eCommerce Platform



Executive Summary

The Australian Taxation Office is the leading global tax administration for the provision of API data services. Over the past 5 years it has progressively provision secure, very high-volume data collection and dissemination services to the public, third-party software providers and to government agencies.

The ATO’s primary platform to deliver these data services is its eCommerce Platform. The usage of these data services has increase dramatically over the last two years, with the platform expect to process on average more that 1.4 million transactions per day by October this year across a range of taxation, superannuation, and relationship management services. This equates to over 1 billion transactions per annum.

Capability Wise in collaboration with our partner eBlueprint assisted the ATO to successfully plan, design, develop and transition-in this strategic capability across a multi-year period.

The Challenges

The ATO has been progressively increasing the volume of data it collects over the past 30 years to improve its understanding of each Business’ and Citizen’s taxation circumstances. As a result of this increased data collection the ATO progressively built more systems and bespoke connections to support its users, until 2010 with the introduction of the Standard Business Reporting (SBR 1) Version 1 platform.

SBR1 was hampered by low Software Developer adoption due to its use of complex and proprietary standards. The ATO decided that in order to achieve adoption and decomission legacy capabilities it must invest in a strategic platform that leverages international data and messaging standards of an economy-wide scale.

How Our Consultants Helped

To support the ATO to achieve their target outcome the teams from Capability Wise and eBlueprint jointly delivered the enterprise-class eCommerce Platform in collaboration with IBM. Our expert consultants provided the following capabilities:

  • Program Initiation – program and project initiation, business case development and preparation of a New Policy Proposal, culminating in $80 million in project funding subject to ICT Two-Pass Investment Process.

  • Procurement co-ordination and vendor management – prepared the procurement strategy, RFQ materials and conducted the evaluation for all program streams in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Subsequently managed vendor contracts and performance until the platform was successfuly implemented.

  • Program Management – day-to-day management of all aspects of the program including: budget, scope, schedule, benefits realisation using a hybrid set of management methods including Managing Successful Programs (MSP), PMP and Agile Scrum.

  • ICT Delivery Management – co-ordinated delivery and integration of project deliverables across 100+ staff and five locations, including an off-shore delivery capability.

  • Establishment of a new delivery location – managed the commissioning of a new delivery location in regional australia, including compliance with the PSPF and IRAP (ISM) requirements for a secure ICT delivery location.

  • Bridging User Experience and Technology – working closely with the ATO teams to translate the desired user experience into pragmatic, robust technology features, and translating technology constraints into viable business process outcomes.

  • Solution Architecture and Design Leadership – to describe the critical technology components and capabilities required for a successful solution including approval through the relevant Architecture Review Group and Industry Consultation Groups.

  • Secure Data Exchange Expertise – to design a data transfer solution that balanced IT Security Controls, Authentication Techniques (SAML) and Usability to ensure confidential data assets remain protected.

  • Application of International Messaging Standard – to elicit requirements, and document the design for a fundamental enhancement to a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) product.

  • Technical Delivery Excellence – to build, validate and document a reliable, scalable solution that met all ATO and Australian Government requirements, including the Information Security Manual.

  • Application Support and Management – to support the ATO to introduce the solution into its production environment, training agency support staff, and support during the warranty period.

  • Information Modelling and Validation Expertise – to analyse, document, develop and quality assure data collection specifications, validation rules, error handling and data transformations for downstream utilisation.

Our consultants have frequently been engaged by the ATO to advise on the next evolution of the platform and to assist the ATO to keep pace with emerging industry trends in data formats, APIs and Secure Data Supply Chains.

The Results

The eCommerce Platform is one of the ATO’s two strategic Automated Data Exchange Platforms (see our case study on the Bulk Data Exchange for details on the other platform) and processes over 1 Billion transactions per annum, with over 250 Software Developers consuming the Platform’s API Services - which includes SuperStream, PLS and JobKeeper capabilities.

The platform continues to evolve and the ATO continues to invest in building new API services on top of the eCommerce Platform. This platform and the technology standards it introduced have become the catalyst to achieve and exceed the benefits forecast of $795m pa. outlined in the Treasury’s original SBR Business Case.

Furthermore, the ATO has now been able to decommission a number of legacy systems, including their previous flagship Electronic Lodgement Service (ELS) for Tax Agents.


Tags: eCommerce APIs AS4 Standards