Capacity development activities are primarily carried out through technical assistance activities, such as workshops, direct country missions or e-learning courses. To plan such activities, it is necessary to have tools available that allow countries (or national statistical offices) to assess their current standing regarding their abilities to produce required statistics, compare it with their goals (determined by the needed expertise in these areas) and derive required training needs and activities from these exercises. This can be done through self-assessments using appropriate tools or in coordination with development partners.

UNSD has developed some of those tools that assist countries in identifying needs for such assessments of data gaps or competency gaps.

One example is StaTact, an innovative tool that enables countries to address measurement gaps that impede monitoring national policies and leverage the power of the Agenda 2030 to help resolve problems tactically. It provides an analytical framework and a multi-stakeholder methodology to enable a team of national experts from National Statistical Offices, concerned Ministries and other parts of the data community, including non-traditional data sources, to design a short-term action plan with a focus on addressing institutional impediments to data collection, production and utilization. The objective is to bring together data producers, holders and users and help them achieve their goals for the lowest cost within one year.

UNSD is also involved in the work of the Task Team on Training, Competencies and Capacity Development of the Global Working group on Big Data, developing a Big Data Maturity Matrix as a self-assessment tool (soon to be available as an online tool) to help NSOs understand the extent to which they have developed or implemented big data/data science. It aims to help the NSO understand its level of organisational maturity with respect to big data/data science, and to identify its strengths and weaknesses from which a development plan or road map may be produced. The Maturity Matrix can be used to find the current level of big data/data science maturity, as well as to define the target level for the organisation. Hence, as a management tool, the Maturity Matrix can help to identify a) where work is needed, and b) what the priorities are for the organisation. An online version, allowing countries to carry out the self-assessment is currently under development.