One Key Requirement for Selecting the Right DAM Solution

Selecting the right digital asset management software is a complex decision whether you are choosing your first DAM solution or replacing a solution that no longer meets your needs. One key step in the selection process is to develop a use case that describes how you will need to use the new DAM solution.

The use case concept originated in the fields of software development and information system engineering, and use cases provide the basis for defining the functional requirements for a software application or information system. Therefore, they play a vital role in the technology selection process.

A well-prepared use case for a DAM solution will contain a significant amount of detail, but at the most basic level, it will answer three questions:

  • What kinds of content assets will the DAM solution be used to manage? 
  • Who will need to access and use the DAM solution? 
  • What activities or tasks will the DAM solution be used to perform?

 

Your answers to these questions will provide many of the essential criteria for evaluating prospective DAM solutions.

Every enterprise that is considering a new DAM solution should develop detailed use case scenarios based on its particular business needs and operations. However, Forrester Research has provided a good starting point. In Market Overview:  Digital Asset Management, 2014, Forrester contends that most commercial DAM solutions are designed to support one or more of six major use cases:

  • Creative group production—In this use case scenario, the DAM solution primarily supports creative professionals who are engaged in the creation of digital content assets. DAM solutions for this use case will focus mainly on creative development and print production processes.
  • High-end production—In the Forrester model, this use case refers to the development and production of high-quality video content. Therefore, until recently, this use case was primarily found in rich media industries such as media/entertainment and broadcast media. As online video content becomes a more important part of the marketing mix, we will likely see a variation of this use case in other types of enterprises.
  •  Publishing—This is one of the original use cases for digital asset management and is primarily found in industries like news, magazine, and book publishing. Forrester says that because of the specific needs of these industries, many suppliers of DAM solutions have focused heavily or exclusively on this use case.
  • Departmental marketing groups—This use case encompasses the management of “marketing assets” by small or mid-size marketing departments, groups, or teams. 
  • Enterprise marketing and customer experience—In Forrester’s taxonomy, this use case refers to organizations that have more than $1 billion in revenues and need a global DAM solution to manage all customer-facing rich content. The requirements for this use case will be significantly greater that those involved in the “departmental marketing groups” use case. Therefore, the DAM solutions that support this use case will typically provide robust capabilities for the management of rich media content in complex environments. These capabilities normally include advanced workflow/business process automation, content localization, and support for multilingual marketing.
  • General purpose, line-of-business support—This use case applies to organizations that want to use a DAM solution to store both customer-facing content resources and resources that are intended for internal audiences, such as sales enablement or support materials.

Creating detailed use cases requires some time and effort, but they can help you make better decisions regarding which DAM solution is right for your business.

Technical Presentations from ADAM Sync! Now Available

This spring, ADAM hosted our conference (what we’re now calling Sync!) for our existing customers, business partners, and potential customers. These conferences are designed to showcase how large enterprises are leveraging technology and best practices to drive improved marketing performance. Over the years, our conference has grown significantly. In 2014, we held the conference in multiple locations – Brussels, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago – and altogether we had more than 300 attendees.

This year’s general conference sessions featured speakers from Forrester Research, Teradata, Sitecore, Philips, Adidas, Meyer Corporation, GP Strategies, and Ubisoft. In addition to these sessions, Sync! 2014 also included several technical presentations relating to the latest releases of ADAM’s software solutions. These technical presentations were well-received, and several attendees asked if we could make the presentations available in a more “durable” format.

In response to these requests, we recently conducted two webinars that were based on the Sync! 2014 technical presentations, and recordings of those webinars are now available.

One webinar described the new features and capabilities provided by ADAM 5 and the ADAM Workflow and Collaboration application studios, including:

  • How to use “spaces” and “facets” to make finding and accessing content resources easier
  • How to use “collections” to organize and share content resources
  • How external marketing agencies can work in your ADAM environment
  • How to design and implement content approval workflows

You can view a recording of this webinar here.

The second webinar focused on the features and capabilities provided by ADAM Products 4.0, including:

  • How to use “widgets” to customize the Products user interface
  • How to use “panels” to control the display of product information
  • How to use “collections” to organize product information
  • How ADAM Products works with other ADAM application studios
  • How to use Products to manage the localization of product-related content

You can view a recording of this webinar here.

How Komatsu Leverages Product Content Management to Support Distributors, Dealers, and Equipment Owners

In an earlier post, I wrote that delivering outstanding customer experiences has become a vital source of competitive advantage for most kinds of enterprises. In that post, I also discussed the critical role that product content plays in providing the kind of “shopping” experiences that today’s consumers and business buyers have come to expect.

As marketers, we have a tendency to focus on the importance of providing great experiences to potential customers to drive new customer acquisition. It’s important to remember, however, that providing outstanding experiences to existing customers can be even more important. This is particularly true for B2B companies that sell expensive or complex products or services that require ongoing maintenance or technical support. For example, enterprises that sell expensive industrial machinery must be especially concerned about providing their customers good experiences when it comes to maintenance and support issues.

