The Estonian government at its Thursday Cabinet meeting approved Statistics Estonia's 2018-2022 development plan, according to which Statistics Estonia is to transform into a national data agency.
The greatest change in the new strategy period is transforming Statistics Estonia into a national data agency — an office that offers data from various sources, support in utilizing data as well as classic official statistics, Statistics Estonia said.
"The primary task of Statistics Estonia in the coming years is to make necessary information easily and conveniently available for enterprises and state authorities," Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste (IRL) said. "This is achieved by the maximum utilization of data that the state already has available. The goal is to decrease administrative burden as a result of reforms — enterprises and institutions will then be able to focus more on their primary activity."
According to Statistics Estonia Director General Mart Mägi, central to the agency's strategy is the offering of personalized statistics and data sources to users.
"They expect answers quickly and based on real-time data, so essentially we have to build up data governance that would contribute to better decision-making based on real-time data," he said when explaining the institution's strategic direction for the next few years.
"The most important foundation of a smart country and data-based decisions over the next decade is data that is of quality, in the right format and on time," Mägi said. "We have to build the ability in the state to allow reasonable reuse of data, and that one dataset is not collected multiple times."
Data collected this way can be used for data mining to find quick answers to critical societal issues, he explained. "Statistics Estonia is moving toward data mining and data service," said Mägi. "Our longer-term goal is to answer any question about Estonian society within 48 hours if the data is available. This major objective is divided into parts and will require serious work."
Editor: Aili Vahtla