Why is MSW implementation so difficult and expensive?

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Directive 2010/65/EU requires electronic reporting and multiple use of data. Sustainable IT solutions  require increased functional integration of reported data thereby allowing improved Government performance.


Directive 2010/65/EU requires involvement of many stakeholders, including various national authorities within the different EU Member States. All these authorities base their workflowmanagement on different primary business processes (in IT terms legacy systems). Often within the national administrations in one country different primary business processes can be identified. Directive 2010/65/EU implementation directly impacts these business processes. Two approaches can be identified: 

  • to allow these administrations to keep their data flow processes in tact and share some of their data with a MSW, or derive their data from a MSW
  • to provide a unified national view of government business processes and associated information, rather than an isolated functional (maritime transport only) perspective of these existing legacy systems. i

The concept of a single information system that links various government data exchange functions relating incoming and outcoming shipmovements appears to be an inherently obvious way to manage the different business processes of the connected administrations. Especially because in various domains, like Customs and Health, simular developments take place. Thus why not seek for a unified approach? (In the supply chain integrated value system this unified information management approach - integrated business transaction processing and reporting system based on business processes - is called Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP system).

Why is MSW implementation is proving to be so difficult and expensive? The answer lies in the fact that when administration implement MSW they must adhere to a more rigorous set of business process than they are used to.  What are the elements that make it so difficuklta and expensive?: 

  1. Before organisations implement a MSW, they must first create a process map for every key business process. Many administrations have never done this
  2. Mapping this process often proves much more difficult than expected and often much more different than expected.
  3. No formal process on how to map exists. Everyone in the organisation has done it their  own way.
  4. When creating a information systems around the business process, many administrations discover that they need to “re-engineer” their business processes before they can build the information system around it.
  5. In some cases changing these business processes requires major organizational and cultural changes..
  6. In order to effectively implement an overarching IT system, the administration must ensure that its business processes are in good order. Only then should the MSW system be designed around the process. The steps in the process of implementation are:
    1. Define the current process “as is”
    2. Design phase - determine the best-in-class” approach for the process under consideration. All parties invoved must understand the final objective of the process and understand what the MSW will replace and how the benefits are likely to occur.
    3. Construction - actual development of the system. A well defined and re-engineered process requires that user be involved and specific barriers adressed. 
    4. Testing of the system and conduct preproduction runs. Next it will run in the new process parallel to the existing systems and, finally, “flip the switch” to a fully operational state.

2010/65/EU MSW also relates to the development of an overacrhing European IT system architecture. Therefore, the challenges are even bigger that for the national authorities only.  Harmonisation is key. The AnNa project, thanks to the efforts of IT builders and architects from various countries, has developed already some key EU harmonisation tools. Much work is still to be done. 


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