Section 3: Improving, modernizing and finding efficiencies

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One of the key ongoing challenges of any statistical organization is to continually improve and modernize systems, processes and programs in the most cost-efficient way—while producing relevant, high-quality statistical information.

Given a growing, educated population, the global information society, and increased demand for statistics to better understand more complex societies, national statistical offices (NSOs) face pressures that go beyond the historical requirements of providing timely and accurate information. These pressures may include shrinking budgets, and declining survey response rates. In this context, and in the face of these challenges, NSOs must make significant efforts to modernize and improve their operational and management practices.

This section elaborates on the most relevant strategies used by Statistics Canada to ensure that improving, modernizing and finding efficiencies remain core priorities for the agency. There are two main goals to this section: (1) to establish the importance, for statistical agencies, of creating a business architecture that fosters integration, consistency, modernization and efficiency; (2) to draw a direct link between this business architecture and the major infrastructure components of statistical organizations with respect to information technology, data collection, and survey frameworks and tools.

Chapter 3.1 focuses on analyzing the Statistics Canada Corporate Business Architecture (CBA) initiative. In its ongoing pursuit of efficiency, the organization has instituted a permanent review of its business architecture (organizational structure, business processes and computer systems). This chapter provides details on the goals of this initiative, as well as the various strategies and practices that support an efficient organizational structure, common principles, and effective tools.

Chapter 3.2 analyzes how information technology (IT) can become a strategic enabler with respect to modernization. This chapter provides details on the important components of an IT-driven modernization strategy for statistical organizations, which includes the effective organization of IT services and resources, the IT alignment resulting from the Enterprise Architecture approach, the development of IT common systems and tools, and the integration of the IT component into corporate strategic planning.

Chapter 3.3 focuses on how surveys can benefit from integrated and harmonized approaches and tools. It provides an overview of the strategies used by Statistics Canada to enhance the conduct of business and household surveys.

Chapter 3.4 describes how a statistical organization can, in the context of modernization, improve the planning and management of data collection. This chapter outlines good practices with respect to collection planning and management that allow statistical organizations to gain efficiencies while improving the quality of the data collected.

Chapter 3.5 emphasizes the importance of acquiring, using and managing administrative data to improve the quality, relevance and efficiency of statistical information. The chapter provides specific examples of the ways in which Statistics Canada is progressively moving towards a model where administrative data are the primary source for producing statistical information.

Chapter 3.6, on gender statistics, presents a specific example illustrating how NSOs could become better aligned with policy makers' needs by improving the statistical production process and the availability of policy-informing statistics. This example demonstrates the importance of including the gender perspective in the statistical process, as well as the strategies and tools adopted by NSOs to keep data relevant for policy makers and the general public. Gender statistics are used to demonstrate the importance of data relevance to the evolving needs of societies and economies.

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