Information Technology Survey - Business Enterprises

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    Given the continuing changes in the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) this survey focusses on broadband access and types and penetration rates electronic commerce (e-commerce; the online sale of goods and services). Despite the growing level of public debate concerning the growth of e-business and e-commerce within the Australian economy, very little data relating to the business use of these facilities has been available to policy makers or private enterprises. Data that are available have predominantly been generated by private surveys with small samples and inconsistent definitions and scope. At best, the results of these surveys are indicative. There is a pressing need for the production of timely and comprehensive e-commerce statistics.

    The last Business Use of IT survey covered the 2004-05 reference period.

    In the future, Business Use of Information Technology will be collected as part of the Business Characteristics Survey. Key indicators such as Internet connectivity, broadband take up, web presence, placing and receiving orders and value of orders recieved via the Internet or web will be collected annually with detailed IT use information collected every second year.

    One purpose of the BUIT survey remains to measure the penetration of the use of various ICT and their associated processes/functions. In particular the primary purpose is to measure the penetration of various e-business and e-commerce activities together with a level estimate of e-commerce activity. The survey will collect information on varying levels of web sophistication businesses have, and the impact of web based commerce on business processes

    Since 1999/00 the BUIT has been an annual collection with a sample size sufficient to:

    • reliably measure relatively rare events such as the conduct of e-commerce
    • dissect data by State/Territory, Industry and broad region (capital city/other).
    • release data as quickly as possible after the reference period
    • keep the questions simple (mainly tick box) to reduce burden and to expedite collection and processing
    • revise the survey content each year to reflect changing use of technologies and policy interests (within the constraints of an 8 page form and the retention of key time series data items)
    • be consistent with emerging international standards.

    The major users are Commonwealth and State/Territory government departments, for whom timely statistics on the use and supply of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) remain a high priority. To reaffirm the user requirements for the 2002-03 survey, meetings have been held with key users, including the Department of Communication, Information Technology and Arts (DCITA) which also broadly represents State/Territory government interests. The survey requirements and outputs are discussed at the biannual meetings of the ICT Reference Group.

    The scope for the Business Technology/E-commerce Survey should include all business units in the Australian economy except for:
    • SISCA 3000 - General Government
    • SISCA 6000 - Rest of the world
    • ANZSIC Division A - Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
    • ANZSIC Division M - Government Administration and Defence
    • ANZSIC Division N - Education
    • ANZSIC sub-division 97- Private Households Employing Staff
    • ANZSIC 9610 - Religious organisations


    Conceptual framework
    International standards in the area of IT statistics are emerging A model OECD survey on business use of IT has been developed and similar surveys are conducted by Eurostat, the ONS and Stats Canada. The 2004-05 Australian survey took into account the concepts, definitions and data items in the model survey and in the field more generally.

    Main outputs
    The broad data requirements are the penetration of various technologies, Internet use and web presence and the range of activities being conducted online, as well as a measure of the size of e-commerce in Australia.

    Data was produced categorised by ANZSIC division; by business employment size; by state and metroploitan/ex-metropolitan. Further classifications by use of technology will also be produced (ie of businesses with a web site, businesses with Internet access, number of years with Internet commerce.), Internet or web purchasing and selling and main benefits of purchasing and selling.

    Other concepts (summary)

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory
    Part of State Metropolitan
    Part of State Extra-Metropolitan

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    Data is also available for Part of Australia Metropolitan, Part of Australia Extra-Metropolitan. Not all data will be available at the State level.


    Frequency comments
    Prior to 1999-2000, the Business Use of IT survey was previously conducted biennially.

    An initial survey was conducted in 1993-94 as part of the information technology statistical framework agreed to at the time by ABS Management. The subsequent surveys were for the following financial periods:
    The 2004-05 survey was the eighth BUIT survey.


    Data availability comments
    1999-2000 survey released 15 December 2000
    2000-01 survey results released 20 March 2002
    2001-02 surveys results released 26 February 2003
    2002-03 survey results released 17 March 2004
    2003-04 survey results released 17 March 2005
    2004-05 survey results released 17 March 2006

    16/04/2007 07:29 PM