Due to the scope and volume of the data it processes, the General Directorate of Customs (GDC), which is part of the Czech Republic’s financial and customs administration, must be able to analyze the data and prepare reports in record time. This is possible thanks to the data warehouse Adastra built and has continued to develop for the past 15 years. The GDC itself considers this data warehouse a business-critical solution. At work, the GDC’s analysts can depend on the current and quality data it produces
Problem we had to face
The Customs Administration of the Czech Republic is a security authority ensuring the execution of processes in the area of customs administration and related taxes, as well as other non-fiscal activities to the benefit of the state and its citizens. It reports to the Ministry of Finance. The organizational structure of the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic is two-tiered and consists of the General Directorate of Customs of the Czech Republic (GDC), which manages 15 customs offices. The customs authorities administer all excise duties (taxes on mineral oils, alcohol, beer, wine and intermediate products, and tobacco), environmental taxes (on natural gas and others, solid fuels, and electricity), taxes on raw tobacco and value-added tax, though the last only in situations where goods are imported from third countries and the declarant is not registered as a VAT payer in the Czech Republic.
Adastra is built on long-term cooperation with its customers, one of which is the GDC. The company started building the data warehouse in the year 2004 and continues to maintain and develop it alongside the customs office. As the GDC has established new purviews and programs related to the customs office’s expanding jurisdiction, Adastra’s con sultants have continuously added more and more sources to the data warehouse. At present, there are 40 of these sources, so it is easy to picture the enormous reach of this solution.
At present, there are 40 of these sources, so it is easy to picture the enormous reach of this solution.
Based on data from the data warehouse, the GDC’s analysts prepare managerial reports and statistics for the organization’s own purposes, as well as for use outside the customs office (for example, for the Ministry of Finance, the Czech Statistical Office, the General Financial Directorate, EU bodies, etc.). These reports are based on certified, quality data from the data warehouse, are interactive, and meet requirements for the use of up-to-date technological and visual reporting tools.
administrative bodies store data in the GDC’s data warehouse, built by Adastra.
Our suggested solution
The principle behind the solution is to collect and integrate data from various discrete systems and, subsequently, to make these data accessible to users via an analytical platform, reports, and management dashboards. The data in question include information about entities, tax collection, checks that have been carried out, the movement of goods, fuel distribution, alcohol production, and so on.
The basic aims of the solution developed by Adastra are:
- To perform online analysis and ad-hoc querying
- To keep data as current as possible
- To provide maximum support to the GDC’s analysts and management
- To use up-to-date technology and visualization tools for reporting and BI
years is the total time saved by the GDC in 2016 thanks to Adastra’s data warehouse.
Analysts and customs officials have 200 reports at their disposal. As these are prepared, results from many data stores are displayed in a matter of seconds. When assessing whether a taxpayer is high risk, for example, data from 13 different data marts is automatically recalculated at the same time. Assuming that it takes the user about 5 minutes to locate and inspect one taxpayer record, checking 13 records would take over an hour. Using the data warehouse, however, reduces the time necessary to review all the records to approximately 10 minutes, saving each user 55 minutes. The total time saved in 2016, calculated according to the number of times the data was accessed (17,564), is 16,100 hours – 670 days, i.e. almost 2 years, of labor.
It takes 10 minutes instead of 65 to inspect one tax entity thanks to the data warehouse.
What was the outcome of the project
Prior to 2004, the GDC already realized the importance and benefit of using up-to-date information technology and having quality data available for decision-making. As such, it has been one of the few administrative bodies in the Czech Republic to do so. Since then, the organization has
- Focused on real added value and exploited the full potential of systems working with their data, having clearly defined owners responsible for ensuring data accuracy.
- Prioritized handling business requirements before implementing IT solutions.
- Confirmed that it considers the database critical to its business activities, as the development of the project continued even during the recent financial crisis.
The owner of the solution is the department of Analysis and Information Support, which manages the project and sets the course of its development. Other departments’ requirements converge here. Analysis and Information Support ensures the gradual integration of business requirements according to pre-established priorities, and the subsequent assimilation into existing content.
Everything is accomplished with a proven and reliable combination of technologies based on innovative but recognized products and methodologies, as well as Adastra’s best practices.
Today, as the digitalization of the state administration advances, the GDC is able to take real advantage of the benefits of a high-quality and proven database from which to compile its managerial reports. Data stored in the data warehouse are readily available for any given purpose, connected, up-to-date, and consolidated so analysts can process and analyze them without long preparation.
users work with Adastra’s system via an analytical platform, reports, and a query system.
The project of building and developing a data warehouse, managing the data it stores, and using it for our reporting has been an extensive undertaking, not only with regard to the areas and activities it covers but also in terms of time. We divided it into smaller units (increments) that we then prioritized and implemented step by step. This proved an effective strategy. We thus succeeded in keeping our data and users under control and were able to manage the project efficiently despite its scope.
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