Where Have all The Mid-Market Players Gone? Into the Cloud!

by appart March 30, 2009 05:40


According to a January CMS Watch report, mid-market DAM players are disappearing at an alarming rate. For companies looking for an asset management solution, this translates into fewer choices. Or does it? 

Clearstory , Interwoven , and North Plains are just a few of the "large" DAM vendors currently competing at the top end of the market. These are robust systems. And often, quite complex. At the low end of the spectrum are the bare bones providers, which typically require a great deal of customization and additional work for the client. For companies that want the best of both worlds, there is a middle way. Just look up into the Cloud. 

Software-as-a-Service has been loitering on the sidelines for the better part of a decade. But over the past few years this market has quickly matured and become legitimate for even the largest enterprise organizations. For every major business category -- whether it's CRM, Business Intelligence, or financial services, there is now a healthy ecosystem of SaaS-based providers. And DAM is no different. In fact, the business case for "DAM-as-a-service" is perhaps even stronger. And this is precisely where the mid-market will be filled as both ends of the spectrum converge. There are three converging forces that I see driving the DAM market to the middle of the cloud:

1. Distributed Workforce: As Thomas Friedman declared, 'the world is flat'! This means that a company's most valuable resources are no longer housed under one common roof. Increasingly, the modern enterprise relies on a workforce that is scattered across the globe -- whether it's remote employees, vendors, or contractors. These resources require the same access to digital assets to effectively do their job.

2. Commoditization of Bandwidth - Over the past decade, the cost of delivering high-speed bandwidth has decreased by a factor of 10. The notion of "ubiquitous computing" is fast becoming a reality and with it, the ability to quickly access and retrieve large files in the cloud has enabled new efficiencies.

3. Cost of Managing IT - Organizations are looking for ways to drive the costs out of IT and have found that it makes a great deal of sense to leverage SaaS-based services for non-critical data and applications.

Of course, the most compelling reason right now for adopting SaaS is cost. Even the largest companies are hard pressed to justify a high six-figure investment in a DAM system -- especially when all of the associated costs of managing such a system are accounted for. The mid-market might be a little shallow right now but I expect this gap in the market will be filled relatively quickly as demand for hosted DAMs heats up. What do you think?  

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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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