Archive for October, 2016

Apps Source, Power Apps, and Flow, and the release of Dynamics 365 -tomorrow!

October 31st, 2016

AppSource already has a number of apps from developers and Microsoft Partners – with many more to follow. Microsoft confirmed it was likely that even rivals like SAP would have apps on the marketplace.

Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow will reach general availability on November 1.

Corporate vice president James Phillips announced this morning via a blog post that both services will be available “around the world and in 42 languages” and will gain new integrations, more administrative tools and controls, and native use of what Microsoft is calling its Common Data Service, previously known as the common data model and related connectors and gateways. The releases coincide with the official release of the first round of Dynamics 365 apps, including the new SMB Financials package (formerly known as Project Madeira), as well as the Operations package (formerly known as AX 7) and the customer experience apps, formerly grouped together as Dynamics CRM Online.

PowerApps and Flow will be included in Dynamics 365 plans and Office 365 Enterprise, Business Premium, and Essential packages.

In addition to connectors for Dynamics 365 and Office 365, Microsoft says connectors are available or in the works for hundreds of popular business applications and database systems. And the tools will support on-premise connectors through an on-premise data gateway.

Some of the newest capabilities for PowerApps and Flow have added a level of enterprise-grade management tools that IT teams are more likely embrace, including “environments” and new AppSource tie-ins.

PowerApps introduced environments into preview last week. They are “spaces to store, manage, and share your organization’s business data, apps, and flows and help manage scale out across the enterprise.” Environments are bound to an Azure AD tenant and are bound to a datacenter’s geographic location.

There will also be an administration center for managing security, life cycle of resources, and data loss prevention policies.

Flow will also add connectors for a dozen new services in November including, Campfire, Cognitive Services Text Analytics, Instapaper and Pinterest, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

PowerApps can be published as apps to the new organization gallery on Microsoft AppSource, Microsoft’s market place for line-of-business SaaS apps. With this new capability, an organization can easily share apps across all it users.

The changeover to Common Data Service will bring “improved entity modeling, better security, integration with Microsoft Office, and support for PowerApps environments,” according to Microsoft group program manager Jono Luk in a blog post last week. The changeover from CDM to CDS also required Microsoft to freeze the ability for customers to create new databases for a few days. Presumably, this freeze will lift with the general availability milestone.

In his blog post announcing the general availability of PowerApps and Flow, Phillips had this to say about the Common Data Service:
The Common Data Service stores your key business data in a secure Microsoft Azure-hosted database, organizing it in a standardized but extensible form – customer, lead, opportunity, employee, invoice, inventory item, product, task, contact, calendar and so on. This standardization makes it easy to create new applications and workflows that derive value from your data. And PowerApps, Flow and Power BI are natively aware of this common data model, making it that much easier.”

Over 160,000 users from 71,000 organizations in 145 countries have tried PowerApps and Flow since its public preview, writes Phillips.

Dynamics CRM App for Outlook was first introduced in CRM 2016. The next generation of the app—Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, which will also be available in the l release of Microsoft Dynamics 365. With the new app, you can view Dynamics 365 information about all your email recipients, link an email message to a Dynamics 365 record with one click, and quickly view your most recently used Dynamics 365 records. All this without leaving your Outlook inbox. Use the Outlook user interface you already know and do it faster than ever!
Composing the same type of email message over and over is a waste of time. Now you can take advantage of Dynamics 365 email templates so you don’t have to enter the same information over and over. When you’re composing an email message, you can also attach knowledge articles or sales literature from Dynamics 365.

It’s not just about email. Now you can also track Outlook meetings and appointments, and create Dynamics 365 activities, such as phone calls and tasks—all without leaving your inbox. Track your Outlook contacts, link them to Dynamics 365 accounts, and keep these contacts completely in sync. Do all this through the new Office add-in—you don’t have to use the old Outlook COM add-in anymore

The next generation of Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is integrated with Dynamics 365 online, as well as on-premises, whether you use Exchange online or Exchange on premises. It’s supported on Outlook for the desktop, Outlook for Mac, Outlook Web Application, and soon on the Outlook app for iPhone.

Watch this video to learn about the exciting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 App for Outlook.
– See your Dynamics 365 data in the familiar Outlook app. Set regarding records with one click.
– Add Outlook tasks, phone calls, and appointments directly to Dynamics 365.
– Use Dynamics 365 email templates for emails that you send often.
– Brand new in the December 2016 Update for Dynamics 365—track your Outlook contacts and link them to Dynamics 365 accounts.

