Hilton Engineering Conference London February 2019

February 18th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

This conference for Hilton Chief Engineers took place at the beautiful Hilton London Metropole from 11th-15th February 2019.

Principal Consultant Ramesh Kulkarni represented us there together with John M. Clark Vice President – SynergyMMS Division Systems Associates, Inc.

SynergyMMS is rolling out globally across the group. Inigma, the next generation of this mobile, multi-language Facility management solution was presented at the show.

This cloud solution is rapidly installed with minimal training needed, no server, cost, no annual maintenance, no server license, no user licenses, just a simple per room monthly subscription.

Ask us about the ‘snagging solution; for new hotel openings, refurbishment, or extension projects.
0097143365589

Optimisation advisor – Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

February 18th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Telemetry, A!, Big data analytics are just some of the features that are part of the Azure cloud that are leveraged by Microsoft Dynamics. One example is the Optimisation advisor that can help business users and implementors to adopt best practices to optimize the business processes that they own.

Incorrect configuration and setup of a module can adversely affect the availability of features in Finance and Operations, system performance, and the smooth operation of business processes. The quality of business data (for example, the correctness, completeness, and cleanliness of the data) also affects system performance, and an organization’s decision-making capabilities, productivity, and so on. The Optimization advisor workspace is a tool that lets power users, business analysts, functional consultants, and IT support functions identify issues in module configuration and business data. Optimization advisor suggests best practices for module configuration and identifies business data that is obsolete or incorrect.

Optimization advisor periodically runs a set of best practice rules. A default set of rules is released together with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations version 8.0 (April 2018). However, users can also create rules that are specific to their customizations, solutions from independent software vendors (ISVs), and business data.

Optimize configuration choices to improve for example the performance of inventory closing, or wave processing, or work creation in the warehouse.

To get the best out of your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations System contact Synergy Software Systems your Dubai Dynamics Partner (since Ax v2.5 2003) – with over 200 consulting man years of experience in implementing and supporting this solution.
0097143365589

Azure in the G.C.C. updates

February 17th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

AT the end of 2018 Microsoft announced that the. Azure Kubernetes Service has added the open-source system, Moby, to provision containers and deliver more frequent upstream patches.
Additionally, the team reduced cluster provisioning time, fixed a Stream Watcher error and updated a Linux kernel for a second GitHub problem.

Azure Monitor Logs UX was in preview last year, users can now click on charts and tables in Log Analytics in view the new Logs UX instead, with a new query editor and full schema view.

On January 2, Qatar’s prime minister, H.E. Skeikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani opted to help setup a large Azure data center. The prime minister and the Cabinet issued a draft law creating a “Media City” with an independent budget that will host the data center. Microsoft already operates a Content Delivery Network (CDN) in the country, but it has no cloud regions active in the Middle East. That is about to change, though – last year, the company announced that it would open data centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Ankabut, the United Arab Emirates’ Advanced National Research and Education Network (NREN) an initiative of Khalifa University, offers academic institutions connectivity to other education networks around the world. It has partnered with Huawei, to launch a cutting-edge new cloud solution in the UAE, Microsoft’s Azure Stack.

This will be the first implementation of Microsoft’s Azure Stack solution in GCC and the ME Region. Through this partnership, Ankabut aims to take the education infrastructure in the UAE to the next level of innovation and intelligibility by implementing the platform that will offer educational institutes cloud-paced innovation and computing management simplicity, cost optimization, higher quality, huge potentials and capabilities, in addition to more reliability and added value services.

(if your idea of surfing is on the beach rather than the internet then try http://azure-beach.com/

Recent G.C.C VAT updates

February 16th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Passive interest and dividends
The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) asserted that passively earned interest income from bank deposits and dividend income are outside the scope of Value Added Tax (VAT), and there is no requirement to report these in the VAT return.
VAT is a tax imposed on the import and supply of goods and services at each stage of production and distribution, therefore, VAT implications arise only when there is a supply – when there is no supply, there is no VAT implication.
The FTA explained that the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT and its Executive Regulations have included specific provisions on what would constitute a supply of goods and a supply of services and also included a definition for taxable supplies. As such, where any transaction falls outside the scope of these provisions, it would, as a consequence, fall outside the scope of VAT.
The FTA also noted that although Article (42) of the Executive Regulations outlines the tax treatment of financial services, stating that the payment or collection of any amount of interest and dividend is considered to be a financial service and is therefore exempt from VAT, this would only apply where there is, in fact, a supply.
The Authority had issued the “VAT Public Clarification on Bank Interest and Dividends” as part of its Public Clarifications service, which are available on the FTA website and seek to educate taxpayers on all technical issues surrounding taxes, allowing them to implement the tax system efficiently.
In a press statement the Federal Tax Authority noted that if, for instance, a retail business deposits its income into a bank account and earns interest on the deposited amount, and the said retail business does not do anything to earn this income aside from merely depositing the money in the account, it can then be said that the interest was earned passively. In this case, the retail business is not considered to have made a supply to the bank, and the interest income received is not a consideration for a supply, which, in turn, means that the retail business is not required to declare this income on its VAT return, as it is outside the scope of VAT.
The Authority noted, however, that the above position only applies to interest derived from bank deposits and does not have any bearing on the interest generated from extending loans or credit, which are exempt supplies for VAT purposes.
Dividend income:
• The FTA explained that the payment of a dividend by a company is a distribution of its profits to its shareholders, where the holder of a share is not entitled to a dividend until the company has declared a dividend.
• Dividend income becomes due for shareholders in a company by the mere ownership of shares in that company and if the company makes any profits and declares dividends.
• The shareholder then receives the dividends and does not make any supply in order to be eligible for a payment of dividends, making the dividend a generally passive income.
• Accordingly, dividend income is outside the scope of VAT, and is therefore, not required to be reported on the VAT return. T
• he Authority noted, nonetheless, that while dividend income is generally outside the scope of VAT, any amount charged as a “management fee” would be subject to VAT. For example, management fees charged by a holding company to its subsidiaries would be subject to VAT.

