Archive for December, 2012

SQL updates December 2012

December 23rd, 2012

Microsoft has released Cumulative Update #5 for SQL Server 2012 RTM. Note this is *not* a cumulative update for Service Pack 1

Microsoft released new cumulative updates for SQL Server. SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update # 10

update: 31 December

Cumulative Update #5 for SQL Server 2012 – The 5th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2012 is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site. Cumulative Update 5 contains all the SQL Server 2012 hotfixes which have been available since the initial release of SQL Server 2012

Cumulative Update #4 for SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 – SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 Cumulative Update 4 is released. CU#4 contains a roll-up of hotfixes released since the initial release of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2

Cumulative Update #10 for SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 – SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Cumulative Update 10 is released. CU#10 contains a roll-up of hotfixes released since the initial release of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1

Seasonal Greetings from Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

December 22nd, 2012

As we approach year end let me say thank you to: the incredible team that work at Synergy Software Systems, our loyal customers who make it all worthwhile, the software principals who continue to deliver innovative solutions and enhancements, and the easily overlooked vendors like  our office landlords, and cleaning company, medical insurers, travel agent and so many more that help to keep things ticking over.

We are conscious that  there are regional tensions in many countries where our customers are based, and in this traditional time of peace and goodwill whatever our beliefs let us all pray for an end to violence and look forward to a  happy new year.

Dynamics AX CU4

December 22nd, 2012

Cumulative updare 4 is now released for Ax 2012

If you don’t want to apply the R2 release at this stage, then you should consider CU4  which inlcudes a number of hotfixes and enhacements.

Some new Excel BI features in Office 2013

December 17th, 2012

The inital public preview for Office 2013 is  available with lots of BI functionality.

Two key points that stake out Excel’s claim to be  the BI tool of choice:

  • PowerPivot is closer integrated into Excel, i.e the xVelocity (aka Vertipaq) engine is now native to Excel, and you load vast amounts of data from multiple data sources and query it via PivotTables directly in Excel, without installing any extra addins. PowerPivot still exists as an optional extra  to use the more advanced functionality  such as: filtering data before import, using diagram view, defining hierarchies and perspectives.
  • Power View is also  integrated into Excel so that Power View reports are a new type of sheet inside a workbook, that you  use against data held in the integrated xVelocity/PowerPivot engine. So Power View is no longer  tied to Sharepoint!
  • Anotherlitlte mentoned Excel beta add in is  GeoFlow for geospatial analysis that is closely integrated with PowerPivot see:

    Jen Underwood’s blog post:
    …and, this very detailed post from Patrick Guimonet (in French), which has a lot of screenshots and several long videos shot during the Sharepoint Conference:

    If you thought maps in Power View were impressive, just check this out…

    (Credit: abstracted from Chris Webb’s BI blog)

    December 2012 Microsoft Patch Tuesday

    December 17th, 2012

    December’s Patch Tuesday will include seven security bulletins: five critical and two important.

    Bulletin 1 is rated critical and affects Internet Explorer 9 and 10 on all platforms that support IE 9 and IE10, starting at Vista all the way to Windows 8 and RT.

    Bulletin 2, which is also rated critical, applies to all versions of Windows and again includes both Windows 8 and Windows RT.

    Bulletin 3 affects Microsoft Word and is rated critical, which happens very rarely. Usually Microsoft downgrades even Remote Code Execution Office vulnerabilities to ‘important,’ because a user interaction, such as opening a malicious file  is required.

    Bulletin 4 is a critical fix for  Microsoft server software products and it includes Exchange and SharePoint, plus an update for Microsoft Office Web Apps 2010 Service Pack 1.

    (Meanwhile a problem is reported with a windows API called GetGlyphOutline() is reported in Microsoft’s automatic patch update MS12-078/KB 2753842 ia Microsoft-designated critical patch that “resolves one publicly disclosed vulnerability and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. For certain fonts. it fails to return  the memory size needed to extract a character’s glyph’s curves. That means that any application trying to convert character to curves will fail in applications like Corel Draw that use Open Type fonts with Postscript outlines.)

    Is there more to choosing an erp system than keeping the CFO happy??

    December 12th, 2012

    We are used to to the idea that erp systems will handle financials and inventory but new technology creates new business processes, new opportuntities and new competition. These are some of the features you might also want to check on before selecting a solution a modern ERP solution:

    Mobility. In our personal lives we are more mobile and connected. Sales of tablets, netbooks, mobiles etc continue to exceed projections as does the use and prolfieration of social media. We expect the same tools at work. Organizations large and small are becoming ever more mobile, to drive down costs,and  improve service.  Mobile alerts, mobile reports,  and mobile BI are now expected.   By 2013, 1.2 billion workers will be mobile—that’s 1/3 of the overall workforce. By 2014, 50% of devices used to access business solutions are expected to be smartphones. Will the solution you’re considering accommodate mobile workers?

