Indeed, working with an ASP allows NFL Photos to expand their offerings. "Our solution is completely scalable," Flanagan adds. "We can accommodate as many as eight million concurrent users."
Looking forward to next season
Choosing an ASP in favor of designing its own media management system has alleviated NFL photos of many IT headaches.
"Slowly, we will migrate away from producing team head shots on discs, in favor of online distribution," Spinelli predicts. "That will save us a considerable amount of time and money."
"The Head Shots Project" is only the beginning of the NFL's Web plans. If the three million archived photos are digitized, they would be available through the site, as well—some for free, others for a fee.
Another key to the success of the NFL solution is the metadata schema. Metadata, descriptive data attached to asset files and stored in a database, is essential to critical asset management functions, such as quick searching, retrieving and usage reporting. Flanagan explains that the metadata captured by the system will enable customers to generate an almost limitless amount of custom reports. He says, "The NFL will be able to find out which publication used images and when. They can track what images are most often used. [T]hey'll have greater insight into who they're serving and be able to calculate ROI."
Metadata will also allow NFL Photos to better categorize and form collections of its images, such as all photos taken during a particular season, or from a specific team, or even a single game or event.
"We've been listening to what our clients want," Flanagan says. "We realized that they want an out-of-the-box solution, but one that is configurable to suit their specific needs. We've created a very rich and intuitive GUI (Graphic User Interface) for WebWare MAMBO that allows the users, depending on their level of access, to configure the solution themselves. It's simple to use—kind of like a FileMaker or AppleScript application—but it runs on top of an incredibly robust Oracle platform."