Archive for July, 2012

Ramadan – Synergy Software Systems opening hours

July 19th, 2012

The holy month of Ramadan is expected to start this weekend.During this period of fasting and spiritual reflection there will be several changes to our office routine. Note that our offices will be closed from 5pm and on Saturdays until the end of Eid.

I will be away from this weekend so blog updates may be sporadic.

 سائلين الله عـز وجـل أن يرزقكـم فيه مغـفـره ورحمه وعتق من النار.May all your prayers be answered

Microsoft summer promotion and guaranteed upgrade.

July 19th, 2012

July 18th, 2012

A recent  report on ERP implementations indicated that even the implementations of major erp  vendors  tend to go over-schedule.

 Sixty-one percent of respondents indicated a longer than anticipated implementation duration, but that this has less to do with the software chosen than it does with the other critical success factors of implementation. These are the main ERP implementation factors that respondents indicated as reasons for extended durations and the percentage of respondents who chose that particular factor:

  • Initial Project Scope was Expanded 29%
  • Organizational Issues 20%
  • Data Issues 17%
  • Resource Constraints 17%
  • Training Issues 15%
  • Technical Issues 14%
  • Conflicts in Priority of Project 12%
  • Unrealistic Timeline 11%
  • Vendor Functionality Issues 4%

Vendor functionality issues only account for four-percent of reasons for extended duration. So why the overrun? Well there are practical issues of  wishful thinking, often an underestimation of the committment needed to make things happen, the need to deal with othe r non project related day to day queries and administration, plans that are not reviewed and updated because no timeor reosurce is  is allowed in the project  plan to do this. Real world issues that arise with no contingency:

 – a project member leaves,

 a process changes,

 a business emergency arises,

hey we changed our mind about what we want, and guess what we dont’ all agree

micro planning and coordination is difficult and takes time and there still needs to be some latitude:

– maybe training for some people takes a bit longer,

 – maybe the data is not quite as perfect as was thought,

– maybe some code fails QA test and needs rework – isn’t that reason why we have QA?

We adopt a critical chain approach to ensure timelines are realistic.  Proper preparation, realistic time allocation and a JDI attitude all help, clear RACI and experienced project members eans proejct meetigns are about how to make things work not how to fidn reasons why nothing is perfect.

There is no doubt that some overruns are due for commercial reasons- small issues are magnifed to delay payments, or by consultancies that lack the depth of resources needed, or try to juggle too many projects with too few experienced staff, or client senior managers sit on the fence and expect juniors to make decision.

The early days of a project are critical in establishing responsibilities , time/resouce commitment, vs scope,  teamwork, and how the project will be run. Failing to invest adequate time to the project team building and the project planning and proces,s in a a rush  to dive in and get started often leads the team down the wrong road. It is worth taking time to ensure sure that everyone is on the right path and the same team. Its not about being friends nor about holding the other side repsonsible. Its about ensuring everone is on the same team with the same objective and understanding of the route to take and what their commitment is.

However, if someone tells you that they can implement in half the time you expect or that is quoted by other vendors then if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Much the same applies to consulting rates  There is a reason why some command a higher fee. Taking twice as long even at half the price is false economy especially if it still does not work! Don’t take our word for it ask our many clients who have seen over the last 21 years that it is possible to deliver succesful projects and that rapid go live should not be feared when there is  strong local support always at hand.

Financial Consolidations made easier with Prophix and Synergy Software Systems

July 18th, 2012

Financial  consolidation  is  growing  in  importance  due to globalization and the popularity of mergers and acquisitions.   Nowadays it is not uncommon for a mid-sized company to own several legal entities in different states or countries.  

Even when a company’s financial consoldation requirements may not be
very complex, it may still be a very tedous and time consuming and prone to error if done manually in spreadsheets. 

Consolidation can seem very simple—isn’t it just about  adding together a series of accounts from different companies? 