The Public Clarifications service can be accessed through the Federal Tax Authority’s official website by clicking the “Help” button, then choosing the “Public Clarifications” tab, and selecting the required document. (https://www.tax.gov.ae/en/public-clarification.aspx)

Deregistration
The Federal Tax Authority (the “Authority”) explained that the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax has defined the cases for tax de-registration. As such, when a registrant stops making taxable supplies or if the value of the taxable supplies made by the registrant over a period of 12 consecutive months is less than the voluntary registration threshold of AED 187,500 and it is not expected that the total value of the registrant’s anticipated taxable supplies or expenses subject to tax in the coming 30-day period will exceed the voluntary registration threshold, then the registrant must submit a de-registration application to the Authority within 20 business days of the occurrence of any of these cases using the Authority’s e-Services portal, knowing that failing to submit the de-registration application within the period specified in the tax legislation will lead to the imposition of administrative penalties as stipulated in the Cabinet Resolution No. 40 of 2017 on Administrative Penalties for Violations of Tax Laws in the UAE. This was the subject of a press release issued by the Authority to clarify the conditions and procedures for de-registration for Value Added Tax, after more than a year of its implementation. The Authority confirmed that registrants will not be de-registered unless they have paid all due taxes and administrative penalties and filed all required tax returns for the period in which they were registered as stipulated under the tax legislation.

The Authority went on to assert that the UAE Tax System is based entirely on voluntary compliance by Taxable Persons, whether it being with regards to registration, filing Tax Returns and payment of due tax or de-registration, noting that these services are available free of charge.
The Authority also mentioned that these procedures can be completed within few minutes through simple steps via the e-Services portal, available 24/7 on the Authority’s website (www.tax.gov.ae).

KSA
Reduction of the value-added tax (VAT) registration threshold to SR 375,000 from January 1, 2019, will increase the taxpayer base by about 150,000
The 2018 base was over 140,000 VAT-registered taxpayers.

Non-resident taxpayers are required to appoint a tax representative to act on their behalf and to assume joint liability for VAT debts. This requirement is posing some challenge to some non-resident taxpayers. Hopefully, progress in this area can be made soon.

VAT audits have commenced and assessments issued for contraventions of the regulations such as late registration and filing of VAT returns as well as incorrect declarations.
The global trend is towards tax authorities accessing taxpayer data directly and, in some territories, preparing the return for the taxpayer. Saudi taxpayers need to be prepared. Expect an increase in the level of scrutiny as GAZT continues to build its resources to challenge the VAT treatment of specific transactions.

Foreign Business VAT recovery
In a new guide on “VAT Refunds for Business Visitors”, published on its official website, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) outlined four conditions that allow foreign businesses to recover Value Added Tax (VAT) incurred in the UAE To be eligible for the VAT refund.
1.The first condition is that foreign businesses must not have a place of establishment or fixed establishment in the UAE or in any of the VAT-Implementing GCC States that fully comply with the provisions of the Common VAT Agreement of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
2.Second, such foreign businesses must not be a Taxable Person in the UAE.
3.Third, they must also be registered as an establishment with a competent authority in the jurisdiction in which they are establishe
4. The fourth condition is that they must be from a country that implements VAT and that equally provides VAT refunds to UAE businesses in similar circumstances.

FTA Director General His Excellency Khalid Ali Al Bustani described the refund procedure as clear and transparent, noting that it supports economic activities in the areas in which the visiting business of the country participates, which is reflected positively on many sectors including tourism, trade, exhibitions, conferences, etc. He stated that the mechanism is in accordance with the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax and the terms and conditions set in its Executive Regulations, which call for refunding taxes paid on supplies or imports made by a foreign entity not residing in the UAE or any of the Implementing States, subject to meeting certain conditions. He further explained that reciprocity is a key condition for the procedure, whereby the Authority will refund the VAT to businesses resident in countries that refund VAT for UAE businesses visiting their territories.

The Federal Tax Authority clarified that the period of each refund claim shall be a calendar year, noting that for claims in respect of the 2018 calendar year, refund applications can be made as of April 1, 2019. However, for subsequent calendar years, the opening date for accepting refund applications will be March 1st of the following year; this means that for the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019, applications will be accepted as of March 1, 2020.

The FTA went on to stress that the minimum claim amount of each VAT refund application submitted by business visitors is AED2,000, which may consist of a single purchase or multiple purchases. The Authority urged potential applicants to hold on to the original tax invoices on the purchases for which they would like to reclaim VAT, as they will be required to be submitted along with the refund applications.
Businesses residing in any GCC State that is not considered to be an Implementing

State may still submit a VAT refund application to reclaim VAT incurred in the UAE under this scheme, the FTA assured, outlining only 3 situations where VAT cannot be reclaimed,
1,The first situation is if the Foreign Business in question makes supplies in the UAE, unless the recipient is obliged to account for VAT under the Reverse Charge Mechanism.
2. Second, a VAT refund cannot be processed if the Input Tax in respect of any goods or services is “blocked” from recovery and, therefore, not recoverable by a Taxable Person in the UAE.
3. The third situation where a refund is not possible is if the Foreign Business is a non-resident tour operator.

The guide on “VAT Refunds for Business Visitors” can be accessed on the FTA’s official website via the link:
https://www.tax.gov.ae/pdf/VAT%20Refund%20User%20Guide-Business%20Visitors_EN.pdf (See Public Ax 2012 Finance Vat folder)
Independent Directors Services

Independent Directors’ services
The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has confirmed that the date of supply for Value Added Tax (VAT) with regard to Independent Directors’ services is determined either in accordance with the general rules or the special rules, depending mainly on whether the fees for the said directors were known from the outset or not.
Where such fees are known from the outset, the date of supply shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Articles (25) and (26) of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT, depending on whether or not there will be periodic payments. If such fees are not known from the outset, they shall be determined upon conclusion of the Annual General Meeting and the date of supply shall be established only when such fees become known.
The date of supply prescribes the point in time when a VAT Registrant needs to account for VAT, the Authority explained in the Public Clarification on the Date of Supply for Independent Directors. This is part of the “Public Clarifications” service available on the FTA’s website to introduce taxpayers to all aspects of the tax system and facilitate compliance. The service can be accessed via the link: https://www.tax.gov.ae/public-clarification.aspx
The FTA explained that in instances where the Board Fees are known at the outset and involve periodic or multiple payments, the date of supply would be determined as per Article (26) of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT, where the date of supply would be the earliest of the following three: The date of issuance of the tax invoice; the date the payment is due as shown on the tax invoice; and the date of receipt of payment. If 12 months have passed from the date of provision of services and none of the aforesaid events has occurred, the date of supply will be triggered at the end of the 12th month.
As for the instances where Board Fees are known at the outset but there are no periodic or multiple payments, the date of supply would be determined as per Article (25) of the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT. Accordingly, the date of supply would be the earliest of the following three: The date of issuance of a tax invoice; the date on which the provision of services was completed; and the date of receipt of payment.

