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Anne Hargaden
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SUCCESS STORY: Replacing a Dinosaur of a System—The Field Museum’s Evolution



© Field Museum, 2018. Photo by Lucy Hewett.

The Field Museum is one of the largest and oldest (opening in 1894!) museums in Chicago, containing nearly 40 million specimens and annually serving millions of patrons each year. The organization strives to ensure that our planet thrives for generations to come.

In 2019, the Field Museum wanted to replace its ticketing and admission system. The system they had was not well suited to a museum’s ticketing processes, and online purchasing was very difficult. In short, it had become a “dinosaur”, unable to meet the Field’s evolving needs. So, the Field Museum engaged JCA to help them through the system selection process.

UNCOVERING THE ISSUES

The first step in selecting a new system is to define requirements—what do you need the system to do? To find out what the Field needed, JCA went onsite for three days of discovery interviews with key stakeholders. (Remember when we met people in person?!) JCA met with more than thirty people from ten departments across the museum. The interviews helped us understand each group’s needs and business processes, as well as their pain points and areas for improvement.

The onsite discovery interviews led to a System Assessment and Recommendations Report. It contained a comprehensive set of requirements for the new system, including functional, system, and technological needs. The assessment included a set of observations and recommendations for business process improvements to consider when implementing the new system. It also defined the Field’s key goals and objectives to guide the system selection process:

  • Partner with a vendor to implement a ticketing system designed to support cultural attractions with high-volume general admission ticketing
  • Enhance business intelligence and reporting capabilities, so staff can make strategic business decisions
  • Support integrations with other museum systems
  • Improve the online ticketing experience

“One of the biggest challenges for me during the project was creating documentation that would not only encompass the tenets of the project, but would also be useful and understandable for the next selection process. JCA was able to help us understand a true system requirement and recognize the opportunity to re-evaluate our business processes.” — Theresa Galaboff, Ticketing Database Administrator

EXAMINING THE OPTIONS

JCA used the System Assessment as a foundation to prepare an in-depth Request for Proposal (RFP). The Field issued the RFP to a group of vendors who we had identified as appropriate candidates, based on the Field’s particular requirements. The vendors submitted their proposals, and JCA helped the Field team evaluate the submissions to determine the ones that were the closest match to the Field’s needs. The team narrowed it down to three candidates.

The three chosen vendors were invited to come to the Field to demonstrate their product to project stakeholders. In advance of the demonstrations, JCA and the Field team had prepared demonstration scenarios related to the Field’s specific business requirements. The vendors were sent the scenarios prior to the meetings, to give them the opportunity to prepare. Stakeholders from across the museum attended the demonstrations, as did JCA.

After the demonstrations, JCA guided the Field project team to update the vendor evaluations, to reflect the knowledge they gained from the demonstrations about how well each system could meet the museum’s requirements.

“JCA provided expertise in all areas of the project. They were also able to make the project not so unyielding that our day-to-day jobs suffered.” — Theresa Galaboff, Ticketing Database Administrator

© Field Museum, 2018. Photo by Lucy Hewett.

IMPLEMENTING A NEW (ECO)SYSTEM

In March 2020, the Field placed the ticketing system selection project on hold due to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. When the team resumed the project in May/June, they had the fully-documented selection process and evaluation materials ready and waiting to help them make their final decision—ACME Ticketing.

The Field had a swift implementation of their new system, and it was ready for operation when the museum reopened to the public in July. Though the museum has been dealing with many challenges due to the pandemic, they are already seeing positive changes with their new system.

“A better online user experience was one of the top objectives of the project, and although a work in progress, ACME has by far met this top requirement. Not only was it deployed in just under three weeks at the end of June/early July, it helped the museum move into a more contactless ticketing experience, resulting in over 90% of our ticket sales taking place online.” — Theresa Galaboff, Ticketing Database Administrator

We're here to help.

Your CRM is the foundation of your work, and switching to something new shouldn’t be treated lightly. We know how important it is to make the right move. If you have any questions about System Selection, please email us at smarter@jcainc.com. We are here to help. 

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