After a long and dominant run – we at KlarisIP pronounce the end of metadata as we have known it in the world of digital asset management (DAM). Instead, the new mindset we must adopt is (drum roll….) – “data!”
If I’ve lost you then bear with me. I will make the case as to why the old approach to metadata no longer serves what is expected of DAM today, and explain why the word ‘Data’ is how you should be talking to your executive sponsors, coworkers, and vendors.
A brief history lesson (and I promise I will keep this short.)… When DAM systems were first introduced back in the late 90s/early 00s they were the domain of digital archivists and librarians. These systems were built like old card catalogs, and their library-centric users saw DAM as a virtual library or archive. The core purpose at the time was to find assets on the proverbial ‘digital shelf’ by searching metadata.
Now cut to 2019. That paradigm has served the DAM community well for over two decades, but the world around us has changed significantly in the last 5-7 years. The purpose of DAM has shifted: no longer simply virtual libraries, they are central hubs within a broader, technology-enabled ecosystem. Singular use cases of administrative, descriptive and technical metadata driving simple search of your asset collections are increasingly superseded by richer, business-driven needs.
A modern DAM is used for creative workflows, as an API-integrated source of truth for other information and content systems, and as a distribution point for content and product information. Assets will generate new data about themselves – and about the people and processes they touch – as they progress through their lifecycle. Imagine your operational dashboard showing real-time analytics of your content supply chain, modulation of search results based on business data from your ERP or even from live consumer behavior, or the ability to elevate querying to BI-levels of sophistication (“show me all the assets I have rights to sell for SVOD in the UK, in genres which have been at least 30% profitable there over the last three years”).
Yes, asset-specific metadata is still there at the foundation of a future-looking DAM, but talking about asset management in terms only of metadata does a huge disservice to the elevated role it now plays in your business architecture. With so much more data surrounding your assets, the opportunities to extract meaningful value are multiplying.
So, next time the conversation shifts to the word metadata remind those in the room the higher level concept to be driving is Data.
KlarisIP is a boutique consulting firm focused on defining the future of content management, information, rights, distribution, and content consumption (which includes real MLIS-certified librarians transforming data design and information management for your DAM!).