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Theme 6.03 IT support for statistical production

Fields of activities covered by the theme

• Functional studies / feasibility studies for sector and horizontal projects;
• Maintenance activities for existing systems;
• Harmonisation and reengineering of existing applications;
• Improvement and development of Generic Applications;
• Advancement of the CVD initiative;
• Dissemination and reference systems development;
• Interfacing various various CVD components into existing applications;
• Participation in the implementation of the Communication on the production method of EU statistics by developing components usable by Eurostat and Member States.
The main actions are directly linked to the Commission Communication on the production method of EU statistics as follows:
• The CVD systems improvements target the data integration and data warehouses' creation permitting the creation of cross domain statistics and cost minimisation. The same reasoning applies to the reference and dissemination systems improvements.
• The data editing and imputation facilities to be deployed for the use of the ESS members reduce drastically the burden of the Member States and Eurostat, and at the same time increase quality through harmonisation of the procedures and use of the same metadata.

1. Work to be carried out by Eurostat in 2011

1.1 NEW WORK, INCLUDING NEW PLANNED LEGISLATION

• Apply the CVD principles to macroeconomic statistics (inter-domain integration activity);
• Centralisation of editing activities using a common system in Eurostat and Member States (Activity related to Communication on the production method of EU statistics).

1.2 ONGOING WORK

• Continue application of CVD systems to Eurostat. This action includes the use of MDT (MultiDimensional Table), Gsast (Generic SAS Tool), Comext (Eurostat reference database for external trade statistics production and dissemination);
• Improve the dissemination chain (Eurobase / Comext);
• Transition of VB (Visual Basic) applications to Windows 7;
• Produce a version of Editing building block offering imputation facilities;
• Functionality enhancement of all building blocks.

Theme 6.04 IT standards, tools and services for data exchange in the ESS

Fields of activities covered by the theme

Harmonisation through the use of common tools within the ESS, together with process harmonisation through the promotion of methodologies based on common tools. This is required for the development of more integrated systems; it also allows fully exploit synergies and economies of scale. The result will be better interaction with ESS partners and better integration of ESS partners and Eurostat.
• Optimisation of Eurostat interaction with users and partners in the area of data and metadata transfer by the means of:
- Cooperation with international institutions (UN, OECD, IMF, WB and others) on the Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX) standard.
-  Developing common tools for efficient and secure exchange of statistical data and metadata in the European Statistical System in cooperation with other relevant Commission services, the European System of Central Banks and international organisations. This includes metadata standards.
- Data collection tools and methods and standardisation for European Statistical System raw data collections.
- Data collection tools and methods and standardisation for Eurostat data collection from European Statistical System.
Better integration of the statistical work done in the ESS with the one done in Eurostat in order to improve efficiency and quality (comparability and timeliness) and to reduce costs by the means of standardisation. Standardisation of methods and IT-tools is one of the cornerstones of the efficiency vision contained in Commission Communication on the production method of EU statistics.
- Developing and sponsoring development of a common IT infrastructure, the creation of a shared production and or dissemination environment within ESS, e.g., hub architecture.
- Exchange of common IT tools, mostly open source, e.g., SDMX tools.
- Providing standard (web) services available on Internet for Statistical production process components.
- Standards and IT software for Eurostat data collection from European Statistical System
- Development of standard tools for raw data collections within ESS.
- Re-engineering of the current production processes under way: this concerns the rationalisation of the IT architecture via the Data Life Cycle (CVD) project, the introduction of a more interactive production chain on the basis of a "data at the source" solution via the Census hub project, and the re-engineering of raw data collection of business and trade statistics via the MEETS programme.

1. Work to be carried out by Eurostat in 2011

1.1 NEW WORK, INCLUDING NEW PLANNED LEGISLATION

• Exploit XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) and other technologies in national reporting standard frameworks for business statistics (actions within the MEETS programme, following up the XBRL Pilot Project).

1.2 ONGOING WORK

• Use the standard software: Single Entry Point for all regular data and metadata transmissions from Member States, based on standardised formats (GESMES - General Statistical MESsage, SDMX) where appropriate;
• Maintain and improve the IT applications used for the Single Entry Point;
• Implement the SDMX (Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange) standards and guidelines for data and metadata exchange, sharing and dissemination between the ESS members;
• Develop IT infrastructure for SDMX implementation allowing the sharing of common IT tools and easier data exchange;
• Implement a single IT environment and services for structural and reference metadata allowing standard access for ESS partner s and within Eurostat;
• Develop the Census Hub to support the transmission and dissemination of statistics from the 2011 census round;
• Provide open-source software for statistics - developed tools to be in the form of open software to allow easier sharing;
• Support exchange of information among Member States on raw data collection technologies and best practices. Foster standards development;
• Support the Eurostat CIRCA site, including the introduction of the new version - CIRCABC.