Financials for Office 365 – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

October 31st, 2016

Last week, Microsoft announced AppSource – an application store for business, and the Financials for Office 365 app is one of the first to be feature. Users can log on and evaluate a whole range of apps designed for Microsoft Dynamics, Office 365, Cortana Inteligence and the Azure platform, as well as add-ons, extensions and content packages for existing apps. You can search for product type, industry, or catergory. The apps cover a diverse range of uses, from Finance and Accounting (Financials), to Sales (Linkedin Sales Navigator) and Payments (Paypal).

Financials is designed to seamlessly work with applications you use everyday, from Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Skype for Business, Power BI and more. Track exactly how your business is performing and where your funds are going with powerful real-time reporting.

Inventory Management : Know your real-time stock availabilities and movements. From single items to multiple warehouses ,it has your supply chain covered
Sales: a complete solution for sales that is flexible in a world of negotiations, discounts and credits
Purchasing:Stay ahead with purchasing strategies that help keep your business lean and agile to meet the demands of the market.
Manufacturing: Keep your processes lean while managing the fine details by accounting for multiple levels of Bill of Materials and the use of items and resources.
Fixed Assets: Know the value of your company’s fixed assets. From purchasing and selling the fixed asset, to having multiple depreciation books as well as disposal, you are able to see the changes in value of what you own.

Available subscriptions from tomorrow for ‘lite’. ‘standard’ and ‘performance editions’. For pricing plans and feature details see

Azure Analysis Services now in Preview

October 30th, 2016

This past week Microsoft announced Azure Analysis Services at the PASS Summit. This is the evolution of SSAS on the SQL Server platform, with the ability to now move your tabular models into Azure and run those on an as needed basis. This means that you don’t need to administer your own SSAS instance, and can connect to cloud and on-premise data sources for your data analysis needs.

Since SQL Server has moved its codebase to primary development in Azure and a periodic release on-premise, this is a good sign that Analysis Services will continue to receive investment in the future. There are restrictions e.g. no multidimensional models so to test out SSAS in Azure, understand that limitation and that this is still in preview. Expect this platform to evolve and update at least quarterly, with new features and fewer restrictions over time. You can get started quickly.

As with other services in Azure, I both like and dislike some things. It’s great that the platform evolves and changes quickly, but I’d like to know which release of Azure Analysis Services I’m using. Not every evolution is helpful to all, and some will break systems, so knowing there has been a change or a new release can dramatically speed up troubleshooting. When the version of the Azure system changes, we know then to look at Azure release notes rather than our own code.

SSAS has still not become as popular than we might have expected 17 years ago, . SSAS is still alive and well, moving into the cloud and receiving development resources. . There are problem domains that are addressed well by SSAS and the ability to use the technology as an on-demand platform, without adding additional administrative and hardware resources is welcome.

A fundamental conceptual understanding of SSAS and MDX still escapes most people. Nowadays we have many e tools that can read data from SSAS instances and help users query data. That means we need fewer people and less time to design and to maintain SSAS instances, and also that we can easily create and destroy those as needed on Azure.

Insights and AI with Dynamics 365

October 13th, 2016

Microsoft is the only major CRM provider to embed external customer data, millions of key contacts, and timely, actionable insights within CRM at no additional cost. Relationship Insights, which as the name suggests gives sales people information about the status of their customer relationships at any given moment is built on the on the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which Microsoft introduced in 2015 and uses tools like sentiment analysis to check on the likelihood of the deal closing and the next best action to take.

Insights 4.0 by Insideview is included at no additional charge in all Professional and Enterprise subscriptions of Microsoft Dynamics. It offers a more streamlined, seamless user experience within the new Microsoft Dynamics 365, as well as the current version Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015.

In addition to Insights’ already robust access to more than 30 million contacts, and the intuitive new interface, Insights 4.0 adds the following features:
– New filtering capabilities to easily find and import the right contacts into CRM
Discovery Center, where users can search InsideView’s database of 12 million+ companies and add them to CRM
– Custom field mapping to allow Insights data to easily update company and contact records in Microsoft Dynamics 365.
– Social feed suppression to enable/disable social media integration.
– Social media stream customization to tailor the individual user experience.

Dynamics 365 refers to the Azure-based combination of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) services. At the core of this solution is what Microsoft simply calls as Intelligence, which is actually constituted by advanced analytics and machine learning technologies. It powers the apps within Microsoft’s cloud service that provides a range of functions for business such as sales automation, operations and customer service.

Companies can integrate all of this data with internal metrics (KPIs) to drive automated actions based on the data. The solution includes partner data from the likes of Facebook and Trip Advisor (proving you don’t need to own an external data source to take advantage of it).

