Digital Asset Management System (DAM) continues to be a topic all media companies wrestle with. Seems if you have five companies talking about it, you have six or more opinions of what it is. One of the key problems is that everyone is taking an “internal” perspective based on their specific needs.
Stepping back and taking an “external” perspective and a top down approach will help us understand what it is we are managing, scope of its life cycle, landscape, workflow and processes. First I want to stay away from the descriptor DAM as there are too many conceptions and misconceptions about what it is – and is not. Second, the asset we are managing has many life cycles and iterations. Lastly, organizations are fragmented across business lines and even within business lines, also they vary in geography and utilize intra and inter organizations for services. Consequently, the landscape varies in process, equipment and enabling technologies.
Looking at this from a 50,000 foot level, the initial thought is to describe it as Intellectual Property – Reference and Map (IP-RaM) just to get away from any preconceived notions.
- Intellectual Property – this defines an asset that has ownership, identifies the asset, and the rights to the asset given to other organizations
- Reference - it acts as a reference book that tells you everything about asset i.e. metadata etc. This gives it its capabilities to know what you have, ability to find it, control its usage to ensure it is not compromised and leverage its utilization.
- Map – in order to leverage the asset you need to know where an asset has been, where it is today, what state it is in each location. This helps you navigate to the asset location and state that will leverage the optimal process and result for the client, and your margin.
From this perspective, it becomes difficult to have a single vendor integrated system – as the needs of theatrical, TV, home entertainment will vary and so will their equipment, process and enabling technologies. The constant is ownership of the asset so its IP management and control must be in some ways be centralized in a decentralized world.
This leads to the concept of a federated system. This type of system interoperability brings information together from heterogeneous systems into a central repository and is accessed by heterogeneous system for their specific workflow and processes.
This concept supports the vision articulated by Joel that “utilization is also being examined on a global level across numerous divisions to ensure assets in one community can be advancing a project in parallel with another, allowing for projects to get delivered faster and more profitably as operations follow the sun.”