Last year I started to to talk about the place of creativity within DAM, and just after the Creative Operations London 2020 beginning of this month, gathering the best of DAM community and creative customers in London, it is the time to update the information.
DAM systems are not anymore a single source of truth to organize your assets across your organisation but are providing new capabilities to manage your brand identity guidelines on board. This is a smart way to protect and ensure the brand consistency and go to market faster. Using the assets from the DAM to personalize your marketing campaign will create a true value for more customers engagement and a 360 omni channel view. The other thing is how I can use a DAM system alongside my creative process. It is not all about distribution but how you can manage thousands of RAW files per day or updating your Indesign document with large images. It is all about the workflow to avoid manual tasks and to be able too approve the right content at the right time. A lot of vendors think they can do but in reality a lot of them are failing.
When we are thinking about the best practices of DAM we have two different use cases :
Most agencies I’m working with have huge volume of content to manage. Mainly driven by Indesign package they are working in high definition with large TIFF, EPS, Adobe CC files on local file server between all designers just because it is fast. Reason why during years most of agencies were working on FullPress from Xinet a very robust file serve. Unfortunately since 2010 no main improvement has bene done with Webnative and Portal regarding the competition. Xinet has been acquired by Northplains in 2012 and last year by Aclate.
Most of agencies are still working on but it is just a challenge and not any more a solution to expose to customers. Some resellers like IO Integration enhance the experience with Workfront or DALIM ES at the top. You can find some hybrid solution and a set of automation tools to make a mixe of local files server and cloud like Nuxeo is doing.
The tools that can really enhance the experience for designers are Adobe CC Plug ins as Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator are the creative tools. On the market each vendor is trying to build his owns one but mainly provided by 2 companies :
Silicon Publishing with Silicon Connector , a good example of the connector with Nuxeo. Max Dunn CEO is maybe one the most knowledgeable and smart guy I know in the industry and his team with Ole (Olav Martin Kvern) was at the beginning of Indesign in 2000. Today they are providing the connectors for a lot of DAM vendors. I like to share with you this article of Max Dunn, top analysis and History of Scene7 Web-to-Print.
A new gerrman company CI-HUB is also in the market since last year with a first and very good set of DAM connectors. Andreas Michalski CEO and Founder, one more smart guy in this industry and has a strong background as CEO of iBrams one of the Online Indesign solution in the early 2010. They bring all their experience with great features within the plugins (Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro), advanced search with similarity, revisions check in out, different views of the assets with all the metadata, Snippets etc… in just months they have top DAM connectors, plus Adobe Stock, Dropbox etc…
So Adobe CC plugins are at the core of designers to connect content with DAM as soon as Adobe will maintain the support of plug-ins :). When you select your DAM system check that you have a plug in available just because your creative team will not upload files they want to stay in the creative suite.
One other tool that can be smart to integrate inside DAM are markup tools. Not all of them are doing the tight job as soon as we need to be able to streamline the high definition with color support (Softproof). Here a selection of the best one :
- DALIM SOFTWARE with Dialogue Engine integrated inside ES DAM and maybe one the best tool.
- ProofHQ integrated with Workfront
- SiteCore with Content Hub
- ZIFLOW with a great API so easy integration in any DAM and one of the best ROI.
Brands who need a new edge of personalization :
- Using DAM provides more efficiency across all the communication channels instead of local silos
- Control the assets in order to share the right content at the right time
- Digital delivery to all your applications using curated data from your DAM.
- Make it easy to create custom content for print, digital, emailing and social
- Speed up and enhance the creativty that only matters.
- Ensuring that your published assets are always up to date from the creation to syndication (CMS, e-commerce…) Who ever you are a retailer, a brand, CPG Pharma you need to distribute at scale with personalized content. The usage of a DAM enable new business opportunities working with content easier and smarter. Within the data alignement along side your workflow you can control and produce at the right time.
Of course it is also at one time to select the the right technology stack. Today we see often integration within DAM. 10 years ago I was already using a smart component with CELUM DAM based on IDML, just super easy and low cost.
Today you have 2 main technologies :
1- Indesign based
Indesign based native file powered by Indesign Server. To be honest this is the way I advise just because you can easily get your native files on your desktop without going through complex connectors. If you have to manage complex multiple pages it is fast and works. Adobe InDesign is the global standard in page layout for commercial and corporate publishing. It offers extremely powerful and sophisticated page composition, and is used by millions every day for high-quality print layout, as well as digital publishing.
Adobe InDesign Server brings the entire spectrum of InDesign layout & composition capabilities into a server context. Instead of being controlled by a traditional User Interface (UI), InDesign Server is controlled by automated processes, for example a Web Service call telling it to load a template and update text and graphics based on information from a database or web request.
One of the best company managing this technology is definitely Silicon Publishing and today at the great of Adobe Strategy. Their product Silicon Designer 4.0 offers a white label online editing experience second to none. With unparalleled customization, Designer brings standards-based modularity to another level. Merging the power of Adobe InDesign Server with HTML5, Designer delivers one of the most powerful online editing experiences available today.
- Easy template setup
- Customization of the user interface
- High quality print output that plays nicely with prepress and production workflows
One other very good solution is Wedia. This vendor is one of the top DAM vendor with a very nice User Experience, easy to use and maybe with one of the best ROI hosted on Microsoft Azure. They are more and more successful especially in France. I was working with as a customer 10 years ago to produce online catalogs for retailers and years ago they acquired iBrams in 2016 so now they have a very great full html5 Native Indesign editor, easy to use, very fast even with multipages and the integration with the DAM is at the core. They developed their own Adobe CC connectors with a lot of innovation thanks to AI.
Wedia’s Digital eXperience Management (DXM) module is at the crossroad of content and consumer context: it allows clients to dynamically adapt master assets from a single source of truth library, and distribute them on various distribution channels (mailing, social, CMS). During his last Product Council 2019, Wedia unveiled some great new capabilities to syndicate the content from the DAM to Print, Social and CMS.
An other leader is Bynder a agency 5 years ago and now a top DAM vendor. You can also create on-brand templates in an instant. Define elements and rules that control the way designs are edited so they can be created for different campaigns, markets, and channels.
You can create on-brand ads, banners, and social imagery for all digital channels quickly; no design skills needed.
One more solution from 2imagine
2- Full Web based Online Editor
On the other side you can also personalize the content without using Indesign Server. Maybe one the best one is CHILI Publish a young company 10th birthday next year !!
Their Software is dedicated for Smart Artwork and Marketing Material Creation. It allows users of any skillset to edit customizable documents in a browser, or fully automate artwork generation. CHILI publish’ output files are ready to use for print and digital in virtually any application. You can also use Indesign connector to upload and manage you’re templates.
I discovered one the best Partner of CHILI Publish during the last Spicy event in Berlin last year : Kan Design providing a nice an easy way to manage and personalize marketing content.
Now Chili Publish has more DAM integrations to empower assets and metadata.
You have also Brandmaster designed to provide an advanced and dynamic digital solution, delivering overall brand management with branding automation. See the demo :
So DAM systems are even more at the heart of the omni channel communication with online capabilities for more engagement and customer experience.
Here one example of creative workflow alongside DAM
Let’s come to us for consultancy alongside the customer journey and how to select the right technology stack for your creative process. We have a strong experience already working with agencies and creative team in the world.