     IT Costs. Some people claim 84% of organizations have a remote workforce – Typically true of the sales team, installation and service engieers, meter readers, delivery men, consultants trainers, etc.  But on average 85% of datacenter capacity is idle, and 70% of IT budgets are spent maintaining datacenter operations. What are inefficiencies like these costing your company?  It’s not just the software it’s the server room rental, the energy, the A/c , the hardware depreciation and obsolesence, inusrance, cleaning etc.

    3. Access. Think about how people can interact with their solutions. Employees struggle when they can’t collaborate with people who don’t have full access to important data. Can people outside the solution or organization be given web and mobile access to specific reports, charts, graphs, and KPIs? Is the data real-time? Marketing these days is frequently a  self service activity, as in many case are business processes like booking on-line or checking in for a flight via  kiosk with a bar code on your mobile for a boarding pass, or searching a knowledgebase for help. Project teams are geographically remote but need to uodate each other and to share plans.

    4. Simplicity. Workers at home use laptops, phones, tablets—all their preferred devices—with a common experience, to make those all easier to use. What do your staff really need?

    I might throw in;

    •  Cross platform, cross company workflows – for both centralised and decentralised services, faster responses and automation
    •  Seamless integration with other applications, e.g. messaging and social media, or SharePoint or office
    • Scalable architecture- businesses and technology both change fast and your systeme should enable not constrain your growth
    • Compliance and collaboration tools – why have expensive offices, why waste staff time on travel,  mobility, internet presentation tools, collaboration portal workspaces, and cross supply chain collaboration are all factors but you also have to think about security and compliance – what support do you have for these?
    • Competitive edge – you will not outstrip your competition just with new back office systems – can your solution provide vertical specific features, can you adapt it to streamline your specific processes
    • Can you easily handle data imports? new budgets, forecasts costs
    • Can you easily handle new reporting requirements?
    • Can you easily handle new subsidiaries and acquisitions – language, currency, vertical requirements, localised statutory compliance?

    Does it matter? Watch your competitors and see what they are doing but don’t wait too long!

    Year end is a good time to rethink your strategies and your systems. if there are aspects of your business or systems that are not delivering or you are not sure what is possible then why not undertake a mini business review and let us help you understand how technology can help you to cut cost or add value or reduce risk and to evaluate whether there is a business case.

    Cut price erp projects?

    December 11th, 2012

    It’s easy to quote low to win a project just write a few clauses in the small print:

     • Out of the box reports – but do any of these really work for you?

    • Load your own data – is that easy? And what so the right sequence and validation

     • Use of out of the box security profiles – do these really fit your organisation structure where people do more than one job?

    • Use a standard chart of accounts and the same analysis codes as every other industry?

     • Don’t implement features the customer doesn’t know about

    • Leave the difficult work out of the scope e.g. budgets and consolidation, or forecasts and master scheduling

    • Make all customisations a chargeable extra

     • Etc

     So how do you get a quality implementation that makes the most of your software investment without an open ended budget? Be realistic about the scope and the business case when you set the budget. Don’t start with a budget and work backwards. If a feature adds value and there is a payback then its worth doing properly. If there isn’t a quantifiable return then don’t implement it just because it’s nice to do. If it adds value then implement it properly.

    Understand what value the consulting partner can add and what is a routine task you can do yourself. Understand the difference between quantity and quality of consulting contribution. If you face a big challenge in your personal life :you need an operation, or a tooth removed, or have to fight a legal battle then you find the best dentist, the best doctor or the best lawyer not the cheapest. However, you don’t need a dentist to tell you how to clean your teeth or a doctor to stick on a plaster, or a lawyer to write basic letters. You know your business and your data. There is much you can do beforehand to define requirements, processes, reports, and to clean up data, and bring employee basic IT skills up to scratch etc. A little bit of advance diary preparation can save the need to repeat training. Data clean up reduces time on validation and reload.

    What happens in a project? Plan it, define the requirement, build it, test it, train users are common steps whatever implementation methodology is followed. But where is the real work content? Is that properly assessed? How much could you do yourself with the right training and tools? There add on modules for most software solutions. Tools for report writing, print output management, and data loading are examples. Typically these areas account for over half the mandays on projects and even more for budget overruns and project delays. Yes, these put up the cost of software investment but these put much more of the scope and cost of implementation and future system maintenance under your own control.

    Have you really allowed enough time for training and practice. If training is expensive, then how costly is ignorance? Why is inadequate time spent on training one of the most frequently cite causes of project failure? Usually, because training happens late in the project, when timelines and budgets are already squeezed. Most of the training was given to the project team not to the end users etc. No training needs analysis done. No post training evaluation of trainees done. No time scheduled for practice before go live. Little time spent on prototyping or reading help files or e-learning. All of these issues can largely be managed internally to reduce cost and to increase success.

