The best DAM thing you’ve probably never heard of.

Rich media. Everyone’s doing it. No really. everyone.

Rich media includes all that isn’t text: powerpoint, video, photos, layouts, music. We could just call it media and include all that text stuff too.

Organizations are beginning to have lots of it. everything from logos to demos to promos to evidence. And that’s just the companies where media isn’t the core business.

“Rich” Media can’t be managed the same way as text. There are 4 main reasons for this

1. It isn’t text, so search engines don’t work very well with it.

2. So many formats – everything that creates or lets you view media has its own funny set of formats that it reads and spits out.

3. Size. These files are measured in GB more often than not. So its not that easy to just pass them around.

4. It generally takes some level of effort or talent to create any that’s any good – so it tends to be more valuable than your average email.

So  – how does one deal? This has been what I’ve been working on these last 12 months or so.

Its called Digital Asset Management. DAM, and yes – no end of bad puns here – has heretofore been the realm of the high end media company – the BBC and Fox, Martha Stewart Living and Random House, Procter and Gamble and Macy’s.

But as more media becomes more central to more companies – DAM or MAM or simply media management gets to be a bigger deal for nearly everyone.

What do you want from your DAM? 5 things:

1. Collection – it should get the media where it lives, and hide the issues of formats and sources

2. Management – metadata models, security, versioning, hierarchies and taxonomies.

3. Find – you should be able to browse and search to effectively retrieve or discover what you’re looking for.

4. Use – you need to be able to view, tweak and rally your team and systems around your media

5. You need to be able to publish and distribute it  to hundreds or thousands of people or places – probably in a different configuration each time.

How much do you need in each realm? Well, that depends on what it is you want to do with your media. But don’t limit yourself to thinking that your DAM is a fancy filing cabinet. Your media manager should connect people and media to your opportunities – publish to the marketplace, your partners, syndicators, aggregators and more.

The most important thing your DAM can do for you is support your vision of how you want to communicate with the world.

So I’ve been working on understanding that vision and moving the Open Text Digital Media Group to meet it. I hope that there are some folks in my readership who’ll be interested in sharing their media vision and talking about what it would take to make it come true.

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