30 November 2012

PIM replacing DAM?


Thoughts on a Friday afternoon in Stockholm, when the snow keeps falling outside my window;


After a number of client meetings this month, some thinking on my own, and some reasoning with my colleagues at inRiver, a simple question comes to mind: could PIM replace DAM?


What I've come to think about is the fact that companies today spend a lot of time, effort, resources, money – you name it on systems where they can store their so-called "Digital Assets" like images, movies and documents. Despite this, very few of those companies actually sell exactly that: images, movies or documents. Yes, I know, some of you actually do. But let´s leave you 0,3% out for now.

The rest of you actually work with products and/or services.  Sometimes bundled, sometimes in different colors and often with different specifications and prices. But still, you do not sell images. Or movies. Or documents. Yet you spend all that time and money on systems that help you organize just that. But what else can you do?

Amazingly enough, I have a theory! Just as well, since you've read this far. Right? ;)

Keeping track of all those "Digital Assets" on harddrives, USB:s, CD:s, DVD:s, file servers, ftp servers and on external image banks can be a real pain. Aha, you agree? So that's the reason you need help? However, the answer to what you actually sell is still not images or movies or documents. It’s products. Products that you want to market, sell, distribute through different channels and generate revenue from.

My theory is, that by keeping track of your products, instead of categorizing, indexing and meta-describing assets, you can gain a lot of speed, time-to-market and coordination. And yes, of course you can manage all those images too but connected to products instead. By powering all your sales channels with accurate information, while maintaining and updating at one single source, it becomes a no-brainer to change those images that you spent so much time on structuring – on the webpage, in your e-commerce solution, even in your catalogs, brochures and on in-store displays. All at the same time, by the click of a button. Isn't this what some call Cross-Channel Commerce? Or simply X-Commerce. Or X-Channel. Or was it Omni-channel? (Any new buzzwords coming up?)

OK, some of you say now, how about those editing capabilities? The cropping, the resizing and the rounded-corner effects? Well, in my world, images are produced by professionals at the very start of this value-chain, long before the photo is pushed out into the arms of web-editors or InDesign gurus. The closer an image gets to the channel it will be consumed in, the higher the cost for changes and editing. Don't edit or manage images in your CMS or InDesign. Do that at the source, in a PIM-system. The camera. Photoshop. PIM. Stop!

An image never delivers its full value without its connection to the product. And it never jumps out of the DAM solution to all your sales channels just because a new image arrives from the photographer or the asian editing company. No DAM-system does that for you. Guess what - our PIM does. How about that? If you think that sounds appealing, check out www.inriver.com.

By the way, DAM means Digital Assets Management. PIM stands for Product Information Management. Don´t we just loooove those three-letter acronyms in the IT-industry!

Thanks for listening this time. More theories and thoughts are on the way...

Yours truly,

Martin Stenke
Business Development Director at inRiver