    There is a right cost to any service and a right amount of effort for any project. There is also a huge cost to failure, delay and unrealised benefits. Understand the quote assumptions, and challenge how those worked out on other projects. Understand the project methodology. If implementation  quotes vary is there a reason?  – what steps are being riskily cut or overlooked, or are not included e.g. post go live hand holding, first month end support, system personalization, audits, etc. Recognize that high skills and experience are needed to deliver complex projects with predictable timelines and costs. Inexperience comes cheap for a reason.

    Budget for what you need with some contingency to allow for business changes, staff changes, etc. Control the spend, and use some of the ideas suggested here to achieve more at lower cost.

    Microsoft licences – year end offer

    December 9th, 2012

    If you are using old or multiple versions of Microsoft software, or don’t actually know what software your employees are using, then we have the right offer for you. Upgrade to the latest edition of Microsoft softwares and/or to legalize the usage of your current Microsoft technologies.

    Benefit from Microsoft’s limited time discount offer for the following products:

    Microsoft Office 2013

    Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Cals

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and Cals

    Microsoft Windows 2012 and Cals

    Microsoft Visio 2013

    Microsoft Project 2013

    Professional Desktop Platform

     The offer ends December 26th, 2012

    Contact us now to take advantage.

    Microsoft Socl.

    December 8th, 2012

    Microsoft’s new social platform, engages and blends well with the other social media platforms. Create post, followa  specific interest, and blend your other blogs.

    You can also use it as a]=a social learning platform, where things can be easily pinned, and revisited later.  It’s specific, and content focused with out a lot of the noise some other popular social platforms. its easy to:  create a new post,  to tweet or to post back to facebook or  to link your profiles across multiple platforms. Worth a look.

    Why upgrade from Sunsystems 4 to Sunsystems 6?

    December 6th, 2012

    SunSystems Version 4 is a well-regarded financial management system -proven for  for well over a decade . While it may lack some of the “bells and whistles”  it is a solid flexible and reliable accounting system that will continue to deliver.  “if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it”.

    However, if you can  combine the all the features and reliability of SunSystems V4 and have additional contemporary functionality that is of real use and benefit and not just “bells and whistles”, then surely that is worth considering?

    To decide whether to  move on to  Infor10 SunSystems you need a business case.

    1. SunSystems V4 supports a single transaction currency and a base currency.
    Infor10 supports five currencies per transaction, which can be configured in a variety of ways. So for example  you need a real time second base currency for reporting, then this will be a major benefit .

    2. Infor10 SunSystems allows all entry forms for transaction entry and reference data entry to be customised.

    Transaction entry forms can be designed with their own characteristics, rules and attributes to ensure more accurate and efficient transaction entry,esnure compliance and better support analysis..

    3. Many data fields are longer in Infor10 SunSystems

    SunSystems V4 was written when data space was limited and had to be used sparingly, these days we want to record much more data, this is now possible

     4. Infor10 SunSystems has a graphical report designer and reports are delivered via web pages or PDF files.

    SunSystems V4 has a Report Designer facility, which whilstit may look  easy to use in the hands of a Consultant, is not so easy for the lay user, so authoring and editing your own documents is that much easier and simpler in Sunsystems 6

    5. Infor10 SunSystems has a choice of clients – with SunSystems V4 you are limited to either a “thick or rich” client which is either installed on your PC or delivered via Citrix / Terminal Services, the latter of course adds another layer of technology and cost.

    With Infor 10 SunSystems, you can have a thick Windows client, a true web client, which means you no longer need Terminal Services or Citrix and also Infor10 Workspace, a SharePoint based client experience where other contextual information can be surfaced and presented to the user.

    6. Infor10 SunSystems has customisable menus – configure menus that are specific to usersand  include their own “favourites” tab, this ability to personalise the system makes for a better user experience.

    7. Infor10 SunSystems has drill around in the integrated inquiry screens and ability to call external programs.

    In SunSystems V4, Vision has to be used to achieve any form of drill down / around, Now this is a standard feature in the application. This can be further enhanced through the ability to call other external programs, for example: to a document management system, a practical application being to bring up the image of a document while examining a transaction such as a purchase invoice.

    8. Infor10 SunSystems has the ability to batc transactions for inclusion in processes like payment runs and revaluations, so that there is no need to re-extract using the selection criteria.

    With SunSystems V4, to be sure that nothing changes between the time a process such as generate payments is run and it is finally posted you may have to stop transaction entry, this is no longer the case using the various Control Desks.

    9. Infor10 SunSystems is truly multi-session, so users can have up to nine different sessions open.

    This is one feature that can add so much to an individual’s personal productivity. In SunSystems V4 a user is restricted to one task at any one time; this is no longer a restriction.

    10. Infor10 SunSystems is fully ION enabled.

    This means that through the use of the new Infor10 ION Suite (new module), you can now configure workflows and alerts that push the information that users want to be made aware of automatically to them for action.

    This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are plenty of others that I could have included, but I hope that this will give you an idea of what Infor10 SunSystems could do for you and your organisation.

    And the good news is that there is a special very discounted offer on the price of Ion for those who upgrade within the next 6 months.