How To Evaluate Media Asset Management Vendors: With so many options to choose from, selecting the best media asset management software for your organization can be a daunting task.
To avoid most of the mistakes buyers make, we have created an all-inclusive guide that will help you choose the most suitable media asset management (MAM) software, and vendor for your organization.
Let’s dig in.
Questions You Should Ask Before Selecting A MAM Software
- How many digital assets does your organization produce each year?
For you to understand what you need, you have to understand your current asset flow. Asking questions such as; how much time your design team spends on creating new assets or projects, and whether they always have to update assets that are only used once will help you spot the bottlenecks in your current media asset management system. Your new solution should eliminate these bottlenecks.
- What problems are you trying to solve?
Most media asset management solutions can handle quite a variety of problems. The best way to choose one is to focus on your pain points. For instance, if your organization’s main problem is coordinating ad campaigns, you should select a MAM that eases collaboration between teams. Similarly, if your biggest challenge is finding files, the best media asset management software for you is one that makes it easy to locate files.
Focusing on too many problems will lead you to compromise on the essential uses when trying to solve as many problems as possible.
It is better to have a MAM that addresses just two of your crucial problems than one that solves a large variety of problems but fails to address your core needs
- What capabilities do you require?
Before you settle on a media asset management solution, you should determine the vital features a system should support it to meet your organisation’s needs. Is the ability to convert camera raw images essential to you, or are you more interested in scene detection and video transcoding?
You should determine such critical needs before you begin your research to help keep your selection process focused.
- Does the vendor support multiple types of media?
We live in a connected world. Your media asset management solution should, therefore, support the delivery of different media to multiple social media networks, points of sale, direct mail, and eCommerce as well as various devices such as desktops and mobile devices.
- What File Types Are Vital to Your Organization?
When beginning your evaluation of different media asset management solutions, start with the files that are vital to you daily.
Although your organization probably has all types of files, you might find that the ability to preserve videos might be more relevant to you. This seemingly small factor can help you focus your choices by limiting certain media asset management products
- How does the solution handle version control?
For your organization to maintain brand consistency, you need to ensure that everyone is using the correct assets. This calls for a MAM with proper version control. A good MAM ensures that everyone can access the correct version of an asset in all digital properties. Such a system had to track downloads and edits and sync edits in real-time. It should also allow users to get an older version of an asset when there is a need to.
- Does the MAM software integrate with other systems?
You should always choose software that can integrate and work well with other software solutions you have in your business. A proprietary and locked down system can become a major problem when you want to add another tool to your organization. Also, it can be expensive to upgrade such a system since it would mean upgrading all other systems that integrate with it.
- What technology framework is required to support the MAM?
A media asset management software will only be successful if your organization has IT resources that can support it. If your technology stake is Java and your solution is .Net, then this might not be a good fit
- Are there enough security measures to ensure that your data is safe?
You should not take the security of your data for granted. Ask your vendor the following questions to ensure that your assets will be well protected:
✔ How many people will have access to your data?
✔ Will you have complete access to your system?
✔ What is your vendor’s disaster and recovery plan?
✔ What is the acceptable use policy?
✔ How often does your vendor scan the system for possible vulnerabilities?
✔ Are there at least two copies of your data?
How to Evaluate MAM Vendors, A Step by Step Guide:
To ease the process of selecting the best MAM vendor, think of the selection process as a funnel with four filters. Each filter has a finer grid that allows fewer vendors to pass through.
#1 The Long List
The first filter will allow you to narrow down your list by eliminating vendors that do not meet your key MAM criteria.
These are the vendors who:
- Do not support your key assets
- Have a technology framework that is different from yours
- Have licensing models you don’t agree with
- Do not offer the delivery method you are looking for
In this filter, you should be left with a long list of about 15 vendors to choose from.
#2 The Short List
In this filter, you will evaluate each vendor in your long list to see how they match your organization’s goals and how they solve the problems you need to be solved.
Here are some of the items you should consider in this step:
- The MAMs simplicity of use
- How easy it is to find and repurpose assets
- ✔ How the system reduces complexities in your organization
- How the solution helps drive new business opportunities?
- Whether the media asset management software increase revenue and reduces costs
- Whether the MAM improves productivity
- Whether the MAM integrates seamlessly with other systems in your organization
You should also evaluate the vendor’s capabilities in the following areas.
- Use cases
- Scalability and performance
- Redundancy and reliability
- Technical requirements
- Business intelligence tools
- Integration needs
- Content processing
- Search relevancy
- Administration tools
- Workflow tools
- Data transformation
While in this step, ensure that you create specific use cases to see how the vendor deals with your unique problems. This step should help you cut your list to at most five vendors.
#3 Vendor Demos
This is the third filter in your vendor evaluation funnel. This is where you ask all the tough questions such as service level agreements, pricing, and maintenance and support cases.
- When evaluating the total cost of ownership of the MAM software, it is important to understand both the short term and long term const. consider the following cots:
- The cost of annual support
- Cost of software licensing
- Annual license maintenance fees
- Cost of additional modules, add-ons, and options
- Cost of technical and non-technical training
- Third-party software licenses
- Documentation cots
- Cost of professional services
If you are going for a hardware configuration, evaluate the following hardware requirements
- Operating system
- Cloud-based alternative
- Servers and processors
- Staging environment
- Development environment
- The necessary third party software licenses
- Network requirements
- Storage configuration, capacity, and performance
In this step, you should also ask the vendors for references. Create a list of questions to ask the references, including the project description, challenges, schedule, ongoing support, and issues. You should also ask them whether they would consider using the vendor in the future. If possible, find other companies that were not included in the vendor’s list.
References will help you determine the ease of use of the software and how easy it will be to maintain once you launch.
#4 The Bake-Off
This is the final filter in your funnel. In this stage, you should invite the top two or three vendors for a proof of concept bake-off demonstration at no charge. Choose a use case for the bake-off and ensure that the vendors use data from your company so that you can see how they can meet your needs.
Be sure to pick a few test users from your organization to test out the vendors’ POC solution.
An easy way to determine the winner at this stage is to have the vendors fill out a survey about their experience. Their answers will help you determine the best fit for your organization.
Vendor evaluation is a challenging and time-consuming exercise, but do not shy away from the process. If you follow the steps we highlighted above, you should end up with MAM software that fits your business needs.
What’s more, remember to choose a partner who’s ready to pursue an ongoing relationship, not just a vendor who will onboard you and forget you.