Fronde helps Statistics New Zealand hit the ground running with new Enterprise Collection Platform
Statistics New Zealand (Stats) is a government agency dedicated to collecting and analysing data on many topics, from income and housing, to the economy and social well-being, for the benefit of all New Zealanders. Stats also supports other agencies to produce statistics for policy decisions. It collects information in various ways including carrying out the New Zealand population censuses, surveying people at home and in businesses, and collecting data from organisations.
Stats needed a single solution to replace five separate solutions it had been using to manage the process of collecting survey data.
Sarah Minson, manager, Operations Strategy and Development, Statistics NZ, said, “We manage a lot of surveys at any one time, so we need an overarching system that lets us understand when surveys have been sent, whom they have been sent to, whether a reminder needs to be sent, and when the survey has been returned. An added complication is that surveys could be sent via post, conducted via phone or face-to-face. So we had different solutions in place to manage each of the different methods. This was clearly inefficient; we needed to reduce this to just one.”
The required solution would need to scale to handle projects as large as the five-yearly population census, as well as handling smaller, regular projects. It needed to be cloud-based, and work off-the-shelf, with very little customisation or hard coding. It also had to be flexible and able to accommodate communications via email and text messages, which the current systems couldn’t do. In addition, Stats needed a solution that was rigorously tested and secure.
Chris Buxton, Chief Digital Officer, said, “Stats chose Salesforce.com to fulfil its need for a single Enterprise Collection Platform (ECP) to manage the survey process. Being a cloud-based solution was important. It reduced the risk of having on-premise infrastructure, especially when it comes to disaster recovery. And it let Stats move to an agile, consumption-based model, replacing capital purchases of infrastructure. The underlying resilience of a Software-as-a-Service solution was also important.”
Having chosen the solution, Stats needed an implementation partner that would help it get the solution up and running quickly, then transition the daily management of the solution back to Stats, removing the dependence on third-party providers.
Sarah Minson said, “It was clear that Stats could get significant value from the ECP but what was less clear was exactly how we could extract maximum value as quickly as possible.”
The Stats project team discovered that other NZ government agencies were already using Salesforce.com to great benefit, confirming the decision to implement the system. Additionally, MSD had already procured a Contacts Database Communication Tool from Fronde and set up a syndicated agreement with them to deliver the Salesforce.com solution. Stats leveraged the existing relationship and engaged Fronde to manage its own Salesforce.com implementation.
Fronde undertook a lean/agile, stage gate approach, using Scrum to deliver the first minimum viable product. As part of the project, Fronde in conjunction with Stats NZ, developed a consolidated data model to replace the various non-standardised approaches in a number of legacy systems. It created equivalent standardised business processes in the system, often advocating between parts of the business that had never previously had to coordinate.
Fronde and Alphero developed a native Android application for Stats’ field workers and integrated the app to provide online and offline data and mapping capabilities. It also integrated with Stats’ internal systems via a newly-adopted Mulesoft implementation.
Fronde also provided a solution for the Stats call centre to manage inbound and outbound calling campaigns, including developing a custom skills-based work allocations system, and integrating with the Stats call centre software and computer telephony solutions.
Working with Fronde to configure and implement the ECP let Stats get immediate value from the software.
Sarah Minson said, “By utilising the syndicated agreement via MSD, and thus avoiding going through the entire procurement process again, Stats saved taxpayers a lot of money. More importantly, the Fronde team’s knowledge of how to implement the ECP quickly and effectively was invaluable.”
Fronde provided mentoring to staff on how to work with Salesforce.com for best results and also provided input on best practise agile scrum development.
Sarah Minson said, “Working with Fronde was part of a very deliberate strategy aimed at getting up and running fast. We worked with Fronde to get a head start on the project while we developed expertise in-house so we could transition away from requiring outside help. Fronde was the ideal partner for this because the team worked as an extension of Stats.
“Our collaborative relationship with Fronde made it relatively straightforward to overcome the inevitable technical challenges that accompany any new software implementation. The team helped provide a new perspective on how to view the software, and encouraged us to let the technology lead the development of our business processes, opening up new opportunities to get value where we might not have expected it.”
As a result of the relationship with Fronde, Stats successfully rolled out the ECP and has been able to support the solution without any additional external assistance.
Sarah Minson said, “We worked with Fronde for 20 months and the results speak for themselves. We achieved the goal of this project and are ideally positioned to continue to develop our use of Salesforce.com into the future.”