The legacy of the Brontes.

The Bronte SocietyWho are they?

Where are they?

What do they do?
One of the oldest literary societies in the English speaking world.

How big are they?
Turnover of approx £600,000.

What did they receive?

Microsoft Small Business Server and Office Professional Plus; Symantec Backup Executive.

The outcome?
Infrastructure renewed, with the danger of failure averted.
For those who have never visited, the Bronte Parsonage Museum might conjure up images of a tiny, slightly twee backwater attraction, selling the odd guide book to visitors who stumble across its picturesque home in Haworth, Yorkshire.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The Museum is one of the key activities of the Bronte Society – one of the oldest literary societies in the English-speaking world. The Society has a global membership; around 70,000 people annually make the trip to the Museum; thousands more benefit from its outreach schemes.

“Running the museum is our main work,” explains Andrew McCarthy, its Director. “But we also administer an exhibitions programme; we have an education programme for schools, colleges and adult learners; we work with contemporary writers and artists; run events and activities for our 1800 members around the world…”
Needless to say, all this entails a hefty IT operation. “We have electronic point of sale systems in the shop, then financial and administrative back office functions, a membership database; our entire collection is electronically catalogued; we have marketing databases – every department uses IT,” says Andrew.

The Bronte Society came to CTX when it was clear that their existing infrastructure was in danger of failing. “We were in a fortunate position this year; we could release some money for systems after a couple of years of operating at a deficit,” Andrew says. “Many areas here hadn’t seen investment for a period of time.”

“We went through a procurement process, and one of the suppliers made us aware of CTX,” he continues. “At the time, our servers and PCs were eight or nine years old; we’d had problems for a while with crashes and ‘go slows’ and we were concerned that we’d be left with major problems.”

With an investment made in PC hardware, CTX supplied donations of brand new Microsoft server software. “It was a boon to be able to get the software more cheaply,” says Andrew.

“The difference was fantastic,” he reflects. “Everything ran more quickly, across the organisation. Above all, it gave us security of mind – we knew that we were not likely to suffer a catastrophic failure.”

The Society doesn’t have an IT Manager as such, but uses an outside company for these needs. As a ‘non-techie’, Andrew admits that he was a little nervous about the charity taking on the onus of sourcing its own software. However, all went well and he pronounces himself a satisfied customer.

“I’m not technically minded, but dealing with CTX seemed very straightforward, and we had very quick responses,” he says.


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