Archive for July, 2015

Windows 10 in Dubai

July 30th, 2015

Windows 10, is now available in Dubai. The Start button remains.
Microsoft’s vision for this next-gen platform goes much further “third platform”, “next generation” and “mobile computing”. Microsoft management is now being driven by technologist rather than marketeers and it looks to be setting the ICT agenda again, as we are also seeing with its approach to the cloud.
The OS will initially be offered for free, which means that existing Windows users will be allowed to upgrade when the release comes out. This is very much in line with the likes of Apple, which over the years has moved to a pricing model where you pay for the hardware and the services you may run on that hardware, but software is more or less free.
With Windows 10, the same is happening for Microsoft, where the push will be around the services you run on it, whether it is Outlook 365, Office in the cloud or the OneDrive cloud storage solution.
Cortana is a prime example , it could embarrass Siri and Google Now. Cortana was Named after an AI presence in the Xbox “Halo” franchise
Cortana is supposed to be a character in a user’s daily Windows drama, taking on a cultural identity to match the localisation settings in Windows. In other words, it not only learns your habits, but adapts to the region in which your device operates. Microsoft sees Cortana as the company’s digital rep, popping up to assist even on other platforms where Redmond’s application software is installed. Eventually, Cortana will be available on Android and iOS, but for now, just Windows… and only in the US, the UK, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
It featured in Microsoft’s Gigjam demo at WPC and was a big hit with the audience.
The Win10 kernel is the most lightweight in the OS’ history and the much-maligned Internet Explorer, while still present in day-one versions of the OS, will be accompanied by Microsoft Edge. (The codename for the project: Spartan has delivered a slimmed-down Web browser . Redmond is noticeably proud of the result.
Windows 10’s security features, Biometric credentials (hardware permitting – the OS supports fingerprint scanners, and if you run Windows 10 on a machine with an integrated Intel RealSense camera, you have access to facial recognition), and Windows 10 ability to mange PCs more like smart phones means a lot less effort on the part of the IT organisation.
A further option is to connect through Microsoft’s unified communications platform Azure, which offers a one-time-password (OTP) option for two-factor authentication.
In switching from laptop to tablet mode on a Lenovo Yoga Pro 3, Windows 10 asks if you want to switch to tablet mode. If you choose “yes” then you also have the option of never being asked again, but all such options are stored in the system’s Notification Centre, so you can change your mind later. We felt that the transition showed genuine thought as to the different interfaces required in working with laptops and tablets – something that reflected early promises made by Microsoft regarding its intentions for Windows 10. The Live Tiles for tablets, and the classic interface for keyboard-and-mouse use, is a dual concept.
For Microsoft to make this a success it requires support for the new Windows Store, which in turn will require the software developers to find the platform attractive. Ultimately this third-party support will play a big role in determining how much the Windows experience evolves towards the goal of lighter-weight management.
Expect Windows 10 to feature prominently at Gitex.

Dynamics Ax Project Review – Dubai and GCC

July 27th, 2015

Synergy has rescued many failed projects in Ax both locally and internationally.
Our snap audits quickly pinpoint key problems areas within: install configuration, licensing, data, training etc.

However, good projects also benefit from periodic reviews. Your enterprise Dynamics Ax solution should dynamically evolve with your business – few business are lucky enough to go on year in year out without new competition, and new challenges.
– Your business changes
– Technology changes e.g. new service packs,
– Your staff changes
– Some things you left to phase 2 you never got around to completing

Now you are more familiar with the solution you have a better idea of what else it can do for you
Now the system is operational you have more time to look forward

– Data retention policies start to become important
– Year end processes need review
– You now have enough experience and data for more strategic use of the system such as what if analysis.
– You are ready to use additional features such as forecasting, budgeting, consolidation, BI, or to introduce eid or Omni channel retailing, or more extensive use of CRM or Case management

You’ve just gone through an intense implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX. Most likely, you are ready to move on to other initiatives and are expecting your new, significant investment to start paying dividends. At this point, it may seem superfluous, redundant, or just plain wearisome to spend time reviewing your implementation results. However, there are some tangible benefits to doing so:
• Identify unused potential of your Dynamics AX investments
• Discover training opportunities for users across your organization
• Identify solutions for lingering business pain points (Implementation issues, product gaps, business process inefficiencies)
• Redefine your roadmap – short and long term
• Analyze opportunities to boost future project effectiveness
• Get business team re-engaged in continuous improvement culture

When is the right time for a post-implementation review (PIR)?
We suggest organizations should plan a review 3 months after the conclusion of the initial implementation and then bi-annually thereafter.