Profit Margin Scheme
The UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) asserted that only those goods which have previously been subject to VAT before the supply in question may be subject to the profit margin scheme. As a result, stock on hand of used goods which were acquired prior to the effective date of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) on Value Added Tax (“VAT law”), or which have not previously been subject to VAT for other reasons, are not eligible to be sold under the profit margin scheme. VAT is therefore due on the full selling price of such goods.

The taxable person will not be allowed to apply the profit margin scheme in such cases where he has issued a tax invoice or any other document mentioning an amount of VAT chargeable in respect of the supply.
• The profit margin is the difference between the purchase price of the Goods and the selling price of the Goods,
• The profit margin shall be deemed to be inclusive of Tax
• A VAT registered business may apply the profit margin scheme to eligible goods when:
o the goods must have been purchased from either a person who is not registered for VAT;
o or a taxable person who calculated VAT on the supply by reference to the profit margin i.e. a VAT registered business, which already applied the profit margin scheme on the same goods.
o In addition, the profit margin scheme may also apply when the taxable person made a supply of the goods where input tax was not recovered in accordance with Article 53 of Cabinet Decision No. 52 of 2017.
Suppliers should be confident that a good has previously been subject to tax in order to apply the profit margin scheme. Such evidence or information of this position could include but is not limited to.:
o information relating to the date the good was first manufactured, sold or brought in to use
o e.g. in the case of a car, the date the car was first registered would indicate its sale would have been subject to VAT if it was registered on a date after 1 January 2018;
o Evidence that the supplier paid VAT on their original purchase e.g. by asking the supplier for a copy of the tax invoice relating to their purchase of the good.
Where a Taxable Person has charged Tax in respect of a supply with reference to the profit margin, the Taxable Person shall issue a Tax Invoice that clearly states that the Tax was charged with reference to the profit margin, in addition to all other information required to be stated in a Tax Invoice except the amount of Tax.

Transportation

As per the Clause (4), Article (45) of the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax and as per Article (34) of Cabinet Decision No. 52 of 2017 on the Executive Regulations (“VAT Executive Regulations”): The supply of the means of transport shall be subject to the zero rate in the case of, a supply of bus or train that is designed or adapted to be used for public transportation of (10) or more passengers.

One such qualifying means of transport includes the supply of a bus or train that is designed or adapted to be used for public transportation of 10 or more passengers. This Public Clarification discusses the definition of ‘public transportation’ and its interpretation for the purposes of identifying those buses or trains which qualify to be supplied at the zero rate under this provision.As a result, those means of transport which are designed to transport a specific category of individuals, such as school students or employees of a business, do not meet the conditions to be treated as a qualifying means of transport for the purposes of the zero-rating provisions. Such means of transport shall therefore be subject to the standard rate of VAT.
This denotes that, any supplies of means of transport (e.g. supply of buses) made for the use of schools or business are subject to 5% tax at the time of its purchase.
It has also been clarified by the FTA that, whether or not the original supply of the means of transport qualified for zero rating has no impact on the VAT liability of any charges made for the supply of transportation services. The VAT treatment of the means of transport when purchased does not determine the VAT treatment of any supply of transport services made using that vehicle. Providing services to business for transporting its employees from one place to another still remains exempt under law. Therefore, where local transport is made for a charge to a defined group of people, any VAT incurred on the costs of purchasing the means of transport, fuel etc. in order to provide that service is not recoverable.

Difference between private transportation & public transportation in the VAT Law:
What is Private Transportation?

FTA defines ‘Private Transportation’ as ‘all means of transportation used to transport a specific group of people under contracts.’
What is Public Transportation?
The transport used for ‘public transportation’ shall be interpreted by the FTA as, ‘all means of mass transportation used to transport all individuals without specifying any category.’
The difference between the two forms of transportation therefore means that public transportation should be available for all individuals without exception. Public transportation would not include transportation which is only available to a specific category of user.
To summarize, if a bus or train is designed or adapted for a specific class or group of people, or is only available for use by a specific class or group of people, then it shall be considered to be designed or adapted for use for private transportation. And thus, the supply of such means of transport will be taxable.
Factors relevant to identify Public Transportation:
In order to determine whether a bus or train is designed or adapted for use for public transportation, the following factors would be relevant:
1. Features exist which allow passengers to pay for the transportation or to indicate they possess a ticket e.g. a payment booth, ticket scanner or device to take payment;
2. There is branding either within or outside the vehicle advertising the transport service, indicating the transportation is available to all;
3. There is branding or other features indicating regulation of the means of transport by the entity regulating public transportation in the Emirate of operation;
4. The intended use of the means of transport is to transport members of the public without exception or limitation to a specific group.
By considering above points, the following means of transports are not be considered to be used for public transportation:
1. School buses;
2. Buses used to transport groups of employees or workers to or from a place of work;
3. Shuttle buses used to transport hotel guests to other locations e.g. a mall, airport, park, or other tourist attraction.
Hence the and the supply of such means of transports shall be subject to VAT at the standard rate.
VAT Liability of Transportation Services:
To add on, services related to transportation shall be governed by Clause 4 of Article 46 of the VAT Law and Article 45 of the Executive Regulations which state that any supply of local passenger transport shall be exempt from VAT where the supply is of local passenger transport services in a qualifying means of transport by land, water or air from a place in the UAE to another place in the UAE.
For the purposes of the exemption from tax, one of the qualifying means of transport listed includes a motor vehicle, including a taxi, bus, railway train, tram, mono-rail or similar means of transport, designed or adapted for transport of passengers.

