February 24th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Enterprise is Microsoft’s flagship cloud-based ERP system, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is optimized to deliver improved global visibility, scalability and digital intelligence.

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Dynamics 365 FO platform update changes

February 22nd, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The next platform update (which is Platform update 13) will be generally available in April 2018. Platform updates are backwards compatible and do not require any change in your customizations.

For customers who purchase subscriptions to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations after April 1, 2018, Platform updates will be continual updates, and will now be managed by Microsoft rather than optional updates.

• If you purchase subscriptions to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operation after April 1, 2018, then you willl automatically begin receiving continuous updates.
• If you are an existing customer and have Platform Update 11 or earlier installed, then you will be asked to move to Platform Update 12 by April 1 2018.

By July 1, 2018 all customers will receive continual Platform updates managed by Microsoft. (See the Microsoft Modern Lifecycle support policy).

The cloud brings new operating paradigms, no longer do we need for major upgrade every few years to get new features. Such upgrades for an enterprise system are major projects. The new platform aims at a more agile approach of incremental updates. That requires Customers to have a different mind set and processes of on-going testing, own code alignment and new feature adoption. The move from layered code to extension is to support this sea change.
Over-layering means you can change any code when want and move it up to the next layer. This works well in on-premise, isolated code bases. However, it is a high maintenance driver for cloud application, where code purity is the key to scale.
Extension technology does not change the original code base. it provides entry and exit points in the code framework to extend it. These are called pre and post hooks. So, to get a value in a table that is not retrieved in standard code, add code to the post hook to get that value, without ever changing the standard code. Thus the standard code is intact, scalable and can run at high performance using hyper scale computing power.

However, it is not always possible to use pre and post hooks. You may want to alter the value in the process before retrieving it and to interact in the code itself. That was the situation in Ax 2012 and the so called Ax 7
Microsoft provided a new concept in D365 FO called “chain of command” to take extensibility to the next levels.
The goal is better customer experience, faster time to value, better process speeds in large processes, that used to take forever, like master planning or billing.
Rather than 5 year big bang upgrades we will see rolling monthly updates.
In the long run containerisation and micro-ervices are the new paradigms. That’s how Amazon works. Containerised code can even run without an OS.

However, moving from over-layering to extensions is effectively a rewrite of all Dynamics Ax code. Thus, it is a task of epic proportions for those with legacy major vertical extensions. At the end of the work we are going to be in a better place. Release speed will improve and with less dependency on standard code, new and updated solutions will be able to release faster to keep up with the new Microsoft releases

Additional information
• Starting with the April 2018 release, Platform updates for both on-premises and online deployments will be available together.
• Continual updates will be applied first to the sandbox environment and then applied on production. Detailed plans about the process will be shared in the coming weeks.
We have taken several steps in the last few months as we continue this journey to create a robust yet flexible cloud ERP. We believe these changes will result in gains for you in the long term to take advantage of the cloud innovation and capabilities. The timeline below captures recent and upcoming changes.

Nov 2017 Network security group lock down to control access to a set of known clients.
Dec 2017 Sandbox for Dev and Test on MS subscription restricted to non admin access.

Feb 2018 Reduction in package deployment downtime.
Feb 2018 Necessary sand box service operations available through Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) such that Azure SQL Server administrative access to all sandboxes will not be required.
April 2018 All sandbox service operations available through LCS such that RDP access to sandbox will not be required.
April 2018 Microsoft managed Platform updates for new customers.
July 2018 Microsoft managed Platform updates for existing customers.
Please note that this information is subject to change without notice.
For more information on the new features ask your Dubai Dynamics partner Synergy Software Systems

VAT on bank charges in the U.A.E. Yes? No? Maybe

February 18th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

On the 28 December 2017, the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) Central Bank issued “Notice No. 421/2017” to Head Offices of National Banks, Main Branches of Foreign Banks and Finance Companies Operating in the UAE with a subject title “Clarification of VAT Application” (“Notice”). This notice clarified the UAE Central Bank’s position regarding the levy of Value Added Tax (“VAT”) on certain fees charged by banks and finance companies.

