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ABS issues second major tender for $235m transformation

by Justin Hendry •
Free resource

The second major approach to market for the $235 million Statistical Business Transformation Program (SBTP) has been initiated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), with the agency releasing its Request for Tender (RFT) for an enterprise integration platform solution.

The solution will enable the ABS to adopt a service-orientated architecture (SOA) environment and improve interoperability between internal and external systems and services, including off-the-shelf, legacy, and Software-as-a-Service solutions. It will also facilitate external partner access to statistical data and services.

“ABS operating environment is changing with the statistical landscape becoming more complex and growing expectations of decision makers”, tender documents state.

“The proposed solution will enable loose coupling of services/applications in the new ABS IT environment and will enable enterprise services re-use across the ICT business areas.”

The platform has three categories of requirements: an integration component, an API management component, and common infrastructure, security and non-functional requirements, which the other components (Integration and API management) will be expected to support.

The platform is expected to integrate new and existing applications in shorter timeframes through minimising point-to-point integration across systems. This will reduce associated maintenance and development costs.

The 2015-16 Budget allocated $234.7 million over five years, including $85.2 million in capital funding, to transform ageing IT systems infrastructure and integrate 500 separate systems into common platforms for data collection, processing and statistical products, as part of the ABS’s SBTP. $20.8 million is expected to be spent by the ABS during the 2015-16 financial year.

The SBTP will standardise ABS processes, tools, and methodologies, and allow “the ABS service model to facilitate greater innovation, more data analysis and tailored service delivery," according to tender documents .

As part of the SBTP, ABS approached the market for an Enterprise Data Management Environment (EDME) and related services in July 2015. The EDME project will be implemented over a 12 month period beginning in January 2016 and is estimated to cost between $10 and $15 million. No contract has yet been published.

The ABS revealed in May 2015 that one in three ICT applications are classified unreliable, and one in six are no longer vendor supported because of outdated technology. ABS ICT systems have threatened core business functions including the operation of the 2016 Census.

Opening ABS statistical and data to external providers dovetails neatly with the Government’s Policy for eGovernment and the Digital Economy, which intends to “improve the quality of data on the digital economy available to decision-makers.”

Submissions for the RFT close 7 April 2016.

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