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How a Passion for Beautiful Design and Engineering Inspires a DAM CTO

By Alex Kronenberg on June 2, 2017

Over the past few months we have been bringing you stories from Behind The DAM of some of our incredible users, showcasing the many varied ways in which DAM solutions are utilized by enterprises large and small from a wide array of industries.

We didn't want our dedicated, hard-working and all-round brilliant team behind the scenes to feel left out though... after all, these are the people who make FotoWare what it is! 

Through the Employee Spotlight you will be able to discover DAM from the perspective of those who know it best - inside and out. From top tips and hints to their ideas and expectations for the future of the industry, we invite you to get to know the real-life human-beings responsible for building, maintaining and supporting the tools that help you to create content that changes the course of history, entertains and influences millions of people every day. 

So, without further ado, meet Andreas Gnutzmann. Andreas is our CTO and representative Down Under, having moved to Australia from Norway. That explains the didgeridoo... !

What is your role within the company?

I am a CTO at FotoWare, which essentially means that I am responsible for the whole chain between designing the product until it is shipped. That includes design specifications, architecture, development and quality assurance of our entire product suite.

How long have you been in this role?

I’ve been doing that for about 3 years now, but I’ve worked here for 10 years with a development background. I started out doing software development of our internal business systems and then quickly moved over to working on our products. I worked across the product on our entire suite before I started working more exclusively with development of FotoWeb and that was where my path towards product management started.

building software that looks great and works great for people who create content that looks great and works great is probably my main driver. That’s what gets me up in the morning!

What do you most enjoy about your job?

There’s so many things! I am an engineer at heart and I like building things, but I’ve also always been very driven by visual experiences. I love great visual content and I love design – basically I love that combination of beautiful design and beautiful engineering. To be able to combine that with building software that looks great and works great for people who create content that looks great and works great is probably my main driver. That’s what gets me up in the morning!

How did you end up working in DAM?

I didn’t choose DAM, it kind of chose me in a way. I’d been working independently as a consultant and had decided that I wanted to get into a technically driven company to gain more experience with my engineering. FotoWare found me during recruiting and it was just a really good match. My main motivation then was to be programming – as long as I was a programmer I was happy! When I joined, the whole industry was developing and Digital Asset Management was just starting to become a term during those early years. That's not what that triggers me today though, it’s more about what kind of problems our product solves for our users, but it’s great that we now have a term that kind describe those common problems.

How do you define a digital asset?

The most naïve way of describing a digital asset is: data and data about the data. Practically that translates to: a file and its metadata.

If you have an image, that’s the data and if you wanted to give some description about that image, that’s the metadata.

However, an asset can be more complex than that. It can actually be a compilation of multiple files, so a file is a more technical term but an asset is essentially content that you have invested in and it’s also the categorization of that investment.

I think whether people know it or not everybody is going to use a DAM, especially within their professions.

How has file management evolved for the past 10 years, from a product perspective?

There’s a few major changes to how file management has changed which I think we all know. The way it started was with everybody in a team throwing everything into a shared folder on a server somewhere, usually a local system, and I think a lot of the issues that all DAMs are trying to solve is the challenge when the shared folder got out of hand. It became too big, people were doing their own thing, there was no system and nobody could find anything. One great thing that has happened to that is that we now have cloud storage and cloud drives that does that a lot better, but I think as soon as you want to streamline those processes from something that’s very ad-hoc to something that needs a system and needs business value that’s when DAM comes in.

Are cloud-based services a novelty or requirement for digital asset management solutions?

Essentially this comes down to what are the benefits of software as a service (SAAS) generally. With on-premise solutions you need an IT department that can run hardware and software, you need to manage the deployment of software patches, you need to scale your hardware and in many cases, especially for smaller teams, the cost of hardware will significantly exceed the cost of the software – and you will also run over capacity for what you actually need. That’s where SAAS enters the picture, where you leave all that to someone else. You’re on a system, you know your data is taken care of, you know the system is up and running when you need it, it’ll always be running the latest versions so you don’t have to worry about migrating and staying up to date and also you can run at a lower cost because the venders will have a better opportunity to optimise and share those hardware resources.

What key changes, if any, will there be to the DAM world in the next 10 years?

I think we will see a shift where DAMs will become more specialised. In the future, the term DAM might actually be a marketing automation tool or a museum archive. You’ll see the vendors will target these verticals more specifically with these systems. Also, I think we will see that On-premise will be getting smaller and smaller, so software as a service subscription models is the way that the industry will go and I think whether people know it or not everybody is going to use a DAM, especially within their professions. Anybody who works with digital assets is going to use a DAM.

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