After listening to a recent webinar, I recall a few people asking me where they could find some Digital Asset Management (DAM) Integrators and implementors. You can find a few lists for DAM vendors (175+), including ratings, functionalities and other various offerings. However, when it comes to finding a matrix of all DAM vendors match up with X number of implementors and Y number of Integrators who can work well together, the search results happen to be ZERO (at least at the time this blog post was written). This could be be a dynamic matrix available online since there are many choices to mix and match. To some organizations, this may be like pairing apples, berries and oranges depending partly on technologies, but in the end you still want a good fruit salad (a bunch of systems working well together as prescribed).
There are often a bunch of choices, but not clearly nor easily found. Some organizations limit those choices based on location (close proximity) or culture (part of that fit) rather than simply budget alone. Creating such as a list or matrix would require a fair amount of collaboration and transparency across vendors, both large and small. While some in the DAM space are interested in their users ability to collaborate on projects within systems, it would great to see them work together in a more transparent manner. Time will tell if that will happen, just like the call for a comprehensive DAM Glossary across the DAM market. It will likely start as another list of players (vendors, implementors and integrators) who are paid to be listed as they are sometimes are (this is called “pay to play”).
Maybe someone will make this list/matrix freely available to everyone to help the DAM community connect more easily and help the DAM market grow faster than 30% a year.
Until such a comprehensive list or matrix exists, you will still need to prioritize what will happen in each phase of your DAM solution without restricting next functions/requests/uses in future phases:
Many times, your best move is:
1. Pick the DAM vendor from a short list of DAM vendors which have systems that fit your organization's business, creative and technical needs. Ask to speak to each of their current DAM customers. Keep in mind your:
- People: buy-in from potential users, if you actually want user adoption. It is not just about the business or technical perspective.
- Processes: workflows today and future theoretical workflows in writing (part of an organization's internal research that should happen first)
- Technology: basic (which often starts as folder structures and file naming conventions) to overcomplicated technology (which are rarely adaptable, functional, interoperable, scalable and user friendly, all at the same time. These could involve sets of not-so-stable, merged legacy systems and/or complete silos).
- Information: most forgotten part of the DAM which enables search. Your DAM is only as good as its metadata. Does your metadata enable the needed search results?
2. Implementation: Ask those short listed vendors for recommended implementors (some vendors can implement their own systems while others do not, by choice). Be sure they can meet your needs, timeline and budget. Vet them as well and ask to speak with a few of their existing or previous clients.
3. Integration: Figure what other systems are going to be integrating with the DAM. Be sure the API or Web services for integration is both available and clearly documented by the vendors in question with an SDK. If documentation is not readily available (or outdated), expect delays on figuring out what is specifically needed, measurable, acceptable, actionable, realistic, time-based and thoroughly tested. If you do not vet your integrator, you could be the guinea pig client. Ask to speak with a few of their existing or previous clients.
If you need help with this, ask a vendor neutral DAM consultant. This way, you will get unbiased advice and they will not try to fit your square pegs (your existing needs) in round holes (sometimes called “preferred“ vendors).
Where is your list of Digital Asset Management Integrators and Implementors?