What you need to know when your DAM vendor promised that they can fulfil all the features you want.
DIW did not manage to secure a Digital Asset Management (DAM) project recently. The main reason is because we were given a low score for the part on Functional Requirements, while the other two vendors scored full marks. This came as a surprise to us because we have never been given such a low rating before when it comes to fulfilling customer's functional requirements.
After a phone call with the person-in-charge, we realised that it is because the other vendors promised to fulfil all the requirements by customising their locally developed self-proclaimed DAM software. In other words, the required functions are not available yet. Whereas for DIW, we did not recommend customisation just for a few special features and recommended workarounds using existing proven functions and workflows of a true DAM software.
This incident reminded me of the blog written by Picturepark's CEO about 2 years ago – Diving Head-first into a Suicide Sale.
"When we received their rejection letter, we saw that we had disqualified ourselves by once again offering the type of advice we would want someone to offer to us if we were entering into an enterprise-class software contract."
"I admit that for a fraction of time I questioned whether our principle to be “honest at all times” makes sense at these times too. Do some prospects just want to buy into the illusion that software will solve all of their problems? Do they buy into “everything is easy”, “everything is integrated” and “everything is automated”? If we know they won’t get everything they want from anyone else, is it still unethical to hide our limitations and sell just that illusion, knowing we can fix it on contract or implementation time?"
As a DAM consultant for more than 10 years, I deeply understand that using features and price to differentiate one vendor from another, and to determine the superiority of a system is just an easy way out. Features and price are not necessarily good benchmarks.
The best way to select a software system is to test it extensively. The devil is in the detail. Unfortunately, even if the prospects have the time to test the system extensively, there will still be two important determinants, which cannot be evaluated within a relatively short time.
- The capability and performance of the system to handle large number (hundreds of thousands) of files and metadata
- The quality of the vendor's support services.
The way to evaluate these two determinants is to talk to the vendor's existing customers, especially those who are known to have done extensive research and have migrated their digital assets from another software system.
We always emphasize, and our existing customers also unanimously conclude that "Digital Asset Management is more than just buying a software…," it is the experience and domain knowledge of the specialist who is going to implement the system for you that really matters. The specialist will be able to help you see beyond what you think you want now.
We prefer to market our services by educating, not by giving false illusion.