For the contents of this article, Collecte expert Mikko Sola has been interviewed. For more information about Collecte, please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The maintenance of the Musketti collection management system will end at the end of 2022. This will take about 1.5 years, which is a surprisingly short time to plan, tender, procure and implement the replacement. Musketti is by far the largest collection management system in use in Finland, and all museums and archives using it will change systems during this period. If you are one of those for whom a change of system is imminent, we recommend that you pay attention to three things.
The resource caper
It is best to start the system change as early as possible. In Finland, the number of realistic collection management system providers can be counted on the fingers of one hand. We are one of them - our system is Collecte, built on the basis of E-Kuva. We estimate that in calendar terms, one migration will take about 3 months. Both our and our competitors' capacity to perform migrations is limited, and it is therefore expected that there may be a shortage of supply during 2022, with so many migrations to be performed. This may lead to a situation where not all providers will be able to participate in tenders due to the full workload, and the migration to be carried out will have to be fully scheduled on the provider's terms.
We currently estimate that around a third of Musketti users are already taking steps to switch. Many have explicitly stated that they will not change until next year. There is a high risk that we will end up in a situation where the museum will have to adopt the product that the provider is currently able to offer. Reinforcing resources within the provider's organisation is also a challenge - it is not easy to recruit new IT staff, especially for such a specific sector, so it is not possible to increase capacity significantly, especially for temporary needs.
Planning the museum's own resources
Migration projects tie up and burden the museum's own staff, as they often involve corrections to data or the introduction of new material into the system. This requires a lot of time and resources from the museum's own staff.
For one quote, we estimated that if we needed 22 person-days to perform the migration, the customer would need to allocate about 10 person-days of their own resources. And this is just the starting point, the migration work - on top of that there are other jobs that add to the workload required from the customer. These include, for example, user training, which takes time from all staff. This calculation does not include the manpower needed to correct data or import new data.
The opportunities of system change
The new system brings new opportunities, which should be considered as soon as the migration takes place. In the case of Collecte, such opportunities include the introduction of Finna connectivity (if it does not already exist), mass data conversion (filling in incomplete data) and a mobile interface (tablets as tools?). These and other innovations have the potential to contribute to the museum's own process efficiency.
It is also worth noting that regime change always involves a degree of cultural change. In today's world, systems strongly determine how, when and what we do, and different systems never work in exactly the same way. Operating models and processes almost inevitably change with the introduction of a new system, and it can take a surprisingly long time before the resulting 'change pains' are overcome.
Our strong recommendation is that the earlier you can start the changeover, the 'safer' it is to do it. In the latter stages, the changeover is done in a hurry, and this increases the risks. The earlier you start the work, the more time you have to overcome the various challenges and make corrections.
If you would like to discuss further the Collecte system and its potential as a replacement for Musketti, please get in touch!