I reached out to Henry Stewart to help me find a company that has helped PRINTERS successfully become Digital Asset Management service providers. When they put me in touch with Widen, it was quite a surprise to find out not only do they help Printers, they were a Printer! Widen saw a huge opportunity in the new DAM space, and began converting their company in 1996. But this isn’t their story, this post is about why you should consider making DAM part of yours.

There are 3 DAM events coming up in the US, and one in Europe. Get info here and use promo code PMC100 to save $100 on DAMNY May 7-8. I’ll have promo codes for the others, so stay tuned!

Why Printers Should Attend A DAM Conference

By Laurel Norris @WidenEnterprise

A new season is upon us. While most people think of melting snow and budding trees, at work you may have a difference season in mind. That’s right, it’s conference season.

Whether you are gearing up for travel or planning for the year ahead, if you are a print business, you should consider a delving deeper into the world of digital asset management (DAM). In early May, Henry Stewart DAM NY, the largest DAM conference in the country, will be held in New York. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about digital asset management and how it bring additional revenue to your print company.

This article will illustrate the connection between the print and DAM industries, provide you with an example of one company that transitioned from a pre-press specialist to a digital asset management system provider, and highlight how Henry Stewart DAM NY can help you break into the DAM world.

Linking print and digital asset management

At first glance, print and digital asset management might seem to be on two ends of the visual communications spectrum. Print at one end, with it’s focus on layout and the physical experience of holding something or flipping through pages. On the other end are digital assets, slick photos and videos scrolled through on screens.

online_damThe obvious link between the two is that for the most part, print products are supplied by digital media. Catalogues, posters, photos, and more are created or captured in digital form and sent on to printers, who produce the physical product.

While print companies may see themselves as purely production operations, understanding DAM can help improve workflows and interactions with customers. Taking a step further by adopting a digital asset management system or becoming a provider can lead to additional income. After all, those who control the assets control the future in the digital universe.

Offering digital asset management services in an agency model can differentiate your business from the competition, add value to existing offerings, and improve customer retention. Those are just a few of the benefits. For more information, see “5 ways a print company can make money off a DAM system” on DigitalAssetManagement.com.

Expanding services to include digital asset management isn’t as daunting as one might think. Some DAM providers offer an “agency model”, called so because it originated when advertising agencies began offering asset management to clients. In the agency model, DAM software is owned by a third party but the agency, or print company, maintains the site and allows access to customers, photographers, or designers as they see fit.

One example of a easy-to-use DAM system is a product called Smartimage. It’s intuitive, cloud-based, and can be branded to reflect your company or that of the customer whose assets you are managing.

Smartimage is a great example of a digital asset management system you can adopt with relative ease, and is unique in that the company that owns and maintains it, Widen Enterprises, has roots firmly in print world. Today, Widen is a digital assets management provider with a story that starts sixty years ago in an engraving shop.

Widen Enterprises: From print to DAM

In 1948, Widen opened up shop as a plate engraver for local newspapers. The company eventually added prepress, printing and photography to its repertoire and began developing digital asset management software in 1995.

Widen_image_1990sWiden has always been willing to take risks and invest in technology. In the early 1970s, they were early adopters of auto color separation machines and used Intel microprocessors years before they were widespread in the industry.

“In 1996, 1.5 megabits/s of internet cost $1700 a month and we ‘borrowed’ a Sun digital workstation off one of the presses to run our first web version,” explains Gary Norris, Chief Technology Officer at Widen. “Even at a company invested in technology and innovation, there were a lot of challenges over the years as we converted to digital asset management.”

Some the biggest challenges for printers moving into the DAM industry are cultural. After years of working with ink and paper, managing digital assets can feel like a whole new world. From the customer side, the two are so closely linked that expanding your print business to include DAM services is a natural extension.

“The print industry is still changing. Targeted marketing means lower runs and many companies do premedia work in-house or outsource it for lower costs. DAM is an opportunity for new revenue sources,” says Norris. “Using the agency model, in particular, means a print company can offer digital asset management services with little overhead.”

In addition to SmartImage, Widen offers Media Collective, Fine Uploader, DAM consulting services, and integration support. They also house a Premedia department, putting decades of print experience to good use.

Henry Stewart DAM NY

So we’ve established why a print company providing digital asset management services is a good idea and shown you how one company has done it. Onto your chance to get into the DAM world.

A great opportunity to learn about digital asset management is coming up in New York City on May 7-8 with pre-conference tutorials on the 6th. Henry Stewart DAM New York (DAM NY) is the largest digital asset management conference in the United States and offers information and networking that will introduce you to key concepts and topics in DAM.

DAM NY covers everything from the nuts and bolts of organizing assets in a DAM system with metadata and managing access rights for users to discussions on the future of digital asset management. Informal networking events and a “TechLab” track are scheduled to give you a chance to talk to DAM users, analysts and providers.


Bottom line, have an open mind. DAM solutions and services can help a printer in so many ways that they may just transform an entire business. Attend a DAM conference to begin the journey.

Learn more about the Henry Stewart DAM Conferences or get in touch with the Widen team to chat more about the history and future of DAM, print transformations, and sustainable business stories.


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