June 2003—Content Management (CM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) are often used interchangeably to describe a wide variety of functions. You might be talking about organizing the few hundred images on your hard drive, or you may be describing the enterprise-wide system that allows anyone to access anything, or even a network that allows easy repurposing of content – taking it from the printed brochure, to the Web page to the billboard out on the highway. And that is not all that falls under the rather vague header of "Asset Management".
So with all that ambiguity, what is a printer to do? First and foremost, assess your own needs – what exactly are your assets and what do you need to do with them? There is no sense investing in a solution that will allow you to repurpose content if all you really need is to organize some images and text. Once you have your needs firmly in hand, then you can find the solution that fits. Keep in mind that in all likelihood, no one piece of software will do everything you would like it to. Find one that will fill your most urgent needs. Once those are taken care of then you can look at the bells and whistles and extra features that won’t necessarily make-or-break your company, but will assist you in managing your content.
To that end, we have gathered a short round-up of products, and a longer listing of companies that have their hand in the CM/DAM pie. Keep in mind that this particular market is massive, and there is no way we could possibly list everyone here. This listing is not intended to be a comprehensive look at the entire DAM and CM markets. Use it instead as a starting point if you are interested in researching this topic.
ImageSmart Document Mastering 2.2 software from Heidelberg uses a PDF-based workflow which enables greater collaboration between the printer and customer by allowing easy sharing of PDF documents regardless of the application they were originally created in.
Some of the features include: enhanced SmartBoard 1.2; a new tab creation tool; an enhanced image editing tool; allows images to be scanned directly into a frame and manipulated and edited from the editor window; a "work and turn" feature to create two documents, two up; and improved flexibility and productivity by printing to multiple print devices.
The SmartBoard plug-in enables a number of new functions. Users can create a job ticket, apply a job ticket to a PDF and create, store and retrieve a PDF with a job ticket for easy reprints. The "work and turn" function lets users create two documents in one print operation, with each new page containing two copies of the original page – ensuring that when the stack is cut, the cutting edge will always be the true edge for accurate finishing.
Print businesses can choose from three configurations:
• ImageSmart Document Mastering 2.2 Software Suite, which includes the SmartBoard 1.2, Adobe Acrobat 5.0, StampPDF 2.7 and Quite Imposing 1.5c.
• SmartBoard 1.2, for customers already using Adobe Acrobat 5.0.
• SmartBoard SE 1.2 – the standard edition includes some of the SmartBoard 1.2 features, including job ticketing, page feature support and tab creation.
MediaBin Asset Manager
MediaBin Inc. offers a line of applications to help companies manage their digital assets, speed product launches and protect brand integrity. MediaBin Asset Manager delivers off-the-shelf functionality, rapid implementation and a 100-percent ROI in less than six months for most clients.
Featuring an enhanced Web interface, the software includes an application programming interface (API). This new API links marketing assets with other corporate applications to speed brand delivery for all marketing and sales initiatives, from internal communications to worldwide product launches.
MediaBin software integrates easily into corporate portals, Web content management systems, product catalogs and other corporate systems to manage and deliver media assets across the enterprise.
Whether you need to import a single image or a full hard drive of them, simply drag images or folders over a Quark document and Gluon DragIn does the rest. When you import multiple images, DragIn creates rows and columns of boxes automatically. It also inserts pages as needed to accommodate your images. In addition, you can elect to include picture information, which creates a caption below each picture detailing aspects of the picture including: name, dimension, resolution, type and creator.
There are several ways to use the XTension to import pictures quickly:
• Drag a single file from the finder;
• Drag images from a browser into Quark;
• Drag multiple files to import;
• Drag a folder to import all the images it contains;
• Select a folder to import via dialog.
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North Plains TeleScope
North Plains Systems’ TeleScope Enterprise can manage any digital content, enabling organizations to turn their collections of digital files into a repository of digital assets. Assets become instantly accessible for reuse, repurposing or re-expression.
TeleScope links all of the assets together through a distributed client/server architecture. Users can catalog, retrieve and reuse files in real-time, all while maintaining strict version and security controls. As new files are ingested, TeleScope automatically generates the bulk of the data required for each asset so that they may be found and used by others. TeleScope incorporates a system called I-Piece Technology, which are modular plug-ins that extend the functionality of the core software to support new technologies and new features.
ACD Systems International Inc.’s ACDSee 5.0 offers faster start-up time, faster viewing and browsing of digital images and photos as well as new options that make the program easily configurable to meet the needs of photo hobbyists, amateur photographers and professionals alike.
New features in ACDSee 5.0 include:
• Calendar View – The calendar view enables users to easily search for images taken on selected days, months, or years;
• Image Grouping – The ability to group images in multiple categories enables users to organize and locate pictures quickly while saving disk space;
• Interface Customization – Customizable toolbars and window layouts that enable users to set the interface to meet their individual requirements and speed up their workflow.
ACDSee 5.0 retails for $49.95. Volume licensing is available and special pricing is offered for five and ten user licenses.
