Archive for December, 2010

EIDA extends deadline

December 26th, 2010

The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) said that Emiratis now have until June 30 to register for their ID cards. Eida did not specify the next deadline for expatriates

It is expected that Expatriates whenever they apply for or renew a residency visa, the registration for the ID card will take place simultaneously. Residents can apply for their cards at any of the 25 registrations centres countrywide that are attached to or near to the preventative medicine centres that conduct medical check ups as part of the visa application process. According to a statement by EIDA, this is part of their 2010-2013 strategy to link visa issuance and renewal with ID card registration across the UAE. However, tThis is currently the case in Umm al Quwain only and is soon to be iontorduced in Fujeirah.

‘Unlike labourers, professionals have to perform many transactions with the government and without an ID card, they will not be able to access many services’, Dr Ali Al Khoury, Director-General of Eida said. “So they should not delay the registration

Merry Christmas from Synergy Software Systems 2010

December 24th, 2010

Well its been an eventful year globally, in Dubai and in Synergy. Despite the doom and gloom merchants w,e like Dubai, have shown our strengths and  weathered the economic storms, with our expanded our office space and we continue to provide both outstanding solutions and support to our many long standing clients.

In 2010 we achieved triple Gold ceritfied partner status with Infor, Oracle and Microsoft, and also became the only Middle East Certified distributors of: zap BI,  Prophix CPM, Fraxxion spend approval,  and the at Vision suite of  iptv , Digital Signage and HIAS solutions.

We also signed up our first clients for Microsft Dynamics CRM and for Microsoft 2010 EPM.

So, as the year ends, we say thnk you to our exceptionaal and loyal staff and customers and we send you seasons greetings and wish you a Prosperous New Year.

Some Year end IT tasks.

December 23rd, 2010

Back ups

With year end audits coming, make sure you have a copy of year end data. Test recovery of your back ups – this is seldom done and there is no better time.  

Clean up systems

Review users work stations. laptops usb drives, extermnal hard disks etc.Are all external devices protected by anti virus?  Maybe time for selected scans.

 Just how many versions of software are you supporting. How many Gb of old windows update patch files are you storing on each PC.  Clean up unwanted and temporary files, defragment hard disks, registry, and databases. Reindex etc. .

Educate users not to store large files on their desktops where they go straight into memory. Teach them to create one folder for shortcuts and to put shortcuts to their key files in this.

Data Purge

Consider your  data retention policies. What should be archived, purged etc to improve systme performance- what are the corporate, auditor  and statutory requirements?.

IT Policies

Review your IT policies. Do these need to be updated for social media, cloud access, mobile access etc.

Review useful unused software

Do your users know how to  use e.g. One Note,  Infopath, Groove, Microsoft Project- most users don’t even master the basics of Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint – maybe start the year with some training to improve efficiency e.g.use of  use of quickparts, templates, toolbar set up and some of the pc based  system administration tools.


Consider a tool like Exclaimer to merge a signature block with outgoing emails- This allows you to enforce a corporate house style , have a consistent email disclaimer and add marketing messages to all mails.

Get users to sort their Outlook mail boxes and to get rid of those large files with attachments, jokes, etc Don’t forget to check the send and delete folders. Do they use the journal feature or woul it improve performance to switch it off?

Do any mailbox sizes need renewal?

Should you consider planning to  put your emails in the Cloud with Office 365, or Google Appas to remove constraints on mailbox size?


In the wake of Wikileaks it is time to review security. Consioder tools like FideAs for group policy based encryption of shared files, or Spectorsoft to finf out what user really do all day.

Use up that remaining budget

Think about it dont spend for the skae of it but if it was approved inthe first place it was probably for a good reason.  for want of a nail…. etc.  Almost every organization has the “use it or lose it” clause in the budget. Should there be any space left in a budget, it may be a good way to get any additional miscellaneous things, such as cables, tools, or utility software. The unused dollars in a budget may not seem like much, but they can be useful if they let you stock up on little things that are not available next year — especially if the budget for 2011 is smaller than 2010’s!

Keep  your software and hardware maintenance up to date

Make sure that all of the maintenance agreements are in order a  din next year’s budget. Ina dditon oyur erp systems don;t forget Microsft licences, as network switches,  tape drives, printers, and any other IT service that has a service agreement. Aside from support, these usually entitle customers to updates and version upgrades.

 Check for obsolete components

, “Is this still going to be here in good order at the end of next year?” This can be anything from a tape drive, storage array, or server. The best approach is check the product lifecycles for all the devices and software in use, making sure nothing is falling to end-of-life status. I have seen compoanies paying  lease invoices  for fax machines that awer long ago rpelaced by a  fax server, or for pritners that are in disuse. 

