Archive for August, 2021

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations

August 25th, 2021

Today’s project-based services businesses operate in a highly competitive market, where winning new deals, accelerating project delivery, and increasing profit margins are significant challenges. Teams within these organizations are using disconnected systems for sales, project management, collaboration, and financials when success in this highly competitive environment requires unifying teams around actionable data.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations connects sales, resourcing, project management, and finance teams in a single application to win more deals, accelerate project delivery, and maximize profitability.

  • Leaders get business insights to increase visibility across all teams, data, and processes, plus AI capabilities for better and faster business decisions.
  • Sales is enabled to win more deals and accelerate the sales cycle with fast and accurate quotes, flexible pricing, and seamless transitions from estimate to execution.
  • Resourcing is set up to optimize resource use by aligning the right people, with the right skills, to the right projects. This alignment improves quality and helps to retain top performers.
  • Project managers can accelerate project delivery with state-of-the-art, built-in project management that uses familiar, easy-to-use Microsoft Project capabilities.
  • Team members can improve productivity, collaboration, and visibility with integration to Microsoft Teams, and submit time and expenses from anywhere.
  • Finance can simplify project accounting with time and expense tracking governance, project costing, budgeting, invoicing, revenue recognition, compliance, and visibility into key business health metrics.

Project Operations is powerful on its own, but can be expanded by our customers who require more capabilities from Dynamics 365. These capabilities include Marketing, Human Resources, Customer Service, and more.

Whether you want the added functionality of another Dynamics 365 application or to add on a custom application built with Power Apps, everything works together and works like you expect because they share the common foundation of a secure, private, and compliant cloud-delivered solution.

August 24th, 2021

A bungled data migration of a network drive caused the deletion of 22 terabytes of information from Dallas Police Department police force’s systems – included case files in a murder trial,during a data migration exercise carried out at the end of the 2020-21 financial year

“On August 6, 2021, the Dallas Police Department (DPD) and City of Dallas Information and Technology Services Department (ITS) informed the administration of this Office that in April 2021, the City discovered that multiple terabytes of DPD data had been deleted during a data migration of a DPD network drive,” said a statement [PDF] from the Dallas County prosecutor’s office.

14TB were recovered, presumably from backups, but “approximately 8 Terabytes remain missing and are believed to be unrecoverable.”

The Home Office initially issued a statement saying the data loss was down to a “technical issue”, which had been resolved, There must have been some technical resolution because the Home Office later said it was not a technical issue after all, and in fact a “housekeeping error” with Home Secretary Priti Patel saying: “Home Office engineers continue to work to restore data lost as a result of human error during a routine housekeeping process earlier this week.”

In a letter published by The Guardian, National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) deputy chief constable Naveed Malik, lead for the organisation on the Police National Computer (PNC), said approximately 213,000 offence records, 175,000 arrest records and 15,000 person records had potentially been deleted in error. The DNA database connected to the PNC saw 26,000 records corresponding to 21,710 subjects potentially deleted in error, “including records previously marked for indefinite retention following conviction of serious offences”. The letter also said 30,000 fingerprint records and 600 subject records may have been deleted in error.

The PNC dates back to the 1970s. The current iteration is a Fujitsu BS2000/OSD SE700-30 mainframe based in a Hendon data centre, running Software AG’s natural programming language-using ADABAS database. The UK’s territorial and regional police forces, Serious Fraud Office, Security and Secret Intelligence Services (MI5, MI6), HM Revenue & Customs, and the National Crime Agency all make use of it. They have controlled and 24-hour access from remote terminals and through local police force systems.

These incidents highlight the importance of backups and backup and recovery processes. How often do you test whether you can restore your back ups? Does this still work for restoring older back ups when you upgrade? Has a move to the cloud changed the retention of your back ups, the frequency of upgrades, or the ease or time for restore?

Windows Server 2022

August 23rd, 2021

Microsoft quietly rolled out Windows Server 2022 earlier this week . According to this Windows Server 2022 lifecycle support page, Windows Server 2022 reached general availability on Aug. 18.

The Visual Studio Subscriptions download page for developers lists the availability of “Windows Server 2022 Languages and Optional Features.” However, the full product bits didn’t appear to be there on release day.

Announcement Date Speculation
Microsoft, remarkably, has not given public notice about the commercial product release of its latest Windows Server product. Some speculate that Microsoft is waiting till Sept. 1 to announce Windows Server 2022’s commercial release, when Microsoft’s product terms may be available:

Microsoft’s product terms publications, which list updated pricing for its products, typically arrive on the first of the month. Microsoft’s typically announces a product GA before the product terms are published, which essentially means that the product is announced, but you can’t buy it until the first of the month.