It is difficult to implement a system as wide and deep as Ax in one big bang across all functions and companies so apahsed approach to ensure early benefits is usual. Once the go live has settled down and the system is used in the intended fashion its time to take the next step. That is the time for your team can still benefit from a business review.

What are the key deliverables you can expect from a well-run post implementation review?
• Recommendations on how to use standard platform functionality to reduce or eliminate use of customizations. Highlighting opportunities to fix structural issues in your architecture
• Discovery of relevant features in your existing platform that are not implemented and can be helpful
• Roadmap of effective business intelligence and reporting strategies for the enterprise
• Business process improvements & platform customizations tuning to address business challenges
• Explanation of new features you will be able to take advantage of when you are ready for your next Dynamics AX platform upgrade Not everyone involved in your initial Dynamics AX implementation project may be enthused about the idea of a new project to review the outcome. Politics, personnel issues, organizational conflicts, and performance concerns could all lead to resistance. To gain traction in planning a PIR, focus on the positive aspects of the effort. If executive sponsors allow it, you can even explicitly rule out certain sensitive discussions that would hinder forward progress.

Findings from a PIR can also help you make key decisions for an upgrade project (re-implement vs. upgrade, what to do with existing customizations, etc.). New features need to be assessed for their ability to replace customizations, complement existing business processes, or prompt architectural changes that will drive better use of Dynamics AX platform.

The ultimate goal of a PIR is to continue to find ways to improve both the implementation of AX and your organization’s performance. In the next article in this series, we will examine the roles involved in a post implementation review and how to prepare for it.

Windows server suport ended 14 July 2015

July 26th, 2015

As of July 14th, Microsoft is no longer providing updates or support for Windows Server 2003.
Windows Server 2003 extended support ended on July 14, 2015. This has the potential to be the “biggest security threat of 2015” according to one IT specialist.

What does this mean for you? Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for any version of Windows Server 2003. If you are still running Windows Server 2003 in your datacenter, then you need to take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure. By migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure or Office 365, you can achieve concrete benefits, including improved performance, reduced maintenance requirements, and increased agility and speed of response to the business

Are you prepared?

Chances are, you may not be. With the end of support behind us, according to estimates, there are still millions of servers running Windows Server 2003. It was the workhorse of choice for many years. Unsupported platforms are vulnerable to security exploits leaving your data at risk. How do you migrate to a newer, fully supported platform?.
There are many options for migrating your file, DNS, and DHCP services during your Window Server 2003 upgrade, but what about your print servers? Using the standard Windows migration wizard does not address all of your migration needs.

Synergy Software Systems can help you through this process.

Dynamics Ax 2012 R3 CU8 -modern pos enhancements

July 25th, 2015

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 includes Retail Modern POS, a point-of-sale app for PCs, tablets, and phones. Sales staff can process sales transactions, customer orders, and perform daily operations and inventory management with mobile devices anywhere in the store, as well as at PC-based registers. The Retail Modern POS app can either connect to a database directly, or to Retail Server. The new Modern POS application is built from the ground up as a native Windows store application and can run on Windows computers, tablets and mobile phones. One of the most exciting features of the new windows modern POS application is that devices can connect wirelessly to the store server database either on premise or in the cloud on Microsoft Azure.

Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Point of Sale introduces a number of enhancements to create a modern shopping experience. The introduction of Modern POS (MPOS) is a significant enhancements for the AX 2012 Retail solution. Sales staff process sales transactions, customer orders, and perform daily operations and inventory management with mobile devices (PCs, Windows 8 tablets and phones) from anywhere in the store, as well as on a PC-based register (traditional pos).

