Track record of sharing
SDMX is an initiative that is sponsored by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN), the World Bank and Eurostat. The cooperation between these organisations originated before the SODI project, as they were had already been exchanging data and expertise. The common initiative came into existence after a series of executive meetings, which were further prepared in technical staff meetings in Paris, Maqua explains. Eurostat is the main beneficiary of the greater interoperability provided by the SDMX initiative, â€œbecause in contrast to the other institutions we receive data and pass it on, which is basically only the case with the ECB although it has a much narrower target areaâ€,Â explainsÂ Leonhard Maqua from the Eurostat team. Nonetheless, the initiative also brings many benefits to the other institutions as well. As Maqua says, â€œwe do something, they do something, and afterwards we can all use it together, because SDMX is a common standardâ€.
In the case of the SDMX converter, Eurostat was in charge of the development of the tool. It contracted a consortium of firms, which developed the converter in close cooperation with the Eurostat team. For testing purposes, the team worked closely together with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in order to test the software thoroughly and in areas where Eurostat could not have put the program through its paces by itself.Â
Another example can be seen in the European Central Bank's Statistics Dashboard tool, which visualises statistical data in a way that is very clear and easily understandable. Although this tool was not developed by Eurostat, it will intensive use at Eurostat. This in turn will help in further improving the software. Cross-institutional developments are thus not considered an obstacle for the initiative, but rather help all participating institutions in some form or another.
Beyond the group of sponsoring organisations, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation has also started using the standard, which was a rather positive surprise to the Eurostat team.