“Banks and finance companies should comply with Central Bank’s Regulations 29/2011 regarding Bank Loans & Other Services Offered to Individual customers, and service charges collected from customers shall be within the limits specified in Annexure 2 of the said Regulations. Banks and finance companies will not be permitted to exceed the fees structure for individual customers because of VAT. Similarly, banks are required to maintain and not increase their existing fees structure and levels for non-individual customers as a result of VAT.

Therefore, the banks and finance companies shall absorb the applicable VAT until further instructions from the Central Bank. Similarly, any applicable VAT on the services provided by the Central Bank shall be absorbed by the Central Bank.”

This Notice was not aligned with the understanding of many financial services providers, where the interpretation is that charging VAT on their (maximum) fees and commissions is not an increase in fee but rather is a levy of tax on behalf of the Federal Tax Authority in accordance with the Federal Decree – Law No. (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax (“ VAT Law”) and had announced a VAT levy would apply.

Some areas remain uncertain under the Notice, notably with regards to the application of the restriction to existing fees structure and levels for non-individual customers, as the maximum limits for fees and commissions listed in Appendix 2 of the Central Bank Regulations 29/2011 are applicable to retail customer service only.

As indicated in the Notice, a further review in consultation with relevant stakeholders will be undertaken.
see for example https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local//will-uae-banks-increase-their-fees-due-to-vat-find-out

EAM, field service, IOT and Holo lens -ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

February 17th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The digital world is already here and what seemed science fiction few years back we now accept as everyday. Voice activated commands on our smear phone now also query our databases and update our dashboards, remote medical checks are done at an atm, artificial intelligence and big data influence our live every time we log onto google, amazon, facebook or ring a callcentre.

We have been investigating IoT for over a year, particularly with regard to condition monitoring for asset management and several of our team were involved in recent training that included a hands on session for Microsoft Field Services. This is built on the Dynamics 365 platform as an extension of CRM and offer comprehensive features for field service: help desk, engineer scheduling and mobile operations. Field service is aimed at service companies with a large field force of service engineers and is typically integrated with erp systems and thus the overall project can be quite complex. To reduce the risk and implementation time we offer a proven accelerator.

We also offer a Enterprise Asset Management suite which is successfully deployed in several leading UAE companies for a number of years particularly for asset tracking.

In Dynamics 365/2012 for Ax EAM also needs to consider that both engineers and equipment may be sued is production or on projects. Thus engineering and maintenance scheduling also has to consider in house planned and breakdown maintenance and servicing and more complex overhauls and asset structures, the impact of equipment downtime on production schedules and much more. We offer a Microsoft certified isv integrated suite of EAM modules built on the Ax 2012/D365 platform that covers both field service and mobile as well as in in house maintenance.

Predictive maintenance and SCADA integration and extensive condition monitoring., embedded and Power BI analytics are no longer rocket science.

At a recent client 4 day workshop we demonstrated HOLO lens assisted reality to support engineers. This can for example be used to provide step by step guidance or for collaboration from the field with an OEM a remote manufacturer, or your chief engineer.

January 2018 release for Dynamics AX 2012 R3 version

February 11th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The January release for Dynamics AX 2012 R3 version is available in LCS on the updates tile inside your R3 project. This update represents a typical collection of smaller functional improvements and technical fixes.

Bugs are fixed in many areas and there are also many enhancements.

This release is a cumulative package including all other fixes released in the prior CU13 update.

This release gives visibility into fixes recently shipped for R3, including some features and design changes that are newly released in this month.

• Primary Build: 6.3.6000.4281
• Number of Application hotfixes: 141
• Number of Binary hotfixes: 21

Ask your Dubai Microsoft Dynamics Partner, Synergy Software Systems on 0097143365589

Dynamics AX 2009 mainstream support is running out.

