Bureau of Statistics Plans for More Online Use for 2016 Census

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is using a new agile methodology for software development to prepare for an influx of data associated with a boost in online users for the 2016 census.

The Bureau of Statistics first delivered the online eCensus in 2006. Then, the application was custom built by world-leader IBM and its software, including DB2 databases and WebSphere application software. For the 2006 census, 778,000 or 10 percent of Australian households, completed their forms online.

For the 2011 Census, 23 percent, or 2.6 million Australian households used the eCensus application to submit their forms. The team preparing for the upcoming 2016 Census is expecting an even larger number of Australian households to take up the online option.

The plans for the next census have been building for over a year and a half, and over 110 of the Bureau’s technology staff have spent that time being trained in agile methodology and software development for development. They also hope to use the methodology for smaller technical projects.

The team is looking at what changes need to be made to support growth as well as what its future IT architecture state might look like. Lane Masterton told iTnews that the agency has been trying out the method on small to medium projects but was looking to scale up its use more widely throughout the organization.

“We’re doing some work looking at how we can provide support to our field staff and how we can integrate those processes with our backend systems to make sure we manage census operations as efficiently as possible, but it’s been taking some time”.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has a field team of about 4,3000 people, so the new 2016 census will bring with it a new approach to delivery and collection of census forms, so those workers will need trained in those regards.

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