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H alf the stands at IBC claim to have asset management products – do they all do what you do? Ask the experts Yes, it seems like everyone claims to do asset management or workflows. And it confuses the hell out of buyers. So we need to take a step back and think about what we actually mean. So let’s break it down. First: assets. What are your assets? Well, that depends on who you are. If you are a playout company, then you know programmes and commercials come in, are played out, then can be deleted from the server. That is a pretty simple asset management application. But I would urge you to think a bit more carefully about that word asset. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a thing or person of use or value”. So what your asset management system should be doing is getting the most of that value. So asset management is about monetisation? Certainly you cannot maximise your revenue opportunities without good asset management. But that does not mean that earning revenue is the only reason for managing your assets. Tony Taylor, Chairman and CEO of TMD, discusses asset management and why you have to think at the business level It can simplify your workflows. It can enable you to make the best use of your archive – finding new library clips for news and review shows rather than the same old familiar shots, for instance. It can build a bond with your audience, by putting some content online. You may have a social responsibility to enable public access to your archive. But an asset management system is just a server and a database. How complicated can it be? Why do I need to talk to a specialist? If you tell me Google is just a table of contents, I will agree that asset management is just a server and a database. But we both know that it is very much more than that – or at least it should be if it is going to be of any use. First, there is a lot of data to be managed. Some will be entered 42 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE by archivists, some will be generated by machine, so you have to be able to interface with other systems, like file-based quality control processes, scheduling and automation, and business systems. Second, it needs to support workflows. You cannot have people typing in commands to move content around a network or pass it through processes. The system has to be as automated as possible, with the asset management system tracking what needs to be done and recording that it has happened successfully. And those workflows and processes have to be designed quickly, simply and reliably, without calling in an expert and paying a fortune in consultancy. Third, the data has to be managed. If you are publishing to multiple platforms – which is a good way of maximising the use of your assets – then you need to deliver specific metadata in specific locations for the file to work. Again, this has to be managed automatically. Fourth, you need to be able to access certain parts of the data from different devices. Sometimes web services will suffice, if you need to log in from home, for instance. But you can get real productivity benefits if you push people to respond immediately. Rather than wait for a producer to get back to the desk to watch and approve a new trailer, sent it to her or his iPad wherever they are in the building for an immediate response. We do that with a module called i-mediaflex Mobile. Finally – and this is a point that is often overlooked – not all of your content will be on a server. What about material that has already been archived? What about library material that has not yet been ingested? What about things that cannot be recorded on a video server. Not just subtitle files, but things like poster artwork and scripts? Can you include physical assets as well as digital assets in the same system? It makes a huge amount of sense if you do. Then you have all your assets in one place, and you know when you search that you will find everything you have.