organizations help desk or IT folks or even your DAM Expert). Cost depends on the size of your organization and complexity of the technical implementation. On the vendor side, it can be included in the annual maintenance but there are often levels of support and quality of service agreements (basic; 24x7x365; on site, etc.). Internal cannot be over looked. Some organizations typically have a help desk that handles a range of application questions. With DAM this service can be augmented by both an online help system that is often included in the DAM product, or instructional assets such as video, audio, PowerPoint presentations and Flash animations, that are developed and deliberately stored in the DAM to facilitate training and ongoing learning and help. This is a best practice of many successful digital asset management implementations.

So, back to our main question: “How Much Does a DAM Cost?” It is a great and deep question and it deserves a full consideration of ALL the costs. Discover more about hidden costs of a DAM and the right solution for your organization at Createasphere’s upcoming Digital Asset Management Conference, where experts like Nelson Vigneault of CleanPix will be on hand to help you discover the right solution for you.

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