CU8 brought these enhancements to MPOS functionality:
• Shared shifts in Microsoft Dynamics AX Retail and Modern POS
• Role-based screen layouts for Modern POS on Windows phones
• Filters forproduct searches on any Modern point-of-sale device
• Columns can be resized on the Modern POS transaction screen
• Product searches by product category or from within a retail product catalog can be made on any Modern point-of-sale device
• Side-by-side product details comparison and an enhanced product details view can be made on any Modern point-of-sale device

Weetabix and Dynamics Ax

July 25th, 2015

To run their plants across Europe and North America, iconic food manufacturer Weetabix were relying on 87 disparate third party applications and software. They replaced these costly-to-maintain systems with Microsoft Dynamics AX, because AX is a solution that can be deployed across borders that is scalable and repeatable.
To learn more about Microsoft Dynamics AX and your enterprise’s international business talk to one of our product specialists today 0097143365589

Power BI now released – try it with Syenrgy Software Systems, Dubai!

July 25th, 2015

Microsoft released Power BI as a beta earlier this year, and the new service is finally ready to exit preview and become generally available this month.
Microsoft built Power BI around three essential components: datasets, reports, and dashboards.
Power BI can draw content from a firm’s data, and leverage connections to multiple sources such as: Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL Database, SQL Server Analysis Services and more.
Power BI currently supports 44 languages and will also work on multiple platforms.
Preview builds are already available for Android and iOS, as well as Windows, and the final release will hit mobile versions as well.

Power BI Freemium Model:
Interested customers can try out Power BI for free if they sign up with their business email address, but the free tier comes with a 1 GB data cap per user and allows users to update their data only once a day. A Power BI Pro subscription will be available for $9.99 per month for each user, boosting data capacity to 10 GB and allowing users to refresh their data every hour, in addition to other benefits.

Power BI with Dynamics CRM

Inventory aging in Dynamics Ax

UAE Central Bank – Announces Liquidity Risk Management Regulation

July 20th, 2015

The Central Bank of the UAE recently announced liquidity risk management regulations for the banking sector in line with Basel III rules on capital and liquidity requirements. According to circular No. 33/2015, issued on May 27, 2015, all banks must abide by the provisions of these regulations and the guidance manual.

The objective of these regulations is to ensure that liquidity risks are well managed at banks operating in the UAE and are in line with the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS) recommendations.

In three articles, the new regulations define the qualitative and quantitative liquidity management frame work for the banks operating in the country.

In quantitative requirements banks are mandated to keep a minimum level of liquid assets to meet sort term liquidity stress. Banks should also structure their funding profile to limit the impact of long term market disruptions.

To achieve these two objectives, the Central Bank requires banks to comply with the prescribed the Eligible Liquid Assets Ratio (ELAR); or move to the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) as and when approved by the central bank.

Banks approved to move onto the LCR will also be required to comply with the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) when this ratio comes into effect by 1 January 2018.

ELAR is defined as the percentage set by the Central Bank of the banks’ total liabilities in eligible liquid assets, consisting of items such as account balances at the Central Bank, Physical cash at the bank, Central Bank Certificates of Deposit (CDs)., UAE Federal Government bonds and sukuk. Eligible securities include the UAE local governments and public sector entities publicly traded debt securities up to 20 per cent of total eligible liquid assets. Foreign, Sovereign debt instruments are limited to 15 per cent. This ratio became effective on 1 July 2015. The initial compliance level for this ratio is set at 10 per cent of the total liabilities. The Central Bank will periodically review this ratio.

Banks allowed to move to LCR from 1 January 2016 will follow a 30-day stress based liquidity coverage that will require the bank to be able to survive the stress using a stock of high quality liquid assets. The LCR requires that banks should always be able to cover the net cash outflow with high quality liquid assets. The Basel III accord requires that the minimum LCR is 100 per cent, starting on 1 January 2015 with 60 per cent minimum coverage and increasing by 10 per cent each year to reach 100 per cent by 1 January 2019.

Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) is a structural ratio that aims to ensure that long term assets on the banks’ balance sheets are funded using a sufficient amount of stable liabilities. It also requires an amount of stable funding to cover a portion of the contingent liabilities.

