MM: If you could, just review some of the buying criteria that you applied in sorting through those four or five vendors.
BG: One of the big considerations was that it should be hosted web-based and not put onto Victoria’s Secret servers—not licensed. It would be quicker to get up and running if it were web-based. If not, I would have to go through corporate IT, and that would’ve really slowed the project down or completely made it come to a halt. That was a huge criterion.
Also, I didn’t want to have to be charged or have to re-engage with the company if there were improvements to the DAM application. I wanted to have those updates supplied to us. So if a new version came out, we’d just be able to use them without having to pay for it.
AS: Could you clarify that what you mean by saying “without having to pay”? Do you mean, “not having to pay for an upgrade? [NOTE: Andrew Salop joins this interview. As a consultant, he worked with BJ Gray in implementing the DAM at Victoria’s Secret]
BG: Sure. I mean not having to pay for an upgrade or new enhancements to the DAM application.
SaaS and Strong Partnerships Speed the Return on Investment
AS: This is a classic case for what is now referred to as SaaS – Software as a Service, which frees the customer from having to worry about IT infrastructure, allowing them focus on their business. This concept is generating a lot of buzz across the software community and the practice is beginning to live up to the hype.
BG: Another criterion–I didn’t want to be constrained to a contract with the providing company, in case it just didn’t work out, or we needed to have more companies latch onto the system. I really wanted to find a company that wouldn’t expect a usage contracts out of us. Right now I am very much at free will to stop using the service if needed. Most companies I talked to offered 2- to 4-year contracts.
BG: Next, I wanted to find a company that wasn’t just supplying me with their software that they developed and I’d have to conform to how their system moves, and the language they put into it. I wanted to find a company that would be flexible to making the system work around our needs, our language and our workflow; around our vision. Someone to partner and brainstorm with more than just buying a big massive pile of software application that would be installed and they’d walk away from.
I wanted a really good partnership with a vendor so that we could keep developing and brainstorming together on things that we needed.
AS: A strong customer/vendor partnership and iterative dialog is critical to a successful DAM implementation. This particular relationship is a compelling example of the benefits generated by such collaboration.
MM: So, BJ, does that also mean that they had a professional services capability that could come in and develop and run and deploy a new project? Or did you just simply want somebody who was more open to your ideas in terms of how to move this into a better fit for your organization?
BG: I wasn’t looking for a professional services team. And I was not looking for the most hi-tech answers to all my needs. That wasn’t a requirement. I just needed a company that would be able to listen to my vision and give me a tool that would work. And Industrial Color did a really great job in doing so. After our initial talks they tailored their system to fit our specific needs.