​ASIC to form chief data office for data strategy rollout

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission's new data strategy will see the regulator transition to a more 'data-driven' organisation that is keen to explore technologies such as blockchain, it has said.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will be establishing a chief data office, with the new office and its CDO John Wallace now charged with overseeing and rolling out the government body's 2017-20 data strategy.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the strategy [PDF] outlines how ASIC will capture, share, and use data as it attempts to transition to a more "data-driven and intelligence-led organisation".

"Our data strategy is part of 'One ASIC' which is about 'connecting the dots' to achieve better regulatory outcomes," the strategy explains. "It is about working together and sharing data seamlessly using common language, systems, and processes."

The One ASIC Regulatory Transformation Program comprises initiatives that ASIC hopes will improve its data collection, management, and governance, as well as enhance its processes, simplify interactions from the community, and cut red tape to help improve compliance.

To make this happen, the data strategy says the independent government body will be establishing a repository that brings together the captured and created regulatory data and includes an easy search function. It will also be implementing an integrated CRM system to replace many legacy workflow systems, as well as developing a new online portal.

One ASIC boasts the typical people, processes and technology, and culture and governance three-pronged approach that many government strategies have also highlighted. ASIC noted its data strategy supports its desired alignment with whole-of-government initiatives, including the Public Data Policy and the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy.

However, under the banner of processes and technology, ASIC said it is keen to explore options for receiving and accessing data, including through the use of regulatory nodes using distributed ledger technology, blockchain.

Under the strategy, ASIC is also eager to establish Data and Information Governance Framework, as well as a data science lab.

"We maintain appropriate cybersecurity standards to protect the privacy and confidentiality of our data, and we engage widely, nationally, and internationally, to improve data management and analytics capabilities -- both within ASIC and more broadly," the strategy says. "The next few years will see significant change to the ways we capture, share, and use data."

Governance forums, including the Digital Governance Board, Data Governance Council, Data Analyst Network, and Data Champions Forum, will also be established under the data strategy, as well as the implementation of data exchange frameworks with other government agencies. This will be monitored, ASIC said, to ensure agencies including its own only capture information it requires in a manner that is clear and streamlined.

As ASIC uses data for surveillance, enforcement, and licensing activities, developing guidance and education, and informing policy, Wallace and his new office will be charged with educating staff on the value and potential uses of data.

ASIC extended its partnership with Sydney-based intelligence, analytics, and cybersecurity software firm Nuix in August, with the new contract expanding its analytics and e-discovery platforms, on which the regulator revealed it was spending around AU$60 million on data analytics, IT systems, and its surveillance and enforcement capabilities.

"A critical part of detecting, understanding and responding to issues is our ability to process large volumes of data and to extract intelligence from the diverse data sources now in use, including phones, tablets, corporate email servers, and the cloud," Wallace said last month.

"The investments we are making are enabling us to more effectively perform in-depth analysis of data, identify relationships between persons and entities, and create chronologies revealed by metadata."

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