Because Digital & Media Asset Management involves giant, typically high-resolution files, SaaS-based DAM has not historically offered a compelling proposition. The idea of waiting for a 2 GB gigabyte video file to download from a faraway server was enough to put us all to sleep. Your video producers or creative designers would prefer to have that big file on the hunky desktop machine under their drafting table - or at least on a powerful server in the same building.
Vendors Work on Speed
Still, more of you have been asking us about SaaS DAM, despite your (quite reasonable) skepticism. Vendors have worked to improve performance as well, by turning to Amazon Web Services or re-selling high-speed file transfer applications like IBM's Aspera to try to get you that file more quickly, or at least, store it or push it somwehere a bit closer to you. Note however that Aspera locks you into a proprietary file transfer protocol called "fasp" -- perhaps not necessarily the best approach for simply getting your files from point A to point B.
Still, SaaS has become more viable, so let's have a look at two key players.
Widen vs. NetXposure
Two SaaS vendors that tend to come up most in discussions with our subscribers are Widen and NetXposure. We recently added NetX to our DAM research, so now you can use our use case scenario and technical feature ratings to compare these two head-to-head.
What are some of the differences between these two vendors and their tools?
-- Widen is a larger company, with perhaps a bit more "polish"
-- NetX has more geek cred, and is a more open system -- thus more customizable and extensible. Widen has come later to the notion of offering an API and broad integration capabilities
-- Widen stopped doing their own hosting in Wisconsin, USA several years ago, and turned to AWS to get that file to you faster; NetX still primarily does their own hosting (though they'll set you up with AWS, if you prefer)
-- Both vendors tend to have pretty happy customers, who feel they get responsive and knowledgeable customer service -- in contrast to the still-overwhelmed DAM service teams of MediaBeacon, OpenText, and HP
-- NetX integrates with Akamai rather than Aspera for integrated file transfer, and unlike Widen, also offers an on-premise option