Industrialisation of Statistical Processes, Methods, and Technologies
Lisa Apted, Philip Carruthers, Geoff Lee, Daniel Oehm, Frank Yu
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 45 Benjamin Way, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia

During the industrial revolution so-called cottage industry approaches were replaced by standardised processes, new methods, and innovative technologies which had far reaching impacts on the efficiency and effectiveness of manufacturing production. The revolution created an environment in which outputs could be delivered more easily and cheaply. The outcome was not only a reduction in the resource base required but also an outpouring of new possibilities for utilising the products made possible by their increased availability at reduced cost. The industrialisation concept - of standardised production processes, supported by new methods, and made feasible by technological advances which allowed replication on a large scale - worked in a manufacturing context and there are sufficient similarities to suggest it should work equally well in a statistical production context. Here, it is assumed that cheaper access to greater quantities of high quality statistics will encourage the generation of more innovative presentation, reporting and analysis methodologies.

In the official statistical context, it's important to understand that industrialisation doesn't represent the robotic automation of standardised statistical activity. Rather, it offers improved capacity to replicate basic processes, freeing up analyst resources so they can add value where needed, with the support of knowledge-based decision-making controls where possible.

There are many different statistical processes within the ABS that are amenable to greater industrialisation, including the seasonal analysis of time series, microdata confidentialisation and the compilation of price indexes. Since at their core, all of the production processes for official statistics are about manipulating and quality assuring information, information management must be a strategic focus for greater achieving harmonisation and industrialisation. Standardised metadata can be used to drive business processes and capture data relationships to promote greater harmony between similar or dependent activities.