STATISTICS NEW ZEALAND is the central government agency tasked to gather data on a wide range of topics such as income, housing, environment, education and social. Its primary goal is “to unleash the power of data to change lives”.
The rich information Statistics NZ gathers is used across governments and businesses to make decisions, such as where to locate a business, what products to sell, as well as assess quality of life.
Chris Buxton, chief technology offi cer of Statistics New Zealand, says key technology initiatives he will work on this year are around delivering IT-as-a-service, together with analytics, infrastructure consolidation/virtualisation, content management, open source technologies and mobile technologies.
In the past year, the group deployed a mobile data collection capability that enabled national prices data to be collected by field staff using tablet devices, he says. “We are currently in the final stages of implementing Salesforce to manage our collection operations, including Census 2018.”
The agency is leading the delivery of a new shared government building being constructed in the revitalised Christchurch central business district – The Christchurch Integrated Government Integration Project.
“We have delivered new shared technology and mobile networking solution that will enable nine government departments to work as a collocated model in a single building. This includes shared networking, printing, resource management and visitor systems.”
The executive steering group did not have preconceived ideas and gave a level of latitude for Statistics NZ to innovate for a more effective delivery model, he states.
The challenge for IT, which was met, was to design an innovative system that will allow the government agencies to work seamlessly in the building with minimal upfront adoption costs.
Buxton explains he and the team came up with an architecture and design leveraging an activity-based mobile workplace model to enable flexibility and shared services for key building services. Buxton explains Statistics NZ is also moving to virtual infrastructure and softphone configuration with all agencies working over wireless as the primary network.
“This is ground-breaking because the approach enables interoperability of agencies in a controlled way,” says Buxton.
He also sees it as a model to enable federated data services for government.
“The design and lessons are currently being used to help guide and inform other government accommodation projects and is seeing some support for the potential to enable an all-of-government accommodation approach.”