1.3 ACTIONS LEADING TO THE REDUCTION OF RESPONSE BURDEN AND THE SIMPLIFICATION OF STATISTICAL PROCESSES

• Exploit XBRL and other technologies in national reporting frameworks for business statistics;
• Data-sharing using SDMX standards, guidelines and architecture;
• Exchange of information among Member States on raw data collection technologies and best practices, and shared development of software according to the common reference architecture for the ESS.

Theme 6.10 Statistical research and methodology

Fields of activities covered by the theme

• Statistical process architecture and integration.
• Statistical research and methodological innovation.
• Standardisation and knowledge management.
• Core methodologies: data integration, data analysis, time series processing and seasonal adjustment, data collection design, data validation and model based estimation, EU approaches.
• Methodological support, advice, guidance and assessment.
• Methodological cooperation in the ESS and with universities.
• Training and methodological competence management.
This work contributes substantially to the improvement of the production method of EU statistics as laid down in the Commission Communication on the production method of EU statistics through.
• The conceptual analysis of most relevant cross-cutting issues tracking efficiency gains with the identification of commonalities in different related processes, the identification of generic specification for common process steps and the development of associated guidelines and tools.
• The improvement of vertical integration of processes by launching with Member States collaborative projects aiming at designing global ESS process, streamline their implementation by the identification and documentation of good practices following the Generic Statistical Business Process Model.
• The development and implement a multi dimensional programme of research and innovation through the elaboration of a research programme for Official Statistics to be included in FP8; the intensification the link with research community; the setting up transfer mechanism involving Member States (ESSnets);the launching specific ESSnets and research projects under the umbrella of the ESS Directors of Methodology (DIME) and the Network of Methodologists in Eurostat.
• The improvement of the methodological competences with the development of Master of Science in Official Statistics with universities and a strategic reflection on the mechanism for their management.
• To the optimisation of interaction with partners with the emergence and fast consolidation of methodology for collaboration building upon virtual platforms (web 2.0) to support cooperative projects and to reinforce cooperation among ESS partners and with academia.

1. Work to be carried out by Eurostat in 2011

1.1 NEW WORK, INCLUDING NEW PLANNED LEGISLATION

• Set up an ESS governance structure for the integration of ESS statistical production processes;
• Improve research on official statistics in collaboration with Member States;
• ESSnets on cooperative methodological developments.

1.2 ONGOING WORK

• Provide guidance and support for and assess methodological developments for ESTAT reengineering production system;
• Generate and organise knowledge in key methodological issues for an integrated architecture for the production of official statistics: new modes of data collection, data analysis, data validation, survey methodology and sampling, data integration, model based estimation;
• Explore, set up and maintain new modes and tools of collaboration for the community of ESS Methodologists, Researchers (CROS - Cooperation between Researchers and Official Statisticians) and Partners (Joint Research Centre, etc);
• Identify priorities for research, methodological developments and innovation analysing main challenges for future statistics in a global, competitive, technology driven information world, with a particular focuses on challenges raised by the integration of production processes in the ESS;
• Contribute to the emergence, optimisation and standardisation of integrated ESS processes and harmonised methodologies;
• Facilitate and promote innovation in the ESS through a streamline infrastructure for ESSnet projects;
• Development and maintain ESS standard tool for seasonal adjustment (SA) and related time series processing for official statistics;
• Monitor and support the implementation of ESS guidelines on seasonal adjustment and best practices for time series processing in coordination with the Steering Group on SA, high level group bringing together ESCB and ESS bodies;
• EMOS (European Masters in Official Statistics) and methodological competence management.

Theme 7.01 Management of IT infrastructure

Fields of activities covered by the theme

• IT user support;
• Local IT systems Administration;
• Development and maintenance of administrative IT applications;
• IT governance;
• Relations and cooperation with DIGIT.

The action 207 (Ensure evolutive maintenance of programming and reporting system) will be an important contribution to the activity of the Eurostat's project of the Management of the Commission Communication on the production method of EU statistics "Make priority setting system linked to the resource allocation". The same holds for 210 (Enhance IT governance) as far as IT architecture is concerned.
The action 101 (Creation of a shared secure environment) gives added value to the potential users of confidential data. In the mid term the creation of the shared secure environment is an important step to a distributed IT environment, one aim of the activity of Eurostat's project of the Management of the Commission Communication on the production method of EU statistics "Improve vertical integration".

1. Work to be carried out by Eurostat in 2011

1.1 NEW WORK, INCLUDING NEW PLANNED LEGISLATION

• Create of a shared secure environment.

1.2 ONGOING WORK

• Provide IT User support;
• Provide desktop hardware and software;
• Coordinate IT training;
• Ensure a high level of availability of local servers;
• Provide technical support to IT security;
• Ensure evolutive maintenance of financial applications;
• Ensure evolutive maintenance of programming and reporting system;
• Ensure evolutive maintenance of document management systems;
• Ensure evolutive maintenance of Eurostat's configuration management database;
• Enhance IT governance.