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8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update, Aug 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/08/2009   
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Background to IBCS

The Integrated Business Characteristics Strategy (IBCS) was first implemented for the 2005/06 reference year.

The IBCS strategy serves two main purposes:

  • to reduce overall survey respondent burden, and,
  • to increase the integration between estimates, at a point in time, with longitudinal microdata to facilitate a better understanding of the factors which influence macro-level change.

The IBCS integrates the collection and processing of data for:
  • the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD);
  • the Innovation Survey, and;
  • the Business Use of Information Technology (BUIT) Survey.

The primary purpose of the BLD is to facilitate analysis to inform users about policy issues related to business growth and performance.
As part of the IBCS strategy, detailed outputs for innovation and ICT use are collected in alternate years with key indicators for each reported annually.

IBCS Review

The ABS has recently commenced an internal review of the IBCS. This review, expected to be finalised by May 2010, will cover the scope, content, collection methodology, and quality of data captured from its suite of existing collection instruments, and administrative sources.

It is particularly relevant to conduct a review of the IBCS in 2009-10 at this time when there are a number of emerging and changing information requirements for innovation and technology data reflecting a number of new government initiatives.

These include:

(i) the government's response to the Cutler Review "Powering Ideas - an Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century",

(ii) the development of an Australian Innovation Measurement Framework (ABS has contributed significantly to this initiative)

(iii) the release of a draft consultation paper on Future Directions for the Digital Economy

(iv) the announcement of the National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out.

One of the main objectives of this review is to broaden user engagement to ensure that the statistical information collected via the IBCS continues to remain relevant to a wide readership including policy decision makers, businesses, micro and macro-economic analysts and researchers.

Please contact Ms Helen Harkin, Innovation and Technology NSC and Business Data, ABS on (02) 6252 6531 or if you wish to participate in user discussion forums or require any further information about the IBCS review.


As discussed at 2.1 one aim of the IBCS is to collect data to populate the Business Longitudinal Database. These directly collected data along with a range of information from administrative sources such as the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Customs Service are used to create the BLD. The scope of the BLD is restricted to small and medium businesses.

The main output from the BLD will be a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF). The first CURF is currently in development and is expected to be released in late October 2009. For more information about the BLD CURF, please contact Diane Braskic, Innovation and Technology Business Statistics Centre, ABS on (08) 9360 5241.


The next issue of the publication, Selected Characteristics of Australian Businesses, 2006-07 (cat. no. 8167.0), will be released on 17 September 2009. Key findings of the 2006-07 Business Characteristics Survey showed that a lack of skilled persons, at 18%, was the most commonly reported barrier to general business activities or performance. 73% of businesses reported having three or more competitors.

For more information about business characteristics outputs (including BUIT, Innovation and general business characteristics), please contact Peter Hodgson, Innovation and Technology Business Statistics Centre, ABS on (08) 9360 5367.

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