online by 2004, this will become an valuable tool for the Museum. `It is more than just a
source of data,' says Peacock of the new CRM aid, `but an integral part of the strategy to
know the NMA's visitors and to meet their needs.'
Some potential scenarios now follow which demonstrate how CRM may be of use to
cultural heritage organisations, both now and in the near future.
Scenario I Museum
A medium-sized museum is having difficulty in maintaining its lists of friends, spon-
sors and regular visitors, and in maximising storage and utilisation of the information
volunteered by them.The museum's staff are familiar with standard PC applications such
as Microsoft Office and the Outlook email program, but none of the liaison team is com-
fortable with technologies more advanced than these. In addition to this, different mem-
bers of the team have been storing conflicting data about the same visitors in independ-
ent and unlinked databases. Currently, there is no central mechanism for recording visitor
contact with the museum whether this a telephone call to change an address on the
museum's mailing list, an offer of a donation, or an email to request further details about
a forthcoming exhibition.
The museum's director wishes to implement a system that will standardise and stream-
line this information. She is faced with many decisions, the first being the choice
between an off-the-shelf package and a bespoke CRM solution. It is likely that any deci-
sion will be contingent on funds available and an estimation of the complexities of the
data to be stored. As these complexities are unlikely to be challenging, the probability is
that an off-the-shelf package will meet the museum's needs adequately.The biggest prob-
lems forecast are retraining existing staff to use the new system to its full potential, and
integrating the existing disparate and sometimes contradictory data.
Scenario II Library
A large reference library currently uses a database to store details of inter-library loans,
as well as the immediate whereabouts in stack or shelf of its resources.This database has
been populated relatively recently, using information from older databases, microfiche
records, and material hand-written or typed on index cards.The library's director has
been in the job a long time, and is reluctant to authorise yet another migration of infor-
mation to a new tracking system, feeling that the current system works perfectly well.
Using CRM software to manage inter-library loans would be advantageous to this
library. It would enable other libraries to track resources and it could be used to reserve
loaned resources when they were returned and to notify customers when items were
reserved for them. For this to work efficiently, other libraries involved would need to use
the same standard format, such as MARC or Dublin Core, for storing information about
their resources. Integration of communications, databases, and formatting are likely to be
among the key issues in this case.
Scenario III Theatre
A small provincial theatre is looking to increase its visitor figures in order to justify its
continuing Arts Council grants and subsidies. Initial customer research shows that a size-