Many of our customers -- especially those who have invested in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platforms from vendors such as EMC and Oracle -- ask us if they can use DAM offerings from these vendors for their Digital Asset Management initiatives. As always, the answer is: It depends.
In general, there are three types of DAM systems within an ECM suite:
- Where you use the general-purpose file management capabilities for your digital assets. SharePoint and Alfresco work this way.
- Where the vendor has layered DAM services on top of their ECM repository. EMC and Oracle do this.
- Where the ECM vendor has a completely separate DAM tool with its own distinct repository and workflow subsystem (essentially not using the underlying ECM platform). OpenText and HP do this.
When should you use ECM-specific DAM services?
There are many advantages of using a general-purpose ECM platforms in categories one and two above. Some of these are good underlying services that an ECM repository provides, such as:
- Metadata handling, taxonomy and related capabilities
- Security infrastructure
- Ability to create more complex business processes and workflows
- Relatively more scalable in terms of handling large number of objects as well as in terms of deployment options
Besides these, an important advantage you get is the ability to use DAM in conjunction with other capabilities. This is handy, for example, when you want to manage digital assets along with documents or want to surface digital assets on same vendor’s Portal or WCM tool.
When should you look beyond ECM platforms?
In spite of what ECM vendors might say, managing audio and video assets is not same as managing documents. There are challenges related to file sizes, the nature of the files, and even use cases. So, If you are not already invested in an ECM tool, you will want to look at a broader marketplace, especially if you have some of the following requirements:
- You want a stand-alone DAM offering
- Your DAM solution need to integrate with a wider list of enterprise systems
- You don’t want to just manage images but also want to manage audio and video assets
- You need sophisticated DAM capabilities for these assets. These include capabilities for media processing, DAM and Media Asset Management-specific collaboration and workflows, and more advanced encoding and transcoding capabilities.
Need more details?
In a forthcoming advisory paper, we will explain these and other issues in more details. Plus in our Digital and Media Asset Management report, we're expanding our reviews of ECM vendors’ DAM offerings.
Meanwhile, you can download a sample here or let us know if we can help.