The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has engaged global consultancy, Accenture, to deliver new data collection systems.
The open tender contract, worth $19.9 million, was won by Accenture to help the ABS develop its next generation of statistical infrastructure and transform the way the ABS collects, analyses, and accesses statistics.
According to Deputy Australian Statistician of the Statistical Business Transformation Group, Trevor Sutton, the new data collection systems will reduce the survey burden on Australian households and businesses.
Sutton said the partnership marks a significant milestone in its $257 million transformation, enabling the ABS to implement new management tools to give a greater capacity for automation, reducing cost and risk through the use of off-the-shelf software rather than bespoke, internally-developed systems.
“Accenture will enable the ABS to issue statistical products more affordably, efficiently and with ICT stability. Ultimately ensuring our long term sustainability and statistical contribution to all Australians,” he said.
Sutton also mentioned that the Accenture engagement will enhance its digital data collection, reduce the manual handling, reduce paper use, and improve its reporting and processes.
This move follows the failure of the ABS’ Census website to withstand a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in early August. The incident involving the Census 2016 website (run by IBM) saw the website brought offline by four DDoS attacks.
In its submission to the parliamentary committee undertaking an inquiry into the management and execution of the 2016 Census, the ABS suggested that IBM had fallen short in meeting the risks associated with a DDoS attack.
“Despite extensive planning and preparation by the ABS for the 2016 Census this risk was not adequately addressed by IBM, and the ABS will be more comprehensive in its management of risk in the future,” it said in a previous statement.
Accenture Australia health and public sector business managing director, David Hosking, said upon completion, the Statistical Business Transformation Program aims to transform the way in which the ABS collects, analyses and shares statistics to reduce burdens on households and businesses; develop new statistical products more rapidly; make data more easily usable and ensure the ABS’ long term sustainability; and enhance the citizen experience.
"It leverages off-the-shelf software with limited configuration rather than the existing tired and outdated internally developed systems. The ABS' current systems have been developed incrementally in-house over the last 20 years.
"It also provides an integrated capability and system across the main data collection streams and a single view of the data provider across different collections rather than segmented view across household, business and admin data collections," Hosking said.
Installation, configuration, and testing of the new systems are due to be completed by December 2017, with the solution in use from 2018.