ICS2 EU Customs
ICS2 EU Customs Software Development
Lemonade have been developing a complex software project that involves the handling of goods coming into the EU, its primary function related to risk analysis, ensuring the effective creation of high quality data on supply chain movements alongside the availability, communication and tracing of any risk relevant information. The project involves big data with millions of communications each day, with high levels of scalability and resilience being vital for a software solution that needs to be operational globally 24 hours a day, with people’s safety at stake.
EU Customs Software Requirement – ICS2 (Import Control System 2.0)
Through a study group involving 15 member countries the EU recognised that a new software system was required to deliver a more coherent, effective and cost-efficient EU customs risk management solution at the external borders of the EU.
For the public in the EU this would provide higher levels of security and safety, increasing the chances to eliminate serious threats entering the European Union.
For the member states the new software would not just deliver higher levels of security but also efficiency through enhanced closer cooperation across
members states, higher levels of local system integration, and in general higher levels of visibility and transparency.
These efficiency benefits would also roll out towards the economic operators dealing in to the EU, including, including better integration opportunities with their software platforms.
Risk Management through all varieties of transport
The new software platform would be utilised across all formats of goods/merchandise movement, on land, in the air and at sea.
What are the risks that define the need for the software system? Security threats are the primary need for the updated solution. An industry discussed example is the bomb plot of 2010, where HP printers with print cartridges that had been replaced with bombs were sent from Yemen to the USA via a series of connecting flights that went via Dubai and the UK. This particular plot was foiled through suspected double agent intelligence arriving from Saudi Arabia, but a huge amount was learnt. Had all the movements been recorded effectively, including tracking knowledge from
previous months where test packages were sent, with the correct data collation and data sharing the plot could have been potentially recognised through processes and systems, certainly been acted upon more swiftly considering the plot involved two packages taking two different routes to the USA. ICS2 is designed to enhance the process of picking out risk scenarios such as these. The system can also be utilised for tracking goods that have shipping restrictions such as fireworks, chemicals, or goods such as illegal wildlife trade.
The Software Functional Fundamentals
Principally the software allows traders to submit entry declarations of goods travelling to within the EU which then orchestrates the risk analysis process among the EU member states. The below diagram gives a simplistic overview of how the software functions, what systems it interacts with, and how the millions of communications are created and managed on a daily basis.
ICS2 must integrate with existing platforms within the European Commission, all 27 member states, with traders, and with countries across the globe, meaning integration is a key element to ensure smooth user experience and effective results.
Lemonade involved from design onwards
Utilising Lemonade’s significant complex software development project management experience the team have been involved from the very early design specifications (including significant documentation), architecture design, software development, user interface design and build, ongoing testing, pre-launch and post-launch support and monitoring.
Lemonade are fulfilling the full software development cycle for the ICS2 project:
Large software development project management skills have been key to the success of the project, where the project has involved multiple parties, and multiple sections of the project have needed effective structure. In many ways project management is as important as actual software development in a project of this size.
Lemonade as you would expect are regular users of project management practices such as the Agile system and vary the process to meet the needs of the specific area of the project.
Key software performance factors
Scalability has been a core component and focus within the project, for example with the postal service December has a high peak of communications because of the festive period, around Black Friday could be another example driven by the retail world, with particular expansion in ecommerce driving even more goods shipped directly and internationally – at these times there is expanded periods of data creation.
High availability is also vital, the software must be live 24 hours a day as it operates across all time zones, and with millions of communications each day any down time would have a huge commercial impact and increase risk in not locating threats.
Integration for a global resource that pulls and pushes information to and from other systems has been a core element of focus to deliver solution success.