Article (2): Qualitative Requirements
A Liquidity Risk Management Framework is an integral part of risk management within all banks. The framework should ensure that liquidity risk is well managed to minimize the likelihood of a liquidity stress occurring at a bank and its impact when it occurs. The Central Bank believes that liquidity risk governance, measurement and management is equally important and complements the quantitative requirements.

When reviewing the liquidity framework, the Central Bank will apply a proportionate approach which will take into account the size of the bank, scope of operations, interconnectedness, and its possible impact on the UAE financial system. A robust Liquidity Risk Management Framework should incorporate the following requirements:

1. Banks are responsible for managing their liquidity risk in a prudent manner using all available liquidity management tools at their disposal.
2. The bank’s Board of Directors bears ultimate responsibility for liquidity risk management within the bank. The bank’s Board should clearly articulate liquidity risk tolerance for the bank in line with the bank’s objectives, strategy and overall risk appetite.
3. Board members should familiarize themselves with liquidity risk and how it is managed. At least one board member should have a detailed understanding of liquidity risk management.
4. Senior management is to develop strategies, policies and practices to manage liquidity risk in accordance with the board of directors’ approved risk tolerance and ensure that the bank maintains sufficient liquidity. The bank’s liquidity management strategy should be continuously reviewed and compliance should be reported to the board of directors on a regular basis.
5. A bank must incorporate liquidity costs, benefits and risks into the product pricing and approval process for all significant business activities.
6. A bank must have sound processes and systems for identifying, measuring, monitoring and controlling liquidity risk in a timely and accurate manner.
7. A bank must establish a forward-looking funding strategy that provides effective diversification in the sources and tenor of funding.
8. A bank must establish a liquidity risk management framework including limits, warning indicators, communication and escalation procedures. The framework should be shared with the Central Bank
upon request.
9. A bank must conduct its own internal liquidity stress tests on a regular basis for a variety of institution specific and market wide stress scenarios (individually and in combination). The scenarios should be based on the individual bank specific circumstances and business model.
A bank should use its internal stress testing outcomes to adjust its liquidity risk management strategies, policies and position and develop effective contingency funding plans.
The scenarios and results of the stress tests should be shared with the Board of Directors on a regular basis and the Central Bank upon request.
10. A bank must have a formal contingency funding plan (CFP) that clearly sets out the strategies for addressing liquidity shortfalls in emergency situations. The CFP should be shared with the Central Bank upon request.
11. A bank must maintain an adequate cushion of unencumbered, high quality liquid assets to be held as insurance against a range of liquidity stress scenarios.
12. A bank is required to develop a transfer-pricing framework to reflect the actual cost of funding. The sophistication of the framework should be commensurate with the bank’s liquidity risk tolerance and complexity.

Article (3): Quantitative Requirements
A minimum level of liquid assets should be held at banks to ensure their ability to sustain a short term liquidity stress (both bank specific and market wide).

Banks should also structure their funding profile to limit the impact of long term market disruptions and avoid cliff effects (A large amount of liabilities maturing at the same time).

To achieve these two objectives, the Central Bank requires banks to comply with the following ratios, at all times;

1. The Eligible Liquid Assets Ratio (ELAR); or
2. The Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) – following approval from the Central Bank. The transition to the LCR ratio will take effect from January 1, 2016. Banks must demonstrate that both the qualitative and quantitative measures have been adequately addressed before adoption of the LCR ratio. All banks approved to move to the LCR are expected to implement the LCR by the final Basel III implementation date of 1 January 2019.
3. Banks approved to move onto the LCR will also be required to comply with the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) when this ratio comes into effect by 1 January 2018.

The Central Bank will set up a liquidity task force to ensure a smooth implementation of the LCR and NSFR. The team will visit banks and request a “road map” with clear milestones explaining how the bank will meet the LCR and the NSFR by their respective due dates. The team will then assess the plan and provide guidance. The team will also monitor the progress of the bank against its internally set milestones.