From an accounting professional’s perspective, financial consolidation consists
of a series of processes and several challenges!:

  • Extracting data from multiple entities – which may use multiple software systems
  • Mapping disparate general ledgers to a common chart of accounts
  • Converting data to a common file format for import
  • Importing the data from multiple entities that may have different fiscal calendars and Partial ownership
  • Multi currency conversion – accounting convention makes currency translation  and the use of historical (or temporal) exchange rates complex .
  • Consolidating at multiple hiearchical levels .e g, by region, division,  group
  • Intercompany eliminations aking adjustments to the consolidated data
  • Producing reports for the consolidated entity
  • Multi-level reporting requirements  
  • Financial statement reporting
  • Taxation consioderations
  • Regulatory authorities such as the SEC set  compliance requirement for publically traded companies to report consolidated  results.   
  •  In  addition  to  obeying  accounting  standards (such as GAAP or IFRS), these types of consolidations also require an audit trail or a report that explains how source data from subsidiaries has been adjusted to give the consolidated results.
  • Management reporting will want to compare numbers across the group on a common basis.

Quite apart from legislated and management reporting, there are other reasons
why companies perform nancial consolidation.  For example:

  • Formally  documenting  intercompany  sales  in  a  consolidated  entity
    that trades in multiple countries makes it easier to answer questions
    about transfer pricing and to demonstrate compliance. 
  • For  a  holding  company,  there  may  not  be  a  need  to  have  a  separate
    general ledger,  but a need to use the financial consolidation system as the system of record.  An audit trail will meet external audit requirements.
  • Future audit fees can be reduced when there are standard end-of-year
    journal  entries  that  have  been  previously  audited  and  approved  by
    external auditors, rather than using spreadsheets that need to be fully
    audited every year. 

Financial consolidation solutions streamline and add value to existing processes and systems. Financial Consolidation is not the same for all companies. Depending on external or legislative reporting requirements and management’s need for information it can be very complex or relatively straightforward.  Its scope and complexity depends on how rigorous the company wants its nancial management to be. 

Before selecting a Financial Consolidation solution, it is important to be clear about your objective of the exercise and what you want as an end result. For example most  ERP  products have limited, relational reporting that cannot give consolidation accountants the  reports  they  need.  Timely automated distribution of reports in a report binder, or powerful what if ad hoc reporiting analysis, or presenting kpis in drill down dashboards are minimum expectations of the modern group CFO .   Limited  reporting functionality  is  often a key reason why many companies export general ledger data to third-party soware for their regular reporting requirements.

Packaged Applications
In  the  1980s,  specialist  software  products  were  first  developed  to  perform
financial  consolidation.    The  market  was  mainly  enterprise  level  companies
with  over  one  billion  dollars  in  revenues.    these  products  have  grown  to
be  very  sophisticated  in  terms  of  the  types  of  calculations  and  accounting
processes they can perform. They also tend to be very expensive, both in terms
of soware licenses and the services required to implement.  They are
outside the budget and technical resoruce of of most midmarket companies.

For group companies a  specialized software, such as Prophix,
is now available.  Prophix is a cost-eective alternative to high end global solutions
and Prophix offers  a  very  attractive  value  proposition  to  automate
processes  for  finance  professionals.   

Financial  consolidation  in Prophix is fully integrated with all other Prophix components such as easy-to-use reporting, data import, data collection, workow, report distribution and ad hoc OLAP querying of data.  Using Prophix, it is not necessary to keep a record of all the transactions in an account that is translated using historical rates. Beginning-of-year balances are sufficient for Prophix to accurately keep track of ongoing account balances for accounts requiring historical exchange rates. This integration lowers costs by minimizing training requirements and lowering the complexity of software installation. typically Prophix implementation time is  1/3 to 1/2 of other solutions.

Prophix is built on the Microsoft platform and has extensions for SharePoint. There are many techncial features built into Prophix to reduce comaplxity for users and their IT departments and I will cover these in a future post.

Spend more time on value added work and less time on tedious tasks

Prophix can create, schedule, design and run business type rules and processes to facilitate consolidation and global data manipulation in one point-and-click interface to eliminate repeatable, recurring processes. The Prophix Process Manager facilitates tasks by automating manual adjustments, such as intercompany eliminations, allocations and minority interest calculations, ensuring data is accurate and up to date.

Consistent completion of data

Prophix provides organizations with a way to bring together financial information from different financial models or general ledgers in order to create a consolidated view of the business. When extensive analysis is necessary, every consolidated number links directly to a single data source, which assures the single version of the truth.

