Being top-class

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) boasts an infrastructure that is ready for most eventualities and is built along the lines of the world's best financial centres. Mohammed Sabunchi, director for IT infrastructure at the centre, discusses the principles the team follows to ensure the best of infrastructure and service delivery.

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By  Sathya Ashok Published  September 12, 2007

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) boasts an infrastructure that is ready for most eventualities and is built along the lines of the world's best financial centres. Mohammed Sabunchi, director for IT infrastructure at the centre, discusses the principles the team follows to ensure the best of infrastructure and service delivery.

How important is information technology at DIFC?

While standards are good and provide guidance, it’s not where we stop. At DIFC we enhance them and go a bit extra.

From the beginning our senior management aimed to position DIFC at the top of the ladder. It is one of the fastest growing international financial centres worldwide. We wanted to benchmark ourselves against the world's best such as New York, London in the west and Tokyo and Hong Kong in the east. Keeping this in mind we identified key factors that would ensure success for us and provide us a firm grounding.

Those key factors are a world class regulatory framework, people and expertise, procedures and processes, world class facilities and of course technology. And this is why we pay a whole lot of attention to IT and infrastructure in our centre. It is an essential component to ensure success to any financial institution. We are dependent on it and it has to be addressed in a suitably professional manner.

And that is exactly how the IT team at DIFC approaches information technology.

Since the financial sector depends almost exclusively on technology, we have to deploy fully-functional, high capacity and completely capable infrastructure. We constantly revisit our procedures; improve our methods and work to have proper processes always in place.

We also work at understanding what clients want in order to deliver it the way they want it.

Financial centres are connected globally and we have to ensure the highest standards in order to be counted as one of the best. Ensuring this is critical. Our aim is to provide our tenants with an environment which enables them to move data in a rapid and secure fashion internally and externally. The bottom-line is always quality.

Could you elaborate on the steps you put in place to get the best in infrastructure solutions?

We were the first in the region to have dual service providers for our telecom needs. We have worked to ensure that the building and infrastructure functions in the most resilient and secure way.

We have provided future-proof infrastructure across the backbone systems. We have ensured that service providers - across local and international facilities - check and doublecheck to ensure resiliency and redundancy through DIFC's networks. And this is not just over inter-connections but also at infrastructural levels.

Our cabling backbone as well as infrastructure installations and maintenance are handled by dedicated specialised teams. These teams are managed and maintained by us, we allow service providers and customer's suppliers to gain access only to the areas necessary for them to maintain their equipment. All of this work is done under our supervision and to DIFC specifications.

What standards does DIFC follow for infrastructure and do you think the Middle East needs a standard of its own?

In recent times, most standards relating to infrastructure in the Middle East have been a combination of North American and British standards. We use both. We always work in a flexible manner and choose the best ones to match the current requirements.

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