Check for powered off systems

Nothing is more unsightly than a rack filled with mostly powered-off servers. Consider virtualization and consolidated of servers. Make it an objectivefor 2011  to save enrgy and floor space.

Rearrange racks and servers

Consider  a new arrangement for the equipment in the data cente and rrevisit the domains of failure. While a rack fully loaded with equipment is visually impressive, it also is a single point of failure in itself. Consider dispersing the workload across the datacenter.

 Updates BIOS, firmware, versions

Tricky if you’re on holiday but there is sledom an opportune time.. Don’t  underestimate the value of a BIOS firmware update for computers, servers, and storage. In fact, when For current products, there is a daily build of the BIOS that goes to the products in the test labs. Year is a good time to plan out any updates to low-level drivers and to software in the operating system. This can be management agents as well as hardware management suites, such as Dell OpenManage and HP Systems Insight Manager.

Old operating systems

Windows 2000 has ended its extended support phase, but it is really time to map out the plan to remove this operating system. This will be similar to how Windows NT was removed, a necessary evil; but it is definitely time. Aside from the operating system being obsolete, if this system is on physical hardware, that too may be obsolete.

Organize workspace and tools

A good time to clean up workspaces. Do we really need old posters on our walls? IT pros are not usually noted for their clean work environments, but a professional appearance is good for any profession. Think of it as spring cleaning in the middle of winter. Try the Japanese 5 S approach for your IT department. Think of it as part of your personal marketing and be proud ot show it off..

 And if you have any time after that have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year because you will deserve it.

 2011 will be here before we know it

These are a few ways to get ready for 2011

Open Letter from Michael Park, corporate vice president, sales, marketing and operations, Microsoft Business Solutions – Microsoft CRM

December 22nd, 2010

Complete text of the letter from Michael Park

Between economic pressures, technological advancements, and the need to manage growth and scale, businesses are reevaluating their customer relationship management (CRM) systems to ensure that they are getting the most value from their technology investments.

What we hear from customers is that they are looking for increased user productivity, better integration with existing tools and technologies, and more flexibility and affordability when it comes to their CRM systems. They are struck by the overwhelming amount of information and hype in the market, which is leading to confusion and frustration when trying to determine which CRM solution is the best fit for their businesses.

If you are looking for a CRM system that will deliver productivity for your people, offer flexibility to your business and work with your existing IT investments, you should consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

In making the switch from other solutions, such as, you will join thousands of companies that have found that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is easier to use, adds value to the technology investments they’ve already made and delivers greater business insight.

For instance, Data Reduction Systems switched from and has since saved more than 50 percent in user costs and reached 100 percent user adoption. In addition, in just one month since switching CRM systems, Smead realized a 75 percent decrease in annual subscription costs and a 20 percent increase in user adoption. Both companies saw improved business intelligence and collaboration.

If you are a customer attending Dreamforce this week, we encourage you to ask the following:

  • In this economy, how can I justify paying two to three times more for an enterprise CRM system than I need to?*
  • Microsoft provides a financially backed 99.9 percent uptime commitment for every Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customer; why does only provide me with “commercially reasonable efforts” to keep my business running?
  • Having access to the most up-to-date information is critical to my business; why doesn’t provide real-time access to data and dashboards, refreshed whenever I need it like Microsoft does?
  • Microsoft works great with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office; why does want me to start from scratch when it comes to productivity tools for my people?
  • Microsoft provides the flexibility for my CRM system to work with other systems whether they run in the cloud or on-premises; why does lock me into one way of doing things?

For more than a decade, Microsoft has run some of the largest, most reliable cloud services in the world. With the combined power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and the full depth and breadth of Microsoft’s productivity offerings, we can deliver value in a way that works best for your business. Just ask Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers such as Jelly Belly and Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift Europe, which have won some of the CRM industry’s most notable awards.

In addition, customers that switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online between now and June 30, 2011, are eligible for the “Cloud CRM for Less”** promotion. Through this promotion, Microsoft will pay your organization $200 cash for each user that makes the switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. This rebate can be applied for services to help you switch — such as migrating your data or customizing the solution for your unique business needs. At Microsoft, we do not believe you should be forced to pay a premium to achieve business success.

Please visit to see product demos and hear from companies on why they made the switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. You can also join the conversation @MSDynamicsCRM on Twitter and on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM page on Facebook.

We look forward to hearing from you as we work hard every day to earn your confidence in our products.

