Oracle suite for TCO operations

The Corporate Office (TCO) of the Government of Dubai is overhauling its entire IT operations, using Oracle’s E-Business Suite to link the systems of its various business units more closely together.

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By  Peter Branton Published  February 26, 2006

The Corporate Office (TCO) of the Government of Dubai is overhauling its entire IT operations, using Oracle’s E-Business Suite to link the systems of its various business units more closely together. The ambitious project will also see TCO roll out a customer relationship management (CRM) system across its businesses, including Jebel Ali Freezone, Nakheel, the Ports Customs Free Zone, and DP World. However, executives said the new system would not cover P&O, the UK maritime company that DP World bought earlier this month for US$6.8billion. The multi-million dollar project will cover financial management, property management, project development, human resources management (HRM) and CRM systems linked in a single, integrated environment, which will allow business managers to make more informed decisions, TCO said. Oracle Consulting is managing and implementing the project. Francis Veldeman, CIO for TCO, said it had evaluated packages from SAP, JD Edwards and Microsoft’s Navision, before settling for Oracle. He pointed out that most of the TCO business units were already running earlier versions of Oracle’s financial applications, making upgrading to the latest version easier. “We have made a competitive analysis in the market and the conclusion was that Oracle was the preferred strategic partner,” Veldeman went on to add. He pointed out that with TCO engaged in an acquisition strategy, it needed to look at making such “strategic partners” for its IT services. Husam Dajani, Oracle’s vice president for the MEA region, said the size and complexity of the project was a showcase for the firm’s capabilities. While he said the project may not be Oracle’s largest customer win in the region, its complexity was demanding. “There is a very diverse business here that spans the whole globe,” he claimed. “At the same time, in most of these businesses there are existing systems already, so the project involves a consolidation of all these systems into one, which means from a savings point of view there would be savings related to consolidation and savings related to improvements to business processes and delivering additional value to the business,” Dajani added. One of the key improvements will be the implementation of the CRM system, Veldeman said. “Everything in the past has been dealt with through a manual system. So this was not only an excellent opportunity to look at a technology, it has also been an enabler,” he added. Work on the project began last month, and TCO is looking at completing it in the next 12 to 18 months, including testing and “bedding down” the systems, executives revealed. Veldeman said the project would see 60 to 70 people from both TCO and Oracle working on it, with three different streams — financials, HRM and CRM — being worked on at the same time. The goal is to create a single “instance” of TCO’s diverse mainframe systems, so that key information around suppliers, customers and employees is kept in a single repository, he explained. While this repository will cover ports that DP World acquired through earlier acquisitions, the P&O deal is too recent to be included. “We still need to go through the due diligence in the information technology to find out how we can create synergies. As any global company, we will look at information as one of the key critical components to leverage and consolidate,” Veldeman added. This would likely lead to closer links between the P&O and TCO systems, he said. “They will be managed out of the Dubai port headquarters, so if people want to talk to each other we would provide a common e-mail address,” he said. “From e-mails you go into approvals, you go into sharing information around customers, around shipping agents. The power of such an acquisition is to become stronger together and information is a critical component of that,” he added.

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