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Structuring for digital success


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How do museums and other cultural organizations identify exactly how big their digital teams should be, how they should be structured, and where they should sit in the organization? And how do they define and measure digital success? We surveyed 56 GLAM organizations across the world to find out some of the answers to the questions that digital leaders are asking right now. In this paper we examine how these organizations are re-configuring their digital teams to define and drive success, and identify the patterns that are beginning to emerge.

We explore the changing structures and relationships that digital teams have with colleagues, and what this means for digital responsibility in the organization. We include key insights and practical advice to help organizations of all sizes understand how best to structure their digital teams—by revealing what works and what doesn’t—and help them identify the skills needed. Through a series of interviews with colleagues across the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, we explore how digital leaders are re-defining the role and mandate of a digital team.

Our findings reveal that none of us have yet embraced full digital maturity. The majority are still using a centralized model, but aspire for digital to become distributed across the organization. Yet that won’t happen until we tackle a significant underinvestment in digital skills (most notably in data analysis and technical leadership), and until we begin to set—and measure—realistic objectives for digital success.

This study presents a global picture of how digital is being shaped in museums, and conversely, how it is shaping our museums and cultural institutions today; we suggest next steps in helping organizations on their journeys to digital maturity.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

Structuring for digital success

  1. 1. STRUCTURING FOR DIGITAL SUCCESS Kati Price, Head of Digital Media and Publishing, V&A Dafydd James, Head of Digital Media, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18 Museums and the Web 2018
  2. 2. Why is this relevant, now? - Pressure to sharpen up our digital game is mounting from our funders and supporters - Digital skills and literacy are cited as one of the major barriers to digital ambition and growth within the sector (Nesta, 2017) - The paucity of literature in this area points to an urgent need for our study @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  3. 3. Our research - Some desk research - A survey of nearly 60 organisations - In depth interviews with ten digital leaders @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  4. 4. Who did we survey? Where were our respondents from?
  5. 5. Who did we survey? - 43% small (10-100 people) - 36% medium-sized (100-500 people) - 19% large (over 500 people) - 2% very small orgs (under 10 people) What size organisations did we survey?
  6. 6. Types of team structure Initially, we thought digital team structures might look like this... Centralised DecentralisedOutsourced
  7. 7. Types of team structure Centralised Decentralised Hub and spoke Holistic Outsourced @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  8. 8. Stages of digital maturity The Digital Maturity Model 5.0, Forrester Research, Inc., 2017 @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  9. 9. The virtuous circle of digital maturity - Digital will have even greater impact in the later segments of digital maturity - Those that are willing to invest more in digital are seeing higher levels of digital maturity, and moving towards ‘differentiator’ status - It is a virtuous circle: the appetite for innovation is higher among those that invest more in digital, who are therefore seeing better results And... - How organisations structure digital responsibility is an indicator of their digital maturity
  10. 10. Mapping stages of maturity onto team structures @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  11. 11. Structuring the digital team - Most of us are gathering digital resource in one location (centralised) which is the right decision right now - The core functions for digital teams now, are most likely content, social media and digital infrastructure - The structures of digital teams are evolving as they draw in other functions, such as marketing, visitor experience and publishing. - In future, specialist functions, such as content and product development, will still exist in small central teams in a holistic model. @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  12. 12. Structuring the digital team ‘Digital teams are part of a shifting culture rather than a permanent structural fixture.’ Dafydd James and Kati Price @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  13. 13. Who heads up digital? It depends on the digital agenda and what you want to achieve, for example: - CDO – driving digital transformation - CXO – delivering a holistic customer experience - CMO – using digital for marketing and communications - CTO – streamlining tech infrastructure - CPO – developing a product culture - CCO – championing content whatever the platform @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  14. 14. Who heads up digital? ‘Digital should NEVER report to Marketing. I’m yet to meet a Marketing team who fully understand the breadth and depth of the need for digital in a service.’ Zak Mensah, Head of Transformation, Bristol Culture, UK @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  15. 15. Where should digital sit? ‘This an unanswerable question – it's like asking where a sofa should go in a living room. Put it where it fits & works.’ 
