Improving quality assurance for Trans-European Systems

About The European Commission Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD)

The Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union's mission is to develop and manage the Customs Union, a foundation of the European Union (EU), and to develop and implement tax policy across the EU for the benefit of citizens, businesses and the Member States. Particular attention is given to the Internal Market, by making sure it functions smoothly and efficiently.

DG TAXUD plays an active role in the strategic aims of the European Union. Its mission covers two policy areas: Customs and Taxation. This mission can be supported by developing  trans-European Systems (TES) making Customs and Tax policies in line with the EU’s “Customs 2020” and “Fiscalis 2020” programs. DG TAXUD’s customers include all EU Member States’ National Customs and Tax administrations, other European Commission’s DGs and Economic Operators.

The challenge

Trans-European Systems

The main mission of DG TAXUD’s IT department is to coordinate the development and operations of information systems across the EU, where each stakeholder is responsible for their own components of the system. DG TAXUD IT acts as a coordinator for these Trans-European Systems (TES). They also are responsible for proposing specifications for all interfaces between these systems, from the business process model to the acceptance test specification. The multinational environments of the different TES require a deep understanding of the different contexts and a very high quality of the different specifications proposed by DG TAXUD.

The development timelines of the TES is between 2 to 3 years with very strict legal deadlines. Strong Project Management from DG TAXUD IT is required to ensure the timely development of such systems.

Outsourced environment

DG TAXUD IT is responsible for more than 50 TES or related applications. Due to the size of the IT department, development and operation work is outsourced to external service providers. These contractors need to interact effectively and efficiently to avoid delays in the development process and ensure swift response to problems.

Our answer

For 9 years, from 2005 to 2014, CGI was responsible for the quality assurance and quality control activities for the DG TAXUD IT Unit.

For the quality control, our main activities were to:

  • Review all deliverables provided by the other DG TAXUD suppliers to ensure that they meet the high quality criteria required in the TES environments
  • Coordinate the review process of the documents delivered by all service providers
  • Ensure that all testing activities were performed according to defined procedures and raise risks to DG TAXUD in case issues are detected
  • Monitor the level of service delivered by the different contractors.

For quality assurance, CGI was mainly responsible for:

  • Performing quality and security audits of other contractors
  • Maintaining the Quality Management System (QMS) (TEMPO) of DG TAXUD IT applicable to all service providers
  • Delivering methodology training to DG TAXUD and contractor
  • Implementing of the business process modeling within the different departments
  • Supporting transition between different contractors

A success story

CGI was the first quality assurance contractor providing services to all sectors of DG TAXUD IT. During these years, significant achievements that supported realization of their business objectives included:

  • Major update of the QMS including description of project management, service management and security management in the context of TES
  • Smooth handling of the document review process allowing DG TAXUD personnel to focus on business matters
  • Creation of the technological infrastructure plan describing DG TAXUD’s IT infrastructure
  • Support of the transition between operation contractors.

As a trusted partner by DG TAXUD, CGI ensured that all activities from the different service providers were performed according to the defined procedures, and with the required level of quality. We defined the quality standards against which all DG TAXUD contractors had to deliver.

CGI supported DG TAXUD policy units for the strategic approach for the European Union Customs Program 2020.