Case Study: CSO

Central Statistics Office

Background

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) coordinates official statistics produced by public authorities and is tasked with developing statistics for administrative records. This requires staff to be in the field capturing data from a range of different sources such as shops and members of the public. There are over 60 surveys currently in use for various Consumer Price Index (CPI), Passenger Card Inquiry (PCI) and Country of Residency Survey (CRS) activities.

CPI figures are collected on a monthly basis with comparisons made to data collected in the previous month. The comparative data is used to measure overall pricing changes between the items which constitute typical goods and service consumption by consumers.

Formation was procured by the CSO to replace their existing mobile data capture solution for use by their mobile, in field workforce.




The Project

Stroma Software proposed the use of Formation Software to fulfil the CSO's requirements for the Provision of a Mobile EDC Platform. This comprised real-time integration between the Formation Management Studio (FMS), for form administration and data storage, and the Formation Mobile application for mobile data capture. Both office and field-based staff were fully trained by Stroma to confidently begin use of Formation across all specified activities.

One of the CSO's key requirements was the efficient collection of data and its secure storage for further analysis. Digital forms were produced to incorporate the requirements for site-based data collection. This included data validation, routing, complex logic and giving users a view of the past 12 months of prices collected.

Within the back-office process, CSO needed to review all prices that had changed from one month to the next. With over 50,000 prices being collected each month, this required Stroma to configure FMS to automatically assess each collected price and produce a working list of prices that needed to be verified. Once prices had been verified, all the collected data was pushed to the existing SAS Business Intelligence solution.

Result


Formation Software adhered to the CSO's requirements of enhancing the functionality and flexibility of data collection, allowing mobile workers to efficiently and securely collect data on devices. It provided an ability to collect large amounts of data whilst coping with difficulties including time constraints, mobile network limitations and stringent data integrity requirements.

Having successfully implemented Formation for CPI, Stroma Software is now working with CSO to deploy Formation into the PCI and CRS activities.


Summary:

  • The CSO is an independent Government Office which collects, compiles, analyses and disseminates statistical information relating to the economic and social life of Ireland
  • Stroma Software provided the CSO with a Mobile Electronic Data Capture (EDC) Platform by using Formation Software
  • Formation Software was used to create digital forms to collect price information for the calculation of CPI
  • Stroma Software needed to import 1.2 million records into Formation to provide Price Collectors with a full history of the products they were pricing
  • Formation needed to provide an efficient audit platform for office-based Price Collectors to allow any price variances to be identified and assessed in real-time
  • All the collected data had to be loaded into the existing CSO Data Warehouse (SAS) used to calculate CPI
  • Each month, 80 Formation Mobile users collected circa 50,000 prices for 500 different products across 2,600 locations across the Republic of Ireland in 6 days

Client Testimonial

Formation Software has become a real benefit to the CPI team


"Our new electronic data capture system has been in operation since August 2016 and has performed well to our requirements. Formation Software has become a real benefit to the CPI team as it has allowed more flexibility to our processes."

Colin Cotter, Senior Statistician


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