So far we’ve talked about the general features and benefits of a digital asset management platform, but not all platforms are created equal. For a start, DAM architecture varies, with some vendors offering on-premises or hybrid solutions, while others – like Imagen – offer fully cloud-based solutions.
As with any solution, choosing the right platform means weighing up features against the CapEx and OpEx costs. While on-premises solutions are weighted toward up-front costs, the OpEx cost of cloud and hybrid platforms is likely to be offset by the additional value they add, with users being able to collaborate and distribute anywhere.
A lot also depends on usability – there’s no point having a DAM if it’s too obtuse for people to use. The best combine powerful APIs and integrations with familiar web interfaces, allowing deep integrations with an intuitive user experience.
That’s certainly the experience of Imagen customer NatureScot, formerly Scottish Natural Heritage. “People… just get it,” explains Stephen Gerrard, Information Management Programme Manager. “We’ve demonstrated the system to a number of staff now and they’ve all been impressed. They find it easy to use, intuitive, and not only that – they’ve been engaged and excited by it, and that’s not always the case when you’re rolling out a system!”
This kind of intuitive usability is an important consideration when calculating the ROI on a DAM, as the potential savings of rolling a system out can be eroded if you also need to invest in ongoing user training programmes. But another core feature of a good DAM is the ability to customise it to fit your organisation’s needs.
Mike Melcher, Technical Director and Producer at Aon, agrees. “The [Imagen] platform is so flexible that we have been able to adapt [it] and push out the features that we want our users to use,” he says.
Usability is as important as functionality for a DAM, which might provide the digital structure for asset production and management activities across multiple organisations and territories. But what matters most is the overall value of the solution. “It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the technology is that you’re using,” Mike adds. “If it doesn’t save you time or really save you money, then why bother?”