Emirati Nationals – Home owners
The Federal Tax Authority issued a guide Apr2018 with details for home owners on how to claim the refund.
Emirati house owners have the right to a five per cent value added tax (VAT) refund when constructing their homes, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has stated. The Authority has issued a guide with details for home owners on how to claim the refund. It clarifies that only UAE citizens have the right to ask for the refund. They need no new account on the Authority’s website, and only need to download and fill a form and submit it back so the Authority
t UAE nationals can claim the VAT refund against the construction expenses for a residential building, when they construct it either for themselves or for their family members.
UAE nationals can claim the refund against a newly constructed building to be used solely as residence, under Article (66) of Cabinet Decision No. (52) of 2017 on the Executive Regulations, of the Federal Decree-Law No (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax,”.
The VAT refund is not allowed in relation to a building that will not be used solely as a residence by the person or the person’s family. For example, it is not to be used as a hotel, guest house, hospital, or if the property is to be used for rental purposes or for any other purpose not consistent with it being used as a residence,
According to the guide issued by the FTA, an Emirati owner has the right to ask for the VAT refund if he bought a piece of land and allowed an authorised person or company to establish a housing unit on it. The guide says that the VAT refund only includes the money spent on establishing the unit, adding that it includes the amounts paid as building materials, except for electricity products of furniture or green areas.
On the other hand, the refund also includes VAT paid for doors, fire alarms systems, floors, kitchens, health units, bathrooms, windows, and electricity cables. A third entity is going to review the housing units to approve the refund and its amount after the Emirati owner submits the form. Moreover, the owner needs documents that prove his ownership for the unit, show the date of issuing the certification of establishment, prove the ownership of the land and show the value of VAT paid during the process.
It should be noted that the VAT refund will be claimed after completion of the new building which is ready to use. The owner must file a VAT refund application after getting registration with the FTA within six months from the date of completion of the newly built residence. Processing can take up to 20 days.
A newly built residence is considered complete at the date the residence becomes occupied, or the date when it is certified as completed by a competent authority in the state, or as may otherwise be stipulated by the Authority.
Also where the Authority has repaid tax and following the receipt of such repayment, if the person used the building for rental or any other commercial purpose, then he will be required to repay the amount of the tax that was claimed by him. The UAE national can claim VAT against construction related expenses excluding furniture or electrical appliances.

Grants and Sponsorships
The VAT treatment of donations, grants and sponsorships depends on whether the donor, grantor or sponsor, as the case may be, received any benefit in return for such payments.
o Where any benefit is received in return for the payments, VAT implications will arise.
o However, where no benefit is received, the payments will be treated as outside the scope of VAT as they will not be seen as consideration for a supply.
The VATP011 clarification states where donation and grants do not have any supply, they are considered as out of scope.
Generally, sponsorship will be subject to VAT as there is usually associated supply to such sponsorship.

Pre Vat Orders and post Vat supply
As per the FTA’s statement, the only case where consumers are directly responsible for paying VAT on services are those that were delivered fully or partially after VAT went into effect from January 1 and it was contractually/ stated that the amount due is exclusive of tax.
According to the FTA’s statement, suppliers will be liable for VAT in two cases:
o if the contract states that the amount received against the good or service is inclusive of VAT;
o or if the contract issued to the consumer did not refer to VAT.
In the latter case, when the goods or services recipient is registered for tax, the amount due is treated as exclusive of tax. So the supplier has to ascertain whether the recipient is registered, and the recipient ability to recover tax as per Article 70 of the VAT Executive Regulations.
The authority stressed that in all cases, the supplier remains liable for accounting for the tax and paying it to the FTA.

Bahrain and Utility Bills
A Bahraini lawyer has insisted that the recent decision by the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) to apply Value Added Tax (VAT) on subscribers’ bills are unconstitutional, demanding immediate cancellation of the decision. This came as lawyer Mohammed Al Thawadi appeared before the High Administrative Court, which is examining a complaint lodged by him against the authority. The court said that it would issue its final verdict in the case on February 24.
In his statements, the lawyer asserted that the decision is unconstitutional, claiming that Articles 15 and 17 of the Constitution of the Kingdom stipulate that taxes should only be imposed through legislation. Mr. Al Thawadi also accused EWA of not adhering to the Unified GCCVAT Agreement.
“Article 29 did not stipulate the imposition of taxes on electricity supply services, but on the contrary, it gave each state the right to exempt some sectors in accordance with local law. “Additionally, Article 30 stipulates the exemption of government bodies from paying taxes, and therefore it is not permissible for the authority to collect taxes.” The lawyer’s last statement came after the authority denied the accusations during the previous hearing.
“The authority does not exercise its functions as sovereign and there is no monopoly of providing electricity and water supply services in the Kingdom,” the authority’s counsel had told the court. Further supporting his accusations against the authority, Mr. Al Thawadi said: “The authority’s claim that it does not operate in a sovereign manner and that there is nothing preventing competition with it from any other party in providing its services is incorrect.

Cloud back ups or on-premise?

February 16th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Pretty scary.
We have suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of a hacker, last seen as aktv@94.155.49.9 This person has destroyed all data in the US, both primary and backup systems. We are working to recover what data we can.

Though they’re back up and running, who knows if customers will stick by them, or will sue them.
What impact that had on infrastructure mail servers, backup servers, and SQL Servers for customers is hard to judge.
A large number of people might have lost their mailboxes and previously stored mail that was in IMAP storage.
This is likely an annoyance for individuals, but potentially catastrophic for businesses. Imagine your small business hosted with them and all your mailboxes were lost with customer communications and who knows what else.

