Understand that all statistical production teams will ask "what's in it for me". Understand that different teams will have different business cases, depending on their starting position, their ambitions, resources and the knowledge among the different people who will be involved.
SDMX responds to a business need. In summary, it can improve the quality in exchanges through standardisation and offers various cost-efficiencies, especially through automation.
Firstly, understand where you are today and the issues that you encounter. There may be supply-side issues associated with the exchange of statistical data and metadata: an exchange is complex, resource-intensive and expensive, with data being collected in multiple ways and transmitted in various formats, across various media; multiple organisations can collect similar or the same data; similar concepts can have a different content; the manual nature of data collection can lead to errors and inconsistencies. There may also be demand-driven issues: there is an increasing demand for data, for faster and more frequent exchanges and for growing types of information exchange.
Secondly, understand how SDMX can help meet some of these challenges. Some of the quality benefits of SDMX are summarised here :
- SDMX improves timeliness, with faster access to data and metadata and the possibility for automated exchanges.
- SDMX improves accessibility, with bilateral, gateway and data sharing possibilities.
- SDMX improves interpretability, with standardised structural metadata (the identifiers and descriptors of data) and reference metadata (the content and quality of data).
- SDMX improves coherence, by using standard cross domain-concepts, shared code lists and standard guidelines which are reused across statistical domains and agencies, and can support single figure dissemination.
- SDMX can reduce data errors, through automated structural and content validation, agreed structures for transmission, and save time on conversion and mapping, with less manual intervention.
- SDMX can reduce the reporting burden on agencies through the use of pre-validated content, common formats, automated publication, and the possible "pull" of data by collecting agencies.
- SDMX can reduce IT development and maintenance costs through the open-source software approach, the absence of licensing costs, a shared toolbox and the improved interoperability between systems and applications.