1001.0 - Australian Bureau of Statistics -- Annual Report, 2007-08  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/12/2008   
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Contents >> Section VI - How the ABS Operates >> Chapter 19 - Management of Information Technology

INTRODUCTION

Information technology is fundamental to the ABS fulfilling its mission of leading a high quality, objective and responsive national statistical service. The effective management of information technology allows the ABS to increase access to statistics, ensure the security of sensitive data and statistics, and provide an effective statistical service.

The ABS’ Technology Services Division works closely with all areas of the ABS, and uses advances in information technology and business improvement techniques to enhance the capability, efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation. The division also provides a nationwide computing and communications infrastructure, to support the ABS in all its locations including central office, regional offices and for the interviewer workforce working from home.

Under the guidance of the Information Resource Management Committee (see Chapter 17, Corporate Governance), the ABS has continued to manage information technology facilities effectively and efficiently. The Technology Services Division contributes in these key areas:

  • building information technology in a strategic manner, to support the ABS mission

  • supporting an effective statistical work program with the appropriate technology

  • evolving the ABS technology environment and related services to enhance productivity, innovation, collaboration with others, and job satisfaction

  • enhancing our professional practices to assist the ABS to align with broader government practice, project management, enterprise architecture, business process improvement and capital planning

  • working with business areas to ensure that the ABS and the National Statistical Service (NSS) have the technology required for the future, and

  • collaborating with other organisations to support the NSS.

    During 2007–08, the Technology Services Division has assisted in the advancement of the ABS statistical work in the following areas:

  • publication and management of the 2006 Census output facilities on the ABS website

  • improvements in the re-use of common infrastructure solutions to meet the processing requirements of household surveys

  • developments to assist in survey management and design

  • increased automation of statistical techniques such as editing, estimation and imputation, and

  • enhanced capture of quality metrics to aid the analysis of statistics.

    Specific projects worked on by the Technology Services Division during 2007–08 include:

  • redevelopment of the ABS Business Register

  • release of the Quality Infrastructure System

  • the Publication Production Workbench e-Magazine

  • the Questionnaire Development Tool

  • statistical systems improvements for backcasting, imputation and editing

  • business continuity for Human Resources and Financial Systems, and

  • business process analysis and re-engineering projects.


  • KEY DEVELOPMENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

    Achievements during the year included: enhanced video conferencing, telephony and internet services; a strategy for the use of productivity tools in the ABS; the release of Open Office to all ABS employees and the establishment of the Working@ABS initiative.

    In relation to professional practices, a significant effort in 2007–08 was the development of the ABS strategic capital plan. Effort was also focused around the software development process, business process improvement, project management and communities of practice, to enhance the capabilities of staff.

    The ABS Technology Research Portfolio ensures the organisation is well placed to understand technology opportunities and challenges, and is able to recognise the potential impacts and issues arising from rapid adoption of technology by businesses and the community.

    The ABS continues to lead collaborative efforts on the National Data Network (NDN) in partnership with a number of other agencies. The NDN platform enables sharing and integration of statistical data relevant to policy and research. During 2007-08, a strategic, architectural and operational review was commenced, to identify the development work that will need to be undertaken to meet future cross-jurisdictional collaborative developments.

    Significant NDN collaboration included pilot projects undertaken with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, in relation to the Victorian Child and Adolescent Monitoring System (VCAMS). This collaboration demonstrated the ABS’ capabilities in data and metadata management.

    The ABS also hosted visits from a number of statistical organisations in other countries to share approaches in managing information technology, including: Statistics New Zealand; Lao National Statistics Center and the US National Cancer Institute.

    WORKING@ABS

    improve the knowledge management

    During 2007–08, the Working@ABS initiative was established by the Technology Services Division. The initiative aims to improve the knowledge management and personal productivity of ABS employees. For example, during 2007–08, the Working@ABS initiative included the introduction of email self-release, an improved instant messaging system and the rollout of new phones.

    The outcomes sought for all ABS staff are:

  • an improved user experience aimed at enabling a more productive and efficient workplace

  • an improved and enhanced ABS desktop platform and supporting policies and guidelines

  • improved agility and responsiveness in the delivery of new initiatives, and

  • enhanced collaboration within the ABS and externally.




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