Could this happen with a cloud provider like Azure O365, Google Apps or AWS?
Maybe but they will have DR backups,
But what if you store back ups on the cloud but run on premise- how long would it take to mass restore multiple, customers? Do you still have ad3qute on premise test systems to restore on and the staff and the time to do it?

Do you assume that you will always have either a primary server and an online backup server/share/bucket/container and can download data.
The problem is that online systems that connect to the primary can be accessed.
If an attacker were to access one, they potentially could access the second.
The world seems to be moving towards more online storage, or in the case of cloud vendors, a reliance on snapshots. That might be good enough for cloud vendors, but is it good enough for your on-premise system.
It’s likely that an attacker, possibly even with insider help, would wipe out backups first, then primary systems.
Some sort of disconnected offline backup of data, especially database servers gives you a third line of defence.
don’t forget that back up- need to be tested- if the back up software compatible with old versions, does your back up use the same version as the current erp software installed on your primary, or the same SQL version (i.e when you upgrade do you also upgrade your back ups, or maintain an older environment?)

Microsoft and other large vendors have had downtime whether self induced by releasing code too early, or due to hardware failure, or malicious attach . What is important to realise is just how infrequent are just issues given the number of clients they have across a range of solutions, and how little was the downtime and how fast they are at in addressing issues that arise. The think about how you would have been able to deal with the same issues in your own server room?

There are increasing risks, and increasing issues of statutory compliance with regard to data protection e.g, GDPR. The cloud generally offers cheap storage nd robust systems, yet it needs to be part of a holistic approach to reduce overall risk and cost, and not the only line of defence.

What does GDPR mean for Big Data Analytics and AI?

January 27th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

By 2020, there will be an estimated 24 billion internet-connected devices globally – more than four devices for every person. Many consumers have concerns about data privacy and how their data is used and protected (some surveys put this at 90% of users). As businesses learn to extract value from and utilize data at a deeper level, it is essential for companies to be extremely conscientious about protecting personal information.

The recent Google 50 Million Euro GDPR fine posted about on our blog has major implication means for data insight driven companies. Secondary processing of date using iterative analytics and AI needs to remain legal under the GDPR – i,e.GDPR compliant technical and organizational safeguards in place that:

(1) Satisfy a balance of interest test that requires functional separation (to separate the information value of data from the identity of data subjects) to reduce the negative impact on data subjects, so that the data controller’s legitimate interests are not overridden. see Annexures 1 and 2 of this note: https://ec.europa.eu/justice/article-29/documentation/opinion-recommendation/files/2014/wp217_en.pdf

Recent high-profile lawsuits against Oracle and Acxiom make it clear that simply claiming a “legitimate interest” in commercializing personal data is not enough. (see the video here http://fortune.com/2018/11/08/privacy-international-oracle-acxiom/)

(2) Ensure compliance with requirements that the secondary processing is compatible with the original purpose for which the data was collected;

(3) By default restrict access to only the minimum data necessary for each purpose for which it is processed – such Data Minimisation, is a level of granular control and protection that cannot be technologies like encryption alone.

The “Data Privacy Day 2019″, which is tomorrow: Monday 28 January 2019, is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) in the United States, is built on the theme, “Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust.”

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU5, SP1 CU13 – many fixes

January 25th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Many fixes inside SP2 CU5 and SP1 CU13, e.g.:
• Access violation when you compile a query
• Access violations and unhandled exceptions with Always On Availability Groups automatic seeding
• Dynamic Data Masking doesn’t when there’s a cursor involved
• Access violations for XML data types
• Query Store blocks transactions and log truncation
• Out of memory errors
• Non-yielding schedulers with heavy use of prepared statements
• Can’t restore compressed backups of encrypted databases
• High CPU usage when there are many batch requests (which we would expect?)
• SQL Server service crashes when you cancel CHECKDB (on a “large database” – doesn’t that apply to all? )
…. lots more

Dynamics 365 April19 update – release notes

January 25th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/2018/12/12/announcing-the-dynamics-365-april-19-release-timeline/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/business-applications-release-notes/April19/index

The April ’19 release signifies a key milestone for Dynamics 365. It is the first major update where all customers across Dynamics 365 will be on the same latest version and on a consistent update schedule. It is also a template of how major updates will be done going forward in April and October every year. The most obvious change is the move to a Unified fluent interface.

The enhancements to Dynamics 365 applications in the April ’19 release include hundreds of new capabilities across Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Portals, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Finance and Operations, Talent, Retail, and Business Central. Includes a new set of mixed reality experiences using Microsoft Layout and Microsoft Remote Assist. These are described in the links above and in a lengthy ‘What’s new” document

The April ’19 release delivers continued Artificial Intelligence capabilities that leverage the power of Microsoft AI research, tools, data, and the Power Platform to help organizations transform customer service, sales, and marketing functions.
• AI for Sales provides actionable insights to drive personalized engagement and proactive decision-making.
• AI for Market Insights enables business users to gather actionable insights based on what consumers say, seek, and feel about their brands and products. Optimize your customer service experience through AI enhanced analysis with Customer Service Insights.

Microsoft Layout
Design spaces in context with Dynamics 365 Layout. Bring physical designs from concept to completion with confidence. Import 3D models to experience room layouts as holograms in the physical world or in virtual reality.1 Share with stakeholders2 and easily edit layouts in real-world scale, to make better decisions before you build.

Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
Modernize your field service operations, so you can make the most of your time and money. With heads-up, hands-free video calling on Microsoft HoloLens, technicians can collaborate with any remote expert on PC or mobile to troubleshoot issues in context. Enable on-site technicians to share what they see with remote experts, while staying heads-up, hands-free with Remote Assist on Microsoft HoloLens. With modern tools like mixed reality video calling, annotations, and file sharing, technicians and remote experts can work together to solve problems in context.3

Congratulations to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella – named top CEO in the U.S.A. by Forbes magazine

January 23rd, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Congratulations to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who was named the top CEO in the United States by Forbes magazine. This honor follows many key successes under his leadership, including the acquisition of GitHub and an increased focus on Microsoft Azure.
For a fascinating insight into how Microsoft has rebuilt itself ‘brick by brick’ under his leadership over the last 4 years, see this Forbes interview form the end of December 2018,

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2018/12/10/exclusive-ceo-interview-satya-nadella-reveals-how-microsoft-got-its-groove-back/#454c91397acb

GDPR starts to bite

January 22nd, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Google has been hit with a record fine by French data regulator CNIL, of 50m euros ($56.7m) for breaching GDPR after finding that Google had a “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding ads personalisation”.
The regulator also said that the users were not sufficiently informed about how Google users personal data for advertising. The fine relates to two complaints filed by privacy advocacy groups, which were filed as soon as GDPR came into place in May last year. The groups also claim that Google does not not have a valid legal basis to process user data for ad personalisation, as mandated by the GDPR. Google also selects ad personalisation by default for new users, instead of offering an ‘opt in’, which is also against GDPR rules.