ADAM recently hosted a webinar that explored how a manufacturer of heavy equipment used technology to provide its customers, distributors, and dealers a rich, efficient, and user-friendly way to search for and buy replacement parts and access other maintenance-related information.

The webinar was presented by Jo Geeraerts, a Practice Manager at Ordina (https://www.ordina.nl/), a long-time ADAM partner. The webinar presentation described a recent project that Ordina performed for Komatsu, the Japanese manufacturer of heavy equipment for the construction, mining, and forestry industries.

Komatsu’s European Parts Distribution Center is responsible for managing the sale, distribution, and logistics pertaining to 1.8 million distinct replacement parts for its equipment. The Center serves distributors and dealers located in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and ships products to approximately 65 countries.

Prior to the project described in the webinar, Komatsu’s Parts Center faced several significant issues:

  • Komatsu provided a portal site that was only accessible to the company’s distributors and dealers. The replacement parts operation did not provide direct access to equipment owners.
  • “Parts books” were provided to distributors and dealers via a CD, not online.
  • Parts, service, and warranty information was contained in several non-connected information systems.
  • No photographic images were used for many parts.
  • The Parts Center was required to operate a large call center to process orders of replacement parts and resolve issues pertaining to parts orders.

Using the ADAM software platform, Ordina designed a solution for Komatsu that involved the development of a single rich and user-friendly online portal that serves Komatsu’s distributors, dealers, and equipment owners. Jo Geeraerts’ webinar presentation describes the particulars of the solution and the significant benefits it is delivering for Komatsu.

This webinar provides a wealth of important information, and you can view a recording of the webinar here.

Is DAM Still Necessary?

End of last year, CMSWire published several articles discussing whether there is still a need for dedicated, “full-featured” digital asset management systems. In case you missed some or all of these articles, below are the links (with apologies in case I inadvertently omitted any):

Given the backgrounds of the authors, it isn’t surprising that this “debate” was very one-sided. Of these ten articles, only three raised any real questions about the continuing need for a robust DAM system.

Laurence Hart argued that a good content management system (as opposed to a “pure-play” DAM system) can provide the asset management capabilities that many enterprises require.

Narwesh Sarwan and Ralph Windsor acknowledge that there is still a strong and growing need for “digital asset management” capabilities. However, they both argue that the DAM solutions currently available are vulnerable to attack from a range of competitors who may decide to add selected DAM functionality to their solutions.

As most readers of this blog probably know, digital asset management is one of the core marketing technologies that ADAM Software provides. Therefore, we spend a considerable amount of time thinking about how digital asset management is evolving.

We agree with many of the points made in the articles listed above. For example, the volume and variety of digital content assets that enterprises must create and manage is exploding, largely because of the proliferation of digital marketing communications channels and the growing need to customize marketing messages in order to make them relevant to customers and prospects. With the number of digital content assets growing dramatically, the need for effective digital asset management has never been greater.

We also believe that DAM systems will only provide maximum value if they are integrated with other marketing technology tools such as web content management systems, product information management systems, and campaign management systems. Therefore, DAM systems are best seen as a foundational component of an enterprise’s overall marketing technology ecosystem.

Forrester Names ADAM Software a “Strong Performer” in Product Information Management

Forrester Research, Inc. recently identified ADAM Software as a “strong performer” in the product information management (PIM) category of marketing technology solutions. The Forrester Wave™:  Product Information Management (PIM), Q2 2014 report is based on an in-depth, multi-faceted evaluation of ten providers of product information management software solutions.

To be included in the Forrester PIM report, solution providers had to meet five core criteria:

  • They must have an established enterprise PIM offering.
  • They must provide a standalone PIM offering.
  • They must have a focused roadmap for PIM.
  • They must have current mindshare in the Forrester client base.
  • They must focus on retail, distribution, CPG, and manufacturing verticals.

Forrester noted that detailed product content is now a critical “differentiator” when it comes to providing outstanding customer experiences. The Forrester report states:

“As consumers spend more time researching product purchases online, the importance of high-quality product content becomes paramount for retailers, manufacturers, CPG firms, and distributors alike. In fact, retailers are prioritizing the enhancement of online product content above other merchandising initiatives including personalization, product recommendations, and A/B testing.”

Forrester identified five factors that are driving an increased interest in robust product information management solutions:

  • The need to have a single view of trusted customer-facing product information
  • The need to reduce time-to-market for new product launches
  • The need to support expanded product offerings
  • The need to support demanding channel distribution partners
  • The need to provide rich and consistent omni-channel customer experiences

In designating ADAM as a strong performer in PIM, Forrester noted that ADAM builds on its history as a provider of digital asset management software and leverages that strength to support catalog and e-commerce objectives. Forrester also observed that according to its customers, ADAM provides a superior user interface to move back and forth between PIM and DAM. The Forrester report concluded by saying:

“Overall, ADAM Software’s PIM strength is the ability to support the preparation of product information at the point of engagement with customers with little to no support from technology management, making it a true business solution, not just a data management solution.”

