Are You Jerry-rigging SharePoint to Work as a DAM

by appart June 29, 2009 03:23


According to the Urban Dictionary, to “Jerry-rig” something means: “to fix an object (usually mechanical) to a working condition in a haphazard way. Also known as doing a MacGyver on it. This can apply to any non working thing, to fix it in a nonconventional way.”

Sound familiar? I imagine it does as we in technology tend to use what we have on hand to get the job done. Even if it wasn’t for the intended purpose. Think about how many people still use Microsoft Excel as a project management tool. Or a contact management system like GoldMine as a full CRM solution. Sometimes these hacked together systems can do the job just fine for a limited time. But that doesn’t mean you’re saving money (or improving productivity) in the long run. 

So what does any of this have to do with DAMs?  More than you might think. That’s because so many companies out there are using SharePoint as an ad hoc system to manage their digital assets. It all starts off innocently enough. You’ve set the SharePoint server up and have begun to use it for its intended purpose — a robust document management system to share information internally and with selected external partners. And it does the job very well. But then you realize that you have all of these distinct classes of digital assets that need to be organized, archived, and retrieved and you think – well, it works well for our documents, why not throw our digital assets on there as well? 

From this point, things begin to bog down. And like MacGyver, you’ve found yourself using a bobby pin and some piano wire to improvise a solution (though hopefully yours won’t explode). However, you do have a choice in the matter. And it doesn’t mean you’ll have to invest a small fortune in yet another disconnected solution. The beauty of hosted, customized DAM solutions is that they can effectively be integrated to work with the solutions you currently have built. So if your organization has standardized to some degree on SharePoint, fantastic. In fact, many organizations have been able to successfully leverage facets of their SharePoint site with a new DAM (i.e., organizational structure, naming conventions, and to a limited extent, version control). The difference being is that they understand the unique requirements of each solution and what it means for a solution to be “purpose-built” -- sure you can hack something together and make it work but in the end, it’s hardly an elegant solution. 

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About the author

Robert Cugini is the founder and CEO of Application Arts (“AppArt”) which he started in 1991, fusing his long-term interests in photography, graphic design, and computer science to build a full suite of services geared to helping organizations more efficiently manage their brand assets. An early pioneer in graphic design and printing technology, Robert developed one of the first electronic methods for capturing vector-based application screen captures and has since brought many 3-D graphic rendering innovations to market.  An expert in developing streamlined production services, Robert has built AppArt into one of the leading specialty graphic design service businesses in the country. In addition to directing the company’s strategic and financial operations, Robert also spearheaded development of AppArt’s flagship Digital Asset Management solution which is currently used by some of the world’s most prominent technology companies, including Intuit, Sun Microsystems, and McAfee Security.  An entrepreneur with deep management experience across a broad range of industries, Robert has held leadership positions with several enterprise organizations ranging from the forestry and environmental sectors to major land development initiatives. Robert graduated from Whitman College with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies.

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