Twenty-four hours after the 2016 Census website collapsed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ reputation is in tatters as the organisation blames hackers, denial of service attacks and failed routers for the debacle.
While there’s many lessons to be learned from this tale, not least the importance of getting your social media team on board, the key takeaway from this embarrassing saga is to show some public humility and not dismiss informed critics.
Technology was not the problem at the ABS, an arrogant management is what caused the Census collapse.
Given the poor accountability of Australian management it’s unlikely anyone’s career is going to suffer as a consequence of this debacle but it’s a further dent to the reputations of both IBM and the ABS. Quite frankly they deserve it, if only for their failure to listen to the community.