Under the GDPR, complaints are transferred to local data protection regulators. While Google’s European HQ is in Dublin, the CNIL concluded that the team in Dublin doesn’t have the final say when it comes to data processing for new Android users.

In a statement, Google said: “People expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We’re deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR. We’re studying the decision to determine our next steps.”

The large fine reflect the view thatthe violations were continuous, and still occurring. Google’s violations were aggravated by the fact that “the economic model of the company is partly based on ads personalisation”, and that it is therefore “its utmost responsibility to comply” with GDPR.

Dr Lukasz Olejnik, an independent privacy researcher and adviser, said the ruling was the world’s largest data protection fine. “This is a milestone in privacy enforcement, and the history of privacy. The whole European Union should welcome the fine. It loudly announced the advent of GDPR decade,” he said.

Facebook is also faced with huge fines. Facebook has been fined €10m (£8.9m) by Italian authorities for misleading users over its data practices. The two fines issued by Italy’s competition watchdog are some of the largest levied against the social media company for data misuse, dwarfing the £500,000 fine levied by the British Information Commissioner’s Office in September for the Cambridge Analytica scandal– the maximum that body was able to issue. The Italian regulator found that Facebook had breached articles 21, 22, 24 and 25 of the country’s consumer code by: Misleading users in the sign-up process about the extent to which the data they provide would be used for commercial purposes.

Emphasising only the free nature of the service, without informing users of the “profitable ends that underlie the provision of the social network”, and so encouraging them to make a decision of a commercial nature that they would not have taken if they were in full possession of the facts. Forcing an “aggressive practice” on registered users by transmitting their data from Facebook to third parties, and vice versa, for commercial purposes.

The company was specifically criticised for the default setting of the Facebook Platform services, which in the words of the regulator, “prepares the transmission of user data to individual websites/apps without express consent” from users. Users can disable the platform, but the regulator found that its opt-out nature did not provide a fully free choice. As an additional penalty, the authority has directed Facebook to publish an apology to users on its website and on its app.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We are reviewing the Authority’s decision and hope to work with them to resolve their concerns. This year we made our terms and policies clearer to help people understand how we use data and how our business works. We also made our privacy settings easier to find and use, and we’re continuing to improve them. You own and control your personal information on Facebook.”

On Friday (14 December), Facebook disclosed that a bug gave hundreds of apps unauthorised access to photos that users had uploaded but hadn’t made public. The bug is understood to have ran for 12 days between 13 and 25 September. To compound matter it failed to promptly disclose the issue within 72 hours.

The bug is the latest in a series of privacy scandals. Facebook disclosed a security breach on Sept. 28, saying 50 million accounts had their login access tokens stolen. That figure was reduced to 30 million , and Facebook lconfirmed that 29 million of the impacted users had their names and contact information exposed. Among those users, 14 million of also had other personal information, such as their gender, relationship status and their recent place check-ins, stolen by the attackers. Facebook told the Irish Data Protection Commission that 10 percent of the affected accounts were European, according to Graham Doyle, the commission’s head of communications. the accounts were hacked in an access token harvesting attack. The security incident, revealed last week, was caused by a vulnerability in Facebook’s code which permitted attackers to steal access tokens. Access tokens are used to keep Facebook users logged in when they switch over to a public profile view via the “View As” feature.

A KPMG global study in 2018 revealed that 77% of consumer are totally against their data being sold.

A CNIL ruling in October last yearagaisnt the company Vectuary has a lot of significance. Data privacy experts consider the regulator was stating that consent to processing personal data cannot be gained through a framework arrangement which bundles a number of uses behind a single “I agree” button that, when clicked, passes consent to partners via a contractual relationship. That CNIL decision implies that bundling consent to partner processing in a contract is not, sufficient, or valid consent under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) framework.

The firm was harvesting personal data (including people’s location and device IDs) on its partners’ mobile users via an SDK embedded in their apps, and receiving bids for this data via another standard piece of the programmatic advertising pipe — ad exchanges and supply side platforms — which also get passed personal data so those can broadcast it widely via the online ad world’s real-time bidding (RTB) system to solicit potential advertisers’ bids for the attention of the individual app user… The wider the personal data gets spread, the more potential ad bids. CNIL discovered the company was holding the personal data of a staggering 67.6 million people when it conducted an on-site inspection of the company in April 2018 and yet Vectuary’s website claims it doesn’t store 70% of its data.

GDPR, Article 5, paragraph 1, point f, requires that personal data be “processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss.” If you can not protect data in this way, then the GDPR says you can not process the data. So the complint ius not just about the data or the consent but also about the processing. of the data sharing but rather that it is not adequately secure or controlled.

Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation (v3.3.0.258)

January 20th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

This release is compatible with Dynamics 365 9.x.
To update to this release, visit the Admin Center for Dynamics 365 online, solutions page to install the update. \

Project Service Automation (v3.3.0.258) Some Improvements
• Timesheets
Weekly time entry with support for customizations. This feature enhances the time entry experience in Project Service Automation by providing the ability for project resources to enter time for the entire week at the same time. It will also be possible for system customizers to customize this view with custom fields or lookups to other entities. Customizers will also be able to implement custom business rules to support their organization’s practices.

• Sales ◦Price list Markups
With this feature, users of PSA price list will be able to create new price list from an existing price list and apply inflationary markups on the different components of the project price list.

