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The background

The Natural History Museum is one of the UK’s most iconic cultural institutions, a world-famous tourist destination, and home to over 80 million scientific specimens. The heart of the Museum’s supporter base is a diverse membership of over 30,000 individuals who are committed to its vision and longevity.

Delivering timely and relevant communication is pivotal to drive meaningful engagement with those who support the Museum as members.  Having identified their existing on-premises version of Dynamics 2013 was approaching the end of its support lifecycle, and limiting the Museum’s ability to deliver against its engagement strategy, the organisation called on its membership CRM partner, Silverbear, to upgrade to the latest version of the platform. 

The project

Since 2015, the Natural History Museum has hosted Dynamics 2013 themselves on site, with Silverbear providing on-going software support. With this version of the system being phased out by Microsoft, adding new functionality would have been expensive and only deliver benefits over a short lifecycle. In order to modernise and transition, the Museum needed to migrate its entire membership infrastructure and data to Microsoft Dataverse and Microsoft Azure, the latest cloud-based versions of the platform.

The project began in October 2019, but five months in, the national lockdown was imposed in response to COVID-19, which made regular on-site visits to the Museum impossible. After seven months and significant testing, and despite the physical limitations imposed by the global pandemic, the Natural History Museum had not only transitioned to Microsoft Dataverse but also upgraded to the latest version of Silverbear 365.

The result

By upgrading Silverbear 365 to Dynamics 365, the Natural History Museum has:

01 Futureproofed its data through the latest and most secure cloud-based platform available from Microsoft
02 Reduced in-house costs and responsibilities attributable to hosting, networking, and hardware maintenance
03 Installed a more capable and responsive platform, which is better suited to meeting the demands of its employees, its marketing contacts, and its growing
04 Gained access to a wealth of features and benefits in the Microsoft Power Platform, including the Common Data Service and Power BI
05 Benefitted from Microsoft's United Client Interface, which optimises the user experience regardless of the device it is being used on
06 Laid the groundwork for a CRM infrastructure that offers employees and members significantly enhanced features that can be quickly and easily adopted when required by the Museum

The project involved vast amounts of work from both sides and the result has been a success. It was a necessary process and one that’s now got us to where we needed to be. We’re all set up for the future and now that we’ve moved to the cloud, any future changes will be more iterative as opposed to requiring significant upgrades.

Eleanor O'Byrne

Programme Delivery Manager , National History Museum

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