February 11th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

April 10, 2018 marks the end of mainstream support for Dynamics AX 2009.
Extended support ends 10/12/21.

It is time to start making plans to migrate if you are still on AX 2009.
Customers have the option to move to Dynamics 365 Enterprise or even Dynamics AX 2012 R3.

Under mainstream support those Customers who remain current on the Microsoft Dynamics Enhancement Plan will continue to receive all of the valued benefits of the Enhancement Plan, including regulatory updates and hotfixes, except for some exceptions for Brazil.

Extended support for those Customers who remain current on the Microsoft Dynamics Enhancement Plan will continue to receives all paid support options, as well as security-related hotfix support which is provided at no charge.

View the Microsoft official details on this topic here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17140/general-lifecycle-policy-questions

We understand that an erp upgrade needs time (and budget) and that is why even if not planning to upgrade this year you need to start the preparation process.
You can start cleaning up old data, identify what new features to use. consider whether cloud vs on premise, etc.

If you are likely to continue with Ax 2009 for a year or more, then it is prudent to update to the latest updates for Ax 2009 (and for SQL and Windows etc) there too many security threats these days.

Its also likely that if you are using Ax 2009 that you may be outgrowing a system implemented on old hardware, and also have a lot of history data, and log files, that may benefit from purging or archiving, and also that your SQL database sizing, parameterization and maintenance routines could benefit from a review and optimization.

If you need to stretch the economic life of your Ax 2009 system and to improve the performance, then investing our system audit and enhancement review will pay dividends many times over whether on premise or on azure.

“Meltdown” and “Spectre and azure.”

February 10th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Last month as reported on this blog, Intel revealed two critical vulnerabilities they found in Intel chips. These vulnerabilities allow cyber-attackers to steal data from the memory of running apps. This data can include passwords, emails, photos, or documents. Intel dubbed these as: “Meltdown” and “Spectre.”

Microsoft released a patch for Azure the very next day. Just as well because Microsoft Azure is a shared-computing environment by default. One server hosts applications and development of applications, and various Virtual Machines tap into the server to allow employees to and others to access these applications. As such, the Meltdown vulnerability allows an attacker to compromise the host and read all the data from every operating system tapping into it. Around 3-10 million physical servers host Azure, and these servers in turn host tens of millions of Virtual Machines. So impressively Microsoft developed deployed a patch for these vulnerabilities in less than a week’s time. Azure is a cloud-based application and so Microsoft could focus their security team to work on the cloud servers and only the cloud servers. This way, these millions of servers and users had a patch and all applications hosted on the Azure cloud-platform were immediately protected.

A good business case example for business to move to Azure cloud services.

Malware developers are still out there. German antivirus testing firm AV-Test reported 139 samples of malware trying to attack the Meltdown vulnerability in January to exploit those who have not patched.

Microsoft patched their cloud servers, but non-Azure users (as well as all Windows users, period) still need to apply their operating system patches to ensure complete protection. This is one vulnerability you definitely don’t want cyber-attackers to exploit, whether it’s your personal computer or your business’s server.

Microsoft Office 2019 coming soon but only on Windos 10

February 3rd, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Microsoft launched Windows 10 in June 2015, two and a half years ago.

According to data gathered in January 2018, Windows 10 reached 42.78% in terms of worldwide internet usage, compared to 41.86% for Windows 7, 8.72% for Windows 8.1, and 3.36% for Windows XP.

Windows 7 – end of extended support nearing —January 2020
Office365 might be the jewel in the crown for Microsoft, but a new version of standalone Office has been announced for Windows 10. Office 2019’s desktop applications will only run on Windows 10 – and has shortened support.

In an update published on February 1st, the company revealed that the beta apps for the perpetual version of Office 2019 – as opposed to the subscription Office 365 – will appear in 2018’s second quarter and a final release will ship in the second half of the year.