• Per unit pricing on Expense categories
With this feature, certain expense categories can be setup with appropriate units and a price and cost per unit using price lists in PSA. This setup will be used to default the per unit rates on all business transactions in PSA such as Quote line details, Contract line details, Project estimates, Expense entries, Journal lines and Invoice line details. This feature opens up scenarios around pricing and costing Mileage, out-sourced work and some unit – based work categories such as processing pay slips, invoices etc. on projects. With this feature, both product-based contract lines and the time and expense actuals have to be marked as “Ready to invoice” before these can be added to a draft invoice in PSA. This feature allows for customizations in the area of PSA’s proforma or invoice proposals. Customers and partners have a way to tailor the creation of draft invoice proposals in PSA by programmatically manipulating the Billing status values on unbilled sales actuals for time, expense, fees and on product-based contract lines.

• Allow user to delete products lines from Project Invoice when the invoice in the draft state.

• Project task form. With this feature, users will be able to access task details directly from the project grid, by selecting the new ‘Edit Task’ schedule grid action. This new form is ideal for extensibility scenarios for tasks, for example: tracking Task Health or Task Type. Users will also be able to easily add notes to a task, encouraging

◦ ◦Full screen toggle- This new UI control enables users to expand the following grid to full screen for an improved editing experience: Schedule, Resource Assignments, Resource Reconciliation, Estimates and Expense Estimates.

Bug Fixes
•Fixed: Restricting the ability to create invoices without approved actuals.
•Fixed: Deleting a contract milestone for an unposted invoice, prevents posting or deleting of the invoice.
•Fixed: Tracking View: Client-side and Server-side calculations are different.
•Fixed: Invalid invoice frequency setup can lead to “Object reference not set to an instance of an object” error when trying to create an invoice schedule.
•Fixed: Project Approval has overlapping command sequence for “Approve” and “Reject” impacting the Ribbon Work Bench.
•Fixed: Null reference exception when creating Project Team Member (and booking resource) through Workflow.
•Fixed: Marking a resource request as complete removes the generic resource from the assigned task when multiple named resources fulfilled the requirement.
•Fixed: Solution Upgrade failures when customer data contains tasks with null dates.

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations version 8.1.3 – PU23 – new features

January 20th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

This version will be released in January 2019 and has an actual build number of 8.1.227. It includes platform update 23.

For the many Extensibility changes in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations version 8.1.3 see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/extensibility/extensibility-changes-813

Collection letters
Set up collection letters by customer,, so that the collection letter code for each transaction is tracked, but the collection letter processing is based on a single collection letter level that is stored for the customer.

Settle remainder
To settle the amount remaining from settlement activity by applying that amount to a ledger account or to another customer. Settle the remainder either when you are settling amounts entered into a journal, or when settling open transactions.

Globalization
Electronic reporting:
• Import from files in JSON format. You can now configure an Electronic reporting (ER) format to parse incoming files in JSON format. You can then set up ER mappings that specify how information from JSON files is used to update application data.
• Support country context-specific ER model mappings. To isolate country-specific logic of data access in a single ER model mapping.
o Specify a country context for ER model mapping.
o Manage multiple country-specific mappings for a single ER data model.
o Depending on the legal entity’s primary address, the appropriate country/region-specific model mapping will be used when an ER format is used to generate an electronic document.

There are also some Russian localisations for AR AP movement registers that may be worth checking.

Platform 23 update features:
Legal entity filtering using grid column headers
For grids with cross-company queries, users can filter the Legal entity column using the column drop-down menu, similar to other columns in the grid. A user looking at the global transactions for a specific customer, can find the transactions within a small subset of companies. Prior to this feature, he would have had to filter using the Customer range tab on the Advanced filter or sort dialog box, or utilize page-specific custom filters.

Export to Excel
In Platform update 22, the Export to Excel feature was improved to allow users to export up to 1 million rows from a grid in Finance and Operations, a substantial increase from the previous 10,000-row limit. In Platform update 23, after the export completes, users will receive a notification in the Action center that the export has finished. The notification includes a link to download the Excel file containing the exported data. The link and notification are accessible for approximately three days after the export completes.

Manage access to network printers across legal entities

System network printers management form. System Administrators can use this, along with the Document Routing Agent (DRA) to register network printers with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. When you enable this feature, a Preview link will appear on the System network printers form (Organization administration > Setup > Network printers and click System network printers). After you register the network printers with the service using the DRA, you will see the configuration information for each legal entity in the organization.

Enabling index hints in X++
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 and earlier versions supported INDEX HINTS from X++. However, this was deprecated when Dynamics AX 2012 was released. A reason why this was deprecated is because a misguided index hit could damage the queries. However, thousands of queries in hundreds of tenants shows that SQL may come up with less optimal plans for simple queries, Finance and Operations has thus brought back X++ hints. However, X++ hints should still only be used with extreme caution. Use Index hints sparingly, and only when you can ensure that it causes more benefit than harm. When in doubt, avoid using index hints. A new API is added on common allowIndexHint with a default behavior of False. This allows developers to opt-in and explicitly enable index hint. The old syntax on the select statement for specifying index hint is reused.For an existing X++ code that specifies index hint, there is no change to the current behavior until the new API is invoked.

Automated refresh of Entity store (opt-in)
Let the system manage Entity store refresh instead of scheduling the refresh yourself. When enabled, choose a refresh pattern (hourly, twice a day, daily, or weekly). When specified, the system keeps the entity store updated for the selected pattern. The system will also switch to the new update form, where you will be notified with a status and possible refresh issues.

Entity store as a Data Lake (preview)
In Platform update 23, you can select to use Entity store as a Data Lake. When this feature is turned on, Entity store data isn’t populated in the relational Entity store database in the Microsoft subscription. Instead, it’s populated in an Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 account in your own subscription. You can use the full capabilities of PowerBI.com and other Azure tools to work with Entity store.

For more information: contact Synergy Software Systems, Dubai based since 1991 and Dynamics Partner since 2003.
0097143365589

Dynamics 365 Field Service enhancements (v8.3.0.255) – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

January 20th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

This update was released in December 2018.

