Royal College of Music Case Study



London, UK

Completion Date



Higher Education


The Royal College of Music is one of the world’s leading conservatoires. Founded in 1882, the RCM trains gifted musicians from all over the world for international careers as performers, conductors and composers and other significant leadership roles within the arts. Based in Kensington, West London, the college occupies a prestigious site and has extensive facilities for the teaching and performance of music for over 610 students and 200 members of staff. The ICT systems in place at the College must support the vital day to day communication needs of the 12 different faculties and departments on campus.

The Challenges

Before the Management team at the College approached PTS Consulting, it had modest in‐house expertise in IT systems and management to rely on. The College had been relying heavily on a single IT Manager, along with four staff, for the delivery of ICT functionality to the entire College. In the wake of a comprehensive external business audit, which was critical of the ICT function and the level of governance and control that the Management team had on this key function, the College approached PTS Consulting.

The audit highlighted the need for additional assistance and expertise to undertake an extensive review and establish an improvement plan for the current and future delivery of ICT services. PTS Consulting was asked to provide additional assistance and expertise to stabilise the College’s ICT environment and recommend a forward looking strategy to transform the ICT function. After discussion with the client, it was agreed that the project should be broken down into two elements: Interim IT Management in the role of provision of an Acting Head of IT; and, ongoing Business Consultancy Services to support the former role in delivering the review, improvement plan and a strategy to transform the College’s ICT environment based upon best practice.

Sue Sturrock, Director of Communications at the Royal College of Music, elaborated: “With the communication needs of approximately 800 users to satisfy, it is important for the Royal College of Music’s IT function to deliver a consistent and stable level of IT performance. The College therefore looked to PTS Consulting to help us address immediate IT governance and control gaps that our audit highlighted, as well as formulate a strategic pathway that will enable us to realise our vision in the longer term.”

PTS Solutions

1) Interim Management via ‘Acting Head of ICT Services’ role: As Acting Head of ICT, PTS Consulting has been working closely with the College’s IT Manager and team day‐to‐day to help maintain a balanced and steady IT environment. This relationship has also allowed PTS to gather information to conduct a strategic review and formulate best practice strategic performance improvement recommendations in line with the communication needs of the College.

2) Strategic IT Consultancy: In order to formulate a forward-looking strategy and performance improvement programme that would enable the College to transform its ICT environment, PTS Consulting conducted a comprehensive review of:

  • The existing internal IT resource; organisational structure and reporting lines; roles and responsibilities; skills and capabilities;
  • Resources delivered by 3rd parties under contract;
  • Processes and methodologies adopted including: budgeting and charging techniques; service definition and performance management methods; service desk and support functions; and, incident planning and change control;

The technologies utilised, including core voice and data networks; software applications (such as messaging, Internet, security and directory applications); and remote and mobile applications.

PTS Consulting was then able to formulate a detailed 10 year ICT strategy from initial ICT stabilisation through to longer-term transformation and optimisation. To address immediate ICT concerns, some of PTS Consulting’s specific recommendations included the use of shared services and outsourcing of the existing Datacentre.

The Results

As a result of PTS Consulting’s involvement, the College is now well on the way towards closing the gaps highlighted by the initial business audit. The strategic review and initial performance improvement recommendations have been successfully delivered and the College now has a clear operation plan that can successfully enable long term strategic IT transformation. Key benefits that the project work has delivered to the Royal College of Music include:

  • Interim IT Management position maintained a balanced and steady ICT environment
  • A comprehensive review of all existing IT resources, technology, processes and service management methodologies
  • Recommendations that address immediate IT equipment refresh and DR issues that include the use of shared services and outsourcing of Datacentre
  • 10-year strategic performance improvement and change management programme in line with best practice that covers stabilisation, transformation and optimisation.

In just four months, PTS Consulting transformed the strategic direction and mode of operation of the Royal College of Music’s ICT function. In this short time, PTS Consulting has become knowledgeable enough in the College’s core business to become a successful enabler for business change. PTS Consulting has been instrumental in developing a 10 year ICT Strategy which moves though stabilisation, transformation and optimisation phases. Now, for the first time, the College has a clear statement of how ICT supports the provision of an inspirational learning experience and an ICT operational plan that provides the means to achieve this. Sue Sturrock, Director of Communications at the Royal College of Music concluded: “I am delighted with the results of this project and with the collaborative and imaginative approach of PTS’ consultants. The College now possesses a technology strategy that will underpin our Learning and Teaching operation for many years to come.”

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