Record breakers

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has finished its Oracle HR project in a record 30 days. Eliot Beer reports on how the team beat the clock.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  September 9, 2007

Dedication, so they say, is what you need to be a record breaker - and it is a quality the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) appears to have in spades. The Fund's completion of an Oracle deployment in 30 days is - as far as anyone knows - a record.

The organisation, part of the Abu Dhabi government, is the first department to have implemented Oracle systems following the vendor's deal with the Emirate to supply all its public organisations. The emirate and Oracle signed the deal at the end of May, and ADFD was quick off the mark in taking advantage of the agreement.

When I proposed the project, I told the Fund we needed at least two months to implement the system. Ahmed insisted we do it in 30 days.

Its director, Ahmed Al Mazrouei, says the decision to implement an Oracle system - in this case the vendor's Human Resources Management System (HRMS) - was easy to make, in light of the government's agreement, but also the quality of the system itself.

"Personally, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel - obviously, Oracle is the best ERP application in the market now. The government has signed a deal with them, just a few months ago. I am a practical and logical person - let's apply logic: it puts Oracle in the picture. This is why we selected Oracle," he explains.

ADFD selected integrator Appslink to deploy the system. Appslink - a specialist firm in HRMS implementations - has a wide range of project experience from across the Middle East, and was apparently very vocal in its pitch for the project.

"We selected Appslink for several reasons. One, they showed a very strong interest in the project - they were committed, they were determined, and they represented their case very strongly. These factors made us select the company," says Al Mazrouei.

Mohamed Muwafaq, consulting manager at Appslink, adds that Oracle also recommended the integrator to ADFD. Appslink's enthusiasm for the project has not apparently abated even now the system is live, judging by the fervour its staff have for the implementation.

"The project itself is unique. One of the reasons we managed to get the project done in 30 days is that they have a very strong management team here," says Muwafaq. "They sponsored the project - Ahmed Al Mazrouei gave us very good support. In addition, he already knew the product, from his time in the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority - he knew the application, he knew its capabilities."

When it comes to the record-breaking implementation speed, opinions differ as to where the impetus and original idea came from. Al Mazrouei modestly explains that ADFD did not go into the project with the aim of completing it in 30 days.

"We didn't really set out to implement the system in this timeframe," he says. "We were determining our objectives, to have an application that serves the human resources in general - payroll and self-services. We tried to explore the opportunities, and we came across this company (integrator), we came across this opportunity, so we decided to go live in 30 days, and we achieved it."

The Appslink team tells a slightly different story, however - they suggest the drive came from Al Mazrouei and ADFD. Muwafaq says his original project timescale was rejected by ADFD for being too long.

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