Conference Notes

Notes on CCS104 Statisticians are a Social Bunch, no really, they are!

Steve Wellington from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Mike Handes from IBM Australia and New Zealand are talking about how the ABS have adopted IBM Connections.

Here’s my notes on the session:
– ABS have 3200 staff and 700 field data collectors. When the census happens, need up to 40,000 additional temporary staff.
– … ABS have been using Lotus Notes for 15 years. In the early years, ABS was an innovator around collaboration in the Australian government. Key idea – the ability to share information through a knowledge sharing platform, rather than locking it in email. Broke the area up to personal, workgroup, and corporate databases.
– … Culture: working in teams, not as individuals (therefore have team-level mail databases). Secondly, everything is open by default.
– … For knowledge management and records keeping in Australia, in similarly sized government agencies, the ABS spends only 15% of what others spend. But the ABS is seen as best in class.
– … Knowledge management was integrated into work practice.
– Employees are using lots of different tools in their private lives. And they want these new types of tools in their work.
– ABS work drivers – geographically dispersed teams, anywhere / anytime / any device expectation, staff working across multiple projects (therefore monitoring multiple workgroup team sites is difficult), and tight labour markets in Australia.
– … from the government and community – increased productivity (year-on-year), engage with the community online (eg., filling out the census online), staying ahead by making proactive improvements rather than reacting to survive.

– Why did the ABS choose Connections?
– … the current Notes-based Workgroup Database were team focused. Knowledge became fragmented, information was hard to find, and it was difficult to work with peoeple outside the organization (especially counterpart organizations in other countries).
– … Connections – content revolves around people.

– What does success look like?
– … it doesn’t look like – IT-centric deployment, poor performance characteristics, no adoption plan, small initial user population.
– … Had previous lessons with Sametime – initially, managers did not understand, and wanted it removed. It’s now a tool that the people can’t live without.
– … Strategy – seeded the environment (content, use cases, champions)
– … … Example – a senior manager used a blog for keeping his team up to date. More than just work information though.
– … … Example – forming online communities around interests and technologies, not workgroups and projects.
– … Communities may replace the current workgroup database in the future.
– … Been in production for about 18 months, and 90% of staff have accessed Connections.
– … Changing to an “everyone contributes” environment. Eg., a glossary wiki.
– … Staff are coming in with existing skills. Training can focus on the context – why.
– … For external collaboration, using a hosted version of Connections.

– The Future:
– … Social analytics – helping staff to make sense of the data.
– … A blurring between the inside and outside.
– … Developing an integrated collaboration workspace.