Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Tracking Visitor Experience

Mike Webb, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the National Museum of Australia.

Enhancing visitor experience at the National Museum of Australia through data collection and analytics, Open Gov, 17 October 2016

OpenGov sat down with Mike Webb, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the National Museum of Australia to understand how ICT innovations are aiming to enhance visitor experience and drive business growth. Mr. Webb talked about better data collection and analytics to understand visitor behaviour and integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data sources.

Can you tell us about your role?

I head the IT function, which encompasses records management, typical IT functions as well as the front-of-house IT. I try to align whatever we are doing with business strategy.

I have been in this role just under a year. I was the senior infrastructure architect at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in Australia for seven years prior to that.

Traditionally, how big a role has been played by IT at the National Museum?

The IT function has always played a big role in the Museum. The Museum has two core business systems. One is the CRM, which is about understanding and managing our relationships with customers. The other is our Collection Management System. We have around 300,000 objects and they are managed through databases.

Moreover, during the last few years, we are moving into digital collections. It involves digitising various objects, in the form of images, video, 3D models.

I am fortunate to work in an organisation, where IT is seen as a critical partner to the business. In our case, the legacy left behind by previous CIOs has been a very positive one and we could hit the ground running.

What are the projects and initiatives you are working on right now?

We are working wireless replacement project for the galleries, where we are replacing end of life hardware but we are also looking to leverage the analytics that modern hardware can generate, to be able to give us an understanding of visitor behaviour.

It includes information about where people go when they visit the Museum, what objects they stop in front of, whether they go to the shop and the cafe, any galleries they miss or skip altogether. This helps us to understand visitor behaviour and develop mobile applications that can give visitors supplementary content, such as short curated videos about particular objects and enhance user experience.

It’s a big building. There are only so many objects that we can put in there at a time. But we can supplement in the digital space and we can give users the ability to track and say I want to go on a particular type of tour.

Another project I am working on is consolidation of our customer relationship data sources. At the moment, we have got a handful of different systems managing customer data. We are trying to aggregate and consolidate it and thereby, get more use and greater value out of that data and simplify the system for the users.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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