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Today, we’re excited to unveil the latest version of our digital asset management (DAM) solution:
Portfolio 2017.

Over the past twenty years, we’ve delivered many evolutions of this product. Each time we set our sights toward the next version, the team is energized by the goals of addressing the evolving needs of organizations of all sizes, putting forth advancements that will future proof their investments, and finding ways to extend the value of DAM to new workgroups and industries. We guide ourselves by listening to our customers, engaging in the larger market, and evaluating what’s to come.

Portfolio 2017 continues this tradition.

What’s New in Extensis Portfolio 2017 Digital Asset Management System from Extensis on Vimeo.

As we rollout Portfolio 2017, rather than just laying out all the new features, we wanted to take a moment to share the inspiration behind them. So, here’s a little background on the key changes we made, and why.

New Desktop Client – Several years ago we made a few major architectural changes in Portfolio to allow it to grow, improve our currency on frameworks, and provide a more solid foundation for future growth and improvements. Included in that was an unfortunate change to drag-&-drop capabilities that, which while necessary for this migration, still left some clients with a change that was not embraced by their users. So, we brought it back along with other major new capabilities (infinite scroll anyone?) to make the user experience on the new platform even better. Welcome back drag-&-drop!

Server-Side Scripting – Even though I should not play favorites, this is my favorite new feature and goes back to a hack-day the Portfolio team held -1 year ago. One of our wise engineers decided to add in a way to create custom scripts that could do just about anything in Portfolio, leading us another step closer to the automation we all so crave in our jobs. We’re shipping with the ability to add these scripts, either created by us or you. Now that we’re finished with the delivery mechanism, we’re opening the creative floodgates for our developers and Integration & Consulting Services team to work on a few to make available. For example, a script to de-dupe and integration with popular social media platforms. We’ll share more on these soon.

Rights Management – We’ve partnered with FADEL to bring the first incarnation Rights Management to Portfolio. Not only did we pick the industry leader, but our association with the team that virtually helped create this market allows our customers with complex IP and rights for procured works to better track the lifecycle of assets in Portfolio. AND the compliance with contracts in FADEL. As assets become more complex, so must the workflow to manage them.

Advanced Smart Keywords – Portfolio has now seen the 2nd generation of our artificial intelligence (AI)-powered image recognition for automated keywording. These advancements come thanks to our partnership with Clarifai, a force to be reckoned with in the AI world. Being one of the first DAM solutions to introduce AI has put us in a unique position to get early feedback from real world use cases on what’s useful and what can be improved. In Portfolio 2017, you can now choose greater controls in number of keywords returned and languages with support for over 20 different languages (do you know the word for ‘pants’ in Norwegian? They do – it’s ‘bukser’). Additionally, we’ve added a new set of specialized categories from Clarifai; delivering more targeted keywords.

MappingIntroducing one of the first of its kind feature in DAM where you can automatically plot files with GPS metadata on a map so you can see and search visually by point of origin. Think about photos that you or your stakeholders take which have longitude and latitude coordinates attached to them. Think inventory, events, physical assets. Now think about seeing those automatically plotted on a world map. With Portfolio’s Map View, we’re giving you more ways to interact with and get insight from your data. Bonus: all with little to no additional work needed from the user!

Portfolio 2017 map view


Advanced Asset Compression – Now for the biggest improvement in Portfolio and DAM workflows in general, we’re introducing a new compression capability which can help you save up to 95% of the space for your large image files. Whether it’s on premise on hard drives ($3,000 per TB annual average) or in the cloud, if you can compress at a 1:20 and be visually lossless, that’s going to save time and money. We’ve also built our own pan / zoom viewer that allows you to have far better zooming into the pixels of the file, whether a satellite or aerial map down to a point or even a high-resolution photo of artwork. Now you can convert files to save space and improve the viewing, so you won’t have to concern yourself as much with space issues or guess about the fine details of your image. Oh, and it’s an included feature for no extra charge.

Portfolio 2017 Compression


There are a lot of other features we’ve added to Portfolio 2017 (i.e. extended support for IPTC video metadata, loads of performance enhancements) which I would deem the most consequential release we’ve done in years, or maybe ever, on Portfolio.

For more information, please visit

To see a live demo of Portfolio, join us on July 27 for our Webcast. Register here.

