Georgina Stevens, Conservation Manager, National Trust
About the Charity
The National Trust was founded by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Rawnsley in 1894 with the formal purpose of:
The preservation for the benefit of the Nation of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest and, as regards lands, for the preservation of their natural aspect, features and animal and plant life. Also the preservation of furniture, pictures and chattels of any description having national and historic or artistic interest.
The National Trust owns and manages a variety of historic houses and gardens, industrial monuments and social history sites, and is also the caring landowner of nearly 1.5% the land mass of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is also the largest membership organisation in the United Kingdom and one of the largest UK charities by both income and assets.
A Modern Consultancy
Today’s National Trust employs over 600 consultant specialists with diverse skills such as nature conservation, archeology, marketing, educational development and retail. This vital group contributes it’s expertise to thousands of projects of varying length and complexity right across the organization.
During 2011, National Trust consultants were restructured into regionally-based teams. Following on from this restructuring, local property and land management teams are now able to call on in-depth expertise from this responsive team just when and where it is needed.
The National Trust are naturally keen to ensure that this valuable resource is used in the most efficient and productive way possible. Specialist knowledge is incredibly valuable and so management staff need access to the vital data showing how consultancy time is being invested in project work. Additionally, the whole Trust wants to understand more about the tangible benefits that this team are routinely able to deliver.
The National Trust South West regional team asked GreyRidge to come and talk to them about the sort of software tools that they could deliver to help them understand more about the activities of their own regional team.
At the time , this group were using a range of spreadsheets to manage project information. With about 150 consultants in the region, the spreadsheets were difficult to manage and were often difficult to keep up to date. Understandably, regional managers then found it tough to access up-to-date information about projects and resource usage.
After a demonstration of Enterprise 360 to a mixed group of senior managers and consultants, the National Trust asked GreyRidge to deliver a pilot system focussed on basic project information, consultant skill information and time recording.
The Trust were particularly happy to see that a secure web-based system like Enterprise 360 would enable consultants to work collaboratively on projects, even when based in different locations.
For the pilot, GreyRidge took a basic version of Enterprise 360 and made small amendments to mould it to the specific requirements of the regional group. This involved working with a small group of consultants and managers and then developing appropriate additions to the system.
The Trust also asked Conservation Data Manager, Georgina Stevens, to work with the development team to ensure that new functionality was delivered and that existing data was transferred into the new system. With this done, the pilot system was delivered in mid-2011 and training was quickly delivered to all of the consultants across the South West region.
Georgina says “with just a small amount of training, our consultants were immediately able to start recording updating project information along with their time sheets; the system is really simple to use and consequently we started to see benefits from day one”.
The Whole Trust
The pilot ran successfully during the latter half of 2011 and into early 2012.
Georgina continues “we had very few teething problems with the system and consequently it was easy to work with GreyRidge; moving to a national rollout of the system quickly became a matter of when and not if”.
During the late spring of 2012, the Trust took the decision to expand the system to all of the regional consultancy groups. After a short data migration period and further in-house training, the system was rolled out, again under the guidance and advice of Georgina.
She continues “once again we had almost no problems, the pilot had already ironed out the few issues we had and so take-up nationally was immediate and painless”.
In the wake of the successful national rollout, the Trust have started to add in extra data analysis tools in the form of management dashboards showing resource usage across the regions and in the central marketing functions.
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