Microsoft announced earlier this week that it is planning to hold an online Windows Server Summit event on Sept. 16, which is a public event but requires registration to attend. That Sept. 16 date also could be the target announce date Microsoft intends.

Windows Server 2022 was at the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) stage back in June. However, it was also called a “preview” at that time. It was an odd description, since “RTM” is old Microsoft nomenclature for finished software bits that undergo testing by original equipment manufacturers prior to a final product release. In other words, RTMs aren’t previews.

Windows Server 2022 Editions and Features
Microsoft is planning to release a Standard edition, a Datacenter edition and a Datacenter Azure edition of Windows Server 2022, with Core and Desktop installation options. The products will get updated via the long-term servicing channel release model (Microsoft has dropped the semiannual channel update option (for all supported Window Server products.)

Windows Server 2022 has some notable new features. On the security side, it has Secured Core boot protection, TLS 1.3 protocol use by default and Domain Name System over HTTPS encryption. Communications will be better protected from viewing with Server Message Block (SMB) over QUIC capability. The server also will have SMB compression for speedier file access.

AML/CFT – Anti-money Laundering & Combating the Financing of Terrorism – Regulatory compliance

August 23rd, 2021

Global Governments have implemented concerted measures to increase the scrutiny of AML/CFT processes and controls, to fight financial crimes.

In December 2020, the UAE Cabinet adopted the formation of the Executive Office of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism with an aim to follow the international requirements in this sector. The Ministry of Economy (MoE) sent out e-mails to all companies with a link to the Annual AML/ CFT Risk assessment form along with deadlines for each category of DNFBPs.

All Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (“DNFBP’s) must register on a “goAML portal” before 31 March 2021.  So any ‘grace period ‘ is well over.

The goAML portal is a integrated platform used to file Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and/or Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR).

It is your obligatory duty under the Federal Decree Law 20 of 2018 and Article 20(2) of Cabinet Decision No. (10) of 2019, to have procedures in place to report Suspicious Transactions to manage anti-money laundering (“AML) and counter terrorist financing (“CFT”). This system will allow you to help authorities identify criminal and suspicious activity.Failure to register on goAML may result in severe penalties invoked by the Ministry of Economy. We therefore urge you to treat this notice as a matter of priority and complete your application to ensure access to the goAML system.

Non- compliance to this will attract fines up to AED 5 Million!
In addition to the financial sector, this regulation applies to all Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBP), and the members of their boards of directors, management, and employees, established and/or operating in the territory of the UAE. They are applicable to all such natural and legal persons in the following categories: 

Auditors and accountants; 
• Lawyers, notaries and other legal professionals and practitioners; 
• Company and trust service providers; 
• Dealers in precious metals and stones; 
• Real estate agents and brokers; 
• Any other Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) not mentioned above.

All such businesses must:

• register with the Financial Intelligence Unit (go AML)

enroll on the Committee for Commodities Subject to Import and Export Control system (Automatic Reporting System for Sanctions List).

To determine whether you are likely to be a DNFBP go to:

Dynamics 365 Business Central Wave 2 release plan -ask Synergy Software Systems

August 17th, 2021

The “Wave 2” of the annual release plan for Dynamics 365 Business Central version 19 product launch is planned for October. Microsoft has publicly announced new features spanning from the platform’s expansions to new countries to new onboarding features and to the application and development features. (………. details listed here are subject to change).

 Dynamics 365 Business Central availability in new countries

 Starting from the 2021 Wave 2 release, Dynamics 365 Business Central will be available in the following new countries:

  • Argentina
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Myanmar
  • Puerto Rico
  • Slovakia
  • Ukraine

These new availabilities are achieved through partner-led localizations available on AppSource + built-in language module.

New features on the Application layer

Both Finance and Supply Chain areas will receive improvements on

. Availability of more fields on different entities for customizing pages via personalization (directly by the end-user).:

  • The availability of fields related to Vendor information’s on the Get Receipt Lines page or information related to customer’s orders on the Get Shipment Lines.
  • The Bank Accounts page now displays the Balance at Date and Balance at Date (LCY).
  • General Journals and Recurring General Journals can now display the External Document No.
  • Information about weights and volume are available in all sales documents and purchase documents (you can add the Unit Gross WeightUnit Net WeightUnit Volume, and Units per Parcel via personalization).
  • Add the Expected Receipt Date field to the Purchase QuotesPurchase Quote Archives, and Purchase Orders pages.
  • Job-related columns can be added to all purchase documents.
  • Add the Transfer Order Receipt and Shipment Quantities fields to the Item Card page.
  • Add the Description 2 field to all sales, service, purchase drafts, and posted and archived document lines.
  • Add the Source Type and Source No. fields to the General Ledger Entries page for better analysis.

Use requisition and planning worksheets to enter plans ofwhat you need to order and then create the orders for both physical inventory items and non-inventory items (such as services) to have a unified process.

