Tactical Advice

Digital Asset Management Plugs Into the Cloud

SaaS offerings unite as Dropbox integration facilitates file transfer and synchronization for web-based digital asset management product.
Widen Strengthens Digital Asset Manager with Drobox Support
Credit: iStockphoto/ThinkStock

The cloud is touching nearly every sector of business and it's not just transforming legacy hardware functionality, it's also optimizing existing digial workflows in innovative ways.

One digital business, Widen Enterprises, has incorporated Dropbox, the popular file transfer and synchronization service, with its cloud-based digital asset management (DAM) offering, Media Collective. Dropbox incorporation promises to make it easier to download and transfer files to and from the central cloud/DAM system.

Used by more than 155,000 users worldwide, Media Collective — according to Widen — assists in the tracking, management, sharing and distribution of digital files (photos, graphics, videos and documents) across more than 200 organizations worldwide. The software as a service (SaaS) aims to lift this burden off the shoulders of busy IT workers by moving DAM to the cloud and away from local hardware and software maintenance.

Dropbox allows users of Media Collective 6.4 (see here for updates) to more quickly distribute and sync assets with customers, partners and employees, not just to their desktops and notebooks but to a variety of mobile devices as well, says Jake Athey, Widen marketing manager. “With the click of a button, a sales rep in China can have a catalog's worth of product photos and brochures on their computer, smartphone and tablet.”

It notifies users when media managed through Media Collective is available, greatly speeding up the sharing and distribution of assets. As Deanna Ballew, manager of development and infrastructure at Widen, explains to BizTech, having to wait for files to download is often a drawback of web-based media-management tools.

“Users tend to have outdated files on their own computer instead of taking the time to upload them to a central digital asset library or downloading the most current files from the DAM system,” Ballew says. “Widen’s integration with Dropbox gives users a feeling that the files are being stored on their computer. To add a file to the DAM, they can just copy a file into a folder. To access a file, they go into their Dropbox folder and open it. “

Athey points to four main stages in the lifecycle of an asset: creation, management, distribution and archive. Media Collective focuses on the management stage (of course), but has features, add-ons and integrations to access and span the other stages. Dropbox is one such integration (an important one in the distribution stage) for Widen.

“When it comes to distributing and syncing files across different groups of people and their devices, Dropbox's technology, ease of use, and user adoption rate has put it on par with what YouTube has become to the online video industry,” he says. “At a certain point, it becomes clear to a DAM vendor that it is more beneficial to integrate with a proven and dominant provider of a service via their API, rather than try to reinvent the wheel. Dropbox cannot do what DAM does, and DAM does not do what Dropbox does.”

As Ballew notes, “We didn’t have to recreate the wheel, but rather, integrate with a tool many of our users are already familiar with.”

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About the Author

James Alan Miller

James is a veteran technology journalist with many years’ experience creating and developing magazine and online content. He is passionate about mobile tech, music and running — when the stars align.  Follow him on Google+ and Twitter:

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