Almost every single industry has faced major losses and lost months and even years’ of growth – but not all. While industries like tourism and aviation were hit particularly hard, some have thrived due to lockdowns and quarantine measures – eCommerce is one such industry.
Analysts all agree that the pandemic has been an accelerator of digital transformation forcing customers to initiate DAM and / or PIM projects to meet the needs of their customers and challenge the e-commerce market.
The best way to engage a customer is through images, with all the information available at the tip of their finger thanks to their mobile. Success therefore inevitably depends on the ability of systems to aggregate this customer experience. As Jonathan Ive (Apple Chief Designer Officer) said: "Simplicity in Clarity".
The subject of DAM and PIM as well as their positioning in the business ecosystem is not recent and many articles have already largely addressed this duality. Fruit of our experience, it nevertheless seemed necessary to us to highlight some fundamental axes that it is imperative to know before embarking on a DAM and / or PIM project. This is all the more true today with the profusion of solutions which often lose the user.
It is important to remember the fundamentals for a good understanding of what is a DAM and a PIM system and their position in the enterprise.
- DAM (Digital Asset Management) is a system to organize and classify all digital assets (photos, videos, audios, documents, PDFs, 3D, etc.) and enriching them with metadata. DAM acts as an engine for the assets and the metadata. That's all and already essential. It must also be able to process any type of high definition file and perform this job regardless of the load requested by the users.
By saying this, we are unknowingly laying the foundations for eliminating a certain number of candidates from the market. Many solutions on the market cannot process all types of documents, especially the most complex ones such as some Photoshop files, multi-page PDFs or packaging, not to mention 4K H265 video or 3D objects. Yet this is the reality that any brand faces.
As for metadata, we are often far behind. The basis of a DAM system is to be able to support any type of metadata (IPTC / XMP / EXIF standard) but also to offer the ability to personalize this information via a set of metadata sets in order to adjust the DAM to the job of every customer. And never forget one fundamental thing: you must imperatively have control of this metadata around a dedicated back office, otherwise you will have to pay for each information update (and in the retail workflow, product information is constantly changing) !! !
From this base, we can then consider professional management of the life cycle of your assets:
The new generation of DAM is enriched with workflow features, or multiple connectors to facilitate its use by teams (Adobe CC, CMS, PIM, Social networks ...). The connector is not mandatory but greatly reduces integration costs. We're talking about DXM, DAM 3.0, it doesn't matter as long as DAM is approached with its DNA as the engine of media and metadata.
Example of integrations (Marketplace) at Bynder or CELUM.
Finally, we are seeing more and more workflow (Business Process Mapping) and resource management functionalities on the DAM market to go beyond the single source of content, Some will talk about DXM, DAM 3.0 ....
- PIM (Product Information Management) is a system for managing products. When we talk about "product" we must mention: a visual of the product as well as visuals in their context, a certain number of descriptive fields, their translations and of course, managing the syndication. In other words, being able to manage the distribution of this information on different communication channels (Website, e-commerce platform, social networks, etc.).
The PIM therefore acts as an aggregation of product information in the business ecosystem (often complex with CRMs, CMS and DAM).
Where the DAM database is articulated around the asset, the PIM database is centered around the product. This difference is important because beyond the technical aspects, it is the demonstration of the need to have a DAM and a PIM and not to succumb to the charm of the all-in-one which will only be a succession of frustrations for the customer. customer especially in terms of performance.
As we often repeat, it is important to go beyond the powerpoint presentation of the often "overpromising" publishers. Based on our experience, we do not know of a PIM solution capable of handling the processing power of a DAM.
ORGANIZE - COLLABORATE - INTEGRATE
The advantages of a DAM solution:
- Centralize all your documents in a single place
- Manage all your media efficiently (very high definition photo and video)
- Easily find your documents regardless of the number thanks to standard and personalized metadata (and without limit)
- Facilitate internal-external dissemination and sharing
- Share the right assets with the right people, rights management and advanced permissions.
