Over two years ago, I wrote this piece about digital asset management vendors MediaBeacon and North Plains, saying they were almost always mentioned in the same sentence in DAM industry discussions. But that's changed. For better or worse, one vendor has radically grown its toolset and re-cast its approach to the market. The other has maintained the status quo, sticking to focus on one core DAM product and leadership team.
If you follow this market, you know that the former vendor I describe is North Plains, while the latter is MediaBeacon. North Plains looks a lot more like ECM suite vendor Open Text these days than it does MediaBeacon. Since 2011, North Plains' acquired several tools - most prominently, Xinet and VYRE - with the goal of fulfilling a broader DAM ecosystem need. The company also wiped and replaced the management team, took on investment, and grew the services team -- making the former North Plains look like a pale shadow of its current self.
MediaBeacon, meanwhile, has the same management team, and has focused on extending the feature set of its core product (R3volution) via internal product development rather than acquisition. Despite the expansion of their own services group since 2011, one that by customer accounts still struggles to keep up with the product's tremendous adoption rate, the company has few and somewhat inconsistent relationships with large integrators.
Customers point out that these days North Plains acts like a big public company even though they're not (though it clearly seems to be an aspiration); MediaBeacon seemingly still want to maintain the culture of "fun" people working in the CTO's garage (despite the expanding and spiffy new Minneapolis office).
Is one vendor or toolset better than the other? It depends on what selection criteria matter more to you. We give one vendor substantially higher ratings for integration capability and standards adherence, but we give the other much stronger marks for corporate strategy, roadmap, and customer service.
Curious how the two compare across several dozen criteria? It's all in our complete, 500+ page Brand & Digital Asset Management research.