The National Trust for Scotland has an extensive image library incorporating many thousands of images, encompassing the geographical, social, natural and built heritage of Scotland. This fascinating and valuable archive, by its nature and size, wasn’t available for publishers and researchers to peruse. Indeed, the process by which the in-house image librarian had to manually process request as they came in was a huge drain on resources.
Non-specific requests would be processed by a trawl through the library, followed by a selection of possible images being sent to the client and if they decided to continue with a purchase a licence was then drawn up.
Equally, sales enquiries were difficult to satisfy and, often, sales opportunities were missed. Inefficient, labour intensive and without guaranteed outcome, it was clear a platform was required to help automate this process and allow the Trust to free up resources and benefit from income.
The Trust embarked on a scoping exercise to identify the key elements it needed in a new image sales platform, allocating a scoring matrix to the possible solutions. The key criteria were identified as:
- Front-end user interface & experience
- Image library management user interface & experience
- Quality of service
- Brand management
- Financial sustainability
- Promotion of Scotland’s heritage
- Customer service & standards
Four platforms were considered as possible solutions. Two of these were existing image sales platforms and tow (including CiT’s solution) would be bespoke Trust platforms, based on an existing framework.
Across the board one platform consistently outscored the others – CiT.
It was evident that the Trust’s rich image database would be given space to breathe on an easy to use and understand platform that enhanced the brand.
The images wouldn’t be lost in a huge repository where they may be stumbled across via pot luck or a lucky search. The front end user experience was straightforward and joyously uncomplicated. There was a wealth of knowledge on licences and the business of image sales and the back-end interface was thoroughly intuitive.
Above many other elements, there was a clear focus on customers from Richard and the team at CiT – both the Trust and the consumer. Willing, able and patient as the organisation worked their way through the procurement process, they made it an easy choice.
The NTS Images website
Implementation of the solution was made easy by the team at CiT. Their ability to work in an iterative sense, swiftly yet with absolute attention to detail, was welcome in an often difficult process.
The deployment process but practical and an iterative approach was adopted to changes as required. The outcome has exceeded our expectations and fulfilled the quality criteria and more. The selection of images is being added to regularly with limited resources and the Image Librarian is able to concentrate on the many other critical tasks of his role. Time inefficiencies are being reduced regularly.
As for users, we have had great feedback even in these early stages – the interface and image search is intuitive and instinctual, allowing users to browse freely when they wish. Given the speed of turnaround, the thorough approach of Richard and the team has been hugely reassuring. We know that this will be the start of a long-term partnership and look forward to laying further plans to grow this area of the business.
I can heartily recommend not only the CiT solution but the expert and customer-orientated team.