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HLG vision and strategy promotes standards based modernisation. However standardising a business results in a huge culture change that could be addressed through training, the recruitment of staff with a different skill set.

A concrete example of this from the effect of adopting the Common Statistical Production Architecture (currently being developed by a HLG project):

Changing the mindsets of both Information Communication Technology (ICT) groups and, equally as importantly, their immediate clients to build software in a way that makes it re-usable for others is a big shift from current practice.

That is, we are moving to an 80/20 world where IT systems will not be built to an area's exact specifications. Not longer will you not get exactly what you want, as the system needs to be re usable by other areas. It also possible that it will take longer to build and cost more money (building generic solutions that are more configurable takes longer than building a hard coded solution that meets a specific business need).

The benefits of doing this need to be clear to staff. There should be more information circulated on "what does this mean for me?" and thought given to how to address the sense of compromise (acceptance that nothing will be optimized for local use, rather it will be optimized for international or corporate use)

Information circulated about how changes due to modernisation affect staff.


Rotation of staff: internationally and/or nationally

 Non-comparable staff CVs - both for non-IT specialists and for IT specialists.

 Comparable IT CV template using controlled vocabularies for most fields

Comparable non-IT CV template using controlled vocabularies for most fields

Different cultures between countries/organizations

Shared training in many countries: evangelists!

Temporary exchange of staff

Common IT projects using the "cloud"

Excerpt from HLG Strategy

Prerequisites for change

20. To manage effectively the changes required, it is vital to consider four main issues:

(a)     Willingness to change – This is determined by trust and support for the leadership and/or governance structure of the change. There must be enough trust and support for the strategy, vision and the leadership. This will require clear communication and leadership as it is really about “selling the vision” to encourage staff and stakeholders to embark on a transformation journey;

(b)     Ability to change - This is about the capacity to change, which is determined by many factors but people and their skills are of the utmost importance. Are enough people “on board” to really make it happen? Leadership is again a critical factor as it is needed to change, often long lasting, structures and ideas within organizations;

(c)      Readiness for change - As transformation requires many changes to the organization, its people, stakeholders etc., change readiness is essential. An effective transformation must be well timed, because timing affects the level of support from the people that are involved;

(d)     Speed of change - One of the choices to be made is between evolution and revolution. Although the speed of change is to some extent driven by the increasing rate of change in the outside world, current advantages such as quality and trust should be preserved. Effective leaders regularly re-check the willingness, ability and readiness to change, and adjust the speed of change on the basis of that.

21. It is not realistic to suppose that all members of the official statistics industry will have the same levels of willingness, ability and readiness to change at the start. Change will therefore be pioneered by a few organisations before being implemented by all. The ability to change can differ as NSO’s face different challenges in particular, differences in national legislation, priorities and requirements.



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  1. We have to realise that culture is in essence stable, that is an advantage normally but in our case a disadvantage. Because of this stable character it is very difficult to modify and it will take considerable time and effort if done as a change effort. Looking at the industry we see that mostly the startups are changing the culture by creating growth kernels having a different culture. These then grow absorbing the assets and the people from the old industries without ever wasting effort to change old cultures. I propose to create cells of innovation which start to do things different and if succesful let them grow at the expense of the "old" organisation. The main effort is to create the innovation in products(yes) and processes and not try to change an organisation that is very accustomed to doing things a certain way.

    We started out in statistics producing indices and tables because that was the limit of the possibilities then but now find ourselves in an increasingly visual world with sophisticated means to convey information. We should not in the first place think about retrofitting our old processes and products with the new stuff but create new products and output channels. That work is very suited for an innovation group that then will spawn new organisational parts, growing at the cost of the "old" organisation making old products obsolete.

  2. we are re-architecting agency into commercial (preferred) or government cloud. Benefits = flexibility and reduced capital costs. Outcomes include thin client and thus all data into cloud, changing culture of individual researcher data ownership, a significant aspect of present culture which, when changed to shared, can be leveraged into other aspects of cultural change.

  3. Input by Jennifer Cheffers (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

    The issue of managing change to support modernisation impacts widely across each statistical organisation, and is broader than cultural change associated with new ICT systems. Modernisation of enterprise-wide statistical processes will require employees to undertake new ways of conducting their agency's statistical business, which encompasses new business processes as well as new ICT systems. Training for employees includes training in these new process and systems, as well as new ICT technologies for ICT practitioners, change management and leadership for organisational leaders, change management and project management for program teams, and statistical methodology to support the transformation. Training is just one part of a holistic approach to human resources retention, redeployment and recruitment practices needed across each organisation. Cultural change programs will be required to help the organisation move from thinking of itself as being in the business of statistics to being in the information management business. Benchmark measures of organisational change readiness are needed to establish the objectives of the corporate change management program, and regular change readiness assessments are needed to measure progress against these objectives throughout the life of the transformation.

    Particular issues for statistical modernisation change programs include:

    • organisational leadership to set the vision, high level direction for the transformation, and model required behaviours including enterprise-wide thinking and innovation;
    • assuming most existing employees can make the transition from current to new roles with appropriate training, development and support;
    • providing timely and relevant "what's in it for me" messages to each of the impacted stakeholder groups throughout the different phases of the transformation program;
    • access to expert resources in a tight labour market;
    • sufficient resourcing of cultural change management roles;
    • evolving the organisational structure to reflect the new world, while still delivering business as usual activity throughout the life of the transformation program;
    • balancing the natural tendency for employees in statistical agencies to want in depth detail about the transformation processes and phasing while the detail is still being planned;
    • the length of time required to effect a cultural change is likely to exceed the length of time to deliver the business process and systems transformation, and will need to continue to be reinforced and supported well after the transformation program has been completed.

    The desire of national statistical offices globally to transform their operations provides opportunities for the sharing of resources and knowledge, particularly from those agencies already underway with the change.

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