6 benefits of DAM in the cloud
Managing your assets in the cloud also keeps you well positioned to meet the growing demands for content.
What is the cloud?
“In the cloud,” “cloud storage,” “cloud service.” We’ve all heard these and similar phrases increasing in usage recently. But what is this “cloud” we are all talking about? On a visit to a customer, I remember seeing a sticker on a monitor in the IT department that proclaimed, “The cloud is really a computer in Ireland.”
While it was there to raise a smile, the sticker was, in essence, correct. Microsoft defines the cloud as “a global network of servers, each with a unique function.
The cloud is not a physical entity, but instead is a vast network of remote servers around the globe which are hooked together and meant to operate as a single ecosystem designed to either store and manage data, run applications or deliver content or a service.”
Simply put, cloud computing is all about making multiple data centers available to a wide range of users over the internet. It’s about the controlled sharing of resources in a way that results in economies of scale and consistent, coherent user experience as needed.
Clouds environments come in two types:
- Enterprise cloud — limited to a single organization
- Public cloud — available to many organizations
Moving to a cloud environment can result in several benefits for an organization — which will be covered below — including:
- Speed and costs of implementation
- Increased collaboration
- Continuous development
- Managed services
The following will also provide a detailed look at the business impact of the cloud from a digital asset management (DAM) perspective.
How does it work?
The easiest way to understand how a cloud computing environment works is to think of it as two distinct parts:
- A front end to access content through an internet browser
- A back end where the content is stored on various servers, plus the software to manage access and retrieval of the content
A central server follows a set of rules, or protocols, in order to manage the features and functions of the software and associated programs to connect the various servers and devices in a way that is transparent to the end user. From a user-experience perspective, things should work just as smoothly as if the software platform was installed on their local machine.
The cloud infrastructure also supplies many other advantages over managing multiple copies of a piece of software on different local machines. Cloud computing service providers usually maintain multiple copies of the data to mitigate instances of security threats, data loss, data breaches, etc.
Cloud computing services tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Software as a service (SaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
The cloud and DAM
When it comes to digital asset management, a cloud solution is a natural fit because it offers many advantages related to cost, speed, scale, accessibility and distribution.
As with any cloud solution, using DAM in the cloud eliminates both the initial purchase and set-up costs for both hardware and software. It also removes the ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs associated with on-site software applications.
Customer experience has become the key business differentiator in an online world, and content is key to that — especially rich media content. Photography, infographics, design, 3D models, video and audio are all part of delivering a rich customer experience at every stage of a relationship, from discovery to purchase and through to support.
As a result, demand for more content is increasing across the enterprise. DAM is no longer just about being the place for the marketing team to store pretty pictures.
A well-thought-out and facilitated DAM is now a strategic platform that can drive the digital supply chain across the enterprise, allowing rich media to flow and be used across functional boundaries to deliver consistent on-brand messaging and experiences. A cloud solution enables the rapid and easy growth of the user base, and the ability to increase or scale the amount of storage needed to meet those growing demands.
A DAM solution in the cloud also allows for business continuity, schedule flexibility and internationalization.
With its “always-on” availability and access from anywhere via the internet, a cloud DAM means that assets can be uploaded, searched, retrieved, worked on or published whether you are in the office or working remotely.
The cloud also gives you a global infrastructure, enabling cross-border collaboration and consistent use of assets to make sure that every team stays on brand.
Cloud-native vs. cloud-based DAM
Many of the DAM platforms available in today’s market claim to be able to run as a cloud application. However, a large proportion of them are based on technologies that were developed prior to cloud deployment being readily available.
To address this issue, the older technology platforms have attempted, to varying degrees of success, to port their existing solutions to the cloud, with subsequent limits on either scalability, flexibility, choice of cloud storage vendor or limited functionality.
More modern solutions, such as Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform, are built from the ground up to be deployed in the cloud. This gives them full flexibility in architecture, scalability and support for a full feature set from day one. Such cloud-native solutions are also significantly quicker to implement and need less customization.
Benefits of a DAM in the cloud
Speed and cost of implementation
As discussed, a cloud solution is less costly than the traditional on-premises solution of installing copies of software on multiple platforms.
As well as eliminating the costs associated with installation and ongoing maintenance, the move to a subscription-based operating cost is often more appealing from a budget management perspective.
Speed of implementation is quicker than traditional methods, meaning faster ROI from the solution. Customers of Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform have found the time to implement the cloud-native DAM environment is as much as six times quicker than with a traditional DAM solution.