Faster closes

Closing the books quickly is an important event: every month, quarter, and year, yet many challenges stem from the accuracy of reported numbers and business logic used in closing processes. Prophix ensures that the process is consistent and assures fast closes by providing inherent accounting logic, such as debits and credits, ensuring secure workflow processes, and allowing for quick journal adjustments. Adjust data using journal entry templates with support for recurring and auto- reversing entries, create allocations based on any measure, and create repeatable intercompany elimination journal entries to automatically eliminate balances at the correct consolidated levels and generate matching reports.

Adaptability when changes are needed

As regulatory pressures increase and companies are being asked to change structures, processes and policies very quickly, Prophix’s fully integrated, centralized business model supports, controls and manages the change. Adding new reporting hierarchies, entities, currencies, line items, or consolidation processes is within business leaders’ reach

With budget season approaching for most CFOs in the last quarter of the year, and year end cosnolidaiton and reports and audits to follow now is a good time to think about how to streamline your processes.

Sneak peek at Office 2013

July 17th, 2012

Microsoft announced the details of Office 2013  on Monday. So what’s new? 

It looks as you might expect like  the  Windows 8’s new Metro UI. Most of the translucent effects and gradients that were present in Office 2010’s Ribbon menus are replaced bysimple, flat fields in white and solid colors.The enhanced File menu, the “Backstage View” in Office 2010, is now like a full-fledged Metro app. that takes over the entire screen with a minimalistic, touch-friendly UI. When launched, each application presents a gallery of document styles with large,  previews

Launch screen screenshot from Office 2013 preview.

Word screenshot from Office 2013 preview

This is a very touchy-feely build,: expansion/contraction pinch controls, swiping between functions within Office and for  selecting fonts and type styles using rotary controls. A stylus can be integrated  either to annotate documents or to act as a pointer during presentations. The ribbon is still there, but it’s hidden until the user touches or clicks on the menu system.

Some applications offer a “touch mode” button above the menu bar, to reconfigure the UI so that icons are farther apart andthe  controls are larger, and easier to activate with touch screens. The overall UI doesn’t  change much in touch mode for traditional desktop PCs, but it’s useful when a traditional keyboard and mouse aren’t available. (Applications that rely heavily on keyboard input, including Word and Excel, lack the touch mode).

Screenshot of Outlook in touch mode from Office 2013 preview
Selecti Open from the File menu to see a myriad of file sources, including not just the local drive but also SharePoint servers and Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage. Connect to any of these sources – much easier than Office 2010.
Cloud integration screenshot for Office 2013 preview
We’ve transformed Office to embrace design concepts shown in Windows 8 and Phone 8 and in Metro. This wave of Office is the biggest and most ambitious we’ve ever done.” Steve Balmer
By default, Office applications will store preferences, custom dictionaries, and – most importantly – documents, in the cloud via SkyDrive. Microsoft has also integrated a lot more functions into Office, allowing Bing and other services to add in content. You can, for example, highlight an address to bring up a Bing Map, or publish on multiple platforms such as Facebook and then amend or remove content with other Metro devices, with the software remembering your last actions and offering a quick window back to the work in progress.

 Microsoft has made SharePoint more social-friendly. The new interface looks very like a social network site, and it will provide a news feed with threaded discussions, video, and shared applications, and suggest documents you might be interested in. Registered users get a “people car” that contains notes about them, an aggregation of all their social feeds, and ways to contact them via phone.

Skype is integrated directly with Office and the Phone 8 operating system so there’s little difference between VoIP and traditional telephony modes. (Yammer integration is also on the cards.)

 Microsoft says this build is the smartest yet. In Excel, for example, the computer will suggest the best kind of charts and tables, and suggest automatic filling of cells based on past content.

Redmond also demoed a large-screen version of the new Office build on an 82-inch screen which comes from Microsoft’s recent Perceptive Pixel purchase. Redmond is pitching these as the perfect meeting tool, and one that can allow a style of collaborative working and on-screen videoconferencing that Ballmer said he hopes will stop people concentrating on pencil and paper.

Office on Perceptive Pixel screen

Ballmer said he expects most people will use Office as a service rather than an installed base. No date was given for the final launch of Office 2013.