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Do you use metadata to tag your photos? How many of your current photos have keywords applied?

Recently we asked our customers these questions in our DAM Survey 2016. The answers surprised us quite a bit.

73% of our customers told us that they “need more keywords applied” to their assets—and these are the people that are already invested in a DAM system! Imagine how hard it is for people without a DAM system in place to locate key assets.

Digital Asset Management software has been around for years, but like most technologies, it’s constantly evolving to meet the demands of the modern era. Over the years, one thing has become abundantly clear: if you don’t have metadata tags to search with, it’s REALLY hard to manage assets in an ever-expanding digital universe.

Here are some things NOT to do:

Hire a person to manually affix keywords to hundreds or even thousands of assets (dream job!).


Force-attach keywords to all files that meet a specific criteria (file folder location, for example) via scripting or another bulk, unintelligent mechanism.

And here’s what you SHOULD do:

Automatically attach keywords via some artificial intelligence platform where well-trained algorithms with established taxonomies can interpret the images and apply “smart” tags to them.

If only such technology existed and was readily available…

P2.1-SS-Web-Keywords-Detail-ENOkay, enough teasing. Portfolio 2016 now offers a Smart Keywords module that’s
powered by Clarifai, the visual recognition technology built on the most powerful artificial intelligence in the industry. Simply upload your image and Clarifai suggests smart keywords to help you tag and organize your asset within seconds. One click. It’s that easy.

Skip the excruciatingly mind-numbing process of entering keywords manually. And eliminate the human error factor of common mistakes like typos or misspelled words. Win/win.

Keywords are what make any DAM system effective. Without them, you’re just swimming in a sea of random assets. By accelerating the keyword process, Portfolio Smart Keywords creates more time, energy, and resources for you to focus on doing great work!





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Extensis Volunteers at the Oregon Food Bank

Most people know Portland as a great city with great people, microbrews, coffee, and liquid sunshine (rain), but what makes Portland even better is our sense of community. For many years, Extensis has given employees paid time off for volunteering. On March 3rd, a group of about 20 Extensis employees decided to give back by volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank. Our tasks were divided into shifts.

The Oregon Food Bank

Shift 1: Put the lime in the coconut or perhaps just put the coconut in the bag.
We spent a couple hours packaging, labeling and repackaging 3,800 pounds of shredded coconut from 40 pound bales. We also may have had a few small food fights, created a mess and tried to have friendly competition to see who could package the coconut the fasted. All this activity led to creating 3,100 hundred meals for local families. What can you do with so much coconut? Make delicious, tropical granola, top off yogurt or eat it by hand as a mid-day snack. It sounds great, but many of us will be taking a few days off from anything coconut related.



Extensis at the Oregon Food Bank

Shift 2: It’s a myth. One bad apple does not spoil the whole bunch.
We took several 1,000 pound crates of apples and packaged them into individual mesh bags, which by the time you get to the bottom of the barrel – there were definitely some that were spoiled. Although mom is right about almost everything, she was wrong about one bad apple spoiling the whole bunch. We packaged over 15,500 pounds of apples which created over 13,000 meals for families in Oregon.

Both shifts generated over 16,100 meals and packaged a whooping 19,300 pounds of food!

IMG_6901 (3)


Thank you to the Oregon Food Bank for having us and thank you to those unheralded volunteers who help make Oregon special. Let’s all remember how blessed we are and be sure to give back more often.

For more information on the Oregon Food Bank, please visit

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While there have been worlds of advancement in the realm of digital asset management in the last decade, there remain a few gaping holes, one of which is the lack of new standards for metadata on multimedia or video files. This is long-existing issue that only an open dialogue and cooperation can successfully tackle.

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Digital assets are, as the name implies, meant to serve the business or organization in which they reside.  But if they are ineffectively managed, these assets can become liabilities.

To prevent this from happening, here’s 5 tips:

  1. Establish digital asset management (DAM) best practices immediately. It’s impossible to manage something without putting forethought into the processes and tools you will use, so if this is your first attempt, take your time and get it right. If you need ideas, check out our DAM Best Practices Guide.

