MM: You have more than your hands full just bringing your whole direct group into the system. Anything else on your wish list?
BG: Yes. Oh, a few other things that we are looking at including in the DAM workflow is being able to send someone or a vendor a collection of images, and them being be able to download them in bulk versus one at a time. Our vendors are getting 8 or 9 images at a time to retouch. It’d be nice if they didn’t have to download them file-by-file. Even though they have the high-speed file transfer with Aspera to make it fast, it would be nice to be able to download that folder in bulk. That’s something that we’re looking at developing now.
MM: We have just begun seeing that function in DAMs, staging and provisioning particular assets with its metadata and workflow information into a hot folder. At which point in time, when the vendor logs on, they see the stuff in their hot folder.
It looks like it’s a scripting function on the DAM side. But it uses a zipping or Stuff-it application, where it takes those high-resolution files and compresses them all into one nice package. That also seems to make it a little less prone to getting corrupted in the file transfer process.
BG: Not being the most technically savvy about all that, I don’t know if we need to do that, zip them up and put them into some “hot” folder. We create the folder in the DAM and then e-mail the link to the suppliers.
MM: It’s the same idea, but the point is that by putting all these assets in a folder and zipping it into a package, you’ve reduced the size of the package considerably, and you’ve also done essentially the bulk transfer in terms of being able to move 5 or 6 or 10 really large files economically in one transaction or one interaction.
BG: I wouldn’t even think about that kind of integrated technology. I know that Industrial Color is fantastic. I think they would probably already be looking at that if it were going to make the GLOBALedit system full proof and not lose data. I’m sure that they’d be zipping that up.
MM: In the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty trivial technical problem to solve. They should probably have an easy fix to that.
BG: Ok, good. Some further challenges for the having an integrated DAM with the Direct Channel is if there is an image we both used. Let’s say we picked up from their photo shoot, then we would have different image rights usage for that one image. Usage rights for the Direct Channel may be 6 months, and we may only buy it for 2 months. So now, what do we put in the metadata as the expiration date? Can the metadata track on two levels? Which one is it going to refer to when it expires an image? I don’t even think we know how to tackle that yet.
MM: There are a couple ways you can approach that. You can do it with the facilities of a DAM—to manage multi-class permissions. Or you can then say, “Look. Let’s have the DAM do what it’s really supposed to, which is manage metadata and the workflow.”
We’ll bring in a policy server such as the Adobe LiveCycle or other sorts of policy servers, and that will be the way by which we will be able to link an asset to a policy library or a policy server. Depending on who’s touching the asset, there will be a policy in place to then tell them exactly what they can or can’t do.
Again, while it may not necessarily be cheap, it’s a fairly straightforward, easy thing to do. Especially if you’re already using the XMP. Because XMP will have the ability to put embedded links in it. Specifically an embedded link back to a policy server.
So while conceptually it looms large on your horizon, from a technology perspective, it’s a fairly straightforward integration. It’s a “Do it now—get it done,” sort of thing.
BG: Fantastic. Up until now I have kept this project under the radar and didn’t have to invest a lot of money in developing the DAM, buying software, etc. I want to try to keep it that way for now so I will see if we can figure out something within GLOBALedit or come up with a new internal process between VICTORIA’S SECRET and Victoria’s Secret Direct.
If you say this policy server is quite expensive…
MM: You could rent it, as well. There are ways. The technology is called a “policy server.” There are lots of different ways to get it into your organization. Including going back to your organization Industrial Color, and saying, “Hey—I need a policy server. Go get one, and I’ll rent it from you.”
BG: Exactly. There’s a creative way. Thank you!