Fun personality quiz – its Thursday – relax!

July 12th, 2012

Be honest and do not cheat by looking up the answers.

 The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is opened.

 Follow the instructions very closely.

 Do not cheat. Only 5 Qs – Give an answer for each item.

The first thing that comes to mind is usually your best answer.

 Remember– no one sees this but you.

Put the following 5 animals in the order of your preference:

1. Cow, Tiger, Sheep, Horse, Pig

 2. Write one word that describes each one of the following:

 3.Dog, Cat, Rat, Coffee, Sea.

 4.Think of someone, who also knows you and is important to you, which you canrelate them to the following colors.

 Do not repeat your answer twice. Name just one person for each color:

 Yellow, Orange, Red, White, Green.

 Finally, write down your favorite number, and your favorite day of the week.

 So what does it all mean???????

 1. This  defines your priorities in your life.

  Cow Signifies CAREER

 Tiger Signifies PRIDE

 Sheep Signifies LOVE

 Horse Signifies FAMILY

 Pig Signifies MONEY

 Your description of dog implies your own personality.

 Your description of cat implies the personality of your partner.

 Your description of rat implies the personality of your enemies.

 Your description of coffee is how you interpret sex.

 Your description of the sea implies your own life.

 Yellow: Someone you will never forget

  Orange:Someone you consider your true friend

 Red:Someone that you really love

 White: Your twin soul

  Green:Someone that you will remember for the rest of your life

Some WPC 2012 Announcments

July 11th, 2012

Announced at WPC- Microsoft Dynamics AX will be available on Sept. 1 on Enterprise Agreement (EA) in Volume Licensing.

Microsoft will also roll out simplified pricing for SMB ERP products as part of the release of Dynamics NAV 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 later this year.

Other Notables
Windows 8 RTM first week of August
Windows 8 to be released end of Oct
Windows 8 Pro upgrade from a new Windows 7 PC is $14.99
Windows To Go – a USB stick that can install and run Windows 8, company apps, BitLocker, and any personal data you want to store

AX Anywhere – new release – metro interface

July 10th, 2012

Dynamics Anywhere recently achieved the important milestone of 100 Customers

Streamline  your warehouse operations –   real time bookings – and reduce data errors with bar code data entry.

 Very easy for end users – cut training costs – licence by device not by user.

In a large, busy, 24×7 operation labour savings alone will often give a payback in under 1 year. Where you need to do detail tracking by serial number  there is both a huge increase in inventory transaction bookings and increased risk of data error and thus bar code input is essential. In a  fast moving pick pack operation with Just in Time replenishment real time udpates are essential.

 All you need is a mobile device and access to the internet.

 The 3 top reasons our customers choose Dynamics Anywhere are:
– extended functionality out-of-the-box – and you can modify and extend further�
– ease of customization – all done inside AX
– integral part of Microsoft Dynamics – no separate application to maintain or learn

The newly released  version of AX Anywhere has great new features:
– Retail store functionality
– Extended Field Sales functionality
– New features in the AX Anywhere framework
–  Metro-style User Interface!

Social networking services? No thank you.

July 9th, 2012

I have been a  Luddite with regard to social networking.  I understand the paradigm shift and the potential for business as well as for social collaboration,  I dont understand why facebook sites need to send me an email each time my hcildren update it  – they might just as well email me the content or better still speak to me. I dont find tweets much use and what is useful is buried in thousands of drivel messages etc.  menahwile the amount of spam mail and phsing attacks  I need to filter out  keeps going up

So I was interested to read  todaycourtesy of Tech Republic a n article written by  enttled  10 reasons why I avoid social networking services beause it sums up my concerns.This  is a mildly  precised version

 Just 8% of all Facebook users fall into my age group. Nonetheless, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, social networking is popular and still growing. While only 8% of adult Internet users used social networking sites in 2005, that number had grown to 65% by 2011. Why then do some people in general and older Internet users in particular avoid social networking services?  

1:  Privacy concerns

 Putting your personal information in the care of others, no matter how diligent their stewardship, increases your risk of that information getting into the hands of third parties. Our image is, in part, defined by our words. Each of us should ask how much of ourselves we want to give to people we don’t even know. Once gone, that private piece of our lives can never be retrieved.