WAM!NET’s secure, online digital environment enables printers and their customers and partners to share, collaborate, store and manage content globally. With WAM!NET services, customers in the print supply chain not only gain considerable productivity, time-to-market, and cost-saving benefits, they eliminate time-intensive and costly analog steps in their workflows – all without the burden of significant capital investment and systems management requirements often associated with proprietary networks or FTP workflows.
Layered on top of WAM!NET’s data distribution services is WAM!BASE, a remote storage service specifically tailored for storing, cataloguing, managing and protecting corporate digital assets, such as print files and images, for reuse or repurpose. WAM!BASE helps eliminate the wasted time and money spent on recreating digital assets that aren’t easily and quickly located and shared among those who need them.
The WAM!BASE application programming interface (API) allows easy integration of popular asset management applications, so those operators can use familiar asset management software to share and retrieve assets easily and securely worldwide.
Océ Printing Systems
Océ Printing Systems’ DAM solutions automate the content management process across vendor-specific platforms, workflows and print streams, and eliminate technical issues between systems from different vendors.
PRISMA industrial-grade servers and software avoid the problems associated with managing digital content in multi-vendor operations. They let users connect and share diverse printer devices and unify staff resources. In addition, Océ DPconnect honors DocuTech job ticketing parameters to print previously proprietary files.
Xinet’s WebNative Venture combines the functionality of WebNative with a fully integrated, enterprise-strength database. This asset management system allows organizations to share, manage and repurpose assets and archives with speed and efficiency.
Xinet’s solution operates within the workflow and is based around the file system, making it completely and automatically integrated with production.
The latest release of Artesia Technologies’ digital asset management system, Artesia TEAMS is focused on improving productivity through automated process control and workflow, streamlined usability and enhanced architecture. TEAMS 5.0 increases DAM adoption rates throughout the enterprise, while reducing operational costs through improved administration utilities, reduced training needs and an across-the-board upgrade of third party software integration including Oracle, Virage and QuarkXPress.
Artesia Creative Client for Macintosh (CCFM 2.0) is the latest release of Artesia Technologies’ DAM native Macintosh application. CCFM 2.0 is focused on improving productivity through streamlined usability, enterprise font management, new process automation and workflow functionality, enhanced architecture and tight desktop integration. CCFM 2.0 increases DAM adoption rates in creative departments within the enterprise, including layout, editing and production departments. CCFM includes workflow automation for users who actively participate in creative processes.
GMC PrintNet OS
For organizations seeking more centralized control over digital assets and their output workflow, PrintNet OS software from GMC Software Technology enables enterprises to manage complex data and file exchange, document workflow processes and output throughout the enterprise. PrintNet OS collects and analyzes incoming data from any point of origin and routes it for appropriate next steps or action.
PrintNet OS supports digital assets and applications across an enterprise. It allows interfacing between customer databases; ERP, content management and CRM applications; and document composition tools to printing and production devices, archiving systems, the Internet and other servers.
Information Management Research (IMR) designed its software to manage documents that must be retained by an organization for regulatory compliance, or archived to support business processes. The Alchemy family delivers records management, imaging, archiving and disaster recovery capabilities. The software functions as an electronic file cabinet, so that every piece of information is filed and indexed for easy access and retrieval; it can manage anywhere from 1 to 1 billion documents. The document repository can be stored on a single CD-ROM, on a server hard disk or on a networked optical library.
The Alchemy suite of products includes Premium, Pro and Gold, which are scaled based on the customer’s specific document management needs and budget. The company also offers Alchemy extensions for web content management, imaging, enterprise report management and application integration.
StreamServe Business Communication Platform
StreamServe’s Business Communication Platform lets printers connect with customers and suppliers to produce content for print, fax, email, EDI, XML, the Web and mobile devices. It’s an independent software layer that works with your existing enterprise and legacy applications. It provides a wide range of formatting, translation, conversion and distribution capabilities, including: Document Output Management with flexible, graphical control over the look, feel & content of business documents; Multi-channel personalization with two-way communication in almost any format or channel; Business Document Exchanges with communication hubs that span your extended enterprise; and Web Services to prepare your company for the next generation of business communication.
Estari developed FileScout Digital Document Management Software. Find, view, edit and archive any file in virtually any format. Features include: access files from the hard drive, shared drives on network servers, the Internet, Intranet or any removable storage media; view hundreds of file formats with the integrated viewer; perform keyword searches within and across documents; and stay current with files by using the automated synchronize features. The Estari Publisher, which is within FileScout, offers tools to build and distribute documents containing virtually any file formats and documents. FileScout is available in single or server licenses.
