Open API – yea right.


In a world where DAMs are expected do more than digital asset management or are part of a larger platform where you can buy a DAM, and a CMS, and a PIM, and a marketing solution, and a multi platform publishing solution, and something to make your tea at 6.30 in the morning like the old teas maid, (who remembers them?), we have an environment where you could do a ‘one stop shop’ when it comes to your content management needs and stick with a one vendor solution.

I realise this is something I have railed against before, (not that its my pet hate or anything), but one fact of the matter is, systems cost money. The more you have the more you pay. And also companies are evolving. E-commerce companies who have PIMs and never thought about DAM are looking to buy solutions; equally companies who already have DAMs may now be thinking about moving into websites, or commerce, and are looking for solutions to help with that.

So along comes a vendor who offers everything in a neat little package, but the problem is that the company has existing technology that they have not long bought and are very happy with. Should they write that off years before they were going to just to accommodate a full package from someone else? In fact why would they even consider that?

Well perhaps that could be because at the moment the vendors are not offering APIs and solutions that plug into their competitors. When they should be. After all who has the money to buy a massive solution, or to throw away tech that is working perfectly well? The answer is nobody. Well nobody with half a brain and an eye on budgets that is. So why are vendors not talking to each other about how their systems communicate? Obviously there is the competitive edge and set to think about, but is this day and age of tightening budgets is its not better to sell one component than miss out. The vendor may have the perfect DAM for a business need, but not the perfect CMS, or PIM, that may be elsewhere. So why increase the pain of purchase and implementation by not having open APIs that will talk to anyone, regardless if they are a competitor?

Natalie Massenet, (a person who is on my one handed list of people who inspire me) said this in an interview with Wired Magazine.

“Businesses working together is only one aspect of this increasingly collaborative economy – the consumer is best served if we collaborate with another supplier and directly with her or him

Now she may have been talking about e-commerce and online retail but actually the ethos is so right. Competition is coming from all sides, some unexpected and not even ones traditionally known in the past to be players in the DAM or content management space. If businesses, (and in this case I mean vendors), want to give their customers what they need then they need to be more collaborative, after all there is only a finite amount of customers who will want a vendor to be every technical solution for all their needs. Technology moves too quickly to be tied in to one solution for a five year write off period. Companies will want to take in smaller solutions, assess them every 2-3 years and swap them out if needs be. And once the vendors understand and embrace this then perhaps they can work more collaboratively to allow their customers to have the solutions they can actually use rather than the ones the market dictates to them.

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