Building Organisational Capability for Plug and Play

MSIS, April 2013, Paris

Patrick Hadley, Australian Bureau of Statistics


National statistical organisations are confronted with a range of challenges driven by client demands for new and innovative statistical products, improved data quality, delivered faster and at less cost.  Equally, there are demands to reduce the costs of information provision and potential for new, vast sources of information to be tapped. These expectations, demands and opportunities are brought into sharp relief by a background of ongoing budget constraints.

Like other NSOs, the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is looking to meet these challenges through transformation of its business. The ABS 2017 program has been established to radically transform the way ABS collects, collates, manages, uses, reuses and disseminates statistical information. It will drive a standards based, enterprise approach to transformation through investment in its statistical information infrastructure and the re-engineering and unification of business processes. The aspiration is to transform the ABS into a business where new end to end statistical processes are largely assembled and configured by business users pulling together components of the process in a plug and play manner.

This paper will examine the journey ABS has embarked upon from previous ways of working to the new paradigm of a highly industrialised, interoperable world where new statistical products are assembled from modular components and business processes. Beyond purely technical considerations, it will examine the key success criteria and challenges to establish supporting capabilities that will enable the transformation - new governance structures and investment processes, partnerships between business and ICT teams, Enterprise and Service Oriented Architecture principles, development practices, and so on.

In particular it will describe how ABS’s ICT and business groups must transform themselves in order to ensure that new, modular capabilities take into account all elements of the organisation’s (enterprise) architecture - business, information, application and infrastructure. With these goals in mind ICT specialists must work in partnership with subject matter experts and methodologists, to build capabilities in support of component based development and re-use.