November 15, 2010 - 11:59 PM
This week I'll be speaking at the Digital Asset Management Conference in Los Angeles. I am usually one of a very few people at this conference representing SharePoint. That is because I feel there's a very good case for using SharePoint as a digital asset management tool.
Digital asset management (DAM) is broken up into several categories. SharePoint excels at search, metadata, configurable interface and Office integration. Additional work must be done to do on the fly file conversions, Adobe Suite integration and digital screening room implementations. The thing to note is that many people have used SharePoint for DAM without knowing it.
If your marketing department has a library with approved logos and other images within it for download by employees then you have a DAM SharePoint implementation. Yes, you should chuckle here! SharePoint 2010 makes utilizing your portal for DAM even more attractive.
They key concepts here are that you already have SharePoint, you probably need some sort of digital asset library (DAL) and you do not want to support yet one more silo of custom software for this endeavor. It then becomes important to separate work-in-process digital assets from final images.
When only looking at the issue of final images that need to be published, searchable and attached to metadata SharePoint is a viable DAM option. Integration with the Adobe Suite becomes more difficult but is only normally required when you are dealing with the work in process portion of DAM not finished images.
Third party apps can enhance the out of the box features for DAM in SharePoint and so can custom development if your company has the bandwidth or the budget for such a project. But even if you don't its worthwhile to evaluate SharePoint for finished asset DAM in your organization. Digital assets can be indexed in a specific search scope and security trimmed for delivery to users who need access but are not allowed to edit these images.
One of the most difficult pieces of any DAM implementation is analyzing the permissions and workflow that surround completing marketing, product or other types of assets that you'd want to store in a DAL. SharePoint's business process enhancement tools can step to the forfront to assist with this. Consider creating a "promote to DAL" type of workflow where studio or marketing managers can promote an image (or batch of them) into the DAL with certain metadata and security groups.
Before you decide to purchase another enterprise wide information delivery system take a look at your real DAM needs and see if SharePoint can fit the bill. I suggest that for any organization who already has SharePoint it's worth the try.
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