- Manage associated rights ("no contract no photo")
- Deliver the right media on the right medium, in the right format, to the right people, at the right time
- Measure the performance and traceability of your media
Our DAM expertise
Unfortunately, we see many clients using Sharepoint as an asset aggregation when it is not Dropbox or WeTransfert. In the case of Sharepoint strongly anchored in the business ecosystem in France for 2 essential reasons:
- Easy navigation by folders. And yes, modern DAMs in "metadata driven" mode require such governance that few clients manage to navigate their way to manage their content easily or worse for users to easily find their media
- Finally Sharepoint makes it possible to customize the Front Office by department or business entities, something that DAMs do with difficulty or unless they are coupled with CMS.
The solution ? Strong governance and the establishment of a team of librarians, DAM managers, project managers and product owners. With this strategy that the DAM will be a success in the company, do not think that the AI will be of service to you :)
The advantages of a PIM solution:- Improve the quality of product data
- Model your data
- Aggregate all of the company's data (CRM, Data stream ...)
- Enrich the product data with other data sources
- Manage a product catalog
- Syndicate the content of its products across the entire value chain (e-commerce, retail website, social networks ...)
- Traceability and KPI / BI
Our PIM experise
A very good representation of this DAM-PIM integration in the business ecosystem is this diagram from the Akeneo company:
DAM as the foundation of your media, PIM as data aggregator and content syndication on all communication channels, MDM as data repository.
In terms of metadata strategy, break down silos and think about user experience! In a perfect DAM PIM integration here some good practices:
- Management of the name convention which can allow automation to feed your metadata in the DAM: "GlobalID_Code-EAN_ProductName_Info_Dimension.extension"
- Share part of the PIM data model with the DAM, the latter often offering a better user experience for the user
- Manage validation workflows between DAM and PIM
- Using a content picker between DAM and PIM
- API in push mode between DAM and PIM
- Translation workflows
Example also of the CI-HUB connectors allowing to connect to the DAM. PIM, Drives, Royalty-free photo library simultaneously with the Adobe or Office suite:
This e-retail workflow is a focus for all brands who wish to exhibit their products from their website to e-commerce platforms with maximum performance, personalization and engagement, always with the best ROI.
The choice will not be made only on the price but on the perfect cocktail meeting your expression of need. At this level, you, the customer, have a major role in the implementation of such solutions. As we often repeat it is 5% technology and 95% human. Hence the importance of support from co-creation workshops, definition of needs to your expression of need.
On the DAM and PIM side, our strategy is expressed in 6 steps:
For the selection of the DAM we recommend using the 10 core characteristics of IQ EQUITY offering a series of tests based on customer needs that go beyond the classic Gartner Forester charts.
More than 50% of DAM solutions do not pass these tests !!
When you have to deploy DAM and PIM systems you also have some technology around that can really help and drive your business. See in this map how partnerships provide a better customer experience, to connect the right data at the right time driven by workflow and capable to distribute on any channels from Print to Web :
Priint a German company is a palpable connection to the digital world. It enhances encounters, provides a solid foundation to intangible concepts and emotionally reinforces relationship to products, services and experiences.
The priint:suite revolutionizes and automates the printing process, effortlessly connecting digital world to print world. Their plugin’s for Adobe inDesign and Illustrator eliminates mundane tasks, enables easy remote collaboration, cuts corrective cycles, drastically speeds production and personalization and virtually guarantees a cohesive message across all outreach platforms.
One other example with Productsup capture attention across markets and channels with automated syndication that works for the team.
As you can see, DAM and PIM are at the heart of content publishing for brands, but the choice is all the less obvious in recent years with the multitude of solutions and publishers' promises. Be disruptive in your choices, keep the expression of business needs at the heart of the value chain.
Finally do not hesitate to contact us, our team of experts who testify to more than 20 years of experience will guide you with an agnostic and business approach in the right selection for an RFP, and solutions perfectly integrated into your ecosystem with the best return on investment.
Frédéric SANUY - CEO Activo®