Self-assessment: How to advance digital transformation at your museum, archive, or library

Cultural institutions have experienced the same disruption as nearly every other industry trying to keep up with the fast-paced evolution of digital. As digital evolves, so do stakeholder expectations which, for the culture sector, include museum and heritage site patrons, researchers, educators and granting agencies.

In their daily life, these individuals regularly enjoy AI-powered movie recommendations from Netflix, automated eCommerce service through Shopify, and advanced productivity tools like Gmail Nudges. As consumers interact with increasingly sophisticated forms of technology, they bring those expectations with them to every other digital experience, regardless of its level of funding, mission, or purpose.

The expectations are why digital transformation is so important; consumer expectations wait for no one and organisations must adapt to stay relevant and user-friendly.

Worried you’re falling behind? Our 2020 Culture Sector Digital Transformation Report may help clear the sweat from your brow. Research conducted by Axiell and MuseWeb in Summer 2020 suggests that the culture sector knows it needs to move forward with digital but is unsure of how to meet the ever-shifting goalposts. You are not alone.

To help you on your journey, we’ve created a culture sector digital transformation self assessment based on OBT’s article, “Where does your company fall on the digital transformation spectrum.” Take a look at the categories, and consider the next step suggested to move forward with your digital transformation.

Also worth noting; we at Axiell are practiced at helping the culture sector embrace and excel at digital transformation in a variety of ways. Sometimes you need a helping hand so if this sounds like your organisation, reach out to us for a discovery assessment.

Where are you now in your digital transformation journey, and how can you advance to the next stage?

RIGID

Definition: You continue to operate with legacy systems and processes.

Fast facts from Axiell/MuseWeb 2020 Report: 58% of respondents indicated their organisation’s digital strategy is still in development/to come.

Move from rigid to experimental: Acknowledge that digital transformation is a necessary disruption. It’s going to be uncomfortable and it won’t fit in smoothly with your normal workflow.

EXPERIMENTAL

Definition: You are not afraid to dabble in digital.

Fast facts from Axiell/MuseWeb 2020 Report: 38% of respondents indicated that content for the collection is created in bursts and driven by short-term projects. 24% said content is constantly enhanced with a long-term strategy for data management.

Move from experimental to intentional: Concretely align objectives of digital initiatives with larger organisational goals. An ROI case like this one for a CMS can build off data from experimental initiatives and explain potential benefits of scaling digital efforts.

INTENTIONAL

Definition: You are beginning to accept and embrace digital, adopting a process for getting there.

Fast facts from Axiell/MuseWeb 2020 Report: 20% of respondents indicate they are efficient in their content presentation with data coming from the same source and adapted based on channel. In addition, 55% of respondents are prioritising investment in digitising their collection.

Move from intentional to strategic: Collaborate with other groups and share outcomes to scale up successes. Can something you tried work for another group or department? Can you host an internal webinar describing your outcomes? Can you add a 5-minute recap to the next company meeting? How can you generate interest internally in your successes and create ripple effects across the organisation and enhance digital adoption?

STRATEGIC

Definition: You are living digitally.

Fast facts from Axiell/MuseWeb 2020 Report: Only 10% of respondents said their organisation’s digital strategy is referenced regularly by digital and other practitioners on staff. This is a less populated rung on the digital transformation ladder so don’t be discouraged if you fall below it.

Move from strategic to dedicated: For staff on a lower rung of the organisational hierarchy, it can feel daunting or out of reach to make digital a dedicated part of the institution. Create buy-in by highlighting the results from the previous phases and explaining how strong digital foundations create the base upon which digital initiatives can flourish.

DEDICATED

Definition: You have institutionalised digital with dedicated teams.

Fast facts from Axiell/MuseWeb 2020 Report: 16% of respondents said it was a smooth process to enrich the data for their digital media and share it online. These efforts support sustainable digital innovation.

Move from dedicated to fluid: Adopt an agile frame of mind and build with/choose flexible solutions as the framework for your digital infrastructure. As our survey results show, organisations constantly need to rearrange priorities based on a myriad of internal and external influences. Once you’ve got a good handle on what works for your organisation, you’ll have a greater foundation from which to embrace constant change and evolution.

FLUID

Definition: You have developed a thriving digital innovation culture.

Fast facts from Axiell/MuseWeb 2020 Report: Almost 50% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their organisation was only supportive in allocating resources to new initiatives if the project is grant funded, suggesting a fluidity to taking on digital projects when resources become available. Also, 50% of respondents also agree or strongly agree that they are in a constant state of flux with resources that are unpredictable. Even in the top tier, agility and flexibility is key.

Move from fluid to master of the universe: You get the picture.

The Report

Read our 2020 Culture Sector Digital Transformation Report for more context about the state of digital transformation in the culture sector based on data collected by Axiell and MuseWeb in Summer 2020.

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