Dubai Customs Becomes the First Smart Government Department in Dubai with its Remarkable Digital Transformation Journey

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Capgemini Helps Dubai Customs Transition Smoothly to the Digital Platform

Dubai Customs: Enabling business with one of the best digital models

Dubai Customs is one of the busiest customs departments in the world. It hosts a heavy flow of people and cargo on a daily basis. However, the speed at which the cargo is moved and the short queue at the counters makes Dubai Customs remarkable.

Today, Dubai Customs offers one of the best digital experiences in the world to its customers in the form of reduced waiting times and enhanced customer interfaces on the internet.

An important aspect of the plan is to enable Dubai to conform to the WCO (World Customs Organization) framework, which lays down international standards for custom departments. The crux of the framework is to drive e-governance in custom departments and simplify the customer experience in the digital media. Dubai Customs has made rapid strides in embracing e-governance models and has won the prestigious Golden Peacock Awards for Corporate Social Responsibility in 2013 and 2014.


Aligning processes to global standards meant maneuvering them to a digital landscape

Dubai Customs has to work hard to maintain its pace of progress, as it is the nerve center of business in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The relentless business flow also presents tough challenges like IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) infringement and counterfeit goods. The priority right now for Dubai Customs is to align its standards to the WCO framework that would act as a deterrent to international terrorism, secure revenue collections, and promote trade facilitation worldwide.

Dubai Customs has to maintain a strict vigil to keep a check on the cargo flowing in from every corner of the world. The department faces a constant threat of unfair trade practices in the form of smuggling, origin fraud, and tariff miscalculations. It has invested heavily in equipment to detect fraud at an early stage but that may not be enough.

E-governance is often touted as the solution but the challenge is to drive it successfully amongst the various stakeholders. This means an investment in training the staff about the new systems and generating a buy-in from them. Employees are at the center of the department’s strategy of projecting Dubai Customs as a customer-centric department. Any technology implementation can be successful only when the employees are well trained in it and accept it readily.

The Department also strives hard to engage customers on the digital platform in a useful way. This required Dubai Customs to move its processes to the virtual landscape and provide interactive interfaces to customers.


Drawing on digital strengths to develop secure and simple business solutions

The Department was clear that they needed a seasoned consultant to help their employees transition easily to the new systems. Capgemini had previously worked with Dubai Customs in a post clearance audit project to develop end-to-end audit process on the Seibel platform, that enables an organization to automate processes and coordinate tasks across various channels. The project helped conceive an enterprise resource planning tool tool for Dubai Customs that enables paperless transactions and allows quick transactions on the digital platform.

Dubai Customs digital transformation has been remarkable. It is the first smart government department in Dubai today. In the new digital era, a customer can simply log in to the Dubai Trade Portal from his or her mobile device and complete all the transactions at the touch of a finger. The portal provides interactive interfaces for customers to sign-in, submit declarations, and complete payments. The system helps to promote a paperless office as the employees can process the request on their systems and send regular updates to customers.

The Cargo Inspection System also helps Dubai Customs to manage the entire trade supply chain digitally. Administrators in the department receive regular messages and updates for inspection and clearance of goods. The system is well-equipped to handle prohibited cargo as it can analyze information gathered from various local and international sources. It has bolstered e-Governance across various departments and is helping Dubai Customs to ensure legitimate trade.
Here is a brief snapshot of the process:

Capgemini has helped Dubai Customs to smoothly transform to the digital platform. A rich experience of deploying Siebel Public Sector platform has helped Capgemini to deliver tailor made digital solutions for Dubai Customs; in this case the cargo inspection system. Capgemini’s focus is on digital transformation currently and the company will advise Dubai Customs on moving other processes to the digital platform.


Bringing the customs and customers together on a digital platform

The benefits of the cargo inspection system were not only limited to Dubai Customs, but also touched the lives of its customers and stakeholders.

  • Smooth supply chain: The cargo inspection system helped in controlling and minimizing cargo peak hours by distributing the workload of the port (cargo handlers to gate operations).
  • Efficient value chain: IT—employed as a tool for solving business and operational challenge—helped in the standardization of applications, a oneplatform approach, and a reduction in the numbers systems.
  • Faster service delivery through digital platforms: The online booking, improved planning, and execution of requests helped achieve on-time service delivery.
  • Digital e-Governance model: The Siebel platform helped Dubai Customs to ensure a smooth flow of information across various departments and achieve better governance.
  • Agile processes: The cargo inspection system helped reduce operational time and maximize efficiency through standardization of business processes, following set protocols, and focusing on targeted risks.
  • Cost reductions: The Department also managed to achieve significant cost reduction, through standardized and integrated process, optimized workload with better visibility, and control with full view of shift planning
  • Promote legitimate trade: The Cargo Inspection system helped Dubai Customs to align its processes to the WCO SAFE (Secure and Facilitate Global Trade) standards. The Department has been successful in checking the flow of counterfeit goods and engaging its customers on the digital platform.


Future Ahead

An efficient Dubai Customs is important for global trade to flourish in the region. Dubai Customs digital transformation is the right step in this direction and a path breaker in the MENA region. The digital customer touch points are transforming the department into a well-oiled unit, which helps drive a paperless office. The adoption of the e-governance model employing Oracle Seibel platforms will help the Department to align to the WCO framework.