Yvan Cohen

Yvan Cohen

Tue Mar 05 2024

Low angle photography of grey and black tunnel overlooking white cloudy and blue sky. Photo by Pixabay

Innovation And Service: Two Essential Ingredients For A Future-Proof Digital Asset Management System

For anyone thinking about purchasing any kind of software, there's always a nagging concern about upgrades. How future-proof will your system be? Will the technology you're investing in stand the test of time?

The risk is that a system that looks and works brilliantly today, may become dated and perform poorly just a few years down the line.

In this article, I'm going to look at why, when choosing a DAM system, you need to look not just at the functionality of candidate platforms but also at the ethos, energy, experience, professionalism and passion of the companies that developed them.

The quality of your provider, and of the service they provide, is just as important as the quality of the product they propose. Don't' be blinded by the stardust of AI and snazzy websites. Get to know the people behind the system you're thinking of investing in.

As its label suggests, software is inherently ethereal in nature. There is no hard steel to rely on, no solid parts to repair or replace, instead there's just a string of 'soft' digital code flickering on screens. It's complex, nebulous, fragile even.

LightRocket is driven by feedback, collaboration and innovation

When you purchase software, you are investing in ideas and concepts built on the ever-shifting sands of code. The environment in which systems operate change, the digital raw materials (files) handled by digital asset management systems evolve, and the requirements of users expand and progress.

At LightRocket, we make a big deal of the fact that our platform is always evolving and responding. It's not a finite system but an ever-changing project, an endeavour driven by feedback, collaboration and innovation.

A focused woman working on a laptop at a desk. Photo by George Milton

A digital asset management system developed by media professionals

When it comes to understanding the nature of a company behind a digital asset management system, it's reassuring to know that the people who developed your system are media professionals themselves.

Too many software companies are born as get-rich-quick startups, launched by talented developers who spotted a gap in the market, or identified a problem to be solved. The purpose is profit through problem solving - but deep experience and an authentic passion for the business are often missing.

At LightRocket we're proud of our media pedigree. Both founders (myself and Peter Charlesworth) worked as professional photographers for decades. LightRocket was initially created just over 20 years ago as a first-generation digital agency.

Solving digital asset management challenges before Facebook was launched

Right from day one we were grappling with the challenges of ingesting, managing and controlling access to media content. Pictures were being filed from multiple locations into a central database, which in turn was being used by editors around the world looking for content - and this was in 2003 (before Facebook was even launched!).

Even though we didn't start out with the objective of becoming a DAM system provider, twenty years ago we were already responding to the essential problems that DAM systems exist to solve. Unlike many other digital startups in the DAM space, managing media was already at the centre of our lives and had been for decades.

This meant we had a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by contributors in far-flung locations who needed to get pictures or videos online.

We understood the imperatives of clients who needed to find the right picture or file quickly - ensuring their time, and money, is effectively invested. And we appreciated the value of storing archives centrally and securely so they can be easily, and safely, accessed from anywhere.

Multi cultural people at a table, working together. Photo by fauxels

LightRocket Enterprise is built on experience and professionalism

It wasn't long before we understood that our strength, and the value we could provide, lay in our insider's understanding of what it takes to efficiently manage a digital media archive. It was from this germ of understanding and these foundations of experience and professionalism, that the LightRocket Enterprise digital asset management system was born.

For the past two decades we have been continuously learning; because building software is not just about business it is about understanding, about innovating and about responding to the needs of your clients.

What we provide is known as 'Software as a Service' (SAAS). At LightRocket, we take the 'as a service' part of that label very seriously. In fact, we provide software that isn't just a service, it also comes with a service.

Personalised training is a must

The complexities of almost any software system, no matter how intuitive it claims to be, require some kind of learning curve.

Anyone can provide manuals and video tutorials but there is nothing better than personalised training. And nothing more reassuring for a client than to know that a patient consultant is just a call or email away. If you're investing in a system that will sit right at the heart of your organisation, be sure to check that, however intuitive the salesperson promises it will be, your future provider has a solid commitment to personalised training.

Co-workers having a meeting and collaborating in a meeting room. Photo by Kindel Media

Look for DAM system providers that emphasise collaboration

Collaboration is another essential part of the LightRocket business ethos and is an approach you'd do well to look for in any potential DAM or SAAS service provider. Because software is about learning, system providers should understand that there is no better source of understanding than the users themselves.

Too often the closing of a deal, marks the beginning of a distancing process between provider and client. The provider has achieved their goal of adding a client and is moving on to the next lead. A period of often intense sales-led communication draws to a close and the client is then abandoned to rely on tutorials and manuals.

LightRocket has had a number of clients for over a decade

At LightRocket, we have a number of clients who have been with us for over a decade. They stay with us not just because they get value from our software but because they appreciate our collaborative approach. We work for them and they work with us.

Ultimately, we are a product-focused organisation, our passion is to make our platform better and we know the best way to do this is by listening and responding to feedback from our clients.

We understand that for a system to stand the test of time, for clients to remain loyal, it must evolve. Innovation, literally the implementation of new ideas, lies at the heart of our process, ensuring the LightRocket digital asset management system will be as powerful in the future as it is today.

Written by Yvan Cohen | Yvan has been a photojournalist for over 30 years. He's a co-founder of LightRocket and continues to shoot photo and video projects around South East Asia.

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