When the software lands, it will only run on Windows 10 or the next Long-Term Servicing version of Windows Server. For Windows 10 users, only the Semi-Annual or Long-Term Servicing Channel editions of the OS will run Office’s apps.

In the past, perpetual versions of Office were released under the Microsoft Fixed Lifecycle Policy, with a term of 5 years of standard support and 5 years of extended support.Office 2019 will get the usual period of standard support, but just two years of extended support. That will mean the suite’s planned death day is October 10th, 2025. (Which is the same day on which Microsoft will end extended support for Office 2016.)

Microsoft said this is because “As the pace of change accelerates, it has become imperative to move our software to a more modern cadence.” Which is a bit inconsistent with news that Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2018 will land “in the fall of 2018” and get five years of extended support.

Another change Microsoft’s is to make Office 365 ProPlus, the business-oriented version of the service, available only on Windows 10’s semi-annual channel. As of January 14, 2020, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016 or older and Windows 10 LTSC releases won’t run ProPlus. Nor will unsupported Windows 10 semi-annual releases.

This will keep Windows 10 and ProPlus in synch for security reasons. Those companies that deliver ProPlus to virtual desktops or over remote access will have a chllenge. Later this year, “new Remote Desktop and desktop virtualization capabilities within the SAC release cadence of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows Server.” Windows Server Insiders will see those changes before other users.

Office 2019 will add new user and IT capabilities for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud. For example:
New and improved inking features—like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay—will allow you to work more naturally.
New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful.
Visual animation features—like Morph and Zoom—will add polish to PowerPoint presentations.
Server enhancements will include updates to IT manageability, usability, voice, and security.’

Outlook Add in for Dynamics 365 lives on – ask Dubai Dynamics partner Synergy Software Systems

February 1st, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

In June 2017, Microsoft announced the deprecation of Dynamics 365 for Outlook (otherwise known as the “Outlook add-in”) and the plan to replace it with Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. The deprecation announcement meant that although Dynamics 365 for Outlook would continue to be supported, it would be removed in Dynamics 365 version 10.0.

Some feature gaps in Dynamics 365 App for Outlook prevent it from being a viable replacement for the Outlook add-in. Along with many other partners and customers we voiced our concern. Microsoft has announced it is reversing the deprecation of Dynamics 365 for Outlook so that customers who are still on older versions of Dynamics 365 can upgrade and not lose core functionalities on.

Microsoft will still release Dynamics 365 for Outlook with new versions of Dynamics 365. As a result, customers upgrading to a new version of Dynamics 365 will have the same Outlook integration experience as in previous versions.

The Outlook add-in will also continue to be fully supported in current and future versions of Dynamics 365, and bugs will continue to be fixed with improvements to the performance and reliability of the Outlook add-in

From a functionality standpoint, all current scenarios will continue to be supported; we are not planning to add any new features.

The reversal of the deprecation of Dynamics 365 for Outlook does not change the fact that COM add-ins (like Dynamics 365 for Outlook) are an older and slower technology.

The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is based on newer Office add-in technology. This is an area where the Outlook team is also investing heavily. Unlike COM add-ins, Office add-ins do not have any code physically installed on the user’s device or on the Outlook client. They are easier to deploy and maintain, much more reliable, and work across platforms.

Omanisation temporary ban on visa for 10 sectors

January 29th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The Sultanate of Oman wants companies to employ Omani professionals.

Oman has issued a six-month ban on issuing of work visas for expatriates in ten sectors, including: information systems, engineering, aviation and certain technical professions.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, the sultanate’s Minister of Manpower, issued the new regulation, which will begin with immediate effect.

Over the last decade, the expat workforce in Oman has almost tripled, according to Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information. It has risen from 660,950 in 2007 to 1,825,603 people in 2016.

The decree does not include companies owned by employers wholly devoted to management of their establishments which are registered with the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development and insured with the Public Authority for Social Insurance (PASI).

The Knowledge and Innovation Dirham Fee

January 29th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

A new law aims to engage the community in supporting educational and cultural projects in Dubai.

