Mark has been well-known member of the Portfolio community since the late ’90s and is based in the UK. Initially an ordinary user of Portfolio, he has leveraged that experience and since 2001 has been a consultant specializing in Extensis Portfolio solutions. He is also the author of the community resource, PortfolioFAQ.
What makes you so passionate about digital asset management?
There’s something very enjoyable about bringing order from chaos, and seeing the pleasure people get – let alone the efficiency – people get from being able to find their assets at last. Happily, DAM tasks are never quite the same each time around, so for someone who likes solving problems, it’s ideal as there’s always an issue to be resolved.
What is the most common digital asset management issue reported to you by your clients?
Gaining control over their assets; removing duplicates, avoiding work being re-done because of ‘lost’ original versions, cutting down the time to find the right file, giving controlled wider access to assets, reducing support effort needed. Be they large organisations or individuals, the core DAM problems at outset tend to be the same
What changes have you seen in the digital asset management market in the last five years?
Greater use of web interfaces avoiding the need for client deployment and training – ideal for those only using the asset base as a source; Extensis Portfolio NetPublish is popular in this context. Digital camera uptake and digital processing workflows have increased awareness and use of metadata. The new breed of digital processing apps (like Lightroom) have entered the DAM arena causing some confusion as to what they’re for but have proved not to be longterm DAM tools as some thought they might.
How do you think the digital asset management market will change in the next five years?
Improvement in metadata support – better defined standards, Unicode support (accents, other alphabets), redaction tools, etc., will help to start to deliver on the currently unfulfilled promise of metadata in multi-application workflows.
When and how did you first become involved with Extensis?
Circa ‘96. A small Windows-based start-up using Mac-based designers – not fun! The x-platform aspect of Portfolio and free browser that ran from a CD was a real lifesaver; at the time other solutions were either single OS only, had no browser(s) or did but charged for them. Being able to send CDs of assets, with additional metadata in an FDB, really boosted turnaround time on the production side of things. Asking lots of questions about the app as a user taught me a lot about the app, which I shared back with the community, originally in the old Extensis forums and then in 2001 via my FAQ. Around the same time people started asking me to help with Portfolio projects and I moved into consulting on Portfolio and DAM solutions.
When did you first use Portfolio?
In about 1996, I tried out v3 and ended up buying the just-launched version. I’ve since used Portfolio Server from v5 onwards, PortWeb v4 through v6, and NetPublish since it’s introduction alongside v7.
What is your favourite feature of the Portfolio software suite?
Originally the CD & browser aspects (see above). FolderSync’s evolution as server- based AutoSync is great, especially once you’ve got your system organised. Favourite new thing? As a consultant, v8.5.2’s ‘Save Catalog Type…’ is a real boost; I can do a lot of catalogue configuration and save out a new ‘catalog type’ to send to a client, I’ll never get to visit and know the catalogue they make from it will have the correct starting layout. If you customise a lot, you’ll know the time that could take before the feature was added.
In your opinion, what makes Portfolio stand out from the competition?
Ease of use/installation and scalability. New users are regularly surprised at how quickly a working Portfolio system can be up and running. This enables them to get started today instead of getting mired in endless planning. Installations can start with a little as one client and scale right through to a full SQL back end according to their needs and budget, without significant change being made to data catalogued thus far.
What services do you offer Portfolio customers?
Software installation/configuration. Portfolio workflow design and consultation. Pre and post DAM adoption audit. NetPublish configuration & template customisation. Scripiting & integration. Support. Training. [PC & Mac]
If you would like to find out more about the services offerred by Mark, please visit:Shoantel. You’ll also find Mark’s expertise at the free resource PortfolioFAQ, and in the Extensis User-to-User forums.