Specification of User Needs for Business Statistics (Theme)


As stated in principle 11 of the Code of Practice (Eurostat, 2011) European statistics must meet the needs of users. The Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System (Eurostat, 2012) describes activities, methods and tools that facilitate the implementation of the Code of Practice (CoP). One indicator related to the needs of users is to start the design of a new statistical production process for business statistics with the identification of user needs. In the GSBPM the identification of the user needs forms a preparation before the actual design for a new business statistics can start. The activity of identifying user needs starts when a need for new statistics is identified or current statistics appear to be inappropriate. Then there is a demand that is not satisfied, externally or internally, for the identified statistics. In this preparatory phase a statistical organisation has to

1. Determine the needs for information: what statistics, methods, sources are needed
2. Confirm, in more detail, the statistical needs
3. Establish the high level objectives of the statistical outputs
4. Identify the relevant concepts and variables for which data are required

Already in this stage the feasibility and necessity of the new statistics must be evaluated. For that a statistical organisation has to

5. Check if current data collections and methodologies can meet these needs
6. Prepare the business case to get approval to produce the statistics.

In these sub-processes the user needs are put in a broader scope of existing statistics and common methodologies and available data sources. These are generally six sequential sub-processes, but in a less formal context they can also occur in parallel, and can be iterative if prior assumptions have to be adapted taking into account additional information collected from users or stakeholders. So in the GSBPM before the actual design of a production process starts, the user needs are compared to the possibilities to produce them and common practice in related statistics. In this module we will follow the GSBPM approach that immediately turns the user needs into a business case, with optionally an iteration to the user needs, taking into consideration their costs for actual production.


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