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The New Era - Effectively Using Your Digital Content Thru a Hosted Solution

Mar 28, 2008
The New Era of Truly Having Access and Use of your Digital Assets in one centralized location has arrived by subscribing to a hosted digital content database that may be accessed through any web browser.

Digital Asset Management is the storage, cataloguing, search, retrieval, download, sharing and publishing of an individual's or company's rich digital media assets.

According to leading analyst firms, hosted digital asset management is a growing market trend. More than an IT infrastructure component, DAM is rapidly becoming an important application supporting marketing operations and other lines of business. Hosting offers a deployment alternative that eliminates infrastructure cost or the related in-house IT resources necessary to manage an installed system. And as the value of DAM extends beyond the creative team, high availability is needed to serve a global user community.

Companies will often choose a hosted solution for the bandwidth, network monitoring, redundancy, failover and managed services. These benefits are often costly to achieve if the desired alternative is to build an in house system.

Due to the overwhelming infrastructure requirements, timeframe, and costs, only high end advertising and media companies have been able to afford to use and effectively manage their digital assets.

Today, digital media is a growing concern for corporations. More than ever, company brand identity is contained in digital media, which spans a range of marketing content including images, photos, video, presentations, HTML web pages, and desktop publishing files. Digital media is used to drive sales, deliver information, create user communities, and establish brands in the marketplace.

Because it conveys a company's brand strategy, the value of digital media extends well beyond the expense of creating it. Recently, John Wornack, former CEO of Adobe Systems, Inc., was quoted as saying " for every 1 minute spent creating a rich media asset, five minutes are spent finding it".

In most companies, business units are demanding greater access causing executive teams to create better standards and establish better controls around these assets.

As digital media becomes an increasingly important asset, the lack of management, accessibility, and auditing make it difficult to fully exploit and protect its value. Most of it is spread across the enterprise, and is typically inaccessible and unshared. The problem is so pervasive that IDC estimates that software for the management of rich media will grow to be a $1.2 billion market by 2008, and the American Management Association sees rich media volume doubling each year.

Many companies have begun to explore digital asset management (DAM) systems to manage their digital media. These systems are designed to ingest and manage digital media, and transform the content into file formats for general business use outside the creative team.

Too often these DAM projects move slowly due to the high-cost of entry, IT infrastructure, network, and resource investments that are needed. This makes Web-Based DAM systems a viable alternative for companies looking for high availability, and the ability to extend the value of digital media beyond the creative organization.

There are a number of newly launched companies offering subscription based content management systems. MAVRIC Media, of Palo Alto, CA., and Clearstory Systems are emerging as the leaders in hosted, cost effective solutions. These services offer even the small free-lance professional access to powerful digital asset management tools. According to Don Smith, Co-Founder of Mavric Media, a subscription web based digital asset management system offers creative media professionals and corporations a phased in approach to using their digital assets more effectively. The cost to benefit ratio is immediately recognized in any collaborative use effort, says Smith.

The primary drivers to managing digital assets are more demanding consumers of digital media within the organization, then to the sub-contractors and outsourced marketing groups. Hosted service offers a subscription-based, pay as you go model for companies needing an immediate solution that can be used in a self serve environment. Both Clearstory and Mavric Media offer a growth path that can eventually result in an in-house solution for the enterprise user.

For some, using a hosted digital asset management service offers a cost-effective model for proof-of-concept. It allows businesses to refine requirements and prove the solution to justify the infrastructure and resource investments of an installed system.

Hosting also allows companies to a way to fast track the use of these assets to keep up with competition. In this case, companies can enjoy a more immediate return, keep pace in the marketplace, and determine the best long term plan for managing their assets in house.

For most companies, a hosted solution versus an installed system is not an either/or choice. Cost and time to create the system are primary drivers. There is often a logical progression as needs change and grow. With this in mind, many analysts recommend that companies consider a solution that can accommodate changing needs and business models. As user adoption of the DAM system increases the system must provide for growth whether hosted or installed in house.

A web based hosted digital asset management solution, supports users outside of the organization, marketing or sales teams in the field, or the general public.

This is accomplished thru security rights created by the administrator. When used effectively, anyone with a common browser and appropriate privileges can access the content they need around the clock.

Hosted solutions can be very valuable for companies looking to build a business case for enterprise implementation. Hosting offers a low-cost way to demonstrate if a solution increases productivity while managing costs. This prevents the delays that can occur while struggling to achieve buy-in, which can result in significant loss and missed opportunity. In other words, if the ROI model is defined, yet it takes you six months to implement an installed solution, what is the cost associated with the delay?

The main reason for choosing a hosted solution at first is that it's a risk free way to find the right solution. Often a key objection is that customers fear they will be trapped with the solution they select. Using a provider that offers a web based solution is the best choice for ultimate flexibility.

With hosted services, companies can focus their attention and resources on their core business activities, rather than managing and maintaining an installed application. Companies can save time and money on IT investments, and bring new products and services to market more quickly.

Be sure to choose a solution that it is completely self serve and used through a common web interface, and offers the user full administrative capability.

MAVRIC Media offers a hosted, web-based visual database for content management that is easy-to-use, can be customized and is ready to access in minutes.
About the Author
Don Smith and other founders of Mavric Media, Inc. have a long track record in Digital Media, having successfully formed, built and sold previous digital media companies that were funded by Intel, 3D software partners, and Wilson Sonsini. For more information visit http://www.mavricmedia.com
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