The Content Outbreak – How Content Usage Has Transformed: Then And Now

Could you imagine only needing a single asset management system to handle all your needs?

The velocity of content throughout the world is unbelievable! In today’s day and age, it is astounding that anyone whether 8 or 80, can capture as many pictures as they want, and record an HD or even 4K video on a handheld device at a moment’s notice. Throughout my career, I have always heard the phrase “there is a content explosion happening.” I’ve heard this from the moment I started in technology over 17 years ago! There has always been an explosion of content occurring over the years, but in my humble opinion, what we are all a part of is a “Content Outbreak!” Is it something so overwhelming that it is almost like a pandemic – a once in a lifetime inflection point with technology, pop culture, and our way of life.

If you think about it, content has not changed over the years since the invention of the desktop computer. Yes, there are new and better formats that contain some cool wiz-bang features, but the content itself has not changed at all. There has always been two types of content in the world, structured and unstructured data, with unstructured data being the most difficult type of information to manage and gather. We are still dealing with the same main types of unstructured data today that we were concerned with many years ago: documents, images, audio and video. Not much has changed in 20 years; those types of files still exist, and are at the core of today’s “Content Outbreak.” The big change is not the content itself, but the way the content is being produced and accessed. Years ago, the only people that cared about managing documents were Enterprises such as Oil & Gas, Insurance, Public Sector and Legal. The same can be said about rich media like video because back in the day, it was only broadcasters and post-production houses that cared about video.

Now with this outbreak of content from so many sources and creators, everyone is concerned with all types of unstructured content. If you think about the saying, “A picture paints a thousand words,” it is absolutely correct. Books and text can describe a situation with thousands of words and pages, but a picture paints that in one still shot, and a video clip can paint a story for us now in just minutes or even seconds. So as the workforce changes with a new generation, almost every company is looking to incorporate all types of unstructured content into their business. Today’s workforce is used to having content and information immediately in many different flavors and devices. With so much competition today, companies are building their business models around customer experience, whether with internal or external customers.

Now, how does all this relate to the title of this post? Whenever I talk with customers, I always ask them how many asset management systems they have. The usual response is either, “I don’t know” or “there’s one in marketing, one in legal, one in IT, and one in [fill in the blank].” I ask this because I usually know the answer, and this is how traditionally asset management and the use of content has evolved over the past 20 years.

Here I go on another personal history lesson…

If we look back again 20 years ago, everyone wanted something to manage documents and email, so the Doc Management vertical was born. Then 15 years ago, was the emergence of having an online presence on the www (or what I call the interweb), so the Web Content Management vertical was born. At the same time, rich media became more prevalent, so you guessed it, Digital Asset Management was born. I can go on and on with Media, Production, Physical & Enterprise Video Asset Management, and Social & Mobile.  Basically think of any type of unstructured piece of content, and put “asset management” behind it and there is a vertical for it. To solve this, many companies purchased and implemented the best-of-breed solutions for each of these business challenges over the years. So when there has been new “Channels” put forth for consuming all this content, vendors create a laser-focused solution to solve new challenges.  Kudos to all those vendors; their solutions are very good about solving those particular situations. Nevertheless today, every company is producing all the same types of content.

No longer is a broadcaster the only type of company creating videos, nor legal or the public sector concerned only with redacting documents. Everyone is doing everything! Which leads me to the title of this post, “Why do companies need 6 solutions to do the same thing?” Yes there are cool features and integrations with some, but you would think to see evolution of those solutions, except that we don’t. This is because either a big box software company wants you to have the “entire suite” of software with lots of services to make them work together, or those innovators get sucked up through M&A activities. Operating Systems have evolved. Databases have evolved. Hardware has evolved. Is asset management still special? No, unstructured data has evolved as well and unfortunately, asset management vendors do not see that.

Let me give you an example at a super high level. Take an Adobe InDesign file and the process to create it. Again, at a high level it is the same as an Adobe Premiere or AfterEffects project. They both reference other elements in it to make one output. Simple right? Then why do you need a DAM for Adobe InDesign files and a MAM for Adobe Premiere and AfterEffects files. You don’t!

8 months ago, I joined Evolphin because I have never experienced a software solution that could cross all the wonderful verticals I mentioned above. Call it my Unicorn, but for the longest time I thought to myself, “someone needs to do this; it cant be that hard.” The team here at Evolphin has created a one-stop shop for managing and facilitating “work-in-progress” of every type of unstructured content. We have built a creative and business management solution that is the next evolution of asset management. We have simplified the complex economy of asset management, by treating unstructured content all the same at the core. With this concept of a ”Content Outbreak,” everyone is creating and leveraging every type of content that is available, so why not just have one solution to manage it?