The Knowledge Dirham Fee, set at AED10, will be levied on all transactions for government services in Dubai including federal government services whose revenues are allocated to the Public Treasury of the Government of Dubai.

The Innovation Dirham Fee aims to support innovation-related projects and involve the public in supporting innovation.

As per the law, Dubai government entities will charge an Innovation Dirham Fee of AED10 for all transactions.

The revenues generated from the Fee will be allocated to the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). An Innovation Dirham Investment Committee will be established to explore opportunities for investing revenues from the Innovation Dirham, WAM added.

The Knowledge Dirham and Innovation Dirham will not be refunded when transactions are cancelled. The fees only apply to transactions of more than AED50.

Healthcare services provided by government entities are exempted from the Knowledge Dirham and Innovation Dirham, in addition to traffic fines for violations committed in Dubai which are collected in other emirates or other GCC countries, as well as fines for violations committed in other emirates or GCC countries collected by authorities in Dubai.

Cyber attacks doubled in 2017 – expect 2018 to be worse.

January 27th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Cyber attacks on businesses nearly doubled in the past year. A new report, the Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report, released by the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) found 156,700 cyber incidents last year, compared to 82,000 in 2016. The OTA is a Internet Society initiative designed to improve online trust.

The organization believes that since a majority of cybersecurity attacks are never reported, the number of cyber incidents last year could actually be closer to 350,000. “Surprising no one, 2017 marked another ‘worst year ever’ in data breaches and cyber incidents around the world,” said Jeff Wilbur, director of the OTA initiative at the Internet Society. “This year’s big increase in cyberattacks can be attributed to the skyrocketing instances of ransomware and the bold new methods of criminals using this attack.”

The OTA claimed that most of the incidents could have been prevented easily – 93 percent of breaches could have been avoided by regularly updating software, blocking fake emails, and training people to recognize phishing attacks.

52 % of security incidents were the result of an actual attack.
15 % resulted from a lack of security software,
11 % were caused by credit card skimming,
11% resulted from companies not having controls to prevent employees’ negligent or malicious actions,
8 % were the result of phishing scams.

Electron is a node.js, V8, and Chromium framework created for the development of cross-platform desktop apps with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, The Electron framework is popular and widely used by a range of desktop app services. Skype, Signal, Slack, Shopify, and Surf are among the users, A critical vulnerability affecting Electron desktop apps has recently been disclosed.

Regular patching has always been a best practice and neglecting it is a known cause of many breaches.

In 2017 the Equifax breach brought home that message

In 2018 a patching strategy needs to be integral to your processes because of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities reported (see our earlier posts) when it was highlighted that nearly every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years was found to contain fundamental security flaws.

Dynamics 365 v 9 Ask Dubai Dynamics partner Synergy Software Systems

January 22nd, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Announced in July 2017 Dynamics 365 v9 was released for some new customers in November while existing D365 users will be able to upgrade from early 2018. This update is available for Dynamics 2016 (8.0), Dynamics 2016 UPD1 (8.1) and Dynamics 365 (8.2).

Version 9 is a mandatory update for customers using v8.0 or v8.1. This is in line with Microsoft’s update policy, which requires customers to be on the current version, or the immediate version prior to this release. With v9 being the current release, v8.2 is the previous update so system admins can choose not to take version 9.0 but remaining v8.0 and v8.1 users will be required to update.

v9 sees a fundamental change with a separation of code between the platform and apps. As well as delivering on Microsoft’s promise of an app-centric structure, this introduces a new unified user interface to provide a consistent D365 user experience across different browsers, devices and screen sizes. Dynamics 365 – Version 9.0 features a refreshed web interface, multi-select option sets, new virtual entity capability and introduces a new unified client interface.

This will be increasingly evident with the v9 release which sees Dynamics 365 break into modular apps that shift away from one platform with multiple modules hardwired in such as sales, marketing and service. With apps frequently changing and able to upgrade independently of each other, several insiders have predicted that Dynamics 365 users will see a continuous flow of improvements in a similar way that apps on a tablet or mobile device are updated.

