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Science Museum Head of ICT Jason Oliver interview - Catalyst for transformation

Edward Qualtrough | March 10, 2017
Science Museum Head of ICT Jason Oliver discusses reinvigorating the IT team and technology stack at one of the world's most visited museum groups.

"That's going to be a really big thing over the next two years because the board and the executives have really backed me. There hadn't been any significant investment in IT here for eight years before I got here; since I've been here I've had approvals of business cases for security, for LANs, for WANs, for CRM, Office 365. When you add all that together, it becomes a significant amount of investment.

"I'm eternally grateful to the executives and the board for allowing me to drive forward, to make this transformation. Because that's what it is, it's transforming the way that we do business and the trust they've shown in me to actually lead them through that."

One of the early victories in securing this executive buy-in was an office move which enabled Oliver to "really engage in strategic conversations about remote working" and unlock the mobility potential of the business when previously less than 50 people were able to work remotely.

Vendor management

Oliver said that one of the biggest opportunities for Science Museum Group was in vendor management - working better with the organisation's suppliers and building new relationships with technology providers.

The CIO said that technology and IT companies wanted to have an association with the Science Museum and that the group was trying to raise its profile with a number of suppliers. Oliver also praised his dedicated IT procurement leader who was building a strong ecosystem of suppliers with good relationships between the organisations - with the vendors responding well to the notion of adding value to the Science Museum's visitors rather than selling in to the museum group.

One area where CIOs could improve vendor management was by working closely as a community or network, Oliver said. Although of course, this knowledge sharing has benefits far broader than relationships with the IT supplier market.

"I'm really fortunate because I came from the Royal Opera House and having Rob Greig [Director at the Parliamentary Digital Service] and Joe McFadden [Royal Opera House CTO] as people I can talk to serves a massive benefit," Oliver said. "I can turn and ask questions at any time, and that can be reciprocated.

"The museum group, whether that be Lydia Weller at the British Museum or next door at the Victoria & Albert, allows you to explore different options - which could have the potential to save the sector a lot of money through different approaches.

"We're not in competition and should be able to collaborate, and we should be able to share information that means both museums are going to provide a better experience for anyone who visits."

AR and hyperconvergence


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