If you’re dreaming of integrating your DAM into a bespoke stack - and using it to power automated processes that save you time and money - here’s our beginners’ guide to software integration for DAM.
Why are software integrations so important for productivity?
Efficiency and productivity are the two key drivers of software integration. Disconnected systems make it difficult for collaborators to work together effectively. And as we use more apps and IT solutions, there’s a risk of losing productivity in the gaps between software - especially from silos and switching.
Silos form when software solutions - and teams for that matter - work independently of one another. Information and data exist in disconnect pockets around an organization, often being duplicated and recreated by teams that don’t know the data already exists. This is a big drain on productivity. And an unnecessary one. An integrated software stack allows data to be stored centrally and accessed by multiple teams, as well as allowing for data to be synced across multiple software.
Switching is when employees need to leave one application to work in another. Context switching is known to be disruptive and cause lost productivity. With software integrations, your staff don’t need to leave the app they’re working in to complete a task in another - thus minimizing the mental cost of switching.
A survey by Cornell University for Qatalog found 56% of respondents find it hard to track information across multiple applications and - in a typical working day - an individual wastes 59 minutes trying to find information across different systems. 44% said siloed digital tools make it hard to know whether work is being duplicated.
Another survey - of American, Canadian and UK marketing professionals - found 44% of them use between 5 and 10 martech tools. And 6% have more than 21. Given the potential for productivity losses between disconnected systems, it’s no wonder software integrations are a high priority for efficiency-obsessed organizations.
Is it hard to integrate software?
Software integration is the holy grail for many organizations. It has the potential to streamline processes, reduce inefficiency, and increase both productivity and profit.
But integrating software isn't easy. Historically is has required the expertise of a Business Analyst to scope out the potential for integration. Then a DevOps Engineer or another IT specialist to develop it.
Some of the challenges of software integration include:
|Building software integrations requires DevOps (or IT) engineering capacity
|Bespoke-build integrations connect two specific systems - meaning you need to start from scratch if you want to switch software
|It takes time to design, build and implement bespoke software integrations - and all the while, technology is moving on…
|Integrations between specific software are ‘single use’ - they can’t generally be repurposed to make other integrations faster
|All of these factors contribute to the relative high cost of integrating software - which can be prohibitive for smaller businesses
Complexity Inflexibility Speed Specificity Expense Building software integrations requires DevOps (or IT) engineering capacity Bespoke-build integrations connect two specific systems - meaning you need to start from scratch if you want to switch software It takes time to design, build and implement bespoke software integrations - and all the while, technology is moving on… Integrations between specific software are ‘single use’ - they can’t generally be repurposed to make other integrations faster All of these factors contribute to the relative high cost of integrating software - which can be prohibitive for smaller businesses
This is why - according to HubSpot - integrating disjointed software solutions is one of the most common challenges companies are currently facing.
However, whenever business has challenges, innovators spring to the rescue.
The combination of:
- Growing adoption of SaaS and martech products
- The desire for increased efficiency through software integration
- The difficulty of actually building software integrations
is driving the development of next-gen integration solutions. Solutions like iPaaS and serverless technology, alongside webhooks, APIs, and plugins.
DAM software integration options
There are lots of ways to integrate DAM into a software stack. These platforms and tools make it as easy as possible to connect and combine software systems and allow data to flow between them. Or to improve the reliability and scalability of software integrations.
Here’s some modern integration methods to be aware of.
Vendors know that integrations are high on organizations’ checklist when it comes to selecting software. Demand Spring found integrations are the key characteristic that marketers look for when choosing a marketing automation platform, for example.
This is why so many vendors have integrations already built into their software. These take time to develop and tend to focus on the most beneficial integrations for the more common use cases.
For example, our Digital Asset Management solution - WoodWing Assets - has a built-in integration for Adobe Creative Cloud, so designers don’t need to switch between Adobe InDesign and their DAM to search, choose and place images into designs.
iPaaS stands for Integration-Platform-as-a-Service. Let's break that down:
- Integration Platform - A set of tools that make it easier to integrate different software
- As a Service - A managed service that you subscribe to, rather than manage yourself
An iPaaS solution does the heavy lifting when it comes to integrating your software. It typically provides built-in connectors and rules, which let you plug in two different applications and begin sharing data between them. You don't need to start creating connections from scratch. This takes a lot of the complexity away from you, the client, and means you may not need to use a DevOps Engineer at all.
A simple way to think about iPaaS is as a translator. Without a translator, two people speaking different languages can't communicate with one another. But with a translator, the conversation flows easily.
WoodWing Connect - the umbrella term for our integration options - includes the Workato iPaaS platform. This allows users to create integrations between WoodWing products and hundreds of third-party software solutions - all with no coding experience needed.
