Archive for October, 2010

Some good news

October 27th, 2010

After a year if depressing economic news, natural disasters etc it makes w elcome change to have soemthing fun to report. Ferrari World, the largest indoor theme park on the planet,is about to  open on Yas Island and welcome in its Middle East tifosi [Italy’s term for its famed Ferrari supporters].   It will house the 210km/h-plus Formula Rossa F1-inspired ride, the world’s fastest roller coasterwith another 19 rides and additional attractions themed around the Italian race team and sportscar maker. This will undoubtedly be a boost for regional tourism to the benefit, of airlines, hotels and shopping malls.

Another piece of welcome news for Dubai is that State-owned Dubai World has secured support from all its creditors for a $25bn debt restructuring plan. Dubai World can now avoid having to go through the special tribunal set up to hear creditor claims, and the rest fo Dubai business can get on with life with alot more confidence.

Nakheel is also restarting some proejcts including 8 new shopping malls. “That is going to be very positive for the market… These projects aren’t going to be ghost towns but are going to be completed. We have customers lined up and ready to move into these projects as we complete them,” Chris O’Donnell, Nakheel CEO,

Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi passes away.

October 27th, 2010

After several months in hospital, His Highness Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah from 1948 died today, and will be succeeded by his son,  Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi who was appointed as the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler in June 2003.

zap the Board

October 25th, 2010

Last week we undertook in depth training in zap BI which is being enthusiastically adopted by Dynamcis customers.

  • Have you ever wondered what your board really thinks of those reports you sweat over every month?
  • What do corporate information boards really want?,
  • How does zap business intelligence (BI) for  Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM systems drastically improve board reporting, and ultimately, board effectiveness?.

Throughout the history of military operations, conquering armies were led by warriors who possessed an ability to visualize the battlefield. Napoleon had a remarkable talent for this. Using nothing more than his intuition coupled with disparate and often spurious or fragmented information, he could sketch a mental picture of the battlefield. He called this “coup d’oeil,” his “inward eye” through which he visualized the terrain and anticipated the moves of his enemy. This ability to rapidly piece together multiple data sources and turn those islands of data into information to make tactical and strategic decisions is the key to successful board membership.

Board members are usually problem rich and  time poor, and often sit on several boards. When they come together, they need reliable board level information  that tells them immediately what they need to know. Then can better spend their time strategizing and adding value to the business. They can worry more about future potential options and less than investigating problems. The truth is, few boards are entirely happy with the quality, timeliness and accuracy of the corporate information they receive.

 Understanding the board’s concerns is the first step toward improving their effectiveness, and ultimately the board’s capacity to focus on improving your company’s strategy.

Timeliness, accuracy, context  and completeness of board information are common gripes. It’s not unusual for boards to receive information in huge slide decks, or complex spreadsheets pieced together manually from multiple data sources. When  a board member finds an arithmetic error, it suggests your numbers can’t be trusted and that means you lose of credibility with some very important people. The board members then conduct their own data checks, which wastes precious time better spent elsewhere.

How does BI help? It ensures that corporate data is analyzed and reported on while still connected to the corporate data source, not taken offline and manipulated manually. BI eliminates the need for disparate, disconnected spreadsheets, where the propensity for errors grows every time data is exported. 

Your board wants the most up-to-date information, delivered in the same format within the same parameters, each month. When data is dated and inconsistent, your board can lose focus. Use zap BI, to set up report structures that are automatically refreshed with the latest corporate data, and ensure reporting is consistent and timely. Set up entire board report packs in this way, so all you have to do for each report is to update the explanatory text – the rest is done automatically. Support this with KPIs, scoreboards, and email alerts to draw attention to the key data.

Is your system guilty of providing too much information in the wrong format at the wrong time? Relevance is another common complaint – most boards only want a high-level view of performance, not in-depth detail that could sideline their attention. For example, boards typically only need to see the overall pattern of your sales pipeline, not details of individual deals. Keeping your board happy is not about increasing information, it’s about having the right information. Many boards might apply the ‘so what’ test to details of day-to-day departmental activities, but they do want to know where the risk lies in the business. For example:

  • What proportion of revenue is tied up with the largest customers?
  • What are the aged debt patterns?
  • What is the variance between budget and actuals this month vs last month, or year on year?
  • What is the cash flow forecast?

