British Museum eyes more modern IT

The British Museum has signed a new managed IT services contract covering networking and helpdesk support with a view to modernising its operations.

The seven-year contract was awarded to the museum's existing supplier Pinacl Solutions, which designed and installed its existing IT infrastructure, acting as a sub-contractor for original delivery principal Computacenter.

It will provide a managed helpdesk service to support existing voice and data networks and deploy an integrated voice over internet protocol (VoIP) network to upgrade and enhance the IT infrastructure.

The aim of the work is to reduce the museum's maintenance and support costs by moving it away from a legacy network. The new centralised IP network capability will also allow it to re-direct resources towards upgrading systems to cater for the growing range of electronic visitor, educational and staff services it offers.

Given the reliance on its IT infrastructure, the main concern when signing a new contract was to ensure continuity of service, according to Jason Greeves, information services manager for the British Museum.

"We know that if we need advice or technical support either related to the existing network, or throughout the deployment period and beyond, our service delivery manager is on hand to assist," he said.

Greeves added: "We have worked with Pinacl for the last five years as they designed and installed our current system. Although we did consider other solution providers, we wanted to maintain the constructive relationship we had with Pinacl."

The contract is also likely to cover the deployment of CCTV; a network management reporting tools upgrade, to give an overview of the infrastructure in place; upgrading the existing block wiring to structured cabling; connectivity for the electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) systems, some integration of the museum's and the British Museum Company's telephone and data networks, and complete networking for access to information at the museum for visitors.

The Information Services department will also pilot the VoIP network and use the experience to aid the business case for extending the technology to the rest of the museum's staff as well as its visitors.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.