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iStock_000053522702_SmallThe end of the line for your digital assets is a lot like retiring a comfortable pair of old shoes. You can’t bring yourself to do it, so they sit around forever.  Usually it takes an extenuating circumstance to force us to say goodbye to our beloved items. But it shouldn’t.

In most data centers – where your digital assets live – the main three concerns are:

  • Power – Power doesn’t apply here since servers have become optimized for green energy initiatives;
  • Space – In the ‘old’ definition of space, people were concerned with server racks.  With VMs, that really doesn’t apply;
  • Cooling – It’s already well handled.

So when it comes to dealing with old digital assets, what should we be concerned with?

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Within IT there is a well established and commonly followed discipline around the management of physical assets like laptops, servers, hubs and routers, etc.  This discipline, championed by industry consortiums such as the International Association of IT Asset Management, focuses on counting, management, and in many cases the disposal of those same assets.

Digital Assets Just as Important as Physical Assets

In the era of digital content, the question that should be just as critical is ‘why not apply the same rigor to management of your digital assets?’

Digital asset management (DAM) is another discipline which has been practiced for many years, but never given the same focus as managing Adobe or Microsoft licenses. That’s not to suggest that there is always an audit true-up that can cost you penalties and damages, but there certainly can be negative ramifications if digital assets are not managed correctly.

Consider if your firm purchased some artistic works to be used in very specific cases, and only for a specific amount of time.  When you agreed to purchase these you (likely) signed end user license agreements, which stipulated very clearly that there would be severe penalties for improper use.  Warning…if you think this is wrong, go back and read it again!

Now let’s say that without tracking those use terms in a DAM system, one of your content teams finds this great artwork and inadvertently uses it improperly.  When the poster, magazine, catalog or whatever media goes live…BANG, you just stepped on a legal landmine!

So let’s start with the notion that managing your digital assets is important; let’s further acknowledge that IT needs to be involved and apply proper technique to managing not only hardware and software, but also digital assets; and let’s open up a dialog here about how and why we can all get better about the discipline of managing digital assets.

In an upcoming series of blog posts, we will tackle best practices on digital asset management, talk about how the creative teams can work with the IT groups to facilitate this, and help explain to the business as a whole why this is so important to the bottom line.

Check back next week when we discuss archival best practices, and how end of the line for your digital assets is a lot like retiring a comfortable pair of old shoes.

Want to learn more about digital asset management?

Check out our new DAM Toolkit, a set of resources to help you determine if DAM is right for your organization, how to select a system, implementation best practices, and more.

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As you had previously read in the post titled “Extensis Office Remodel: In Progress” from my colleague Jim Kidwell, Extensis is undergoing a literal and figurative transformation.

Extensis Office Remodel: Colocation — Painted Walls

When we started the evolution of our product practices to be more inline with an agile mindset, we realized that one of the barriers to this would be physical proximity of the teams. The extreme answer was to knock down all the walls—so that’s exactly what we did!

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Digital Book World 2014Rounding the second day of this fantastic event, the focus of today was very much on alternative publishing methods outside of the standard big 5 major publishers. Lots of dialog about how to self-publish, the benefits of (including financial and demographic data which was very informative), and how to combat…Amazon!

Not to sound too paranoid, but there is a healthy torrent of worry and skepticism in the crowd about how Amazon is responsible for the titanic shift in publishing. The over-used or over-abused example is Border’s, and to a lesser extent Barnes & Noble. The morning session and panels were almost solely dedicated to interpreting how Amazon has changed the landscape.

The big bonus was Jim Cramer from Mad Money giving us his view of the stock market as related to digital books and media companies. The greatest kernel of truth was that B&N gains value every time the Nook sales declines, as they need to stop fighting with Amazon’s Kindle and be who they started out, brick-and-mortar.