Non-inventory items will support locations, and the location information will be copied in the item ledger, values, and job ledger entries records. You will be able to perform statistics for the location, also for services.

The Payment Reconciliation Journal will be improved with the following capabilities:

  • Separate number series
  • Posting preview
  • Ability to reverse the G/L register posted through the journal

The Bank Reconciliation page will be improved with the following capabilities:

  • Bank ledger entries are now filtered, so only ledger entries after the statement’s ending date are displayed.
  • When applying auto-matching, the user can decide not to overwrite any of the already matched entries or to overwrite all.
  • Many-to-1 matching is now possible, so many bank statement lines can be matched against one bank ledger entry.
  • When you transfer differences to be posted in a general journal, the entries will be auto-matched when you return to the bank reconciliation, reducing the redundant manual step.

Production processes like planning worksheets, order planning, capable-to-promise can now use information about bills of materials and routes defined in the stock-keeping units (SKU).

You will be able to specify a rounding precision for the base unit of measures to avoid rounding problems when using alternative units.

An alternative unit of measure for items can now be synched also with Dynamics 365 for Sales.

The new release will also remove the old sales documents reports (204..207) in favor of new sales document reports supporting Word Layout (1304..1307). You can ether use the new layouts (recommended) or clone the old layout to a custom layout and then continue using the cloned custom layout.

Data export to Excel. You will be able to export in excel lists embedded in a part on a page, such as Sales Lines on the Sales Order page or lists on a fact box pane. The Open in Excel action downloads a static copy of your list as an Excel file, applying your filters and sort order just as shown on the screen.

For reports, you can now select to export the report data to Excel on the request page. The Excel file will only include the raw data and not the report layout.

It will be useful for troubleshooting or data analysis. . Just go to the report’s request page and select the Send to menu. Here you have a new option now: Microsoft Excel Document (data only):

When you select this option, the report is rendered to include data only (data without the layout) and the raw dataset is presented in an Excel file. The Excel file contains the value of each field and the value of each variable and caption defined in the report. The exported dataset is the same dataset that is streamed to the reporting engine component of Business Central. When you have binary data inside the report, this is not exported into Excel (obviously) but it gives you an indication of the byte size. It works also for reportextension’s data.

Consider it as a “report inspector” for developers and consultants. Users must have the Allow Action Export Report Dataset To Excel permission assigned (you can assign the Troubleshooting Tools or Export Report Excel permission sets to them).

You can also export report data exported also as XML.

Integration with Dataverse, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform improvements

Dataverse integration. Use Integration Field Mapping to filter and choose the data to synchronize and how to couple records (this will avoid  writing extensions with custom business logic for synch).

Integration with Microsoft Teams, The Business Central web client will include a new action to share records to Microsoft Teams in the next release. This will allow you to type a message, choose recipients (team members, groups, or channels), and then send a message with a link to the Business Central record.

Power BI reports inside Business Central. In the next release, embed reports from any of your personal or shared Power BI workspaces (not only from the default workspace).

New features for IT Administrators

When using delegated admins,  create job queue entries and set those as ready to run with your delegated admin account. A licensed user from the customer can start the job queue entry to complete the process that the delegated admin created.

A partner, will be able to preload a list of recommended apps into the customer’s system (apps relevant for his business) to act as a “proxy” on AppSource. The customer can then install the preselected apps safely.

The administrator will have a new set of Automation APIs (in addition to the existing ones) that will permit the creation of user groups. New APIs for sharing files in Microsoft 365 will also be available for AL developers (these will permit sharing reports or other files using standard Microsoft 365 capabilities for cloud-based file sharing).

In the new release it is possible to use Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) groups to grant access to environments on a tenant . You will be able to associate an Azure AD group with an environment. The members of that Azure AD group will be synchronized to Dynamics 365 Business Central and granted access to that environment.

In the next release, you will be able to copy environments within and across different environment types, for example:

  • Production to Production
  • Sandbox to Sandbox
  • Sandbox to Production

Also, new log signals related to the environment’s operations will be added to the Business Central operation logs.

It will also be possible to restart an environment from the Admin Center, for example, for troubleshooting purposes.

New features for AL developers

The AL compiler will be improved. When using code analyzers, you will  receive a warning on code compilation with additional URLs for documentation that links to the possible cause of the problem and possible solutions.

Another essential and top requested feature that you will see on version 19 is the ability to perform a force-sync on per-tenant extensions.

Breaking schema changes on SaaS are never permitted, but on version 19 (under the partner’s responsibility), you will be able to make breaking schema changes on PTEs. The new force sync schema change can be triggered via the Extension Management page or directly from the tenant’s Admin Center.

