Fixing Broken Workflows (or, how to do less and accomplish more)
WHAT’S AN INTEGRATION AGAIN?
A good integration can change a team’s communication and workflow, making a huge difference in minimizing time spent on important, but ultimately manual, repetitive or redundant tasks. When we talk integrations at CultureConnect we mean connecting our platform directly to another technology you already use.
Our team has focused our efforts on what will better serve the museum community as a whole. The first and most obvious candidate for an integration was collections management software. Hundreds of conversations with museum professionals was more than enough feedback to persuade us that this integration would improve workflows in a meaningful way for collections, curatorial, interpretive, and digital professionals.
Our team has focused our efforts on what will better serve the museum community as a whole. The first and most obvious candidate for an integration was collections management software.
At the start, we identified two essential goals:
- Offer as many collections integrations as possible to ensure the largest number of museums could benefit. So, we partnered first with the top global provider!
- Improve the end-to-end application creation process. It’s not just asset organization and transfer that happens at the point of integration. Rather, we’ve made the app build process as simple as Export, Create, and Publish.
We’re proud to say it’s all possible now! Clients can easily tap into their collections management software from within the CultureConnect platform AND they can also automatically generate app pages in a few seconds while customizing designs and features, as desired.
Want to dig into the tech side of this? Read more about how this specific integration works. Or, keep reading below to understand how this seamless transfer of assets between platforms resolves many of the pain points you’ve told us about over the years.
Collections professionals are the power users of collections management software and they are essential to accessing data accurately and efficiently. However, they are often faced with challenges:
- They are activated late during a digital project, typically when the transfer of content begins. Not being involved closer to project kickoff has potential limitations; insights with regard to information access, organization or quality is obscured.
- They may or may not have accurate or complete access to image, audio, and video asset specifications for the project. This often results in collections staff receiving large data requests with limited knowledge of the project or its specifications leading to asset and data rework multiple times until all is right for the digital experience.
With this information earlier in the process – even in sample format – collections and digital teams can identify realistic time estimates or where project scope may need adjustment.
The Solution: Integrations between collections management systems and public facing digital platforms enables earlier, even more productive communications and cuts down on this cyclical process by offering collections teams a simpler way to deliver and update assets and data in bulk.
Curators and interpretive professionals devote hundreds of hours (if not more!) to research, content development, and copy editing. Beautifully crafted prose may end up in publications, the museum website, digital experiences, brochures, and more.
Unfortunately, this interpretive content is at risk:
- Interpretive content often lives in a variety of documents – word docs, google docs, dropbox and other file storage systems, sometimes the final version is only on a colleague’s local computer.
- Interpretive content can become trapped in a digital experience with no export or archiving function. If that digital experience dies – as many unsupported technologies do over time – then the content dies along with it.
The Solution: By bridging with a public facing platform, the collections management system can become empowered as a central archive for this content.
With this type of integration, curatorial and interpretive team members can build content where they’re comfortable (Microsoft word, email, in the content management system) and once it’s added to the CultureConnect platform, it can be safely communicated and saved back in the official records of your collections software.
This process reinforces the collections software as the central authority and ensures interpretive content can be maintained and reused in the future.
Digital producers devote a significant amount of time to manually gathering, formatting, and uploading content into content management systems, file sharing services, file storage services, and the like. This work is time consuming and as tweaks are made to assets and text, further manual updates are required. This is:
- Enormously expensive in terms of both time and money.
- Inefficient in terms of communications management and redundant, manual work required to build digital projects.
- Most digital solutions are one-off (not so with CultureConnect, of course) so there is never any efficiency gained over time.
The Solution: Integrating as we have done with CultureConnect’s platform and collections management software means a massive reduction in the manual (and therefore error prone) process of copy-pasting text or manually uploading and assigning assets to a page. You can essentially automate content gathering and this means you can build more faster, and with less effort.
THE DOLLARS & CENTS
As most museums and cultural organizations are non-profits, thinking about the cost of these digital interpretation projects is top of mind. The old school agency model of building single-use interactives with a reactive maintenance strategy can be, for some, shockingly expensive.
Our approach was to integrate at the product level, not the project level meaning we’ve baked this integration into our products so you don’t have to re-invent that wheel as is the case with one-off digital projects (if they even bother with an integration at all).
All the solutions and benefits to improved workflows above mean in the end a far, far better return on investment.
Want to talk about a different type of integration? Contact us.