John Stack is Head of Digital Transformation and Elena Villaespesa is Digital Analyst at the Tate.
John and Elena spoke with us about digital strategy and evaluation in museums.
During this conversation we focused on the TATE Digital Strategy 2013-2015 and measuring tools used to ensure that the Strategy is accomplishing the established goals.
The Tate Digital Strategy 2013-2015 takes in consideration several areas of the museum: collections and content creation for the digital media at the Tate, fundraising initiatives and marketing of the Tate brand. Digital activity started to show up in different departmental strategy plans and individuals were assuming the content creation for these roles. Taking into consideration this new reality, Stack developed the Digital Strategy to unify and establish important considerations in the development of the Tate’s digital presence. A lot of emphasis can be seen in the development and education of the museum staff regarding the creation of digital content. As each department is interested in developing more digital content, it is important for them and the institution to have the right tools. By teaching the staff to create digital content and allowing them to have creative control, this process becomes more decentralized and open to the public, since many will be able to put their voices “out there”.
Hub and Spoke Model is used to handle the digital activities at the Tate. The Digital Department functions as the hub and the other departments related to a particular project act as the spokes by creating content and managing social media in support of the project and in direct contact with the public.
As part of the Digital Strategy, analytics are being used to monitor performance and engagement. Villaespesa tells us how dashboards have been created for several departments so they can monitor their performance. This allows for openness and the ability to monitor real time the department’s performance and act accordingly. Sentiment Analysis was used in The Tanks project to interpret the public’s reaction and engagement with the activities being held in this new space. Villaespesa was able to draw data from the tone used in tweets as well as the length of the tweets. There are other ways of engaging with the exhibition or content shared by the institution that are more difficult to monitor, but this gives the Tate a good idea as to how the public is reacting. Language also presents another challenge for the analysis of the data since individuals can tweet in other languages besides English. Data queries are being developed to also monitor other languages and we find that some staff members at the Tate Modern are engaging with the public using other languages.
Museums need to start thinking of Digital as part of the overall institutional strategy, according to Stack. The future goal is to not have a separate document that established the Digital Strategy, but to have the digital aspect included in the institutional strategy, making it an unconscious decision by the institution. What do you think? Will we ever reach a point where there will be no need for a Digital Strategy?