The other day a colleague asked me about a previously unknown Digital Asset Management software vendor that they had seen advertised on a website. I had never seen or heard of this particular vendor or their solution but it got me thinking. I am continually hearing about random vendors that have appeared or disappeared in our industry. In fact, it happens so often that I decided to perform a little experiment. I searched for 60 seconds on Google to see how many digital asset management companies I could find and ended up with over 25 organizations that identified themselves as offering some kind of a DAM solution. I only counted those companies that actually listed what they do as “digital asset management” for my experiment. The actual number of vendors in this space must be many more and perhaps even reaches as high as a couple of hundred companies.
As you might have guessed, most of those I found were pulled from a list of recognizable names. Those companies with the budgets to afford search marketing resources primarily, since they naturally appeared at the top of the list. As you continue down that list though you begin to run into many lesser known applications that pitch their version of a niche solution, low cost platform, or even some that just get by on hipster marketing with little real meat behind them. Actually, some of these solutions seem to be really viable applications with a history that shows a developing product and the customer successes to back it up. Others market all kinds of neat features and tools but show little on their website because it’s mostly just smoke. They are waiting on your dollar to actually build it out. Today customers are left with too much information and too many choices in many cases. When it comes to implementing a DAM system I would encourage you to look beyond the initial demo to your prospective vendor’s successes and plans for their DAM system.
The unknown solution is not necessarily the wrong choice and some even offer new features and perspectives that the old guard should probably adopt. However, be careful who you choose as a partner. You might find out that their validity as a DAM provider is being tested out on you. The truth is that well established software companies have an advantage because they have had the opportunity to identify what their customers want and need in a solution and how best to support those requirements. They paid their dues to get where they are. There will of course always be a new generation of vendors rising through the ranks but identifying the hits and misses from the crowd can be tough.