BI is geared toward providing high level, visual pictures of performance, such as dashboards and scorecards that are understood instantly, but can also be drilled down for more detailed information when necessary. BI also enables data to be sliced and diced via any dimension, so that results can be examined from numerous perspectives.

When board reporting only focuses on financials, the focus can be too narrow. Most boards want other barometers within the business, such as staff turnover, employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and demand generation. This is where BI’s ability to bring in information from multiple business systems plays an important role in presenting a united overview of performance.

The opportunity is there to create an open dialog with your board to review the information it is receiving, compared to what it really needs. How much time are you currently wasting producing information the board doesn’t really want? How effective can your board be with the quality of information it’s receiving? And how equipped are you to deal with the rigors of board standards? If you’re pulling information from corporate systems such as Microsoft Dynamics and manually manipulating information offline, the answer is not well.

BI is usually discussed in terms of how it helps internal decision-making. It can also drastically improve the quality and reliability of corporate information provided to your board. For those who are involved in preparing this information, BI valuably cuts down the preparation time.  For the board members consuming the information, consistently trustworthy reports from a well-planned BI solution put the right information into focus and build confidence in a company’s execution.

Bogus Microsoft support calls – beware

October 23rd, 2010

While in the UK at the end of the summer I received a telephone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft support who had identified some issue  remotely on my system and wanted me to start entering  commands into my system  under his direction. Having many times experienced the difficulty of getting Microsoft support for real issues this sounded highly implausible and I told the caller what to do with his support.

It seems others have been plagued with such calls see Andrew Fryer’s reliable blog and his opening advice:

  • You don’t give your car keys or house keys to strangers. 
  • You only trust certain friends and family to look after your young children while you go out for dinner. 
  • You only let people fiddle with your computer you trust.

…there are increasing reports of unsolicited calls offering technical support some of whom pretend they are working for Microsoft.  These are not going to be from Microsoft, ….

to read the rest go to:

SQL Server 2005 SP3.

October 23rd, 2010

Cumulative update package for SQL Server 2005 SP3. contains all of the SQL Server 2005 hotfixes released since the initial release of SQL Server 2005 SP3.

CU#12 KB Article:

SQL Server 2008 R2 hotfixes

October 23rd, 2010

Cumulative update package for SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM.

This package contains all of the SQL Server 2008 R2 hotfixes that have been released since the initial release of SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM.

 CU#4 KB Article:

Ray Ozzie to step down

October 23rd, 2010

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief software architect and the executive responsible for pushing the company into the cloud, plans to step down, Microsoft said on Monday.

Microsoft does not plan to replace him. “The CSA role was unique and I won’t refill the role after Ray’s departure,” Ballmer wrote.

Windows 7

October 23rd, 2010

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the launch of Windows 7. To celebrate, Microsoft is releasing new numbers, claiming that the company has sold 240 million licenses of the product to date.

Microsoft and Dundas chart

October 23rd, 2010

The agreement between Dundas and Microsoft, is that all components change hands and become a Microsoft intellectual property end of this month:

  • Dundas Chart for ASP.NET (Professional and Enterprise),
  • Dundas Chart for Window Forms (Professional and Enterprise),
  • Dundas Chart for SharePoint, Dundas Chart for SQL Server Reporting Services,
  • Dundas Chart for OLAP Services
  • Dundas Gauge for ASP.NET, Dundas Gauge for Windows Forms,
  • Dundas Gauge for SharePoint,
  • Dundas Gauge for SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Dundas Map for ASP.NET, Dundas Map for Windows Forms,
  • Dundas Map for SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Dundas Calendar for SQL Server Reporting Services

The Dundas Chart for OLAP Services (AJAX-based) lets you easily add OLAP browsing features to ASP.NET applications very and it will be a good addition to SSRS and .NET as well.

Microsoft CRM 4 – Update Roll up 13

October 20th, 2010

Update Rollup 13 isreleased for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. Click the links below to see more information and download the necessary files.

KB Article:


Thsee Rollups are cumulative, so any previous hotfixes and patches are included in the download. However, Rollup 7 is a prerequisite for the Client and the Data Migration Manager packages.