Article (4) Eligible Liquid Assets Ratio (ELAR)

Banks are required to hold an amount equivalent to the specified percentage set by the Central Bank of their total liabilities in eligible liquid assets, consisting of the following items:

Account balances at the Central Bank.
Physical cash at the bank.
Central Bank Certificates of Deposit (CDs).
UAE Federal Government bonds and Sukuk.
Reserve requirements.
UAE local governments and public sector entities publicly traded debt securities, provided they are assigned a 0% risk weighting under Basel II standardized approach (limited to 20% of eligible liquid assets).
Foreign, Sovereign debt instruments or instruments issued by their respective central banks, which receive 0% Risk Weight under Basel II Standardized approach (limited to 15% of eligible liquid assets).

This ratio will become effective on 1 July 2015. The initial compliance level for this ratio is set at 10 percent. The Central Bank will periodically review this ratio to ensure consistency between banks in the application of liquidity requirements in the UAE.

Article (5): Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) (Effective transition from 1 January 2016 for approved banks)

The LCR is taken from Basel III requirements. It represents a 30 day stress scenario with combined assumptions covering both bank specific and market wide stresses that the bank should be able to survive using a stock of high quality liquid assets. The LCR requires that banks should always be able to cover the net cash outflow with high quality liquid assets.

Required LCR < High Quality Liquid Assets Net Cash outflow over the next 30 days The Basel III accord requires that the minimum LCR is 100%, starting on 1 January 2015 with 60% minimum coverage and increasing by 10% each year to reach 100% by 1 January 2019. High quality liquid assets are separated into two categories – Level 1 and Level 2. The composition of Level 1 and Level 2 high quality liquid assets and ‘run off rates’ for cash outflows will be based on the definitions and conditions contained in the document "Basel III: The Liquidity Coverage Ratio and liquidity risk monitoring tools" - issued in January 2013. The full details of the level 1 and level 2 high quality liquid assets and cash outflows that will apply for the LCR will be contained the Guidance Manual, which is required to be published under Article (10) of these Regulations, taking account of international and local regulatory developments and local market practices. Article (6): Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) (Effective 1 January 2018 for approved banks)
This is a structural ratio that aims to ensure that long term assets on the banks’ balance sheets are funded using a sufficient amount of stable liabilities. It also requires an amount of stable funding to cover a portion of the contingent liabilities. The NSFR mirrors the Basel III standard.

The NSFR identifies the key uses of funds and the different types of funding sources used by banks. It assigns Available Stable Funding (ASF) factors to the sources of funds and Required Stable Funding (RSF) (usage) factors to asset classes and the off balance sheet contingent exposures. The assigned ASF factor depends on the term of funding and the perceived stability of the funding source. The assigned RSF factor will depend on the liquidity of the asset being funded under a market wide stress. Both factors will follow the Basel III NSFR standard.

Under Article (10) below, the Banking Supervision Department within the Central Bank is required, to issue a Guidance Manual that specifies the stability factors to be assigned to funding sources and the required stable funding (Usage) factors of various asset classes.

The Loans to Stable Resources Ratio specified in Circular No. 394 dated 12/07/1986 shall continue to apply, except for those banks approved to move to the NSFR.

Article (7): Reporting Requirements
The frequency and scope of reporting requirements under the ELAR and LCR will be set out in the Guidance Manual.
From time to time, banks will be required to complete a liquidity report to enable the Central Bank to monitor effectively the liquidity positions at banks and to take appropriate and timely action at early signs of a liquidity stress.
The report should be based on contractual data with no behavioral assumptions made.
The Central Bank will apply homogeneous assumptions to the data to perform its liquidity analysis on both micro and macro prudential levels.
Banks are required to use the liquidity reporting templates mentioned in the Guidance Manual, to be issued afterward.

Article (8): Commencement of these Regulations
The Eligible Liquid Assets Ratio (ELAR) will take effect from 1 July 2015.
The Qualitative Requirements of these Regulations also take effect from 1 July 2015.
The transition phase for the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) will commence on 1 January 2016 for those banks approved to move to this ratio.
The transition phase for the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) will also commence on 1 January 2016 for those banks approved to move to this ratio. Approved banks will be required to comply with the NSFR from 1 January 2018.

