ITQAN's awards

When it comes to accolades, Abu Dhabi-based ITQAN has joined global celebrities on the international awards stage. ACN joins the paparazzi on the red carpet.

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By  Colin Edwards Published  September 28, 2006

|~|itqan200.jpg|~|Al Jabi: ITQAN selected one of the best Microsoft partners out of nearly 2,500 entries submitted.|~|The transformation of major Abu Dhabi government bodies from paper-dependent facilities to virtually paperless domains has earned systems integrator ITQAN global accolades. It has received Microsoft's Winning Customer of the Year award. This means the UAE's leading SI stands shoulder to shoulder with global players such as Unisys, Fujitsu Consulting and Dimension Data, who were also on the winners' podium chosen from some 2,400 entries submitted by partners worldwide.

"We all felt proud and excited about receiving this award, especially as it came within days of the announcement that we had won the SKEA (His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Excellence Award)," says Feras Al Jabi, general manager, ITQAN.

"We all felt it would be a must-win this year, and while we also received an award in 2004, this year had a different taste to it," he adds.

The award was for the successful implementation of solutions based on the Microsoft platform and entailing the migration to Microsoft from competing technologies.

"This recognition means a lot to us. We've been judged among the best globally These two awards have made us even more committed to take the company forward and build on our competencies.We're gearing up, for another wave of success and growth over the next three to five years," he says.

ITQAN's eGovernment contract, initially awarded late 2004, has entailed the transformation of many departments. ITQAN was briefed with providing a solution to improve working practices and speed up business processes at the different Government bodies.

The project involved the implementation of ITQAN's latest development. This included eDiwan, the integrated framework for e-governments, and eKawader the localised version of the human resources and payroll modules in Microsoft's Great Plains enterprise resource planning suite.

In addition, OpenText Livelink was used for the enterprise document management and workflow process automation part of this framework.

Dynamic government web sites were based on Content Management Server on top of Windows server 2003 and the latest Cisco and HP infrastructure.

"The contract represented a strategic leap into our long-term plan. We had the opportunity to transform many executive government entities into the electronic era at a time when we ourselves were establishing ourselves as a system integrator with the local capabilities to deliver solutions designed specifically for the region's need," he says.

"The solution was built using ITQAN eDiwan e-Government framework which is a custom developed solution built to accommodate the needs and requirements of any government entity that is residing within the Gulf region," he adds. "We used the latest Microsoft technologies including Microsoft .NET, and Microsoft SharePoint Portal."||**|||~|itqanagain200.jpg|~|Al Jabi: ITQAN has been judged among the best globally.|~|The overall objectives were to advance the quality of public services; transform existing paper-dependent enterprises into paperless operations by reducing paper handling and associated storage costs; offer robust communication channels and a proficient information sharing platform; reduce the complexity of integrating IT infrastructure; increase performance by providing efficient online services; and facilitate the flow of documents and corporate information between different business units and external parties.

"Our solution had a significant impact on the organisations. It has changed the way they do business by implementing an integrated solution covering all back-end ERP business with complete intranet/ workflow and internet/services," says Al Jabi.

The success of the first phase triggered requests for many other automation and infrastructure solutions such as IVR and automated faxing solutions, which today completes the document processing picture at the sites.

"eDiwan helps increase user productivity by performing their daily work efficiently. It helps the management track all business transactions to identify and eliminate bottlenecks during the business processes. Of course there were challenges to be overcome during the deployment.

"As in any IT project there were scope changes due to re-thinks, some processes were not documented in time and some times the infrastructure were not ready, but by working together as a team, we were able to address problems quickly as they arose and overcome them with minimal effort."

Arguing that an integrators' approach to a project is a key success factor over and above the technology deployed, Al Jabi says that ITQAN's approach starts by envisioning the customer's needs in order to provide the most appropriate and effective solution that helps customers overcome business problems.

"After envisioning the problem we specify solution components that fit the customer's needs and start the analysis/gap analysis phase where we collect full details of the customers requirements and produce a user requirements manual. This is used as a guideline throughout the various project stages," he says.

In the design phase, ITQAN solution architects translate these documented requirements and map them to the appropriate function of the proposed solution. The technical team then implements the constructed design by developing new features and customising existing ones.

"Finally our quality assurance team reviews the whole solution and produces test plans to test each system component, ensuring that it is fully functional as per the customer needs. Once the system is ready, a pilot is run so that the team can make the required fine-tuning before the system goes live."

The resultant solution is proving to be highly scalable. It means that new databases and application servers can be added whenever required. In addition, new services can be added to the system using the existing framework without the need for further development.

As for Microsoft's role in the whole process: "As a gold partner in six different competencies, we have a very solid and close relationship. We do annual business planning and review the engagement programmes and the developments we need to take together, Microsoft shares many of its roadmaps with us and we also adapt our products roadmap in line with theirs and other market /industry trends," says Al Jabi.||**||

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