TechBytes with Andreas Gnutzmann, Chief Technology Officer, FotoWare
Chief Technology Officer, FotoWare
Digital Asset Mangement (DAM) platforms are transforming the way retail marketers align their strategy around customer experience and brand messaging. According to a recent report, it is speculated that the DAM market would growing at a CAGR of 20.5% from 2017 to 2021. To better understand the state of DAM platforms and their relation with the Content Management Systems (CMS), we spoke to the Chief Technology Officer at FotoWare, Andreas Gnutzmann.
Tell us about your role at FotoWare and the team/technology you handle.
My background is in Software Product Development and Management. I have a passion for product engineering and design.
As a CTO in FotoWare, I’m responsible for the entire product development lifecycle, from research and design to Quality Assurance. I’m also responsible for the technical support and operational side, which is becoming increasingly important as we transition towards a cloud-based SaaS offering. My team currently consists of 18 people, from five different countries, and we’re constantly increasing the size of our team.
We have always delivered products based on Microsoft Technology, and this relationship continues as we are utilizing more and more PaaS services in Microsoft Azure.
How is FotoWare different from other Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms? How do you measure your benchmarking in the tech industry?
We always have a strong focus on delivering a complete product to our users. Everything in our products needs to work out of the box. We also believe that most of our users are consumers that don’t really want to work in a DAM. They want to work in their content creation tools such as a Web CMS, Office Applications or Adobe CC. We make sure our content can be found and embedded from FotoWare directly through these tools. FotoWare is there to help you as a customer tell your story and express your story visually, and we will never compromise on the quality of these visual elements.
To measure our benchmarking, we stay up to date on market analytics from RealStoryGroup and Gartner. We also do regular competitor analytics and stay up to date on movements from close competitors and big players like Microsoft and Adobe.
One of our core values is to be innovative, and we know that to be innovative, we can’t always look at what everyone else is doing right now – we need to create the tools for tomorrow. By listening to our customers, keeping track on what is going on in the market, and at the same time having an open mind internally, we believe we create the best solutions with the most user-friendly capabilities for our present and future customers.
Do you see a rapid disruption in DAM offerings due to maturity of Content Management Systems (CMS)? How does FotoWare prepare against these disruptions?
We see a trend where the capabilities of the built-in media managers in Content Management Systems extend to the point where they are fully capable Digital Asset Management systems. They can handle a larger amount of media and allow you to organize files better using metadata and taxonomies.
Some Content Management Systems deploy this functionality as modules inside the CMS, while others deploy separate DAM software as a tightly coupled software. Often, this is even the result of a CMS vendor acquiring or merging with a DAM vendor.
In my opinion, there is still a fundamental weakness in this approach. Marketing teams often switch CMS systems or even set up temporary CMS systems for specific products or campaigns. They like to stay on top of new Marketing Automation technology, and often choose different CMS products for different needs. As a result, a company may at any given time own multiple CMS systems from different vendors.
We position our products to be the independent single source for your visual media. Instead of creating tight couplings with specific CMS software, we provide widgets and plugins that can be hooked into any content creator application, including Office Applications, Adobe CC or Web CMS software. The assets are always linked back to FotoWare, ensuring you always have that one up-to-date single source of information, no matter which CMS system you use.
Our own marketing team recently moved our company web page from a proprietary Craft CMS system to Hubspot. The transition took less than 4 weeks to complete. If the CMS had owned our visual assets, it would have been a companywide strategic project which would have taken months to complete. Luckily our digital assets were stored in FotoWare.
How do you leverage content marketing tools to create relevant Product Recommendations and B2B connectivity?
Like many other companies, we are still learning and experimenting with new tools to adapt our marketing strategy to the constantly shifting content landscape.
Meeting our users at their grounds is important for strong connections, that is why we try to engage with and hear how they use the product through Social Media and a dedicated customer portal. Tracking services such as Google Analytics have been essential in the monitoring for user behavior.
We now see that B2B marketing has become more about reaching the right human beings rather than reaching the largest audience.
Of course, at the core of all this, we have FotoWare to maintain our visual assets, ensuring that we always have both up-to-date and historical, product screenshots, videos and promotional elements of feature releases.
Which marketing technologies fascinate you the most?
These days, I have been very impressed by technology that can take some of the guesswork out of the daily marketing work. A/B testing has been helpful in this process, but it still implies that the content must be created first and then tested secondly. And even then, you only prove that one suggestion is better than the other. AI and ML technologies provide exciting solutions to these challenges.
Today I see a lot of specific AI and ML tools and resources emerging that offer solutions to specific challenges, but I’d like to see more end-to-end marketing solutions that utilize these technologies in their products.
One message for 2018-2022 that you want to share with other CTOs in the marketing and sales automation industry:
Pay attention to new technology and always experiment! Big data, AI and Blockchain technology, are all buzzwords we keep hearing these days. We see an increase in tools and services available that offer these technologies. The leaders of tomorrow will be product companies that can utilize these technologies to give added value to their users.
Thanks for chatting with us, Andreas.
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