Enhancements
• Numerous performance improvements.
• Improved Sitemap: Improved the Field Service app module sitemap including Connected Field Service entities.
• Field Service SLA: Implemented SLA for Work Orders which connects the long-standing SLA functionality to the Work Order Time From Promised and Time To Promised fields ensuring that arrival time related SLA fulfillment is driven by existing Field Service scheduling tools.
Note: Out of the box, SLA is not enabled on the Work Order entity. Enable it to use the two SLA KPIs that are shipped as part of the solution.

Fixed: Upgrade Bug – Booking is updated with groupId before the record is created.

Connected Field Service enhancements

Connected Field Service (CFS) and the IoT solution, now deploys with Field Service. The CFS solution extends Field Service to cater to IoT device-driven scenarios so that organizations can respond to device anomalies and react. This allows customers to predict issues in advance and fix issues remotely or schedule a service visit, preventing failures in a proactive way.

• The CFS solution is now available out of the box with Field Services, which eliminates the need to separately install the additional solution package.
• The sitemap for the Field Service app module now includes the CFS entities as part of the default navigation. The IoT settings in the navigation are now merged with the settings section of Field Services.
Note: Non-System Administrators may need to include additional permissions for the CFS entities to see the CFS entities.
• The CFS deployment app for PaaS customers (with Azure IoT Hub) is re-architected for improved performance during initial setup. The user experience for deployment process is also updated to provide better deployment experience for administrators.

Technician Productivity

New Field Service Mobile app: The new mobile application that brings with it a plethora of new features. See https://aka.ms/fsmobile-docs for more information.
Push Notifications: Send push notifications to the new Field Service Mobile application based on any conditions. Create a workflow and select the Field Service Mobile Entity Push Notification workflow action to use this feature.
The out-of-the-box example workflow will allow bookable resources to be notified when they are booked on a work order.
Geofencing: Enable geofencing so that when a booking is scheduled for a work order, a geofence gets created around the service account for that work order and any exit or entry of that geofence by a bookable resource can generate a geofence event record. Out-of-the-box workflows are provided that can perform actions based on these geofence events such as sending a push notification to a bookable resource’s Field Service Mobile app when that resource arrives on-site for a work order.

SQL 2008 and Windows Server 2008 end of support dates.

January 15th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Reminder:

End of Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 is on July 9, 2019.
Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 is on January 14, 2020.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-sql-server-2008

https://info.microsoft.com/ww-ondemand-windows-server-2008-sql-server-2008-end-of-support.html

This means:
No further security updates
Compliance implications around standards and GDPR
Reduced performance
Less opportunity to innovate
May restrict ability to upgrade application software

Extended support is available at 20% of license cost.

This is a critical project to undertake, which is made more difficult by the tight timeframes and the need to build a plan that encompasses both Server and SQL upgrades. Each organisation has different, individual system architectures, strategy, budget , IT resources, and risk appetite.

Failure to update your platforms could result in compliance gaps or security attacks. The risks are too important to ignore. One in five organizations loses customers due to a cyberattack and nearly 30% lose revenue.1 4.2 billion records were stolen in 20162 and hackers aren’t going anywhere—the expected cost of cybercrime to the global economy by 2022 is $8 trillion.

The modern work landscape is changing. There is a need for massive data growth, powerful insights into unstructured data, and analytics that drive digital transformation. End of support provides a chance for you to not only revisit your IT strategy and to ensure your systems are modernized, and compliant.

Three options to consider:
1 – Upgrade to the latest versions of Windows Server and/or SQL now, either on-premises or deployed in private or public Cloud, either DIY or managed.
2 – Go ‘as a service’ and shift the responsibility, either moving workloads onto a VM within a managed Azure environment (IaaS), or transforming the workloads to platform-based services (PaaS) and going ‘serverless’.
3 – Move everything as is into the Azure environment where Microsoft will continue support for Server and SQL 2008 for a further three years at no cost which gives you more time to plan upgrade.

Consider whether now is an opportune time to migrate to azure and to take advantage of this special migration offer.

Extended security updates will be available for free in Azure for three more years after the End of support deadline for 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server to help secure your workloads .

This means that Azure is an ideal place for older SQL and Windows servers.

Contact Synergy Software Systems on 009714 3365589 to understand the migration services we offer to help you manage the upgrade. (Microsoft partners for over 20 years in the U.A.E.).

Sunsystems v 6.3 – time to upgrade.

January 14th, 2019 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Infor SunSystems® delivers integrated financial, purchasing, inventory, and sales management paired with social business, analytics, and in-context business intelligence. For those on legacy versions such as v5 or even 6.1 or 6.2 there many reasons to upgrade this year to version 6.3. here are just a few:

1.ENHANCED SUNSYSTEMS CORE FEATURES
Give users a familiar, easy-to-use environment. Infor SunSystems helps you to increase productivity and to reduce training time. Employees can easily find information relevant to their jobs, and even delivers that data to them automatically.
2.MODERN USER INTERFACE
Create real-time queries and drill back to the source transaction to take immediate action. The addition of the Infor Ming.le™ social feed helps you get clear, supporting insight and links to additional information at the point of decision.
3.ROBUST BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
SunSystems has web dashboards and a self-service front-end that allow any business user to conduct sophisticated analytics.
Centralization of data is improved, and integration to your business applications is more seamless so that you can get business insights through a variety of channels.
4.INFOR ION INTEGRATION
This version of SunSystems has expanded Infor ION® integration capabilities, which provides easy integration with a range of Infor solutions for risk management, human capital management, travel expense control, asset management, and more. You get cross-application workflows and event management, and deeper insight across application process flows, as well as proactive, preemptive control.

SunSystems in 2018 became part of the Infor OS. This brings several advantages to the product. It will become integrated with other Infor solutions. There are plans to integrate Infor Birst, HCM, HMS (Hospitality Management) and CRM from 2019. The integration of Birst may see some customers adopt the powerful BI tool and rethink their reliance on spreadsheets.