In an interview, mediamid CEO Peter M. Hofer explains the advantages of combining a DAM system such as M@RS with MARMIND
Founded in 2003, software provider mediamid has become a specialist for digital asset management (DAM). In an interview, founder and CEO Peter M. Hofer explains how DAM systems help large businesses organize and control media files efficiently, why integrating them with other systems is useful, and how coronavirus will shape the digital future.
“Businesses are starting to realize that in the future it must be possible for people to work from anywhere in the world without the necessity for office infrastructure. Shifting to remote work was more difficult for businesses that were lagging behind on digitization than for businesses relying on highly digitized workflows.”
mediamid CEO Peter M. Hofer on how the coronavirus crisis will impact digitization
You have been specializing in digital asset management for more than 17 years. Many renowned companies rely on M@RS, a DAM system developed by you and your team. Why are more and more companies transitioning to tools for managing digital content?
Our experience has shown us that companies have been facing the same challenges for many years: They have to somehow organize their media files, whether it’s images, videos, or marketing and PR content. With digitization making many things easier, there is this common misconception that you will find your files if you search your storage system or the company server. However, you may not be able to access the file server. Permissions may be difficult to manage. And even if you find the files you were looking for, you probably won’t know what the most recent version is. In most cases, you won’t know if it contains any information on copyright and usage rights, either.
In other words, digital asset management is not just about finding content but about workflows and how they are structured?
Exactly. We guide our customers to ensure that they use our DAM system effectively and efficiently. It’s mainly about creating the right structures and optimizing workflows. You need to have a lot of expertise to be able to do that – something we are happy to provide to our customers. The only way an organization will become more efficient at structuring and managing content and keeping the relevant details organized is through optimizing its workflows.
MARMIND and M@RS can now be integrated. How do these two systems complement each other and what are the advantages of an integration?
Integrating the two systems with each other allows you to cover the entire marketing planning and production process from A to Z. You use MARMIND to create budgets and campaigns, and M@RS to manage, distribute, and archive digital assets. Then you go back to MARMIND to measure campaign performance. The main advantage of an integration is that digital assets stored in MARMIND can be directly sent to M@RS – without any system discontinuities. You can use rules to define in which cases marketing material should become available to agencies or the public through M@RS. In other words, integrating the two systems allows you to get the best of two worlds to organize and control your media files effectively.
How large does a company have to be to need a DAM system? Is there something such as a critical size?
Let’s say I’m on my own and I manage my files on my PC. I’ll probably be fine. What if I hire one person, though? Firstly, they won’t have access to my PC, and secondly, they won’t understand the structure I use. As you can see, a business doesn’t need to be very big before it needs a DAM system. Whether you need one or not doesn’t necessarily depend on the number of employees, however. One of our customers has only a few thousand images but is present in more than 70 countries worldwide and manages metadata in more than 30 languages. On top of all that, they have integrations with three PIM and two CMS systems. If you do the math, you will see that using a DAM system will definitely be worth it. The same is true for a customer who has relatively simple structures but manages 10 million digital assets.
On a slightly different note: In what way does the coronavirus crisis have an impact on digital asset management?
We serve customers from very different industries. What they all have in common is that being able to make digital assets available has become more important than ever before. The coronavirus crisis also means that digitization is gaining even more importance in general.
Do you think that this is because businesses realize now how important it is to be able to access files anywhere and to know which metadata belong to an image without having to ask one of their co-workers, for instance?
That is one thing. And the other is that businesses are starting to understand that in the future it must be possible for people to work from anywhere in the world without the necessity for office infrastructure. Shifting to remote work was more difficult for businesses that were lagging behind on digitization than for businesses relying on highly digitized workflows.
In light of the current situation, what do you think the future will bring in terms of DAM systems? Will they continue to exist as stand-alone solutions, or will they be part of a wider ecosystem of integrated software?
It depends on the use case. Media and picture agencies make money from selling media assets, i.e. a DAM system such as M@RS is their main system. In other cases, M@RS has been integrated with other systems and is part of a wider ecosystem containing several solutions. Overall, I would say that there is a trend towards system integration, which is why we keep on improving the integration options of M@RS.
Are there any other emerging trends?
In the past few years, using AI to automatically tag and classify assets was all the rage, something we have been doing for five years now. We have also been focusing on video editing and post-production, meaning that you can now use M@RS to create subtitles and different audio tracks and to insert images and text boxes in videos, for instance. All these options make production and post-production much faster, easier, and cheaper.
Last but not least – do you have any useful tips when it comes to managing media files?
Before you start operating a system, think about how you want to use it. Do a proof of concept and take some time to try out different things. It is better to take it easy at the beginning instead of using all available options. Less is more.
Thank you for your time.
Founded in 2003, mediamid digital services GmbH has become a specialist for professional digital asset management. Together with a team of 20 people, CEO Peter M. Hofer develops tailormade enterprise DAM systems both for large-scale businesses and for marketing, PR, communications, and picture agencies. Apart from M@RS, a DAM solution including a content management and portal system, mediamid also offers IT solutions, such as hosting and ASP/SaaS, and project management and consulting services. Customers include Daimler, OMV, and Germany’s rail operator Deutsche Bahn.