Global delivery system

What type of system will a firm need to automate the global delivery of marketing materials, sales presentations, and training to field staff and partners?


The figure below depicts several key functions of an enterprise-class DAM system.

Reuse standards entail aligning creative services and marketing communications agencies to produce reusable and reexpressible material—digital assets, not just content. This alignment requires a combination of incentives, training, user support, and advocacy by trusted and respected members of the various media-producer constituencies. Often the professional-services group of a DAM vendor becomes the change-management facilitator, imparting best practices, studio guidelines, and training curricula.

Metadata standards for an enterprise means full support for all industry standards, such as PRISM, SCORM, or Dublin Core. Metadata typically includes keywords, numerical values, and other alphanumeric text strings that describe a particular asset, its origins, and the rules for using the asset.

Most DAM systems facilitate the management of some portion of metadata required by the enterprise. However, when an asset leaves the DAM system, most of the metadata does not accompany it.

Well-designed digital assets enable dynamic rendering of content, saving hundreds and thousands of hours per year

Well-designed digital assets enable dynamic rendering of content, saving hundreds and thousands of hours per year

Here new technologies and DAM system designs converge to solve the absence of portable metadata.

First, the DAM system must support XML-tagged metadata—an enhanced database function.

Second, the DAM system must support multiple metadata standards, not just one. These metadata standards often use different tags (such as Author, Creator, Composer, or Artist) to describe the same data item.

Third, the DAM system must link common elements of these various metadata standards to eliminate duplicate data items.

Fourth, the DAM system must incorporate new metadata standards such as Dublin Core, SCORM, PRISM, and +BRV without disturbing existing metadata schemas (tags) or data items.

For these reasons, an enterprise-class DAM system must support a metadata container—have a sophisticated database function for supporting all current and future metadata standards.

Asset repositories must manage more than just images and photos. An enterprise-class DAM system must support hundreds of file formats and data types, including static images (photos, digitized images of business records), dynamic graphics (animations, music, sound effects), simple text-only documents, complex or compound documents (QuarkXPress, PowerPoint, InDesign), knowledge assets (CAD drawings, annotated 3-D objects), and myriad other types.

An enterprise-class DAM system will also provide a plug-in architecture for customized filters for exotic file types. Lacking this architecture,an enterprise-class DAM system will leave large portions of a potential user body unsupported.

Retrieval engines must go beyond keywords—data items that the creator or archivist attached to each digital asset. An enterprise-class DAM system must integrate keywords with visual and audio search by example. These advanced search technologies use visual and audio vocabularies, enabling users to click and retrieve items by visual or sonic similarities.

Production data sources include accounting, inventory and rights management.

Image servers must support dynamic, just-in-time production of purpose-built files. However, an enterprise-class DAM system must integrate these image servers as a repository function (check-in/out and version control) that the firm can distribute across the network and at locations nearest to high-volume users or Web servers.

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