At ADAM, we’re gratified that Forrester has recognized the strength of our commitment to effective product content management and the quality of our PCM solution.

DAM or MRM – Which Solution is Right for Your Business?

Over the past two decades, the number and variety of marketing software applications have exploded. The proliferation of marketing applications has created a complex marketing technology landscape that can be confusing to enterprise marketing and IT leaders. Each software vendor determines what specific features and capabilities will be included in its applications and how those applications will be categorized. Therefore, the boundaries between application categories are often blurred, and as a result, several types of marketing applications can appear to provide the same (or very similar) capabilities.

Digital asset management (DAM) applications and marketing resource management (MRM) applications illustrate the lack of clear boundaries between software categories because they provide several capabilities that can appear to be quite similar. For example, both DAM and MRM applications typically provide a repository for digital content assets and enable enterprises to automate some content-related workflows.

To determine whether your company needs a DAM solution or an MRM solution (or both), the first step is to understand what capabilities each of these applications typically provide and how they differ. Two respected industry authorities have given us a good starting point for this analysis.

Digital Asset Management

Elizabeth Keathley, author of Digital Asset Management:  Content Architectures, Project Management, and Creating Order Out of Media Chaos, recently wrote an article for the DAM Foundation identifying ten characteristics that define a true digital asset management solution.

  1. The ability to generate a unique identification code for each ingested content asset
  2. The ability to design, execute, and monitor workflows pertaining to digital content assets
  3. The ability to store, track, and recall multiple versions of the same content asset
  4. The ability to create metadata fields or categories describing digital content assets
  5. The ability to define and use a robust taxonomy for digital content assets
  6. The ability to index content assets and search for assets using metadata fields
  7. Methods by which content assets can be shared and/or linked
  8. The ability to perform actions (such as uploading, downloading, etc.) on groups or “batches” of content assets
  9. The ability to ingest, store, and render a broad range of digital file formats
  10. The ability to have different user types with differing access rights and permissions

Marketing Resource Management

Research firm Gartner Inc. publishes a “Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Management” in which the firm evaluates MRM vendors based on their ability to support five MRM capabilities. By Gartner’s criteria, MRM applications will enable companies to:

  1. Plan and allocate resources for marketing activities and programs
  2. Create and develop marketing programs and content (including creative production and project management)
  3. Collect and manage content and knowledge (including digital asset and knowledge management)
  4. Fulfill and distribute marketing assets and collateral documents
  5. Measure, analyze, and optimize marketing resources

 

Why You Probably Need Both

As these criteria indicate, MRM solutions are, in some respects at least, “broader” than DAM solutions. For example, MRM solutions typically include capabilities that support planning and budgeting for marketing activities and programs. MRM solutions also typically include some capabilities for managing digital content assets, but it’s important to understand that the digital asset management component of an MRM solution may lack some of the robust features and capabilities that are found in a true enterprise-class DAM solution.

In our experience, most large enterprises need both an MRM solution and an enterprise-class DAM solution to fully meet their needs.

 

Survey Shows Content Localization Needs More Attention

In a 2011 survey by the Chief Marketing Officer Council, 86% of marketers said they intend to look for ways to better localize their marketing content. The driving force behind this commitment to improved local marketing is the need to make marketing messages more relevant and to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

For enterprises that compete internationally, one critical component of localization is delivering content in the primary languages of multiple target audiences. Several research studies have confirmed the importance of providing marketing content in the primary language of prospects and customers.

For example, in a 2011 survey conducted by The Gallup Organization, nine out of ten European Internet users said that, when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language. In the same survey, 42% of Internet users said they never purchase products or services in any language but their own.

Global enterprises have been localizing some marketing content for decades, but several factors now make content localization a more complex and formidable challenge.

  • Faster globalizationThe constant need for growth has accelerated the pace of globalization. For many enterprises, the most attractive growth opportunities are found in new and emerging markets. As companies enter new international markets more frequently, content localization becomes more complex.
  • Channel proliferation Digital technologies have created marketing channels that didn’t exist only a few years ago, and companies must be prepared to deliver marketing content via numerous communication channels. This dramatically increases the amount of marketing content that must be localized.
  • Heightened buyer expectations A growing number of both consumers and business buyers now expect to find fresh and current marketing content in their primary language. The need to keep marketing content current requires shorter localization cycle times and places additional demands on the people and processes responsible for localization.

Given the increased focus on content localization, the findings of a recent survey by Cloudwords were somewhat surprising. For this survey, Cloudwords polled nearly 500 participants at the recent Content Marketing World event. Here are some of the more interesting findings.

  • 60% of respondents said they lack a strategy for multilingual content marketing.
  • 69% of respondents said they don’t have an accurate picture of how much they are currently spending on content translation.
  • According to survey respondents, the top three challenges to more content localization are (a) the high cost of translation and other localization services, (b) the time required for translation and localization, and (c) the need for consistent global brand messaging.

If nothing else, the Cloudwords survey demonstrates that content localization needs more attention in many enterprises.