5. INTEGRATED BUSINESS CHARACTERISTICS STRATEGY (IBCS)
IBCS is a new approach by the ABS to provide innovation and information and communications technology (ICT) related statistics for businesses. The strategy addresses the increased demand for integrated data on business characteristics to enable analysis of business growth and productivity.
The IBCS aims to integrate the collection and dissemination of information required for:
the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD). Data collected for the BLD is obtained from the Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) which will provide the ongoing core for the new integrated strategy;
the Business Use of Information Technology Survey (BUIT); and
the Innovation Survey.
The benefits of the IBCS are twofold.
Firstly, the overall load on businesses in providing the information will be reduced, as the same sample of businesses will be used to collect all the required information from which both longitudinal and cross-sectional reporting can be provided. Therefore, fewer businesses will be asked to supply information than would be the case with three separate surveys.
Secondly, IBCS output will be of higher value to users as the firm-level data in the BLD will be full integrated with the aggregated data outputs from the two surveys, while the two surveys will be integrated with each other. For the first time, users will be able to understand the complex relationships between the various characteristics and activities that drive productivity growth at both the macro and micro levels.
The BCS has a capacity to provide data for the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD). The ABS is currently developing the BLD to provide longitudinal information about businesses. The long term objective is to produce a reliable longitudinal dataset of both characteristics and financial data. The BLD will use BCS and administrative data held by ABS to produce comprehensive analysis of small and medium size businesses in Australia.
The first step of the IBCS is the integration of two current stand alone surveys; the Business Use of Information Technology Survey and the Innovation Survey into the BCS. The BCS will, therefore, provide core information on innovation and ICT annually plus increased data on one of these topics biennially. Therefore the first BCS, which has an ICT focus, will provide core information on innovation carried out by Australian business as well as core and more detailed information on how Australian business use and access ICT. The 2005-06 BCS to be despatched in February 2007 will replace the 2005-06 BUIT.
The second integrated annual BCS will provide core information on the use of ICT as well as core and more detailed information on innovation carried out by Australian business. The 2006-07 BCS to be despatched late in 2007 will replace the 2007 Innovation survey. The BCS will follow this biennial pattern with a July despatch date and outputs available approximately 12 months later.
The IBCS has the provision to include other topics on the BCS to meet user demand. A small contestable module may be available on the survey for specific statistical demands which relate to business characteristics. Topics will need to fit criteria related to the survey parameters, ABS policy and other determinants.
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