Managing content in a rich media world


Another formidable DAM services vendor is IBM. A longtime player in the enterprise content management space, it tackles the rich-media challenge with a combination of WebSphere, Content Manager, and analytics plug-ins, such as the open-source UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture). Because most DAM systems sit on top of an enterprise-grade database, IBM's solution integrates easily into its DB2. It also plays nice with other IBM products, such as its grid-computing offerings.

That was a big plus for the IT department at the National Digital Medical Archive, which provides an infrastructure that stores, manages, and distributes almost 13 million radiological images -- or about 1PB of data -- for about 50 health care operations. Rather than manage the images themselves, customers can rely on the NDMA's grid, which is built on a service-oriented architecture that's accessed using a front-end "Wallplug" that the health care provider's IT department can set up in about an hour, says Derek Danois, CEO of NDMA.

IT managers at NDMA needed considerable help for IBM consultants to customize the software so it could richly index the content, which in addition to radiological images, includes audio files of transcription from doctors, and videos of colonoscopies and other medical procedures. Not only does it allow doctors to access patient records from anywhere, it's also HIPAA compliant.

"We've coalesced all of this into a highly customized instance of DB2 and Content Manager that allows us to deliver a final-and-ready solution for hospitals and other medical professions to use without having to worry about complicated IT decisions," Danois says.

No magic bullet here