A Single Source of Truth Split Four Ways
The lights of the theatre fade, the curtains open and within moments audience members of every age and background are completely immersed in a world of dance, music, emotion, passion and drama. The world of live performance art is something that television, games and the internet will never be able to replicate.
And it’s because of you.
You’ve done your job correctly when the audience is transported to another world, another life. Their entire experience is meant to be seamless but that doesn’t start when they enter the theatre. It often starts many years in advance.
The myriad of staff, volunteers and performers that it takes to create a captivating theatre experience can be daunting to manage – but the passion holds firm. All the moving parts and people combine to create an experience truly unique to each venue.
As the performing arts community is in constant competition with new technology trends (e.g. VR), there is a need for a solution that allows your (often limited) staff to more efficiently manage their time. The time saved from minimizing processes and clarifying communication can be better spent on fostering relationships with patrons, maintaining the space, seeking new philanthropic contributions, etc. This requirement is clear objectives, tasks and deadlines.
We often talk about software as a solution to the vast majority of the problems that can arise when managing various spaces but it’s not just any software. One that serves as a single source of truth; software that understands what you do, why you do it and what’s needed to make it happen. The technology available to venues is at the forefront of innovation because of the industry-wide appreciation in the value of face-to-face interactions. I’ll let you in on a little secret of world-renowned performing arts venues from around the world: there has to be a single source of truth.
Though the different roles within the organization care about very different information, they’re all essentially looking at the same thing, just in different ways. There are essentially four different ways that venues look at the back of house information collected in running a performing arts establishment. As it happens, they typically line up pretty well with the roles and responsibilities of four primary user groups:
- Administrators (aka Programming Managers, Head-honcho): the owners of the all-important master calendar. Administrators must work with promoters and the resident company to plan a season schedule that can be years out. They need a centralized calendar that allows them to capture all the needs of a show but can also incorporate robust conflict checking and intuitive functionality.
- Educational Outreach Managers & Special Events Coordinators: the ever-essential team necessary for filling in dates and increasing revenue with various opportunities. Just as the programming managers need the calendar, so too do these folks. They need a calendar that is transparent and a system that allows them to interact with necessary operational needs all the way to creating invoices.
- Operations: aren’t directly concerned with the show schedule years or months out, they are looking for the tasks needed for the day ahead. They seek clear means of communication with programming and special events – especially as it pertains to last-minute changes. By having a single source of truth, they can coordinate with their teams (and third-party service providers) to ensure that resources and deliverables are managed properly.
- Managers: from the CEO to the Finance Manager, those who ensure that the venue is running efficiently and creating the revenue needed for furthering education and continuing the mission of providing the arts to the community. They are interested in quick and functional reports that allow them to quickly make decisions. Evaluating usage, occupancy and the utilization of resources should be fast and accurate.
The advantages that come from having a single source of truth impact the entire organization:
- Redundancies and back-and-forth interactions among departments are greatly minimized
- Time spent in unnecessary meetings can be allocated to more important tasks
- Users are able to view accurate information needed to perform their jobs via a self-service platform
Now that I’ve run you through the ideal functionality of a single source backend system and the benefits of centralized information. Next, we’ll take a look at some of the primary concerns associated with software (and what it takes to overcome them!). Come back after a brief intermission.