Serverless technology includes the likes of AWS Lambda. It’s a cloud-based model that lets developers run code, manage data and integrate applications without having to provide or manage servers. We go into much more detail about serverless technology in our white paper Next-gen DAM integrations: integrating DAM using iPaaS and more.
WoodWing Connect draws on AWS to power highly technical custom integrations. Integrations that iPaaS - with its pre-built connectors - might not be able to accommodate. Serverless technology is very helpful in large-scale use cases with high levels of data.
APIs, webhooks and plug-ins
An API is a software intermediary that lets different programs talk to one another. You may have heard of APIs are being ‘open’. An open API gives programmers access to proprietary software. By including open APIs with their software, vendors make it easier for developers to create integrations for their clients.
A webhook is a way for one app to provide another app with real-time information. It only sends data in one direction and is triggered by a specific event. You can combine webhooks with APIs to create two-way data sharing the syncs connect across two software solutions.
A plug-in - or extension - is a software component that extends the functionality of the standard program and enables custom workflows or integrations with other systems. A plug-in may include a custom front-end or be a back-end integration (no visibility of the function to the end-user).
WoodWing’s APIs, webhooks and plug-ins let you connect almost everything you need with WoodWing solutions - to customize your workflow and content creation processes.
Benefits of next-gen software integration tools
Compared to historic ways of integrating software, modern software integration methods are easier, faster and more affordable. They’re the (often) code-free way to mobilize integrations at speed.
With the unstoppable pace of technological change, businesses can’t wait months to create and implement software integrations. As invaluable new tech becomes available, organizations need to be able to integrate it into their software stack as soon as possible.
Next-gen integration platforms like iPaaS make that possible.
Simple Fast Affordable Building software integrations requires DevOps (or IT) engineering capacity Integrations can go live in days not months. With proof-of-concept possible in just hours Because they require less time and specialist expertise to develop - they’re cheaper and more accessible to all businesses
|Building software integrations requires DevOps (or IT) engineering capacity
|Integrations can go live in days not months. With proof-of-concept possible in just hours
|Because they require less time and specialist expertise to develop - they’re cheaper and more accessible to all businesses
Example of DAM integration
Software integration can be an abstract concept so here’s an example - an example of a DAM integration that would be very useful to most retailers.
This retailer wants to synchronize product data between their DAM and their PIM.
Let’s imagine the business has uploaded a new image to their DAM. They add the product ID to the image metadata. This event triggers a webhook, which sends data to the iPaaS system.
- The data enters the connector on the DAM side of the iPaaS integration
- This moves - via the recipe - to the PIM side of the iPaaS integration
- This triggers the PIM to request the image be sent to their system too
It works the other way round too.
Let’s imagine the business updates some product information in their PIM - let’s say the price of a product. It’s important that information is also correct in the DAM because - if a designer is using an image - they may be using the metadata to automatically add product information to a design.
Changing the product information in the PIM is an event that triggers a webhook. This sends data to the iPaaS system, which goes through the relevant ‘recipes’, and transfers the data to the DAM.
Common DAM integrations
This is just one example of a DAM integration. DAM is fundamental to a wide range of sectors and a variety of use cases. Whatever purpose DAM serves in your organization, integrating it with other software will enable you to streamline processes and keep information in sync.
Some common Digital Asset Management integrations include:
- DAM + PIM (Product Information Management systems)
- DAM + CMS (Content Management Systems) DAM + ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning systems)
- DAM + project management software
- DAM + editorial workflow software
- DAM + design software / Adobe Creative Suite
- DAM + Artificial Intelligence
Benefits of DAM integration
Using these modern software integration methods, you can extend the functionality of your DAM and put it at the heart of your software stack.
From here, it can automatically send, receive and ingest data from other systems - making sure all your systems are effortlessly up-to-date and in sync.
It can also power automated processes - such as auto-populating InDesign templates with images and copy - and reduce the productivity risk of silos and switching.
With over 20 years in the industry, WoodWing understands the importance of software integrations. That’s why we offer:
- WoodWing Connect - our suite of integration tools that make it possible to connect WoodWing software to hundreds of other applications
- WoodWing Cloud - our managed hosting platform that makes it easier to connect your software in the cloud
Furthermore, we have a wide network of implementation and consultancy partners in 60+ countries around the world that can support any customization or integration project in your local timezone.
To find out more about DAM integrations - and how to select the right integration tools for your use case - download our white paper - Next-gen DAM integrations: integrating DAM using iPaaS and more.
To discover the benefits of WoodWing Connect and WoodWing Cloud directly, contact us for a demo.