Tackling the Workflow Challenge --McIlroy
That's the strength of Version Cue. Adobe has created a single underlying system for (the basics of) DAM and CMS, and built it into their "Creative Suite" of software.
If you're a "power user" of DAM or CMS then Version Cue will remind you of the early '90s. The functionality is sparse. Any DAM system or CMS today could run rings around Version Cue. But that's not the point. The most important aspect of Version Cue is that Adobe has, overnight, made this a standard, and has instantly changed the landscape for the future of graphic arts workflows.
(I will avoid wandering into a long paragraph about the standard that Adobe engineered underneath Version Cue, called XMP. It's not yet widely adopted, but it's based on XML, and anyone who claims there's real controversy here is drawing you into a conversation that will neither reward nor entertain you.)
How long have we been talking about digital asset management? (About a dozen years.) Content management? (About eight years.) Many, many vendors have tried—and died—offering solutions in these fields to the graphic arts industries. Many of the solutions were first rate. So too the companies that offered them. But the challenge of workflow is interoperability.
Version Cue is just part of what Adobe is putting behind the interoperability challenge. Most of the CS software now features a common interface and toolset: tools, palettes and custom keyboard shortcuts function between Photoshop CS, Illustrator CS and InDesign CS. The core engines are shared, so users can get predictable on-screen and printed output from each program. In many cases files can be imported across applications with all data intact, something that is certainly not achievable from a QuarkXPress base.
No graphic arts company is an island unto itself. Whether you're an author, a designer, an editor, a production specialist, a publisher, a prepress company or a printer, you invariably work with a host of others. The publishing workflow encompasses so many functions, at so many locations. For a DAM system or CMS to be truly effective, it has to cross many bridges. Hence the limited impact of all of the previously released systems. They offered singular standards that were difficult to embrace across all of the functional bridges.