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ACS Week In Review: 29 November 2013

Friday, 29 Nov 2013

ACS supporting research being conducted by the Office of the Chief Scientist

The Office of the Chief Scientist met with ACS recently to seek our support for a survey they are running on Employers attitudes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills within Australian businesses.

You can complete the survey online by clicking here

Focus on costs held back online services: Australian Government CIO

Australian government CIO Glenn Archer has questioned the wisdom of the Gershon Review of government IT spending, suggesting that its focus on driving down government IT spending has come at a cost.

Speaking to ZDNet, Archer said the implementation of the cost-cutting recommendations of the Gershon Review resulted in an on-average 10 percent reduction in IT spend across federal government agencies.

However, the focus on reducing IT costs had come at a price, particularly around agencies' ability to meet growing demand among Australians for online government services in particular, Archer said.

"The [review recommendation] that attracted most people's attention was the cuts that were applied to IT budgets within agencies," he said. "There is no doubt that that returned significant savings to the budget.

"[But] the Gershon Review essentially created an emphasis or a focus, as it were, on ICT as a cost centre — not ICT as a deliverer of productivity gains or efficiencies in delivering service.

Big Data enjoys a big uptake

A MAJORITY of organisations in Australia and New Zealand have begun adopting "big data" strategies although a shortage in data scientists continues to hamper its uptake, new research shows.

Big data is the analysis of large quantities of data to extract new information.
Sixty two per cent of organisations said they had a big data strategy but the level of effectiveness was varied.
Of this, 25 per cent of respondents said it had been well communicated to them, 19 per cent said it was poorly communicated and 18 per cent said they hadn't been informed.

Thirty six per cent had no big data strategy while three per cent had no idea.

The findings were from a survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by storage giant Hitachi Data Systems. 
Fifty eight per cent out of a 100 Australia and New Zealand respondents said that big data would improve productivity in their department.
Seventy three per cent of organisations said they had yet to start adopting big data techniques. 

Thirty one per cent said they hadn't made much progress, 34 per cent were fairly well advanced while 4 per cent didn't know.

NSW to launch “world-class” jury management system

The IT team housed within the NSW Attorney-General’s department is putting the finishing touches to a $4.2 million jury management system that the project lead believes is “world-class”.

The system will replace the 20-year-old jury roll system (JRS) which is nearing cessation of support.

The jury management system stores information on jurors and contains algorithms that are used to randomly select around 200,000 jurors each year from the four million-strong NSW electoral roll.

The new system will allow the public to apply online to be excused or deferred from jury duty, to specify payment preferences, or review duties and schedules. 

It also enables potential jurors to receive notifications about their case by SMS or email. But contrary to previous media reports which stated potential jurors would receive summons by SMS, summons and notice of inclusions documents will continue to be sent on paper.