Cumulus 5.5.2 is Canto Software’s cross-platform digital asset management solution for enterprises, workgroups and single users. It manages a wide range of assets, such as images, layouts, presentations, video, audio and text files. The latest version, introduced in Feb. 2003, offers enhanced Pix Asset Converter, which enables digital images to be cataloged and easily converted to JPEGs, TIFFs and BMPs, or to RGB, CMYK or Grayscale on the fly. Cumulus 5.5.2 is available for Mac OS, Windows and UNIX platforms. Three editions are available for the single user, workgroup or enterprise client. Canto introduced Web Publisher Pro 1.0.1 in April 2003 as an option to the Cumulus Workgroup Edition. It enables user to publish and market digital assets on dynamically generated Web pages.
Banta Integrated Media, the premedia arm of mega printer Banta Corp., Cambridge, MA, developed B•media as a digital asset and content management software suite and offers its functionality through full-service hosting, as well. Essentially, this solution consists of a central data repository enhanced with must-have DAM features (version control, security levels, check in/check out, etc.).
Designed with the entire print and multimedia workflow team in mind, B•media enables drag-and-drop links between the repository (home of virtually any media format, including graphics, copy, audio and video files) and Quark pages in progress.
Centillion Destiny ContentEZ
Destiny ContentEZ is Centillion’s digital asset management solution for marketing, advertising and creative services companies. It operates on a Web-based platform, providing remote and on-site users the ability to collaborate, retrieve and distribute electronic files via the Web, Internet or corporate Intranet. It supports more than 40 file types, including most popular text, image, audio and video file formats.
Digital Graffiti Mabango
Digital Graffiti offers Mabango Desktop and Mabango Studio asset management applications designed to facilitate archival and retrieval from removable media, such as CD-ROMs or tape drives. It’s a network-capable product and can be integrated with Microsoft SQL-Server solutions. Features include: thumbnailing, removable media cataloging and XML-based metadata capture.
Ektron CMS 300
Ektron’s CMS 300 is an XML-driven, Web-browser-based content management solution. Features include: document check-in/check-out, content history tracking and comprehensive metadata support. Ektron’s customer roster includes: Bank of America, Ernst & Young, Fox News Channel, Harcourt College Publishers, Blue Cross Blue Shield and others from a variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, retail/catalog, transportation, entertainment/media, financial and educational.
Solutions include: Extensis Portfolio Server 6 was developed to enable large workgroups (more than 10 users) to organize, find and distribute digital files with ease. Features include: client/server access for both Mac and Windows platforms, thumbnail previews, folder monitoring and database management. With optional Portfolio SQL Connect software, Portfolio Server for Windows can also connect to and serve as a digital front end (DFE) for larger SQL databases.
Update Engine ECM Suite/UpdateEngine 6 is a Web application assembly system that enables users to build and manage Web sites. FatWire Spark pCM is a portal content management solution for Sun ONE Portal Server 6 customers; enabling users to create, deploy and manage rich, focused content via a portal.
Graphic Detail ThumbsUp
ThumbsUp (Enterprise and Professional versions) is Graphic Detail’s image and multimedia database for both client-servers and single-user operations. Features include: thumbnail previews, 132 user-definable fields, storage of up to 2.1 billion files and customizable multi-criteria searches.
North Atlantic Publishing Systems
NAPS Publishing System utilizes a client-server Web-based architecture with a SQL-compliant database for centralized storage of metadata. The NPS Server runs on a Windows 2000 Server; clients can be on Windows, Macs or a combination of both platforms. Features include: thumbnailing; text abstracts from text files; multi-page previews of page files; file routing, production monitoring and reporting; querying, archiving and purging.
eMotion offers several asset and content management applications, including Archive-Partner, a Web-based archiving solution; CreativePartner, a project/file collaboration tool; and MediaPartner Enterprise, a comprehensive enterprise solution for digital media management. eMotion also offers Creative-Partner Project, a new service that allows customers to engage these solutions through a hosting service, on a project-by-project basis.
MetaCommunications Virtual Ticket
Virtual Ticket 5.0 from MetaCommunications is a production platform that allows workgroups and organizations to centralize, manage, use and reuse production information. It combines workflow tools, job ticketing and automated asset management/archiving. The latest version, 5.0, enables full previews of PDF and PowerPoint files; automated job association and metadata gathering; and automated archiving. Job Manager 3.0 is an electronic job tracking, costing, estimating and billing solution.
Progressive Information Technologies
Vasont Cross-Media Publishing System enables organizations to create and manage content for publishing to print and electronic media. Customers include: Merck and Co. Inc.; Hewlett-Packard and McGraw-Hill.
WebWare’s ActiveMedia Enterprise software may be implemented as standalone software in-house or used through WebWare’s outsourced service. It provides a secure repository that manages, distributes and publishes rich media, including graphics, images, layouts, animation, video and documents. Features include: automatic thumbnail generation; track-and-save all versions for shared viewing; and automatic tracking of parent/child/sibling relationships between assets.
Exstream Software’s Dialogue connects with customers one-on-one, consistently across all touch points. It allows businesses to create personalized communication and deliver it through multiple print and online channels. Dialogue’s content management, campaign management and tracking capabilities help businesses segment their customer base and treat different customers differently, depending on their value and growth potential.