THE ABCs OF DAM
Here's what Digital Asset Management (DAM) really means, and how your shop can find its place in it.
by Susan Friedman, Editor
When it comes to pursuing Digital Asset Management (DAM), the challenge for our industry is two-fold: Converters and trade shops must first determine their place in the overall image-management scheme, and then sort out which DAM solution best suits their operations.
A good no-frills definition of DAM, from consultants Cognizant Technology Solutions, pegs it as "the archival, retrieval, tracking, manipulation, re-purposing, interaction with, and transaction of all types of digital media."
DAM architectures and interfaces provide valuable controls for the issues of digital asset ownership, production workflow, version tracking, and image access. "It's really a process improvement tool involving the elements of software, consulting, and customer workflow," explains Paul Foszcz, director of sales at InterchangeDigital, a provider of DAM and workflow solutions to consumer products and pharmaceutical markets.
But DAM is more than a route to production efficiency, or a vehicle for generating new business with re-purposed images. It is emerging as a pivotal component in establishing solid, long-term customer relationships. According to Lee Stocking, marketing director for Kodak Polychrome Graphics Marketing and Branding Services, DAM provides a competitive advantage by positioning the user as a better marketing provider to its business partners.
Todd Eckler, VP at solutions provider North Plains Systems, describes DAM as "an important hook in staying engaged with customers." But at what angle should it be approached?
Is DAM a fit for your operation?
First, it should be determined if image volume is high enough to merit setting up a DAM system in the first place. Next, a shop must zero in on the best technology solution. Among the considerations: A workgroup (which typically links one department) or enterprise (which typically links multiple departments or divisions) system? A system that interfaces with an internal database, or is powered exclusively by a Web server? An off-the-shelf or a custom-designed system?