There has never been a shortage of vendors claiming to offer some sort of tool to manage, archive or distribute rich media files. Of the throngs of Digital Asset Management vendors that cloud the market, few competent pure play vendors and even fewer DAM as Software as a Service (SaaS) providers seem to remain. A landscape that has traditionally been characterized by companies who focused exclusively on providing solutions for managing digital media files has been taken over by the larger Content Management behemoths that have gobbled up the original inhabitants to offer DAM modules instead of solutions. This trend hasn’t been a secret or a surprise to many as companies like OpenText, EMC and Oracle have recognized the benefits of digital asset management platforms and begun bundling them into larger product portfolios. What I find surprising however, is while giant CMS and licensed DAM providers have in some part recognized the benefit of offering hosted services to their customers, those companies that previously led the charge into the SaaS arena have all but disappeared. They too have been eaten by the larger beast and become a line item on a long product list.
Companies like Interwoven, OpenText and North Plains can now finally claim they have hosted solutions, whether that’s through a recent acquisition or a simple “find and replace” effort on a marketing brochure. One has to wonder though... With R&D, sales and support resources focused on licensed product sales worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in each transaction, how much room does the smaller hosted service warrant in the grand scheme of things? After all, most DAM SaaS solutions cost less per year than the annual support fees associated with standard licensed DAM products. Do CMS and DAM software providers view the hosted service as a viable product or just another sales tool to ultimately force customers into the licensed application where the revenue’s at? If that’s the case, as I suspect it often is, can these software companies truly make the claim that they offer hosted services? I think it’s a bit of a stretch. While SaaS offerings for DAM have never been in higher demand, the number of vendors offering those services has shrunk to just a few left on the field.