Connecting places and properties across the Trust

Published : Sun 1st Nov Author : Kevin Dessoy, IT Business Partner

IT Business Partner Kevin Dessoy first joined the National Trust nine years ago as a General Manager, before moving into the world of technology for the Yorkshire and the North East side of the North region. Here he talks about the sense of pride he gets from his work, and the challenges of implementing technology across every property, no matter how remote!

I’m based in Yorkshire and the North East and there are 13 business partners across the country who meet regularly for video conferences and face-to-face every couple of months. My role is much more consultancy-based than technical, so I work closely with our partner contractors to manage the IT services they provide and act as the mid-point between properties and technology at the Trust.

My role is hugely varied and I’ll regularly travel up and down the region visiting General Managers to discuss new projects, and look at ways in which technology can support the delivery of these projects. For example in Northumberland, we’re currently looking at installing a bee camera as part of hive management at our Cherryburn property.

As a team we deal with a lot of problem escalation, and one of our biggest challenges at the moment is upgrading the network speed across our properties. We have some incredible properties in some very remote areas, so it’s crucial we’re able to get these places up and running with the latest technology.

An example of this is in the work we’ve recently been doing for the Trust’s IT transformation programme, where one of our main tasks was installing tills into George Stephenson’s Birthplace, which is a little stone cottage in  a remote location. It’s a big priority of mine to work out how we can implement technology in every property no matter its size or location; we have to find a way to make it work! 

It’s also incredibly important to make sure the technology we’re implementing doesn’t have a negative impact on our  sites. It’s not as simple as just putting a wireless access point on a wall; we have to make sure that whatever we do, we’re not compromising the uniqueness or beauty of a place.

The Trust has definitely become much more sophisticated and dynamic in recent years. As an organisation we’ve really moved forward with our thinking, but at the same time are still incredibly considerate of our portfolio and its special places and spaces. Having worked in banking and other industries where you’re making money for shareholders, whenever I see a National Trust ownership sign I feel a great sense of pride; it’s a tangible feeling of doing good that you just couldn’t get anywhere else.