Whole of Sector Data Management Design

Executive Summary

The Australian education sector is one of the primary drivers of the country’s GDP and the Australian higher education market is valued at $32 Billion catering to 500,000+ international students. On the other hand, to enable Australians to continuously acquire latest skills, federal and state governments funded approximately $ 6.1 Billion for students undertaking continuing education and vocational training through TAFEs and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector is therefore one of the primary focus of the government in order to ensure that public funding is made available for the right programs of study, in the right location and in participation with relevant industry stakeholders.

Policy intervention is primarily driven by statistical data gathered by multiple agencies around student activity such as course enrolment, commencement, completion and field of study etc at a federal and state level. Over the years, the sector has faced numerous challenges in collecting this data effectively and utilising it or timely policy intervention due to the complexity of the operating environment.

The Challenges

In 2017 the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training identified the following themes as key priorities for VET stakeholders:

  • Timely and frequent data collection across states and territories
  • Access to high quality and complete data for funding management;
  • Shared management of data and processes;
  • Linkage-ready data to enable more complex business processes and insights;
  • More flexible and agile data standards;
  • Self-service reporting

Some of the issues with existing processes and systems used to collect data included:

  • Quarterly collection of data form TAFEs and RTOs:
    • causing delayed payments,
    • providing opportunities for fraudulent activities and over-payment, and
    • resource intensive administrative work for stakeholders
  • Batch based data acquisition approach prone to failures and errors
  • An 18-month lead time to amend the data collection standard and processes
  • Each state and territory having its own version of statistical data, data silos
  • Various data governance issues, such as:
    • No established data governance framework
    • No harmonisation or common data dictionary
    • Duplication of student records, multiple student identifiers, broken linkages across student journeys, post reporting remediation of data by stakeholders etc.
  • No consensus between federal and state government on a conceptual architecture to address the above issues

How Our Consultants Helped

Capability Wise in collaboration with our partners eBlueprint, undertook the following activities:

  • Stakeholder Consultation - In-depth consultations were undertaken with previously identified stakeholders through focus groups, surveys and contextual inquiries.

  • User Centred Design and Discovery - Development of service maps outlining the current and potential user experience.

  • Data flow mapping and ownership analysis - Documentation of the current state architecture including the conceptual data model, and associated data utilisation flows and attibute ownership.

  • Data Governance Assessment - Assessment of the current governance bodies, responsibilities, practices and processes.

  • Enterprise Architecture Options - Creation of three enterprise architecture models to fulfil the core business requirements identified during the User Centred Design activities. These include federated, centralised and distributed architectures.

  • Benefits Analysis - Preparation of a Cost-Benefit Analysis of each potential Enterprise Architecture Option, for consideration by a joint Commmonwealth, State and Territory committee.

  • Technology Proof of Concepts - Design, build and demonstration of each enterprise architecture model using cloud-native platforms and technologies.

  • Requirements Documentation - Development of a detailed Statement of Requirements to support the Department to undertake a formal Approach to Market.

The Results

The Department of Education and Training successfully approached the market for a solution provider using our recommended Enterprise Architecture option and Statement of Requirements. This solution is now under development and will be piloted in the near future with the SA and NSW Governments and RTOs within their jurisdications.

Tags: Digital Data Architecture Benefits Procurement Requirements