 2: Ownership of content is unclear

Who actually owns and who controls “your” intellectual content .: If you don’t control it, do you really own it? It  The Twitter Terms of Service as of July 4, 2012, clearly states that you own the content you post:  “You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services….But what’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your photos are part of that Content).” According to a New York judge,, Twitter owns your Tweets. That should at least cause you to pause before posting anything at any site other than your own.  

3: It’s too impersonal

Social networking offers an easy way to meet people — perhaps too easy. No commitment is required, and you can invest as much or as little of your time as you wish. Social networking services can be a great way to keep people at a distance: Interact only when and where you want with whom you want. . I prefer more meaningful ways to interact, like face-to-face and over the phone. People value your full attention and time. Social interaction is only as rewarding as you are willing to make it, whether in person or online.

 4: I want to minimize online gaffes

There is that risqué limerick you shared while in high school or those embarrassing statements you made about a former employer that can be found with a simple Web search. Pity the poor job interviewee grilled by an interviewer who did his homework and found your ignorance, or worse, the bad information you posted about a topic for which you are supposed to be an expert. …, abstinence means never having to say you’re sorry.

 5: I want to minimize data points for possible data mining

Make a spelling mistake or grammatical error and you can be dinged for it forever. For me, it would be embarrassing and a blow to my ego but not a great loss. To a younger person interviewing for a job …..,  It’s  it isn’t that difficult to collect such data  

6: I don’t subscribe to social fads

Call me a rebel, please. I don’t like following the sheep to gain their acceptance. Clothing from Sears has always been my fashion statement, though the local thrift store has of late been getting my business. Twitter and Facebook may just be another fad that comes and goes, like AIM and MySpace

7: I don’t like being pressured to join

The sinister way that social networking services sneak into even the most ardent holdout’s daily life is through invitations from friends and family members.. I became a rotten friend when I politely turned down a request to be in a friend’s LinkedIn professional network. Thank goodness my nephews and nieces have yet to ask me to “join up.” I would hate to be a terrible uncle too.  (even worse is that many businesses e.g. airlines, are making facebook membership an essential part of how they communicate  and its a choice  of join or miss out- I choose to miss out).

 8: I don’t need the abuse

Why would I risk being verbally flogged for posting what others might perceive as flame bait? I still don’t need the abuse but, thankfully, I no longer take name calling like “idiot” or “nimrod” as personally as I once did. Being flamed has instead become part of the profession “writer” and a badge of honor.

 9: It’s more work

If your work is anything like my experiences in the cubicle, you already spend enough time typing when you answer emails, update status reports, and write code. It’s just no fun coming home to more of the same.

 This may not apply to you, but when you write for a living, it’s not a lot of fun interacting socially with the written word. I just can’t afford to give away my wisdom for free.

 The bottom line…

…is that it’s just not me (#10). Some of us prefer to keep ourselves to our self. I have heard about certain sites that cater to the courtship rituals of modern Homo sapiens, but every day that goes by I become less modern than the day before. ……..Then there’s the fact that I have yet to find a reason why I should tell countless others how totally devoid of meaning my life really is.

 According to an analysis of tweets by Pear Analytics, 40% of all tweets are pointless babble. I have better ways to atrophy my brain, better ways to slowly turn my gray matter into mush. ….. Personal social interaction could become a lost art. And it would be a shame for humanity to become so impersonal.

Register SIM cards in the UAE by end of December 2013 latest

July 8th, 2012

Mobile phone users in the UAE have 18 months to re-register their SIM cards or risk having their telephone services cut off as part of a new campaign aimed at cracking on illegal handsets. Users can register their SIM cards along with their passport or national ID at du or Etisalat registration points from July 17, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said in a statement.

Mobile phone subscribers are expected to fully update their data and ensure that the sim cards they’re using are registered under their names,”

Operator Etisalat has 105 registration points across the UAE while du has 46, said the TRA. All customers will receive notification of the programme either through text message or phone call.

“Registration will be a very easy process and there will be a number of reminders before any phone could be cut off,” officials said.

“[Re-registration] prevents any unauthorised or criminal usage of sim cards and helps in curbing legal or social violations besides reducing frauds that have been noticed during the last few years.”