Article (9): Cancellation of Previous Regulations
Circular No. 30/2012 dated 12/7/2012, regarding Liquidity Regulations at Banks is withdrawn from the date these Regulations become effective.

Article (10): Guidance Manual
The Central Bank will issue a Guidance Manual on compliance with the Eligible Liquid Assets Ratio (ELAR), Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR).

The Guidance Manual will also include definitions and assumptions for the LCR and NSFR calculation which will follow the standards set out in Basel III.The Guidance Manual will also include liquidity reporting templates and a more detailed explanation of what is expected from banks under the qualitative rules. The manual will be updated with any changes to Basel III liquidity standards that might take place between the date of these Regulations and the respective implementation date.

Article (11): Interpretation –
Reference shall be made to the Regulatory Development Division of the Central Bank for interpretation of these Regulations, and this interpretation shall be final.

Article (12): Notification and Publication –
These regulations shall be communicated to all concerned parties for implementation as per the phases specified in Article (8) of these Regulations and shall be published in the Official Gazette in both Arabic and English.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) – new Commercial Companies Law.

July 20th, 2015

UAE Federal Government – Issues New Companies Law

On 1 July 2015, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a new Commercial Companies Law.

From an international investment perspective, the Commercial Companies Law does not relax the company foreign ownership restrictions in the UAE contained in the existing UAE Companies Law.

The major changes adopted in the new Commercial Companies Law are as follows:
•Allowing sole shareholder limited liability companies (LLCs) and private joint stock companies ;
•Exempting government-owned companies from the New Commercial Companies Law if the company includes a provision in their memorandum to that effect;
•Allowing partners in LLCs to pledge their interests in LLCs;
•Allowing certain non-pre-emptive share issuances by joint stock companies (JSCs);
•Allowing founders to list their businesses, but retain 70% of the shares.

WPC 2015 summary – and a sneak peek at Ax 7

July 20th, 2015

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reinforced Microsoft’s bold mission: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. “Together with our partners we are transforming the business world for the next era.”

Microsoft and partner speakers outlined how this will be accomplished. Create more personal computing, reinvent productivity and business processes, and continue to build, strengthen, and evangelize the intelligent cloud. Throughout the keynote, Microsoft executives thanked partners for the essential role they play in executing on this vision to foster mutual success.

Microsoft is investing in tools, resources, and product offerings to enable its partners to take advantage of the rapidly expanding markets for cloud and mobile technologies. The imminent release of Windows 10 will ushers in a new era of personal computing with one operating system that spans all platforms and devices.

As CEO Satya Nadella said,”What makes Microsoft unique is the people in this room, this partner ecosystem.” Together, we are on the frontlines of transforming business around the world.

we saw how , Autodesk, will use HoloLens, the world’s first fully untethered holographic computing device powered by Windows 10, to fundamentally change how design professionals create, communicate, visualize, and work.

Project GigJam: empowers business workers to spontaneously summon, assign, and track information from their line of business and SaaS apps. Project GigJam breaks down the barriers between people, devices, and apps to expedite business tasks.

Cortana Analytics Suite: is a fully managed and comprehensive set of services to help businesses transform data into intelligent action, will be available this Fall as a monthly subscription, as well as through third party solutions. The Suite brings together leading technology infrastructure with perceptual intelligence to enable businesses of any size to transform themselves through the power of data.

COO Kevin Turner outlined a plan of action for reinventing business productivity and owning the cloud. “It’s an exciting moment to be in technology,” A new Microsoft-commissioned IDC study shows that 80% of business customers buy through channel partners for cloud services. The study indicates that customers of all types look for a partner who can play the role of a trusted technology advisor – the most important criteria customers look for in a solution provider. Microsoft partners are a massive competitive advantage, and this research is a validation of the critical importance of partners in the cloud era.

A peek at Ax 7

WPC 2016 will be Toronto, Ontario, Canada

WPC2015 partner awards – AxPact

July 14th, 2015

At the annual Microsoft World Partner Conference partner recognition award dinner Ax Pact partners featured prominently as Inner circle, President’s Club and Regional Award winners