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Sat 30 Sep 2006 08:00 PM

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Pearl-Qatar developers opt for Oracle in new implementation

United Development Company begins implementing ERP across all operations

The development firm behind the Pearl-Qatar is to adopt a new ERP system across its whole operation, ACN can reveal.

United Development Company (UDC), the largest private sector shareholding company in Qatar, has signed a multi-million dollar agreement to deploy Oracle across its business. Wipro's local branch will implement modules covering real estate management, full financial systems, CRM, project management, project costing, and MIS.

"We are now into implementation," said Hussain Naimi, IT manager, UDC. "This started in mid-September and will continue till next September.

"This will go across the whole of UDC. At the moment it will focus on the Pearl and then later on it will be linked into other subsidiaries as well."

The Pearl-Qatar is a US$2.5 billion man-made island development off the coast of Doha covering 985 acres of reclaimed land. It is the country's largest real estate development and will include smart technology and infrastructure, the development of which UDC hopes will benefit from the Oracle implementation.

"We are working on the concept of a smart island and having a lot of sophisticated technology based on the island," said Naimi.

"Immediately, there will be operational control. We have a manpower issue here, so automation will definitely enhance the whole thing and reduce the dependency on the volume of manpower."

He explained that UDC had thoroughly evaluated the ERP solutions on the market before coming to a decision. "We looked at all possibilities," he said. "We looked at support as the number one issue, and availability of manpower. Both Oracle and SAP provide very rich functionality.

"At one stage we were about to finalise on SAP and for different reasons - the support and everything else - we decided to move to Oracle.

“But both are very sophisticated and very rich in functionality."

Oracle's track record in the real estate sector was one of the factors that influenced the decision.

Naimi said: "Oracle has been proven in Dubai and lots of other places in this kind of sector.

“We've chosen that to be a backbone. And of course, other than normal functional and operational support, we're looking at this as a building block for the smart island, that's the full integrated openness of the system.

“The bottom line is we're looking for very integrated systems which provide our top executives with very sophisticated and very extensive reports."

Around 250 UDC employees will use the Oracle system at first, with that number expected to increase with time.

"To the best of my knowledge there is no real estate company in this part of the world that is using anything but Oracle," said Arun Khehar, vice president, retail, private & manufacturing industries, Oracle MEA. "Most of the companies evaluate all of the products, not just SAP but also the niche players who only do property and real estate.”

He added: "But real estate is not just one component, you need to look at the whole lifecycle. You will get stuck if you don't look at the whole lifecycle. And this is why Oracle came out better in all of their evaluations."

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