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12 Mar 2013

Digital Benchmarks for the Culture Sector

Collections Trust The Collections Trust helps cultural organisations unlock the potential in their collections. It is an independent UK-based charity with an international profile which has been operating for 30 years.  

Technology, we often hear, has transformed both the way that museums and arts organisation do business, and the expectations and behaviours of the people we want to reach.

Nick Poole, Collections Trust

The Collections Trust team, led by Nick Poole, look ahead to the 5th decade of the Internet, and the ever-increasing role of social, mobile and cloud technologies in defining how people consume, create and interact with their services. Digital Benchmarks for the Culture Sector is an attempt  to take a holistic view of technology in their organisation and how they can plan strategically to do more of it, do it better, and with greater sustainability and impact.

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It is to address these questions that the Collections Trust is opening up a new consultation on a model for benchmarking Digital in museums and similar arts organisations. Building on projects like the EU-funded ENUMERATE, and the fantastic Let's Get Real research from Culture24, their aim is to provide a simple self assessment tool to step back, look at where you are in your use of technology, and think about the areas that you need to prioritise.

The benchmarking tool they have developed is based on the structure of the Benchmarks in Collections Care tool which was updated with the support of the Arts Council England last year. It takes 8 core competencies, areas in which digital is likely to impact on your organisation, and then provides a series of range-statements enabling you to map your development from 'we don't do that' to 'digital, creative media and engagement are fully integrated across every aspect of what we do'.

The 8 core areas we have focused on are:
  • Strategy
  • People
  • Systems
  • Digitisation
  • Content Delivery
  • Analytics
  • Engagement
  • Revenue

Why Benchmarking?

Benchmarking the digital progression of your organisation does some very helpful things in terms of your strategic development:
  • It helps demonstrate success in terms of digital development
  • It helps make the case for prioritisation of and investment in digital development
  • It helps bring all of the different elements of the organisation together, irrespective of technical skills
  • It helps overcome the increasingly irrelevant difference between 'front of house' and 'back office'
  • It helps highlight why some digital projects might fail (for example, because they don't key into your overall purpose)
  • it promotes a virtuous cycle between the 'just do it' ethos and feeding intelligence about impact back into the organisation
Visit for more information and to download the consultation document: Digital Benchmarks for the Culture Sector
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