Global Thought Leadership and Technology Insights



Executive Summary

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is a global leader in the provision of integrated government systems and services to business and tax practitioner communities. Over one billion system-to-system transactions will flow between financial management software and the ATO’s systems this financial year.

Over the past ten years the number of digital transactions has steadily increased from a few hundred thousand to current levels. In parallel the ATO has extended the breadth and depth of its services to support over 100 different services and has been integrated with over 500 software products. This success has not been without it challenges.

Capability Wise was engaged by the ATO to map out its next evolution, chart the path already travelled and the key lessons learned. We were selected for this engagement due to our extensive expertise in API technologies, knowledge of the ATO’s digital supply chain, and hands on involvement across much of the ATO’s ten year digital service journey.

The ATO recognised the potential of our work products beyond its own boundaries and we collaborated to transform them into a guidance paper for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Forum on Tax Administration and tabled at the 12th FTA Plenary in Santiago, Chile on the 26th March 2019.

The Challenges

Technology evolves quickly and government organisations are struggling to keep pace with innovation on a global level. The OECD approached the ATO to collect insights on the use of APIs by its member countries and to apply these insights to produce practical guidance to support member countries in the implementation of effective API strategies.

After years of sustained investment in system-to-system technologies the ATO was at a cross-road. With newly popularised technology and changing stakeholder expectations it needed assistance to establish a practical path forward that built upon its own successful experience and learnings.

How Capability Wise Helped

To meet its internal future strategy needs and to fulfil the OECD’s request the ATO sought specialist API expertise from Capability Wise. Our expert consultants provided the following capabilities:

  • Technology Thought Leadership – to translate global technology trends into actionable insights and strategies. Interpretation of the global and domestic landscape – including documentation of several international case studies, each with diverse circumstances and solutions.

  • Application of API Best Practices – to describe the decision process required to develop resilient, secure API Architectures with due consideration of business models and developer empathy to rapid time to market.

  • Digital Delivery Experience – to describe the critical business and technology capabilities required for a successful API program.

  • Capability Maturity Analysis – to understand the diverse motivations, skill levels and expertise of the existing API delivery teams.

  • Supply Chain Security Analysis – to identify potential risk areas and co-design/develop mitigations with industry stakeholders.

  • Whitepaper Documentation Skills – to document insights, fundings and recommencations in a transparent and inclusive manner.

Additionally, our Managing Director Matt Lewis was asked to document the ATO’s lessons learned. This was due in large part to his pivotal role in the establishing the ATO’s current API and Web Service Capabilities, and it Digital Service Provider supply chain security model for several of its flagship platforms and services.

The Results

Capability Wise worked with the ATO to create a fully referenced whitepaper, providing thought leadership and practical assistance to tax administrations, and other parts of government, which are seeking to implement or further develop their API Strategy.

The paper is entitled: “Unlocking the Digital Economy - A guide to Implementing Application Programming Interfaces in Government” and is available via the OECD website: Click to read.

“Capability Wise Pty Ltd provided the ATO with support and technical guidance in developing the paper ‘Unlocking the Digital Economy – A guide to Implementing Application Programming Interfaces in Government’.”

“This paper was subsequently published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2019.”

“In particular we’d like to acknowledge the efforts of Matt Lewis. His contribution was knowledgeable, timely and insightful.”

John Dardo

Chief Digital Officer - Australian Taxation Office


Tags: Digital Government OECD