Single Window Implementation Framework (SWIF)

In many cases the vision and potential benefits of Single Windows may be well recognized, but how to formulate and transform these visions into reality is neither trivial nor obvious. There are many challenging issues that need to be managed, both technically and politically. SWIF provides an holistic framework.

What is SWIF?

The Single Window Implementation Framework (SWIF) is an architecture-based framework for guiding Single Window planning and implementation. It adapts the concept of enterprise architecture (*) and development methodology to describe an approach on how to systematically derive the Single Window strategic architecture, formulate its master plan, and manage Single Window projects.

Key Concepts and Guidelines within SWIF
  1. Visions & Goals Alignment guides the formulation of Single Window visions and goals, where possible with quantitative indicators, in alignment with national and/or regional policy directions.
  2. An evolutionary Single Window roadmap in five maturity levels is recommended as a long-term Single Window development roadmap and as a reference model for assessing the current or "as-is" condition of the country. Then priorities are set for the next target or "to-be" Single Window environment that the country may consider for the next phase of implementation.
  3. Decomposition refers to the systematic decomposition and structure of Single Window implementation challenges into smaller and more manageable components . Ten critical components are proposed within this framework.

    Decomposition of SW challenges
    Source: UNNExT SW project Implementation


  4. Single Window Development Cycle explains how to analyze the "as-is" or current conditions of those 10 components and how the "to-be"or future architectures (again of those 10 components) can be proposed and agreed.
  5. Viewpoints show how to clearly visualize the implementation issues based on the interest of the target audiences (normally with diagrams and associated descriptions).
  6. Project Management Process All of the above are put into use with a recommended project management process in five practical phases for preliminary and detailed analysis, planning and overseeing the Single Window projects.

  7. Source: UNNExT SW Project Implementation Guide



  1. Preliminary/Inception phase - developing a concept paper for preliminary and initial discussion
  2. Elaboration phase -conducting detailed feasibility study
  3. Planning phase -formulating a high-level Single Window master plan
  4. Execution phase - executing and overseeing the project plan
  5. Lessons-learned/Feedback phase -collecting lessons learned

Tools: the UNNExT SW Project Implementation Guide provides a detailed description of these project phases. UNECE Recommendation 33 refers to these five practical steps in planning the implementation of a Single Window. The WCO Single Window Compendium also contains relevant guidance.

(*) Adapted from The Open Group Enterprise Architecture Framework TOGAF-9, including its development methodology ADM (Architecture Development Method).