To help develop new data collection systems that will potentially shape the next Census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has approached Accenture, the global consultancy firm.

The ABS is Australia’s national statistical agency, providing trusted official statistics on a wide range of economic, social, population and environmental matters of importance to Australia. It also coordinates on statistical activities and collaborates with official bodies in the collection, compilation, analysis and distribution of statistics. This assists in maximizing the value of government investment in these activities and ensures that outputs are fit-for-purpose.

By taking on these roles, the bureau aims to inform on important issues, thereby leading to a more informed community; more efficient markets, economic growth, and productivity enhancements; better policy development and evaluation; targeted and more efficient service delivery.

At the cost of AU$19.9 million, Accenture will enable the ABS to issue statistical products that are more affordable, efficient and with IT stability. The new data collection systems will reduce the survey burden on Australian households and businesses.

According to Trevor Sutton, Deputy Australian Statistician of the Statistical Business Transformation Group:

The Accenture engagement will enhance our digital data collection, reduce the manual handling, enable cost savings, reduce paper use, and improve our reporting and processes. We will be implementing new management tools that will give us a greater capacity for automation, reducing cost and risk through the use of market-leading off-the-shelf software rather than bespoke internally developed systems.

Further, Sutton said the partnership marks a significant milestone in its $257 million transformation, thus enabling the ABS to implement new management tools that will provide a greater capacity for automation, reduced cost and risk through the use of off-the-shelf software rather than bespoke, internally-developed systems.

This move comes shortly after 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.

ABS said that it is considering lessons learned from the Census, which will include any recommendations from the review performed by Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security Alastair MacGibbon, and will apply relevant recommendations in the managing delivery of this solution.

The deal with Accenture forms part of the AU$257 million transformation the ABS is currently undertaking and its installation, configuration, and testing are expected to be completed by December 2017, with the solution in use from 2018.


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