Australia’s corporate and investment watchdog has extended its contract with a company that makes digital investigative software to help it sift through large amounts of information to stop fraud.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) is investing around $60 million to beef up its data processing capabilities and data analytics, IT systems and surveillance and enforcement capabilities to be a more data-driven, intelligence-led agency.

As part of this push ASIC has extended its contract with Australian software company Nuix, following a competitive pitch process.

ASIC will use Nuix, along with other software, to analyse various forms of electronic material gathered from a range of sources to support its surveillance and enforcement functions, a spokesperson said.

“ASIC uses various forensic tools to extract and analyse data from a range of sources including mobile phones, tablets, corporate email services and the cloud,” the spokesperson told Stockhead.

“The variety of data sources has changed over the years, and in keeping with technological advancements, we expect this trend to continue in the future.”

An inquiry into data use commissioned by Scott Morrison in July 2015 found that there was scope for ASIC and other government agencies to share more data, which could ease reporting burdens on business.

The review found that ASIC was behind in big data analytics, prompting the Turnbull government to promise additional funding. This included $61.1 million to boost ASIC’s data analytics and to improve data management.

ASIC chief data officer John Wallace said the new contract with Nuix would form part of ASIC’s expanding analytics and e-discovery platforms.

“The investments we are making are enabling us to more efficiently perform in-depth analysis of data, identify relationships between persons and entities and create chronologies revealed by metadata,” Mr Wallace said.

“A critical part of detecting, understanding and responding to issues is our ability to process large volumes of data and to extract intelligence from the diverse data sources now in use, including phones, tablets, corporate servers and the cloud.”

More effective use of data gives ASIC the opportunity to focus on identifying risks at an earlier stage and act in a more timely way, ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft told the Corporate Governance Discussion Group in November last year.

Nuix technology enables ASIC to search large sets of evidence documents and make suggestions on other documents that may be relevant for review, Mr Medcraft explained.

“We will look to identify more opportunities for machine learning to enhance how we detect, understand and respond to misconduct,” he said in his speech.