Creative Uses for IT Consulting: Digitizing


DigitizingIt is true that many businesses have IT support needs that are almost identical in nature.  Common uses of technology such as tracking customers and processing inventory and online orders mean that most small and medium-sized companies need to have adequate processing capacity and well-organized storage systems.  Occasionally, however, a more unusual use of technology can become a core IT function in an organization.  This is the case with the New York Philharmonic, which faced the formidable challenge of preserving its enormous archive of materials using modern technology.

The New York Philharmonic chose to preserve its historic materials by digitizing them.  This involved an enormous effort in terms of both organization and sheer storage capacity, since the philharmonic possesses music scores that date back to before the Civil War, as well as a wealth of other assets related to the musical heritage of New York City.  The collection of scores involved in the project is so vast that it is the single largest such collection held by a private company today. 

The organization knew it needed the help of an IT company to accomplish its goals, which included not only the actual digitization of these materials, but also the creation of an online portal that would permit visitors from around the world to view and interact with them.  Prior to this tech push, anyone who wanted to research the composers or individual scores in the collection could only access the archive by visiting New York City in person.

This type of challenge is best met with the assistance of an IT consulting firm.  This is because in most small and medium-sized businesses, there will be few workers, or none at all, who have sufficient knowledge of technology to provide the overall vision for the project, directing it into avenues that will produce a consistent and coherent end result.  To be sure, there may be some employees in the organization that have some level of tech skill, but unless they possess the full range of skills needed to manage the entire project, the result is likely to be a patchwork effort rather than a unified whole in which all the parts work seamlessly with one another. 

The philharmonic's Digital Archive Project is scheduled to complete its first phase by the end of 2013, bringing more than a million pages of material from 1943 to 1970 into the public eye.


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