From education to employment

Digital Transformation Futureproofs Science Museum Group Operations

Leading learning institution the @ScienceMuseum Group (SMG) has cut hundreds of hours in project management reporting time, by switching to Software as a Service (#SaaS) from @TechnologyOne. 

The Museum group, which comprises five different museums spread across England, has also managed to adapt to the challenges of remote working brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, by switching to enterprise SaaS to power its finance and accounting functions.

SMG and TechnologyOne have migrated 750 users, across seven sites, working in sixteen business departments (from curatorial collections management, exhibitions, learning, retail and events, corporate services, and front of house) to the new SaaS solution. 

All purchasing, sales and expense management data has moved on to the new TechnologyOne Financials SaaS system. Software integrations with satellite systems, such as ticketing, retail and payroll have also been set-up. 

“We would have struggled much more during the COVID crisis if we hadn’t been on a SaaS solution,” said David Jones, Head of Corporate Finance and Reporting at the Science Museum Group. “Our finance operations continued without interruption, even though our physical sites were closed for much of the year and many of our staff were on furlough or working remotely.”

“COVID has shown us the shape of future work and it is much more dispersed, with users managing their time and responsibilities around their other commitments. SaaS across multiple devices supports this,” said Jones.

By introducing TechnologyOne’s ERP SaaS solution, SMG says it now has far greater business insight.

“It has allowed us to redirect resource to higher-value activities such as business support, which offers good career development opportunities for our staff,” said Jones. “The solution is also fully aligned with our wider organisational strategy, allowing us to be a more agile, entrepreneurial organisation that can respond to challenges. We’re now much more efficient, meaning we can more effectively meet the needs of our visitors.”

More than 100 business decision makers are now able to access base information required for their day-to-day budget management needs themselves, through self-service tools. Improvements to reporting, facilitated by the cloud-based software, has also saved several hundred hours of project management time a year.

With around 1200 employees and over 1000 volunteers based in offices, museums and collection centres throughout the UK, the move to TechnologyOne is part of a wider strategy by the Museum group to digitally transform the group’s IT systems and move business services into the cloud.

SMG’s finance department, based in three sites in London, Manchester and York, had been reliant on 15-year old legacy accounting software, which needed to be maintained on premise. This meant it faced particular challenges when it came to providing the museum’s executives with business reporting and financial information needed for future planning. 

Improvements to purchasing systems, where staff can more effectively manage their relationships with suppliers; and expense processing, which can now be carried out remotely and at times that suit employees, have proved popular with museum employees.

TechnologyOne CEO Ed Chung said “The Science Museum Group has shown that by fully working closely with our industry experts and consultants, there’s always new ways that TechnologyOne’s SaaS ERP can be configured to deliver new business improvements and better results. 

“This has been demonstrated by the hundreds of project management hours saved at the museum, which has been reinvested into providing game changing business and financial advice for the management team. 

“Having switched to TechnologyOne’s ‘any device, anywhere, at any time’ SaaS solution, the Science Museum Group’s finance team was also prepared for the unexpected, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year,” Mr Chung said. 

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and museum closures, the Science Museum team was forced to carry out a complete re-budget of the organisation’s finances during the middle of 2020 so that it could overcome the pressures and loss of income, the pandemic had caused. Further lockdowns have also piled on additional pressure and whilst undertaking a four-year spending review.

“There is no way we could have done any of this without TechnologyOne’s functionality in place,” said Jones. “It would have been impossible to keep things going and do bottom-up future planning with our old systems. It’s been game-changing.”

“While we’ve had government support, our executive team still needed to deliver savings in the millions to get us through the pandemic and financial year. They had confidence in the financial information we had in our TechnologyOne system, as well as in the robustness of our forecasting and new processes, that they just wouldn’t have had in our old systems,” he added. “It’s provided greater insight, helping management see the whole picture and work together as unit to solve problems.” 

Having successfully implemented TechnologyOne’s Financials SaaS solution, SMG is now looking at other ways it can benefit the business from sourcing and contracts self-service, through to implementing new asset management systems for the estates team. 

The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group of science museums, receiving more than five million visitors each year. It traces its origins back to London’s Great Exhibition of 1851 and is the most visited museum in the UK by school groups.

Devoted to the history and contemporary practice of science, medicine, technology, industry and media, it consists of: the Science Museum in London, Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, National Railway Museum in York, National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion in County Durham. 

The Group itself is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

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