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Design Dundee is the company behind the iconic V&A Dundee museum.

Posted: 21st March 2019

It’s been a long road for the organisation; from its inception in 2009 to the move into premises as a full stand-alone organisation in 2017, and finally to the opening of the museum and their new offices in September 2018. Shackleton has been along for the journey almost every step of the way.

Early Beginnings

When Shackleton began consulting with Design Dundee in March 2017, their information technology was still part of Dundee City Council’s network. We were contracted to work not only to support the business IT day-to-day, but to develop and install the IT infrastructure. Following an expansion to offices within Abertay University in Dundee, approximately 30 team members were moved over to Office 365, fully utilising Azure Active Directory (AD). Already, the organisation was realising the benefits of updated technology.

The Challenges

We knew the business IT requirements would change once the team was moved into the V&A museum and fully operational. Therefore, both Design Dundee and Shackleton worked together planning the transition nearly a year before the opening day. We anticipated some challenges such as:

  • The considerable interest from across the globe in anticipation of the new museum, with a key factor being the fixed deadline for the opening of the building.
  • There had to be a level of flexibility in the IT infrastructure to allow the organisation to grow, adapt and flourish.
  • The organisation was keen to embrace the latest in digital technology and to utilise its full capabilities.
  • In conjunction with the project, we had to provide day-to-day IT support for the team and minimise any downtime.
  • Designing the IT infrastructure for a building that was unfinished, and working from plans, would be a big challenge for everyone!

A Growing Team

Moving into the new museum, Design Dundee knew what they would require from a day-to-day operational perspective:

  • It was crucial that team members could “work anywhere”, especially with constraints on office space within the building;
  • They were expected to work on a multitude of platforms/devices, essential to the diverse number of job roles within the organisation;
  • It was important for teams to work together, or for individuals to ‘hot desk’ if necessary

New Infrastructure

It’s not every day you get an opportunity to positively impact a building that is at the heart of a city’s vision for the future. Alongside the key stakeholders that all played their part in the project, we worked on the building’s network infrastructuresupporting wireless, telephony, CCTV and Point of Sales (POS) systems.

However, our most significant influence was designing and implementing the new server infrastructure which underpins the whole organisation and operates with the various business applications used by the business.

Design Dundee still utilise the benefits of Office 365, but with the various requirements the company has, installing an on-premise infrastructure allows for a more robust backbone for the company’s IT, with the capacity and flexibility required.

Positive Outcomes

Constantly evolving requirements were a theme throughout this project. The team was growing, and the new systems needed to account for this; sometimes with ‘last-minute’ changes.

However, this was the reality of the project. With a great team at Design Dundee working together with Shackleton, the new IT infrastructure was connected and operational well before the opening of the museum.

Client Benefits…

“As an organisation, we have a diverse set of requirements. The flexibility of working with technology such as Office 365 and the ability to work from anywhere has benefited us”.

“A consistent reassurance was having the infrastructure in place early as it supported the organisation as the deadline for the opening grew near”.

“Shackleton was a core part of our team. During the opening period, everything worked as expected, with no niggles or teething problems. It is a testament to everyone involved in getting everything into place and on time”.

Jamie Gray, Digital Manager, V&A Dundee 


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