 Danny Birchall, Digital Content Manager, Wellcome Collection, UK @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  16. 16. Location and reporting - Where digital sits depends on how you define digital and what you want to achieve - Good news is that most of those we surveyed agree or slightly agree that they’re in the right location - We all believe digital should ideally report directly to the top of the organisation - More important than the model being used, is the digital literacy and advocacy of the person that teams report into - Having a vision for digital and defined success metrics will help identify the right location for a digital team, or teams @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  17. 17. Location and reporting ‘There’s no right place in the org chart for digital as it operates both a vertical and as a horizontal and has blurred edges. It’s not a traditional horizontal support function like HR or finance, nor a traditional vertical like conservation or education.’ John Stack, Digital Director, Science Museum Group, UK @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  18. 18. Aligning for success What is digital success? ➔ audience engagement and increasing digital reach ➔ driving organisational change through digital transformation ➔ improving business processes and infrastructure ➔ distributing knowledge and research ➔ building brand awareness ➔ delivering on commercial goals ➔ and... @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  19. 19. Aligning for success - But, we didn’t see many well-defined visions for success among the organisations we surveyed - Even where they do exist, these visions are not necessarily well communicated and understood by the whole team - We saw there is still a project-based mentality which will hinder organisations’ digital evolution from moving beyond project metrics towards a product culture - Those with the clearest definitions of success had aligned their digital objectives around those of the organisation - They are focussed on outcomes (rather than outputs), with measurable, well-defined goals, using data to inform their decision making
  20. 20. Aligning for success 'The [digital] vision should ultimately support the vision/mission for the organisation. A digital strategy should never be separate from the overall strategy, but a means to achieving.’ Ros Lawler, Digital Director, Tate, UK @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  21. 21. Funding - Budgets are not large enough to serve our organisations’ digital ambitions - It is therefore vital for digital leaders to make the case for continuous (rather than continual) investment in digital activity and infrastructure - We must manage organisational expectation of what is realistic with existing, as well as with future budgets @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  22. 22. Funding ‘Without adequate revenue to invest in ongoing digital development, attention and effort will constantly be pulled in the direction of highly visible digital initiatives that might be more opportunistic than they are strategic.’ Oliver Vicars-Harris, Consultant, UK @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  23. 23. Size of the digital team @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  24. 24. Size of the digital team - There is no perfect ratio for optimal digital team size : size of the organisation - The optimal size is most likely to be determined by the number and complexity of functions overseen by a digital team - 75% cited a lack of digital resource relative to the organisation’s long-term ambition which, we believe, is stifling our digital maturity @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  25. 25. Size of the digital team ‘In my experience a small team can get a lot more done – don't be concerned about building an empire.’ Lucie Paterson, Product Manager, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Australia @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  26. 26. Skills - Despite being cited among the most important skills, technical leadership and data management and analysis are the most underrepresented skills on digital teams - Content, product management and social media skills are all relatively well represented on most digital teams, but we must continuously invest in these core competencies - Consider now the future skills needed to support emerging technologies @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  27. 27. Skills ‘Spend as much time as you can on hiring and bringing the right people into your team when you get the opportunity, one great hire can be transformational, one poor hire can be a disaster.’ Piers Jones, Chief Digital and Product Officer, Natural History Museum, UK @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  28. 28. None of the organisations we surveyed have genuinely reached the final segment of digital maturity. We therefore need to: ➔ align digital with organisational ambitions ➔ define and communicate visions for digital success ➔ ensure organisation-wide digital literacy ➔ invest in core skills and infrastructure ➔ invest in technical leadership and data analysis skills ➔ use data and insights to inform strategy ➔ remunerate our staff properly to attract a talented workforce Future of digital teams @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  29. 29. Future of digital teams @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  30. 30. Future of digital teams ‘Digital teams are still in their infancy in the sector. We're building the future digital teams right now and should share, share and share some more.’ Zak Mensah, Head of Transformation, Bristol Culture, UK @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18
  31. 31. Thank you! We would like to continue this research, so if you’re interested in collaborating please get in touch! @katiprice @dafjames #digitalsuccess #MW18