Monday, June 4, 2012

The Silo Effect

How to avoid a common pitfall in digital asset management initiatives

Large organizations have increasing challenges as their total volume of digital media expands on a regular basis.  Many have moved to digital asset management systems with a centralized database, usually with centralized storage systems such as SANs, to power search and browse of the content.  The primary purpose for DAM systems is to manage rich media and digital assets as well as automating workflows, while preserving valuable assets. Most large organizations structure the company by department, which causes an inherent problem when managing assets and workflows, known as the “silo effect”.  What exactly is the silo effect? It is when an organization has SEVERAL digital asset management systems (DAMs) for different departments.   The purpose of digital asset management is to organize media isolated and scattered on various tapes, discs, hard drives, and computers.   The silo effect occurs when content is isolated on different media asset management systems. Despite best efforts, content is still not available to the entire organization. 

Most of these departmental DAM systems are based on a particular workflow, for example post production often sets us a “PAM” (production asset management) system. . These systems are useful for their targeted workflow; however they typically lack the expansion capabilities and feature set required for a large enterprise with varying skills and workflow requirements. Beyond editing and production staff, most individuals in an organization would not be comfortable with using a PAM system, inhibiting collaboration and limiting the usefulness of the system if it was deployed organization-wide. This creates additional workload for the department using a departmental system, because staff must fulfill media requests from employees outside of the department. Another issue with a PAM system being used as an “enterprise” system is that it is not meant for collaboration outside of the organization and is unsuitable for secure distribution to existing clients or potential clients. The challenge for large organizations is to prevent the silo effect. The best practice for these organizations would be to create a multi departmental committee with executive management sponsorship to help drive the process of defining the needs of each department. Once this is accomplished, it is much easier to define the requirements of an enterprise level DAM. Enterprise level DAMs can eliminate the silo effect, allowing for interdepartmental collaboration, varying workflows and various content distribution requirements. Enterprise systems will typically cost more than a silo system but are much more cost effective and more efficient than multiple silo systems typically found in many large organizations.

This is where eMAMTM can help, allowing appropriate access to all users to all the content throughout and beyond the organization.

Empress has extensive experience in the media and broadcast industries.   eMAM was developed in talking to our customers large and small about their emerging needs over time.    Only one philosophy could meet the divergent needs---KISS:  keep it simple, stupid.   Customers wanted a GUI and a user experience that was simple to use, simple to learn, and simple to support, while still providing for the powerful features their workflow demanded. eMAM provides two levels of user interfaces, one for advanced users or departmental admins called eMAM Director, and another simple interface used by more common internal users or external users or clients.   

eMAM Director – This is a feature rich web based management interface for eMAM typically used by high level users and administrators. All the eMAM settings and configurations can be done through this interface. This software can be installed in a standalone server or it can be installed in the same server where other eMAM components are running. There can be multiple instances of eMAM Director Software running from multiple web servers for scalability, redundancy and back up purposes.

Below are the features/functionalities supported in the eMAM Director interface.

ü  Client management

ü  Project management

ü  Category management

ü  User Groups management

ü  Metadata management

ü  Delivery (need to purchase eMAM Delivery Service)

ü  Archive (need to purchase either eMAM Archive or eMAM FlashNet Connector )

ü  Approval

ü  Rough Cut

ü  Key frame selection

ü  Annotation

ü  Versioning

ü  Asset History Reporting

ü  Comments

ü  Order Tab

Basic and Advanced Search

eMAM Client was developed  to be even simpler to use. It is a light weight web interface for eMAM end users who want to preview and share content. This is a completely customizable interface that can be branded for different customers. The user experience is no more difficult than a simple ecommerce transaction or ordering from Netflix. The eBIN provides users with a simple ordering form.   Authorized users can click to add content to the eBIN and send email with a multimedia player.   Security features restrict access frequency, downloads, forward, viewing time, and so forth.    eBin can also be used as a marketing tool since there are built-in HTML delivery templates with branding and unsubscribe options. The interface is simple enough so that almost anyone can use it without training.

Below are the features/functionalities supported in eMAM Client.

ü  Basic and Advance Search

ü  Branding

ü  Theme selection

ü  Built in Approval process

ü  Asset History

ü  Comments

ü  eBIN – Message, Content delivery, Order, Download

Prepared By Shaun McTernan

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