Justin Warren has to provide the infrastructure to store, display and secure that digital art in the same way as he has to store, display and secure administrative data.
Having worked in the finance sector, latterly as the infrastructure manager for Baycorp, Warren was looking for a career shift. “I was personally looking for a breakout from the mundane numbers day to day.”
When the MCA role came up Warren realised that it was not only a 180 degree turn compared to his previous role, but offered a blank canvas and the opportunity to help design infrastructure that would grow with the MCA’s collections.
“Once I was here – the whole concept was to take somewhat archaic technology and embrace it and move forward with it.” Warren has concentrated on developing a strong foundation that would underpin whatever activities the MCA wanted to involve itself in in the future.
In the past when a new exhibition was in the wings equipment would be bought in an ad hoc fashion. “As an exhibition came up equipment would be purchased and it would be somewhat slap happy. I’m not saying what was presented was slap happy – it was the process,” said Warren.
Previously the MCA had completely outsourced its IT, and according to Warren was missing having someone on staff “who could articulate what the business wanted in a technical sense. “
He joined the Museum in March 2011 when the MCA was mid-way through its construction programme. Although there had been some IT systems design intended to ensure that the new building was appropriately cabled or wired, it was a case of foundations and concepts and not much else.
“It lacked the detail to successfully deliver the front end – that comes back to articulating the business requirements. Instead of IT dictating what it (the MCA) should do the organisation should dictate to IT what it requires and we build off that requirement.”