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Why there's nothing typical about an Imagen install

By: Lydia Bird

The concept of a standardised or ‘typical’ media asset management (MAM) install has a swirl of positive and negative connotations around it, but all is not as it seems. For example, ‘typical installs’ of a MAM are sometimes viewed as being less desirable than bespoke, in house creations. But this is not always the case. By creating entirely bespoke MAM solutions in house, enterprises take on a host of ongoing requirements that are not always obvious at the outset.

Hidden requirements of a bespoke build

Some of these challenges are common to all internal development projects, such as the need to maintain the codebase to manage changes in external dependencies (such as social network API variations, CDN configuration changes, or format delivery requests). That management also needs to include processes to deal with reported vulnerabilities in the MAM, not only those created by the project itself, but also those inherited by any code repositories that were used as part of it.

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This ongoing maintenance requires resource and can snowball into significant cost in the event of unforeseen complications. In short, there is a lot to be said for a more ‘standardised’ install.

However, the need to customise as much as possible for different enterprise needs, verticals and scenarios means that rarely do any two installs remain identical. For example, while the underlying Imagen platform can be spun up in cloud-based virtual machines in a matter of hours, the user requirements and custom workflows can take significantly longer to provision and test.

The power of editable themes

However, the real power of the Imagen platform is that even from a ‘stock’ base install, a powerful set of content management tools allow customer admins to edit a wide range of variables without impacting performance or hindering compatibility. By editing the theme using a simple WYSIWYG (What-you-see-is-what-you-get) page editor, and by finessing the wide range of Editable Zones, admins can create a compelling, on-brand experience quickly and easily.

For example, Imagen implementations such as Six Day and Auburn University both represent the Imagen MAM frontend in a relatively stock format. But both are also visually distinct. Another great example is Aon, where background images and brand colours create a custom look and feel that – under the hood – is a relatively streamlined implementation.

Under the hood – where the magic happens

Of course, there are significant variations under the hood, where workflows need refining or existing flows need to be automated. Indeed, for clients that have extensive existing workflows, or large volumes of content ready to migrate from a legacy system, extensive integration work can be required. For some larger clients, this can be a four to six month process. When BP chose to implement Imagen, transitioning 100TB of content took 11 weeks.

In short, while the reality is that a ‘typical install’ is a misnomer, there are valuable commonalities to be gained from using a MAM platform such as Imagen, as well as essential bespoke work to integrate specific customer requirements.

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