ONI Case study: The art of science


The Science Museum Group (SMG) is a collection of British museums spread throughout the UK. With this in mind, inter-site collaboration was SMG’s next goal, to ensure effective communication between all systems. This required significant developments to its IT strategy, so SMG turned to ONI to do just that.


Technology has always been key to SMG’s operations, but until recently, each museum in the group operated independent systems. With the group keen to increase workforce mobility and inter-site collaboration, it was apparent that development of the group’s ICT strategy was necessary.

Disparate telephone and email systems drove excessive complexity and divergent working practices, duplicating support requirements, inflating maintenance costs and impacting collaboration, best practice sharing, and other day-to-day operations.

Meanwhile, shared systems relied on the Science Museum’s single data centre, with the result that outages disrupted the entire group.

To address systems stability, capacity and performance issues, and enable the infrastructure to support group objectives, a new centrally driven approach to ICT was necessary. ICT needed to be moved to the heart of the business planning process with clear strategic focus on benefits and outcomes, and to be supported by coherent lifecycle planning and appropriate investment.


ONI recommended that SMG should move to a resilient communications infrastructure with common cloud telephony, email and contact centre solutions across the group, by implementing a cloud communications service running over a Wide Area Network.

Key objectives included:

  • Improved infrastructure resilience
  • Reduced technology duplication and complexity
  • Facilitation of hot desking, and remote and mobile working
  • Reduced travel and internal communication costs
  • Increased collaboration across the group
  • Support for a strategic, customer-centric, data led approach to ICT

Leveraging its Tier 3+ data centre facilities and extensive experience in the museum and gallery sector, ONI worked closely with SMG to specify, design, implement and support a one-stop-shop solution for SMG’s 1,500 users, across the group’s seven UK sites.

Key systems were relocated to ONI’s cloud service, providing geographic and physical resilience, and ensuring 100% availability. The initial solution included a wide area network, managed, maintained and supported by ONI, which was implemented across all SMG sites. This gave staff access to Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Active Directory, telephone and contact centre cloud services.

This infrastructure gives SMG a resilient, secure, scalable system, able to grow with the group. Inter-site communication costs have been removed and the rationalised system portfolio is now managed by ONI. By replacing multiple systems with a single managed service, ONI has enabled SMG to focus its ICT team on delivering other important technologies to the group.

As well as designing, deploying and implementing the solution, ONI managed all aspects of the project including the third parties involved. Support and service reviews help SMG realise maximum value and continual service improvements.

ONI also worked closely with SMG to help them understand and exploit cloud services, suggesting, for example, the use of instant messaging and presence technology to facilitate remote and home-working. This has been key in helping SMG shape its cloud strategy, itself pivotal in the group’s over-all digital transformation strategy.

SMG continues to work in partnership with ONI to drive its transformation to cloud strategy forward. ONI is refreshing SMG’s existing Local Area Network and increasing connectivity capacity into each site, enabling SMG to deliver Microsoft Office 365, Azure and AWS services. This will facilitate a key strategic aim for SMG: Making ICT a business enabler, enabling the workforce to adopt a truly mobile and flexible way of working.

“ONI have exceptional engineering expertise. They’re knowledgeable, helpful and wanted to get stuck in and deliver. As well as being delivered within budget, the project has been well received across SMG, elevating the perception of ICT across the business,” says Amadeep Rai, ICT development and project manager.


  • Reduced technology duplication, complexity and cost
  • Consistent user experience independent of location
  • Improved collaboration across the group
  • IT resources freed up for strategic, value-add activities

“ONI are a strategic partner; they’ve demonstrated themselves as highly capable and trustworthy. That’s crucial as it allows SMG’s ICT team to focus on enabling and leading innovation and transformation, and delivering the high quality technology services essential to flexible modern working,” comments Jason Oliver, head of ICT.