By redefining the platform layer and breaking modules into role-based solutions for sales, finance & operations, customer service, talent, field service, to name just a few, this change will remove the need to test all at once and to upgrade everything in one big bang project. This will quicken release cycles and enable more rapid changes by allowing these apps to work independently of each other, and crucially these are all connected with a common data service.

Several legacy Dynamics CRM features will be deprecated with this release. In addition to the Outlook client, further deprecations included dialogs, contracts, mail merge and standard SLA’s. Some of those like dialogues will impact many clients

The deprecation of the Outlook client will also impact Excel dynamics worksheets.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/get-started/whats-new/customer-engagement/important-changes-coming

Unlike the other mobile apps, the App for Outlook isn’t something that a normal end user can (typically) download and configure for themselves. A system administrator must take care of the deployment steps, such as switching over to server-side synchronization, approving user mailboxes (with O365 Global Admin rights) and pushing the app to either selected or all eligible users under the menu Settings – Dynamics 365 App for Outlook.

The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook in V9 is still in Preview mode, so a sysadmin needs to enable it from the System Settings – Previews tab. This is because the earlier app has been replaced with a completely new app in this release, built on UCI (Unified Client Infrastructure) that is used in the new Unified Interface. This will actually turn the previously feature limited Outlook sidebar app into a full Dynamic 365 Customer Engagement app that has similar capabilities as the mobile app mentioned above.

Microsoft has confirmed it has begun the scheduling process for upgrading instances of Microsoft Dynamics 365 to Version 9.0. v9 was rolled out in the closing months of 2017 for new instances of Dynamics 365 and will invite system administrators to run their Version 9 upgrade from February 2018.

Administrators should see a notification in the Office 365 Message Centre advising that their D365 update scheduling window is now open. Starting January 15, existing Dynamics 365 customers will be able to schedule updates to occur from February 20th through August 20th. https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/crm/2018/01/12/scheduling-your-dynamics-365-organization-for-microsoft-dynamics-365-online-version-9-0-update/

Microsoft intends to complete scheduled Version 9.0 upgrades by August 2018. v9.0 updates can be scheduled for any day, including weekends, but each date is limited to available bookings so admins are strongly recommended to schedule their update as soon as possible. Microsoft will allocate update slots on a first come, first serve basis.

Administrators will be able to schedule updates to sandbox instances before their production instance. View Sandbox and Production update schedules in a single view within the Dynamics 365 Admin Center.

If you have any questions about scheduling or preparing for this update then please get in touch with us.
At this stage, we do not have any timescale for when Microsoft will release v9.0 for its on-premise edition of Dynamics 365.

Dubai Dynamics Partner Synergy Software System receives appreciation award for another successful project

January 15th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

A turnaround re-implementation project in Nigeria started in Oct 2017 went live on New Year’s Day thanks to an experienced team working flat out.

The customer appreciation for the consultants was confirmed by these individual awards.

The project also earned praise from Microsoft and Ax Pact.

Congratulation Synergy- Management and consultants and thank you for all your hard work and commitment to the project and the customer. Am so proud and thrilled of the below news

AMAZING!
Thank you Synergy team for bringing this implementation on the right track
Thank you for your partnership, expertise and professional work implementing our technology the “right” way
Looking forward to more projects together.
.

If you are looking to implement Dynamics 365/dynamics Ax then why not try the Synergy way a Dynamics partner in Dubai since 2003 and a Microsoft partner since 1993. .

Infor Ming.le and the Xi platform from Infor partner Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

January 8th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Infor Ming.le™—the beautiful entralized platform for collaboration, business process improvement, and contextual analytics. Use with Sunsystems ask Synergy Software Systems an implementation partner of Sunsystems for 20 years.

See the new features of Infor Ming.le™ 12 to improve business processes using the new Xi platform.