Forrester recently published a report on moving digital experience platforms into the cloud. This effort, led by my colleagues Ted Schadler and Mark Grannan, highlights an important point: digital experience platforms have been slow to embrace cloud delivery and only now, very slowly, are they embracing cloud alternatives. Why now? Forrester data shows us that clients demand cloud delivery so they can speed up implementation and deployment times, support mobile and remote users, lower overall costs, and replace upfront capital spending with monthly operating cost expenses. 

While digital experience platforms are typically anchored by core technologies like web content management, eCommerce, and/or campaign management, digital asset management is a core complementary piece of these platforms. DAM supports these solutions by managing omnichannel brand and rich media content. But compared to these other digital experience platform components, DAM is among the slowest to embrace cloud delivery. Many of the most prominent DAM vendors today have been very slow to adopt cloud delivery, and as such, the market is ripe for a cloud disrupter to change the pace of the market. 

So what’s happening in the market today? In short, some vendors show hints of promise of doing what Salesforce has done to the CRM market, but no one vendor has stepped to the plate yet:

Large vendors that sell DAM in addition to broader stacks have a long way to go.  Vendors like Adobe, OpenText, and HP have a long way to go to embrace DAM in the cloud. Adobe has come the farthest with their introduction of a SaaS DAM solution and a DAM solution as part of their overall platform as a service model (which includes WCM, among other components). But they lack the track record of being a standalone DAM solution, and it more sold as an add-on to other component

OpenText and HP Autonomy have the longest way to go compared to other vendors-clients, for example, have told us that OpenText even brings servers to their sales demos! OpenText does have a SaaS DAM solution, but we’ve seen little investment into that product in the past few years. In general, these products still require long deployment and heavy IT footprints. They must shift strategies or else be relegated to very niche, high-end media scenarios.

Niche DAM vendors with strong enterprise track record show glimmers of cloud promise. Vendors like ADAM, North Plains, and Media Beacon all have strong enterprise track records and count some large brands as their clients. But these vendors are, like the OpenTexts and HPs of the world, typically deployed on premise. They’ve shown glimmers of hope, however. North Plains acquired a SaaS DAM solution from Vyre (now sold as North Plains On Brand), celum sells a SaaS DAM solution, and ADAM announced at their customer event this year they are investing in a Platform as a Service model.

PaaS models show great promise particularly, as they give clients the speed and agility of cloud deployment, but allow the flexibility to extend, configure, and integrate with enterprise systems. Vendors in this space that prove PaaS viability will succeed. But while there are glimmers of hope, these vendors still have a way to go to prove themselves as viable cloud alternatives in enterprise scenarios. 

A whole host of niche vendors fight to own the SaaS DAM space.  A myriad of vendors litter the SaaS DAM market. This includes vendors like assetSERV, Brandfolder, Bynder, Widen, WebDAM, and Zonza. Each vendor has a specific niche right now: for example, Widen is particularly strong in the mid-market and with enterprise manufacturing, while Zonza has functionality well suited for production-oriented use cases. But each of these vendors must do more to prove themselves within the enterprise: their feature functionality often lags behind the enterprise players, they must do more to integrate into broader technology ecosystems, and they must prove their ability to scale. If one of these vendors can do this, they will certainly gain market share over high IT footprint legacy solutions.

Clearly the market is ready for disruption, but it will take vendors from each category time to catch up and offer viable SaaS or PaaS solutions. We’ll be working on updating our DAM Market Overview shortly, where cloud viability should feature prominently, and we will be publishing more research about digital experience platforms as a whole in the cloud.  In the meantime, how are you using DAM in the cloud? Do you see the cloud to be as important as we at Forrester see it? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.