It’s been designed as a stand-alone service that can work with any of the Dynamics 365 CRM components — sales, customer service or field service — and can also work with any external CRM tool with open APIs. This last point is particularly telling because it’s giving customers who might not be using Dynamics 365 (but are using other Microsoft tools like Outlook) access to this feature.

Versium, a predictive analytics company, today announced their partnership with Microsoft to bring Versium Predict, their automated predictive analytics solution to Microsoft Dynamics 365

This integration will allow Dynamics 365 for Sales users to quickly build customized predictive models that score and prioritize leads, enabling sales and marketing to know in advance which consumers and businesses are most likely to purchase their products or services. The integration will also generate new, highly targeted prospect lists from the predictive model to drive campaigns, including email, phone, direct mail and display audiences, with increased customer conversion.

Versium Predict is designed to be seamlessly integrated into Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, allowing businesses to:
◾Quickly build powerful predictive models through an automated, on demand interface
◾Prioritize leads with the highest propensity to purchase or engage
◾Create new highly targeted prospect lists and customized audiences to support email, direct mail and online display advertising campaigns

Dynamics 365 – 1 November 16 ask Synergy Software Systems

October 12th, 2016

Microsoft is offering a first look at its new Azure-hosted Dynamics 365 service and plans to start rolling out a number of its components as of November .
This is the product that goes head-to-head with Salesforce, as well as Oracle and SAP.

Dynamics 365 is cloud software that has combined what’s known as CRM or customer relationship management software – used by salespeople to track prospects and customers (a market Salesforce leads) – with ERP or enterprise resource management software. ERP is financial, manufacturing, and supply chain management software, a market where SAP is the biggest player, followed by Oracle.

This new product is one of the main reasons that Microsoft bought LinkedIn for more than $26 billion. Dynamics 365 includes new applications that sift through data stored in Microsoft documents, the CRM/ERP system, and social media like LinkedIn to provide sales leads and business insights for marketing campaigns.

Microsoft had previously said that it plans to start a price war with the main CRM players, particularly Salesforce. Microsoft’s new subscription plans for Dynamics 365 will bundle together many popular options, rather than making a company pay for each one per user, separately

November 1, the first seven discrete Dynamics 365 applications would be on the company’s price list. Those apps will be rolling out in 135 markets and 40 languages starting on that date. Microsoft will make a preview of a new Dynamics 365 Customer Insights app that is built on top of the Cortana Intelligence Suite, available at the beginning of November, as well, officials said.

There will be two different editions of Dynamics 365: Business and Enterprise. (Unlike Office 365 andWindows 10 Microsoft will not be using the E1, E3, E5 designations with Dynamics 365, to distinguish between different offerings.)

The Business edition of Dynamics 365, aimed at companies with between 10 and 250 employees, will include Financials, Sales, and Marketing modules.

The Enterprise edition, targeted at companies with 250-plus employees, will consist of Operations, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation modules.

” …….when you add up the functionality, Microsoft is putting a lot of firepower in the hands of individual users that is based on a relatively well-known user experience: that has to be a net positive against any competitor, but particularly Salesforce, which struggles to fulfill the needs of the full enterprise, or Oracle, which is mired in older products or user experiences, or SAP, which is still transitioning from a very heavy-weight on-premise offering to a less heavyweight set of cloud offerings”
Josh Greenbaum, Principal, Enterprise Applications Consulting,

Listen to Sathya Nadella’s vision for cross platform analytics

Dynamics 365 includes built-in intelligence capabilities to help improve manufacturing and supply chain execution, make field service operations more efficient, sell more effectively and ultimately deliver exceptional customer experiences. Sentiment and intent analysis, preemptive service, relationship insights, lead and opportunity scoring, product recommendations and up-sell/cross-sell, etc, are some of the built-in intelligence capabilities included.

Microsoft has highlighted that customers can extend these built-in intelligence capabilities with independent apps that provide targeted and domain-specific intelligence. For example, Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights is a new analytics app from Microsoft that connects and analyzes data from Microsoft – and other widely used CRM, ERP, web, social and IoT sources – and applies intelligence to it to give you a 360-degree customer view with automatic suggestions to improve engagement.

Built to take full advantage of the capabilities in Power BI, Office 365, Microsoft Azure and Cortana Intelligence, with Dynamics 365 you can start small and scale on demand to deal with your biggest business challenges.

The company has also launched Relationship Insights. The service is also capably of analyzing things like sentiments, using a variety of complex data analysis and machine learning techniques. This analysis is way more important than it looks at first glance — as any well entrenched businessman can tell you — and can give you stats like the probability of closing the deal, the next best steps to take and so on.

Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 cloud services have recently achieved Tier 3 of the Singapore cloud security standard . This improves on a Tier 1 certification awarded in late 2014 for Azure and Office 365, and makes Microsoft the first global cloud service provider to have obtained the MTCS certification across its infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings.

MTCS SS is a cloud security standard developed by the Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC) in Singapore and published in November 2013. The objective was to help businesses understand the different cloud service providers’ (CSPs) offerings better, and as a means to drive cloud adoption by certifying the security that they offer. Tier 3 was designed for regulated organizations with specific requirements and more stringent security requirements. Industry specific regulations may be applied in addition to the baseline controls in order to supplement and address security risks and threats in high impact information systems.
Aside from MTCS, Microsoft also recently received the United States Defence Information System Agency (DISA) Level 2, Japan Financial Industry Information Systems (FISC), and New Zealand Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO).

Microsoft’s cloud portfolio is now the most trusted with 22 certifications, self-attestations and guidance framework adoptions from around the world, more than any other hyper-scale cloud platform provider.

Ax 2009 now compatible with SQL 2012 RU3, and Office 2016

October 11th, 2016

Office 2016 is now supported with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Service Pack 1 with Rollup 8 with hotfix KB 2830391. This KB was required for Office 2013 support and is also required for Office 2016.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3 is supported with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Service Pack 1 with Rollup 8 and the hotfix from Knowledge Base article 2836535.

The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 System Requirements have been updated to reflect this change.

Azure comes of age and its a lot cheaper.

October 8th, 2016

There a few high level messages that came out of the Ignite – to paraphrase Satya Nadella : We have gazillions of bytes of data now e need to make sense of it.
The second clear message is that Microsoft is bringing its technology stack together on azure
Analytics and IoT are going to be embedded everywhere with increasing options to mobilise systems
So the recent aggressive price cuts announced from 1 October are timely as are the announcmetns of new Micorsft azure centres

The Microsoft cloud is expanding further in Europe, with the company announcing plans to host Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 in new datacenters in France, expected in 2017. The announcement adds to Microsoft’s European investment, which tops $3 billion, according to the company. The investment in France is aimed to reach companies that need to meet European data sovereignty, security, and compliance needs.

Microsoft has recently announced other additions to its cloud services in western Europe, including in the UK and Germany, where Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 are all eventually expected to reside. The German mode announced alst month , Microsoft explained in an announcement , will be set up so that “access to customer data is controlled by a data trustee, T-Systems International, an independent German company and subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.”
With customer data remaining in Germany under the control of a data trustee, Microsoft Cloud Germany provides a differentiated option to the Microsoft Cloud services already available across Europe, creating increased opportunities for innovation and economic growth for highly regulated partners and customers in Germany, the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The new datacenters provide infrastructure and platform services enabling a broad range of solutions from the Internet of Things to Machine Learning via locally deployed German datacenters in Magdeburg and Frankfurt.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith revealed at Reading last week that the company has invested over $3 billion across Europe to date – in effect, doubling its cloud capacity in Europe in the past year. The Microsoft Cloud is now supporting European customers such as the UK Ministry of Defence, the Renault-Nissan Alliance and ZF from Germany to innovate in their industries and move their businesses to the cloud while meeting European data sovereignty, security and compliance needs.

The French datacenters will put the count of total announced datacenter regions at 36, with 30 already available.

The company also released a new book on “the importance of ensuring that the cloud is a cloud for global good,” titled, A Cloud for Global Good.

Microsoft Ventures made its official debut in late May and the fund is already building momentum with cutting-edge tech startups that enable digital transformation.

At the GeekWire Summit in Seattle, Peggy Johnson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of business development, publicly announced the list of the startups the company has backed including security technology company Team8 of Israel; machine learning company CognitiveScale of Austin, Texas; and the San Francisco-based Layer messaging technology company.

Space and environmental exploration became a reality for hundreds of youth who attended AzureCraft, a two-day community tech event held at Microsoft’s U.K. headquarters. The event brought developers and students together for a hands-on experience with a variety of technologies, including tiny, low-cost satellites called nano satellites, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Effective 1st October 2016, Microsoft has lowered prices on many of it’s most popular virtual machines (VMs).
• General Purpose Instances: Prices of Dv2 series VMs will be reduced by up to 15% and new lower prices for A1 and A2 Basic VMs by up to 50%.
• Compute Optimised Instances: Prices of F series will be reduced up to 11%.
• Av2 series: In November 2016, Microsoft will introduce new A series virtual machines (Av2), with prices up to 36% lower than the A series Standard VM prices available today.

the A series VMs arean entry-level compute tier. The Dv2 series VMs are general-purpose tier, with more memory and local SSD storage than A series. F series VMs provide an even higher CPU-to-memory ratio with a lower price than the Dv2 series.