Michael Park

Corporate Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft Business Solutions

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of simple to learn and use ERP and CRM solutions that work with your existing technology and scale as you grow to give you long-term value. By using software and online services that work the way people and organizations work, businesses are better able to make informed decisions and adapt to rapid change. Microsoft Dynamics helps your people be more productive and your investments in existing systems last longer, while enabling your business to derive the insights necessary to respond quickly and have a competitive edge in an ever-changing world of business.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Comparison based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online vs. Enterprise Edition.

** Read the complete terms and conditions for the “Cloud CRM for Less” promotion at

Note: this applies mainly to the USA – however Synergy can host Mcorsft CRM for you in the cloud, or install on premise.

EIDA deadline approaches

December 22nd, 2010

The federal law stipulating December 31 as the deadline for expatriates to register for ID cards is still valid, but  there is no cause for residents to panic it seems. The large number of expatriates [who have not yet registered]  but to fulfil their legal obligation,  have to fill up the application for ID cards at any of the 700 typing centres across the country

Sounds simple but it seems up to 40,000 people a day are registering for ID cards at typing centres  which say they do not have the resources to handle the rush. EIDA transferred the pre-registration process including filling out the application forms, scanning the identification documents and payment of fees to the typing centres three months ago as part of a new strategy to ease the registration process. An applicant goes to an EIDA registration centre only after completing the pre-registration process at a typing centre

The national identity card (ID) will become increasingly important for people to access essential government and commercial services as these become more widely available online.utiltiy companies are already trialling its use.

Non-registered expatriates is still estimated as “a few millions”. The best news is that a single application for an ID card, residence visa and labour card may be introduced in the future when the three documents would be integrated. No why didn’t I think of that?

National Oilwell Varco Abu Dhabi – live on Microsoft Dynamics Ax 2009

December 18th, 2010

National Oilwell Varco Training - Synergy Offices December 2010

Jennifer Vaz, Executive Director Synergy Software Systems, meets Project Lead, Ramkumar Vaidyanathan, the  Director of Finance – Middle East, for National Oilwell Varco, Inc.  during Microsoft Dynamics Ax 2009 training at Synergy offices.
The Go Live sign off with Synergy and NOV project team members:

Microsoft Dynamics Ax in the cloud -available now from Synergy Software Systems

December 15th, 2010

Microsoft is working on enabling next generations of AX to run in the cloud, however, a lot more  Azure development is necessary too before that becomes reality. We are however meanwhile offering  hosted services with Amazon Web Services.

 So, in other words: AX 2009 can be hosted in the Cloud today and you can take advanatge of a scaleable architecture and no up front invesmtent in hardware , install and all of the server amdinsitration and backps taken care of in a secure environment with 24x 7 support.  New companies with cash flow challenges will find this model attractive and it will speed up their  implementation.

The advantage for larger, multi-national, AX clients is that they can scale and roll-out to fit their global requirements in a very cost efficient manner.

  You can add any vertical solution, custom, code, etc as you please. Your AX instance is your application and you manage it just like you would manage a self-hosted AX on your own customer’s site. 

 Contractual terms for the software licences are the same. The terms for the AWS services are AWS’ terms. We  offer  our terms for the AX Cloud technology . We keep it simple.

  The same cloud offering is available applies for Microsoft CRM.

 In other words: We can completely mould AX Cloud to fit any requirement for infrastructure.

Time for GP 9 upgrade??

December 15th, 2010

Mainstream support for Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0 will end January 11, 2011

(Note: GP users also have the option of upgrading to Dynamics Ax )

Office 365

December 12th, 2010

Microsoft plans to unleash a ‘take-no-prisoners’ assault on the market with Office 365. –  offering a full suite that combines online versions of the 2010 editions of Exchange, Office, Sharepoint and Lync,

“Microsoft is linking its crown jewels, the most valuable parts of the company’s product line, and evolving them with the cloud, another sign of how serious they are about this,” said Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner.

Snide putdowns by rivals like Google and sharp criticism of industry analysts charging the company with being out of touch with the cloud delivery model were  common last year. Twelve months later, things have changed.

In 2010, Microsoft delivered regular upgrades and new features for its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting.  In the summer, in addition to Office 2010, Microsoft also introduced Office Web Apps, a hosted office suite designed to compete against the likes of Google Docs through Web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

And the icing on the cake came in October, when Microsoft outlined the next version of BPOS, called Office 365: a full-fledged option to Google Apps and other similar cloud-based suites that combines the collaboration and communication elements of BPOS with Office Web Apps and, alternatively, even with Office 2010. It is the broad cloud suite that experts have predicted for years Microsoft could build — and rock the market if priced and configured correctly.

