Success Factor Communication – Stress-free migration to the new ATLAS release

Client: Siemens Enterprise Communications GmbH & Co. KG (SEN)
Siemens Enterprise Communications GmbH & Co. KG (SEN) deals early with the migration to the new ATLAS version. Together with dbh Logistics IT AG, software manufacturer and consulting firm for customs and logistics, the extensive update could be carried out on time and without friction alimony and extensively tested.

Until 31 January 2013, companies had time to change their IT to ATLAS 8.4 and AES 2.1 respectively. SEN made the changeover as early as 10.12.2012. Thus, both the software and the employees were adjusted in time for the adapted processes. In this way, the smooth operation of the company could be ensured.

The challenge: coordination of systems and stakeholders

Success Factor Communication - Stress-free migration to the new ATLAS release 1

Every day, SEN 40-50 shipments are notified by electronic export declaration for export to non-EU countries, primarily Russia, USA, China, India and Switzerland.

Siemens uses the dbh customs software Advantage Customs, which is connected via interfaces to the in-house ERP system SEN-ERP “SAP R41” and takes over the data communication with the customs system ATLAS.

Synchronous coordination of many participants

In addition to the changes in content, the main challenge in the project was to coordinate with the various authorities, service providers and authorities on the entire customs registration process.

All stakeholders at SEN (Supply Chain ECC and IT departments), dbh and customs authorities had to be adapted synchronously to the release. Additional IT-related adjustments were necessary because further Siemens implementations were affected in many places in the ERP system.


ATLAS is a computerised procedure of the German customs administration for the automation of customs clearance and for internal processing.

ATLAS replaces written customs clearance documents (e.g. customs declarations, import duty notices) with electronic messages in EDIFACT format.

As a result of the amendments to EC customs legislation and the Foreign Trade Regulation, since July 2009, exporters established in the Community have only been able to submit their export declarations in electronic form via the EU’s unified “Automated Export System” (AES).

Since then, all exports to third countries have been carried out via the IT procedure ATLAS (Automated Tariff and Local Customs Processing System).

ATLAS Release Change

The release change to ATLAS 8.4 was one of the most extensive to date, as almost all process areas (e.g. AES, NCTS, customs regulations, summary incoming/outgoing declarations) were affected by the changes.

The release change was made in the soft migration procedure. In a transitional phase after the changeover of the customs systems to the new release up to and including 31 January 2013, participants were able to transmit messages in the format of the previous release ATLAS 8.3. As of February 1, 2013, messages in ATLAS 8.3 format are no longer accepted.

The implementation: Thanks to good specification, the test phase

Success Factor Communication - Stress-free migration to the new ATLAS release 2

Since customs uncompromisingly set the end of the project with the “hard” changeover date on 31.1.2013, the schedule was created backwards by a “backplanning”. The situation was communicated to all stakeholders in July 2012 and a request was made to the IT managers.

The next step was a technical “assessment”, on the basis of which the detailed specification could then be created. Thanks to the fast and high-quality specification, dbh was able to complete the realisation offer as early as August.

In the months of September and October, the technical adaptation and the insertion of the updates took place.

“The open and professional cooperation between the SEN departments Supply Chain ECC and IT, SAP and dbh as external service providers contributed significantly to the fact that we were able to switch to the new ATLAS release a month earlier than planned.”

Christoph Eder, SEN on the cooperation

The cooperation between the participants went so smoothly that all test runs could be successfully completed in November. This test phase had been deliberately defined in partial steps along the process. This significantly reduced complexity, kept the test cases manageable and errors were quickly identified and corrected.

The success factors: Open collaboration and solution-oriented communication

In the Lessons Learned Workshop at the end of the project, the project team around Christoph Eder and Gerhard Kamps, Export Control and Customs at SEN, highlighted not only open communication and transparency, but also the clear target definition and “commitment” of all participants as decisive success factors. Between the internal

Supply Chain ECC and IT departments as well as the external service providers SAP and dbh had an open and professional cooperation both with each other and with each other. This allowed SEN to switch to the new ATLAS release a month earlier than planned.

An absolutely open, timely and solution-oriented communication in the project was identified by all parties as an essential success factor through which effective process automation could be defined and implemented. In addition, there was always a clear understanding of the process and the necessary change.

This was made possible by a permanent transfer of know-how between all parties involved.

Customs clearance with Advantage Customs

The ATLAS-certified dbh customs software Advantage Customs serves as a link between the IT systems in companies and the customs systems of the countries. Upstream processes and accounting can also be connected. This ensures media-free processes.

International customs clearance

All the central functions of European customs clearance can be handled with Advantage Customs. Interfaces to many international customs systems ensure that you comply with the respective customs regulations of the countries at all times: All data is collected in such a way that it meets the respective national requirements.

All customs procedures with one software

  • Export/AES
  • Import
  • Shipping with NCTS
  • Excise duty exemption with EMCS
  • Summary registration
  • Customs warehouse management
  • Active and outward processing or conversion procedures
  • Tariffs classification

For ATLAS and for everything else

Based on EU directives, European customs administrations set up IT systems for the electronic handling and monitoring of the border

over-the-go trade in goods. Advantage Customs is certified for communication with the German customs system ATLAS. In addition, all common European customs systems are connected (e.g. e-dec, e-zoll and Sagitta).

About SIEMENS Enterprise Communications (SEN)

Success Factor Communication - Stress-free migration to the new ATLAS release 3

Siemens Enterprise Communications (SEN) is a global provider of integrated communications solutions that synchronizes, provides, and manages technologies for voice, video, collaboration, mobility, contact center, and network infrastructure.

These communication technologies are directly integrated into the business operation. Strengthen collaboration, increased productivity, and significantly higher performance optimizecommunication and collaboration and transform the entire organization.

SEN draws on Siemens’ technical experience to develop integrated communication solutions with reliable, innovative, secure and open standards-based products, used by 75 percent of Global 500 companies.

Siemens Enterprise Communications is a joint venture owned by The Gores Group and Siemens AG.

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