In addition to these reduced prices, for customers using Windows Server with Software Assurance, the recently announced Microsoft Azure Hybrid Use Benefit can help you run Windows Server workloads at 41% lower cost.

There is a price war when it comes to cloud services. First, Google lowered their prices, quickly followed by Amazon, then Microsoft. While Microsoft hopes to save consumers money, general manager for Azure, Steven Martin stressed that providing high-quality, innovative compute and storage solutions was their primary goal. Below are a few of the price change highlights:
•35% decrease in compute services
•65% decrease in storage solutions
•27% cost savings with “basic” service tier
•27% – 35% decrease in Memory-Intensive Instances (depends on Linux or Windows)
•44% – 65% reduction in Block Blob storage

With Facebook signed up to Office 365 and the acquisition of linked -and the imminent release of Dynamics 365, as well as the Azure IoT stack , even SAP Hana on azure, and with a wider geographic base of data centres – the azure proposition is rapidly changing and the price cuts will address a lot of the customer feedback about price concerns to move to azure. This rolling stone is beginning to look more like a roller coaster.

Data, data everywhere and no time to think.

October 4th, 2016

The world of data is changing. Size is increasing. We’ve moved from bits to bytes, to kilobytes to megabytes to gigabytes to terabytes, just in our hands. We can’t even really conceive of what this amount of storage means in a physical sense. Our large systems have grown to petabytes, perhaps exabytes and zettabytes one day and eventually to yottabytes and beyond.
We transfer data quicker. No longer a 300 baud modem. watching the text crawl across the screen.
Our mobile data moved from SMS to GPRS to Edge to 4G and LTE, which are amazing speeds, faster than many of the early networks and now 5G and 6G and maybe we’ll keep going to subspace radio? Who knows.
Some of you may still remember tape storage. What a move forward to floppy disks. get a floppy disk drive, to hard disks to solid state disks to 3D drives It looks like 3D SSD technology is going to fundamentally change the world, with latencies that will require our software to be very, very efficient.
Interfaces have also improved, to allow us to move more data, quicker. From SMD to ESDI to ATA to IDE to SATA to SCSI to Wide SCSI to Fast SCISI to Fast Wide SCSI to Ultra SCSI to Ultra Wide SCSI. SCSI 2 to SCSI 3 to Fibrechannel, infiniband and beyond. USB to Firewire 400 to USB 2 to Firewire 800 to USB 3, 3.1, eSata, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, Thunderbolt 3, and who knows what’s next?
Our computers used to be room,size with another room full of punch clerks. Then we moved to minis, with the computer in the room. Then we got desktops and portable luggable machines, moving to laptops that we can carry one handed to handhelds computers in our pockets. We even went to tiny devices that we found were too small. So we’ve gone the other way with smartphones and phablets and iPads and tablets and smart watches Now the world around us is being enhanced with virtual reality and Hololens.
We used to have amps and road sings now we have GPS. We used to key data data now we use rfid. and QRS codes
Our world is using all this technology to monitor, mark, chip, tag, record, watch, measure, and gather data. We get to work with that data. We get to gather, store, manage, index, backup, transfer, clean, and care for all that data. We need to work with it. We’ve got to move it with text files, CSVs, Excel, Word, PDF, MP3, MP4 and more.
We send data over TCP, FTP, SMB, AirDrop, VPN, Web services, REST, jQuery, and more.
We share data with files, messages, texts, clicks, likes, tweets, pings, drops, shares, snaps, hangouts, and once in a while, we communicate with phones.
We have many things to learn in order to reach our potential in working with data. We have the chance and potential to build amazing visualizations. We can analyze our business progress, producing tables, charts, graphs, animations, and of course, reports. We can map our own activities and events, tracking how we interact with the world, experience it, perhaps even using the data to relive, remember, or reinvent the world around us.
IoT is starting connect almost every kind of device.
What do we do with all that data? Almost anything.!
We have PowerPivot, Power query, Power View, Power map, and Power BI. It seems Microsoft really believes data has power. Predictive analytics and Big data are turning data into action.

Dynamics 365 public launch event.

October 1st, 2016

Join online on Tuesday, October 11 at 11:30 AM Pacific Time (UTC-7) and be among the first to see our next generation of business applications—to help your organization to grow, adapt, and evolve.
Talk to us about Dynamics 365, Power Apps, Power Bi and Microsoft Flow and let us show you the future way to work.