On to the points du jour, as mapped to the Kübler-Ross model for loss:

  • Denial: The sense of grief and denial of the loss of traditional book media is palpable. While there are many strategies for holding on to some of the glory days of printed books, it’s time to bow the heads not for the entirety of book producers, but more for the freedom of smaller or niche players to control their destiny.
  • Anger: While anger may be too strong of a word, there is certainly a sub-set of attendees and other vendors who are displeased at the emergence of the Amazon model and their dictates to everyone in the supply chain. These are largely artists who resent their creative freedom, which Amazon may marginalize even further.
  • Bargaining: “I’d give up my resentment of this new model if I could only figure out how to work with it!” Essentially most attendees were looking for the magic bullet of how to work in the new world, evidenced by the attendance at the session about social media and how to make it work for you. Some industry titans were there to give their views of what works and not, and while there was agreement in principle, they all have divergent strategies representing a chasm not likely bridged anytime soon.
  • Depression: Fortunately this is the stage least felt, as there is plenty of optimism at the new opportunities for smaller people to make their mark. Similar to cloud-sourcing or other viral movements, this whole environment is ripe for greater self-expression (again, artists in mind…) and self-determination of the destiny of an author and their works.
  • Acceptance: We concluded with a great show by looking forward, not backward, the crucial piece of any movement away from a traumatic event.  The coming years offer plenty of control for the crowd of producers, sourcers, publishers, and more to push through the noise and emerge with a more flexible model. It’s ironic that the perceived cessation of a model, which many decried, may leave a much improved model. It’s Darwin applied to publishing, and only the strong will survive!

To sum it up, it’s been a few great days of panel discussions from widely respected industry voices and the conclusion is that yes, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore, but that tornado from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz may drop us in a better place in the long run.



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Digital Book World Conference and Expo 2014I am happy to be able to attend the 5th annual Digital Book World this week in New York City. This event brings together a diverse group of leaders in publishing, with a focus on digital books and the related technological changes.

Attendees include those from the larger corporate publishers who are well represented on panels and in discussions, institutional investors who are funding the change activities, book and e-publishers who are looking to keep ahead of the curve of change, and individual content creators who are also trying to ensure they provide the correct services to their clients.

There are a few key themes already prominently featured in the content: Technology, changes to the publishing model, and collaboration. With those ideas in mind, here are a few key takeaways:

  • There is a lack of general process and workflow on licensing models for content. The question asked in a break-out of “who actually owns the fonts we use and when can we transfer ownership?” made it clear that font licensing and font compliance has not yet entered the common understanding in the market.
  • There is a cautious awareness of the fact that technology is changing the market, but it’s more reflective of the market changing from traditional print copy to e-copies, meaning technology is enabling that paradigm shift. Some verticals and demographics are more susceptible to reflect that change, such as educational textbooks, arts and cultural books, and other similar verticals that rely heavily on physical mediums.
  • Emerging markets outside of the US (and other English-speaking countries) are seeing greater growth. For example, if you publish in India, the digitization of books has grown 11.3% so you must be aware of regional variances.
  • Document metadata is a challenge and opportunity – if you’re good at working with metadata then your success will be simpler, and the corollary is true as well that if you’re bad, you’re going to be in worse shape. Pay attention to downstream impacts of metadata or pay the price.
  • Video and other media types will continue to be part of publishing. While many vendors can talk about how it’s simply part of the content, the management of digital assets requires considerable thought. The ubiquitous nature of devices will make management of IP and digital assets a key focus of publishers for many, many years to come.
  • The ecosystem of publishers has changed, for the better, and for good. By this, it means that publishers and content creators are no longer single-sourcing all facets of production of the content, but are now working with several new areas tertiary to the publishing business. Consider that the biggest threats / opportunities are agility with new technologies (HTML 5 for example), compliance (font ownership for example), channel independence (Amazon, B&N, direct-to-consumer, etc.), and the speed to production of ALL content, regardless of independently created or corporate origin.
  • A survey was noted where 74% of respondents consider themselves disruptors, and while not scientific, the guess is the other 26% were the big publishers! Either get in the game of changing methods to reflect e-content, or risk going the way of the dinosaurs.
  • There is a healthy dose of skepticism about Amazon at the conference. While there is common acceptance of them as enablers of distribution, there is also fear of partnership with them from the large publishing houses.
  • One speaker summed up their feelings that layout, graphics, and content is still the king, but the medium represents the ART of content. How it’s put together is still a key factor of enabling people to make rational decisions about material, as basic as whether to continue reading or not?
  • Finally, and possibly most importantly, social content creation is crucial. If you question that, look at things like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and see how much published content is there. The industry needs to simplify the legal sharing model which will make social outlets nearly as important as traditional brick-and-mortar or click-and-mortar retailers.