make technology choices. It is far more efficient to take a prescriptive approach from the
start with both software and hardware, and to ensure that working practices and policies
are rigorously documented.
It is worth noting the Natural History Museum, where Graham Higley is now Head
of Library and Information Systems, currently has no eCRM system, but plans to begin
costing one. Higley believes that, since the Museum is not `selling' anything, the benefits
of implementing a costly CRM system may be fewer.
However, in terms of visitor satisfaction and all-round efficiency, a carefully designed
CRM strategy can be invaluable. As the need to acquire donations figures more promi-
nently in the work of professionals in the heritage sector the need to document the
processes by which each donation was obtained will become necessary.
Case Study III National Museum of Australia (www.nma.gov.au)
The National Museum of Australia is a federal government agency, established in
1980 with a mission `to research Australian history, develop and maintain a national col-
lection of historical material, create exhibitions and programs exploring our heritage and
history, and to be accessible to all Australians.' On March 11th 2001, the National
Museum of Australia opened its new facilities in Canberra, and within three months it
had become one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Australian capital.The
Museum website hosts a variety content, including visitor information, digitised images,
educational resources and interactive games. It aims to be accessible to a wide spectrum
of potential users.
Just as museum exhibits have often been used in the past for monitoring visitor
behaviour and interaction, so now the Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) department at the Museum seeks to obtain new information about visitors' expe-
riences when they access the Museum's website.These data are made up of the details
logged by the web server as individual visitors enter, navigate, and exit the site. But, with
no dedicated method for the collection and analysis of such data it is more or less useless
for strategic planning purposes.The Museum's ICT manager, Darren Peacock, says: `In
addition to providing an experience of the Museum and its collections for virtual visi-
tors, the website is a place for building relationships with those who do visit in person.
In building relationships with these two user groups, the Museum requires comprehen-
sive data to understand their various needs and behaviours.'
Some form of analysis was clearly required in order to turn all the Museum's raw data
into a useful and valuable resource. Software and services company SAS was given the
task of profiling visitors and testing different approaches to site marketing, with the aim
of discovering how the needs, behaviours and motivations of different categories of users
varied. Other aims were to encourage online users to visit the museum in person and for
real-life visitors to access the website.The site traffic analysis provided by SAS's
WebHound tool allowed the Museum's team to track different types of online users, for
example first time users, returning users, single hit users, and those who remained on the
site for a considerable amount of time.The team has the facility to track the behaviour of
the users by monitoring daily and hourly traffic, identifying their needs and assisting the
planning team work out how to meet these. Since it is forecast that 80% of visits will be
This case study is based on information from the museum's website, and from that of SAS
(http://www.sas.com/news/success/nma.html).The pages were accessed on 04/02/2003.