Because a cloud solution is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection and a browser, they inherently have an infrastructure that promotes collaboration more easily than the traditional solutions.
Cloud access means that multi-step VPN logins are no longer required.
A cloud DAM and user-based permissions mean you can make sure that the right people, both internal and external, have access to the assets they need at the time they need it.
For instance, with Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform, it is possible to give access rights to one asset to a named individual, for a set period of time — say if you wanted to have someone in an external agency fix an issue on a given photo touch-up within a 48-hour window.
Location is no longer an issue with a cloud DAM solution.
As long as someone has an internet connection and has been given the right permissions, they and others on their team can upload, search, retrieve, work on or publish assets from wherever they are located, across both functional and geographical boundaries.
One of the hardest parts of implementing a traditional DAM system is trying to estimate what storage you need. Do you size for what you need now or for future growth, and how do you estimate that?
With cloud-based DAM, you don’t have to try and estimate for future growth. The solution will grow or scale with you. You can start off at the size you need for today, plus a little bit of a growth buffer, and then scale as the number and type of assets increase.
Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform customers have grown to manage millions of assets in their cloud environment. The system has been stress-tested to handle billions of objects, allowing customers to scale at an unprecedented rate.
With a cloud DAM solution, there’s no longer the risk of falling several versions behind or needing to interrupt regular production cycles to install upgrades.
Because the DAM environment is managed as a service common to all subscribers, any updates are pushed out automatically to all users during scheduled maintenance windows.
The same is true of any bug fixes or functionality improvements. These no longer have to wait for a scheduled software release to be packaged and shipped. The platform developers can incorporate and push out a new or upgraded feature as soon as it is ready.
Moving away from a periodic repetitive update schedule to one of continuous development means that the users of the cloud DAM will always have the same capability, and it will always be the latest available — and it’s all done automatically.
As a cloud services provider is managing the overall service, they are collecting analytics on various aspects of the system. This is often extended into collecting analytics about the usage of the assets stored within the system and the various user interactions.
From a digital asset management perspective, this means that it’s possible to track not only an image’s use and metadata but also how often it is being searched for, accessed and worked on — by who and from where. Relationships between assets, such as derivatives, usage in translations and more can also be tracked.
Moving to a cloud environment for DAM is a key strategic decision that not only provides implementation cost savings and increased efficiencies, but also has a side benefit in terms of operational costs.
According to research by Cisco, about 65% of IT department budgets are spent just “keeping the lights on.” By moving to a cloud-based solution where the service is managed and maintained by a third party, that budget could be released and used elsewhere.
Perhaps more to the point, by moving to a cloud strategy, organizations can take full advantage of a flexible, powerful technology model, while staying focused on their core business rather than worrying about maintaining a mission-critical DAM platform.
Business impact from a DAM perspective
There is no doubt that cloud computing is a contributing factor in driving growth for many enterprises.
At Hyland, we’ve seen that a well-executed cloud-driven digital asset management strategy can add to that growth and even drive measurable revenue increases.
The benefits of cloud adoption of DAM include:
- Removal of unnecessary IT maintenance costs
- Accelerated recognition of ROI through faster implementation
- Elimination of storage challenges via scalable solutions
- Delivery of analytics-driven insights into asset usage and delivery
- Facilitation of cross-functional and cross-geography collaboration
- Simplified management of security and compliance risks
We have also seen that the combination of a natively collaborative environment, scalability and the positioning of digital assets at the center of the digital supply chain facilitates the development of innovative digital experiences.
The cloud ensures that DAM providers can dedicate enough time and staff resources to concentrate on delivering a competitive, high-quality service. That way, they can continue to expand and innovate in the field.
Trusted by leading brands and consumer companies to manage critical content in the cloud, Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform offers flexibility and scalability without sacrificing security.
Optimized to take full advantage of Amazon Web Services infrastructure, scale, elasticity, services and innovation, Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform offers object-level security designed to address all data locality and privacy requirements.
Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform is certified PCI compliant, for security and privacy you can trust with your sensitive data and content. With active monitoring and multiple threat detection levels, your information is safe with us.
Ensuring high performance and reliability under fast-changing loads, Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform has 99.9% uptime and is capable of handling your heaviest spikes. Instant, automatic upgrades are handled in the platform to ensure seamless performance and immediate access to our latest features and technology.
With modern tools like Elasticsearch and MongoDB, and no need for the burdens of physical hardware, Hyland’s Nuxeo Platform keeps modernization cost-effective at scale.