Dynamics 365 Business Central 2021 Wave 2

Please always remember that with this action, you will lose any data stored in your extension.

When debugging with Visual Studio Code, you will be able to capture the execution timing part of the snapshot from snapshot debugging. Using a new (and cool!) performance profiling editor in VS Code, you will be able to investigate how your code performs.

Dynamics 365 Business Central 2021 Wave 2

An important new feature is related to control the source access of your extension’s code. A property in the app.json file called ShowMyCode when enabled, permits debugging the extension and also to download source (PTE) and view code in symbols. This is  one of the main problems with debugging. (Many partners have ShowMyCode = false in their extensions, which makes debugging the extension’s code impossibile!f.)

Plans to add new options in the app.json file like AllowDebugSourceAllowDownloadSource, or AllowSymbolsSource to protect the source access effectively. This is when writing a “work in progress” project, and some details could change.

To improve performances of the NST, in the next release, whenyou’re using OData for integrations, you will be able to specify a read-only intent to use the read-only database replica (and then offloading the production database). You will also have a limit on the number of background sessions that you can start from the AL code.

Don’t forget to check for warnings in your code NOW because some of these (marked as v15 or v16) could become errors in the v19 release

Dynamics 365 Human Resources (D365 HR) infrastructure merge. Ask Synergy Software Systems

August 17th, 2021

Microsoft is planning a set of structural changes to Dynamics 365 Human Resources (D365 HR) that will update the application’s capabilities, align its administration with the rest of the Finance and Operations suite, unify the feature set across the applications, and update licensing of HR capabilities. 

The so-called infrastructure merge for D365 HR will result in a single set of features for D365 HR that will account for overlapping HR features in the other Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (D365FO) apps: Finance, Supply Chain Management, Commerce, and Project Operations.

After the merge is complete, D365 HR will also be able to use Dynamics 365 Lifecycle Services, issue search, and Regression Suite Automation Tool (RSAT). And it will “provide both Microsoft Power Platform extensibility, and a way to extend business logic and feature options,” according to Microsoft.

So HR is back together with the other Finance and Operations apps and you no longer have to integrate between HR and Finance.

If you have one or more of the D365 Finance and Operations apps, but don’t use the HR functionality included in these and you have D365 HR, then make sure your data is the same structure because, sometime in the future your apps will be merged and you will have the same database, so the data needs to be aligned. If you do have a big differences, then you have some work to do.

As far as I’ve read from the notes, you will now have to buy D365 HR and start using that license.  (As with Project oeprations)

If you have one or more of the D365 Finance and Operations apps and use the HR functionality included in those, but don’t have D365 HR then you get added functionality and a system Microsoft is improving

Some new HR features:

Improvements to leave and absence app in Teams

New features :

  • Users can edit or cancel their existing submitted or approved leave requests.
  • Managers can view their direct reports’ leave balances while reviewing leave requests.
  • Calendar enhancements will allow users to view a companywide calendar or their extended reports’ availability calendar, based on their roles and permissions.

Improved extensibility options

There are some functionalities in the F&O apps that will help with extensibilities, and it will be easier to use the Power Platform tools. We can also hope for improved integrations.

Manage employee sick leave

This is not planned for public preview until March 2022, with no set GA date, but its a major current gap (field by Synergy D365 GCC localised Payroll module.)

The planned functionalities are:

  • Open-ended sick leave requests.
  • Return-to-work notices.
  • Sick leave reporting.
  • Management and approval of sick leave requests.

Current licensing

The current licensing on Dynamics 365 Human Resources (as it is in July 2021) is $120 per user per month when HR is your only Dynamics 365 app. If you have other apps and those same users will have access to HR, then the attach license cost is $30 per user per month.

You must have a minimum of 5 full licenses of HR.

Cybercrime attacks in MEA surge.

August 17th, 2021

A recent study by Kaspersky reveals that organisations in the Middle East faced 161 million malware attacks over the past year. T. Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt saw a large spike in malware attacks, which increased by 67%, 64%, 45% and 32%, respectively. Qatar and the UAE had lower increases of 16% and 7%.

Turkey accounts for around a quarter of malware attacks in the region (44 million), followed by Egypt (42 million), UAE (34 million), Oman (14 million), Kuwait (11 million) and Bahrain (5 million).

Cyber criminals now target their attack strategies, to focus on advanced persistent threat (APT) type attacks to steal sensitive data form organisations. The growth in digital transformation and the increase in remote working resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, has made countries of the Middle East an attractive target. In a cloud age of any-time any-device access, from anywhere and staff who work remotely and access corporate networks from their personal devices, companies must contend with a rapidly expanding attack surface. Personal devices might not have adequate level protection and once compromised and an employee logs into the network, criminals might get access to sensitive data or encrypt data and cripple the organisation.