Although Office 365 is in limited beta testing and won’t be widely available until some point in 2011, its announcement changes the landscape. CIOs and IT chiefs evaluating cloud collaboration, productivity and communication suites will have a unified alternative from Microsoft, a leading vendor of this type of software for on-premise deployments for over a decade. Eventually, Office 365 will also include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Competition in the market continues from rivals like Google, IBM/Lotus, Cisco, Novell, Jive, Socialtext, Zimbra, Yammer, and Zoho, but Microsoft may have a winner in its hands.

WIKILEAKS – how does it affect your company?

December 12th, 2010

WikiLeaks’ release of secret government communications  serve as a warning to the world’s big companies: You’re next- there is nothing about WikiLeaks’ release of U.S. diplomatic documents to suggest that the group can’t — or won’t — use the same methods to reveal the secrets of powerful corporations.

There is a real threat  posed by disgruntled insiders and poorly crafted security  policies, which give too much access to confidential data.

WikiLeaks claims it has incriminating documents from a major U.S. bank, which gives new new urgency to addressing  security inside corporations and a reminder of its limits when confronted with a determined insider.

At risk are companies’ innermost secrets — e-mails, documents, databases and internal Web sites that are thought locked to the outside world. Companies create records of every decision they make, whether it’s rolling out new products, pursuing acquisitions, fighting legislation, foiling rivals or allowing executives to sell stock.

Although it’s easy technologically to limit who in a company sees specific types of information, many companies leave access far too open. And despite the best of intentions, mistakes happen and settings are inadvertently broad,  as networks grow more complex with reorganizations and acquisitions.

Even when security technology is doing its job, it’s often  a poor match if someone with legitimate access is determined enough. A cheap thumb drive  and a vendetta are all  an insider needs to obtain and leak secrets. Outside attackers often have to compromise personal computers , then use their skills and guile in hopes of working their way into your system.

Employees go rogue all the time — for ego, to expose hypocrisy, to exact revenge or simply for greed. A former analyst with mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp., now owned by Bank of America, is awaiting trial on charges he downloaded data on potentially 2 million customers over two years, charging $500 for each batch of 20,000 profiles. Prosecutors say the analyst worked secretly on Sundays, using an unsecured Countrywide computer that allowed downloads to personal thumb drives. Other home loan companies bought the  profiles, including Social Security numbers, for new sales leads, according to authorities an employee with Certegy Check Services Inc., a check authorization service, was accused of stealing information on more than 8 million people and selling it to telemarketers for a haul of $580,000. The worker was sentenced in 2008 to nearly five years in prison.

Despite the repeated warnings, many large companies lack clear policies on who should have access to certain data, .

WikiLeaks argues that revealing details of companies and governments behaving  is good for democracy. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ founder, told Forbes magazine that the number of leaks his site gets has been increasing “exponentially” as the site has gotten more publicity. He said it sometimes numbers in the thousands per day.

Assange told Forbes that half the unpublished material his organization has is about the private sector, including a “megaleak” involving a bank. Assange also told Forbes that Wikileaks has “lots” of information on BP PLC, the London-based oil company under fire for the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. WikiLeaks previously published confidential documents from the Swiss bank Julius Baer and the Kaupthing Bank in Iceland. The site also published an operation manual for the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

WikiLeaks’ most recent leaks exposed frank and sometimes embarrassing communications from diplomats and world leaders. They included inflammatory assessments of their counterparts and international hot spots such as Iran and North Korea. The prime suspect  Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, is  held in a maximum-security military brig at with an earlier WikiLeaks release: of a video of  a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver. Military investigators say Manning is a person of interest in the leak of nearly 77,000 Afghan war records WikiLeaks published online in July.

Manning boasted to a hacker confidant that security was so flimsy he was able to bring a homemade music CD into work, delete its contents and fill it with secrets, according to a log of the exchange posted by Experts said a key flaw in the military’s security was that Manning may not have even had to look all that hard for the data, as it was apparently available for many people to see. The Defense Department says it has bolstered its computer security since the leaks.

Companies have many options technologically to protect themselves.

 Configure  e-mail servers to restrict to whom certain people can send documents.

Prohibit certain people from copying and pasting from documents,

block downloads to thumb drives and CD-ROMs,

 deploy technologies that check if executives’ e-mail messages are being checked too often — a sign that an automated program is copying the contents.

The more companies control information, the more difficult it is for employees to access documents they are authorized to view. That lowers productivity and increases costs in the form of the additional help from technicians.

You run the risk of creating an environment that’s so rigid that people can’t do their jobs and need to find that balance.

Ask about our innovative solutions.