Forrester’s First Digital Asset Management (DAM) Wave Uncovers A Market In Transition

Guest post by Anjali Yakkundi

DAM has long been stuck in the shadow of its more mature enterprise content management (ECM) and web content management (WCM) counterparts. But if our inquiry numbers are anything to go by, it’s slowly and steadily emerging from the shadows. This renewed interested in the DAM space led us to conduct our first-ever Wave evaluation of the DAM market. In this Wave report, we evaluated twelve vendors: ADAM Software, Adobe, Autonomy, Canto, celum EMC, Extensis, MediaBeacon, North Plains, OpenText, Widen Enterprises, and Xinet. Since we completed the evaluations, North Plains acquired Xinet (see my take on that deal here). This report revealed some interesting takeaways:

The market has a lot of Davids, but no real Goliath. Unlike more mature markets, the DAM market has surprisingly few big-name, stack players, and we estimate that even these vendors don’t have large market shares of the DAM market. The majority are smaller emerging or legacy players. While smaller players will continue to fight it out, I expect that soon enough larger customer experience management (CXM) and WCM vendors will start acquiring the smaller DAM vendors in order to plug rich media management support gaps. This could be a blessing for many smaller vendors, because these larger players will provide complementary CXM technologies and a nice boost in development resources. This is a market in flux, as evidenced by the recent North Plains acquisition of Xinet, and we expect more changes in the next 12-18 months.

DAM is moving away from traditional ECM towards CXM. DAM has long been thought of as a niche component of ECM suites that supports heavy production-oriented needs. However, as DAM breaks out of its niche status, it is also breaking away from traditional ECM concerns. The profile of new DAM buyers is different than the profile of traditional ECM suite buyers. The DAM buyers we speak with are rarely also ECM buyers, because the fastest growing DAM use cases are those that support online rich media content and cross-channel rich media marketing content. Therefore, DAM buyers tend to be marketing departments or IT groups specifically supporting marketing teams instead of traditional IT departments. As this shift occurs, DAM is moving away from its ECM past into a CXM future.

Most vendors are still developing comprehensive CXM strategies. The future of DAM is clearly CXM; the majority of clients we speak with are trying to integrate DAM with other CXM components like WCM, eCommerce, and marketing enablement tools (to name a few). But the majority of DAM vendors are slow to catch up on these themes. Few evaluated vendors offer packaged integrations with CXM technologies and few boast partnerships with other complementary CXM vendors. In order to stay ahead of the curve, vendors will need to build more comprehensive CXM strategies that guide future functionality improvements and partnerships. If they don’t, they will be relegated to supporting only rich media-heavy verticals like publishing and entertainment.

For this evaluation, we’ve assessed each vendor’s capabilities with an eye towards how vendors are supporting the CXM ecosystem. We evaluated vendors are on their current functionality offering, strategy, and market presence. Like all other Forrester Wave reports, I encourage you to download the vendor scorecards and customize the weightings to reflect your own needs.   

Check out the report and our upcoming webinar on the topic. Let us know what you think in the comments section.