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DIFC to get software upgrade from SAP

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is to provide thousands of users with access to its services using technology from SAP.

DIFC will use the firm’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to create portals, which will give users within the zone the ability to access processes online.

The organisation — which is made up of different subsidiaries, including the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) — has purchased the mySAP Business Suite ERP solution with an initial investment in excess of US$1m.

Implementation of the solution is currently in progress and phase one of the deployment — which involves installing the Financials, CRM, HR, Material Management and Sales and Procurement core ERP modules — will be completed in approximately six months.

In phase two the Real Estate and Business Intelligence modules will be deployed and portals will be created giving the thousands of employees of financial institutions within the DIFC free zone access to services online such as making visa applications and building maintenance requests.

“So far 150 internal DIFC users have been licensed to use the software in addition to 1,000 external users. This number is expected to double within the next two years," revealed Ghassan Darri, sales director at SAP Arabia.

“The investment DIFC made in SAP is going to be gradual and will grow bigger as the operation is undergoing huge expansion,” explained Darri.

“The impressive number of international financial institutions that have already taken presence in DIFC in a relatively short time is a good indication of the huge value offering that DIFC is capable of extending to such institutions,” Darri added. “We are very proud to be part of the DIFC success story.”

Listing the benefits mySAP will provide to DIFC, Darri said the solution will dramatically speed up the time in which DIFC can deploy services and will provide the organisation with a clearer overview of its different operations.

SAP is expected to bring to DIFC almost immediate benefits by capitalising on SAP best practice to shorten the implementation time frame and provide cost savings across DIFC and its subsidiaries.

“DIFC is split into a number of legal entities and SAP will help DIFC gain full visibility into their operations across the subsidiaries and lines of business they are running,” Darri said. “SAP will make sure that every stake holder is going to see in a real time fashion, the complete 360 degrees picture of their role within one system.”

He went on to say that this would provide DIFC with a competitive edge and would create a secure IT environment for the organisation.

“That makes access and security very controllable especially within a financial services organisation where security and transparency need to be maintained in line with each other,” Darri commented, adding that the solution would enable DIFC to effectively keep track of the various construction projects taking place within DIFC and to streamline the financial accounting and posting of invoices associated with the projects.

Darri said he expected the implementation to be a “smooth road”, although delays could be caused by having to interface the ERP solution with third party reporting systems within DIFC itself and the organisations it is associated with — most notably Dubai Government. However, he described this as a “delaying factor” rather than a “show stopper”.

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