Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Utility billing, Dynamics 365, why Mecoms? ask Synergy Software Systems

October 11th, 2021

We have long experience of utility billing, which has many unique requirements compared to a manufacturing or retail organisation. OS we are pleased to announce these recent successes by our ISV partner Mecoms.

FERRANTI COMPUTER SYSTEMS Achieves the Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle award

Ferranti is honored by Microsoft for achieving outstanding sales achievement and innovation with their MECOMS 365 application platform. 

Ferranti Computer Systems, the driving force behind the MECOMS 365 software platform for energy & utility providers, has achieved the prestigious Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle award. Membership in this elite group is based on sales achievements that rank Ferranti Computer Systems in the top echelon of the Microsoft’s Business Applications global network of partners. Inner Circle members have performed to a high standard of excellence by delivering valuable solutions that help organizations achieve increased success. For the second year in a row.

2021/2022 Inner Circle members are invited to the Inner Circle Summit Summit in March 2022 as well as virtual meetings between July 2021 and June 2022, where they will have a unique opportunity to share strategy and network with Microsoft senior leaders and fellow partners.

This recognition of Inner Circle for Microsoft Business Applications coincided with Microsoft Inspire, the annual premier partner event, which took place July 14-15, 2021. Microsoft Inspire provides the Microsoft partner community with the opportunity to learn about the company’s road map for the upcoming year, establish connections, share best practices, experience the latest product innovations and learn new skills.

“In a year of deep business transformation for every company and every industry on the planet, it is extremely rewarding to be able to recognize Microsoft Business Applications partners from every corner of the world that accelerated our joint customers’ digital transformation and drove unsurpassed customer success,” said Cecilia Flombaum, Microsoft Business Applications Ecosystem Lead. “Our Inner Circle members are chosen based on their business performance as well as capabilities as an organization, whether that’s creating IP, developing solutions, or having an industry leading focus on digital transformation. Microsoft is honored to recognize Ferranti/MECOMS for their achievements this past year, their dedication to our customers, and their innovation around the Microsoft Cloud.”  

Tom Van Haute, COO at Ferranti/MECOMS: “By using Microsoft technology as the underlying platform for MECOMS 365, working together with the Microsoft experts and opting for a hybrid cloud solution, we can keep MECOMS future-proof. Receiving the Microsoft Innercircle Award is a confirmation of our expertise and efforts of which we are of course very proud. Our product development team and myself are looking forward to continue the collaboration as an Innercircle member to drive innovation for our MECOMS platform for our customers to enjoy.”

Ferranti is dedicated to supplying valuable solutions that help customers achieve a competitive advantage by working with them to identify the best solutions and services that accommodate their business needs while excelling in customer satisfaction. By collaborating with the teams at Microsoft, Ferranti maintains a strong expertise of the Microsoft platform to provide innovative solutions, strong services and unparalleled value to their customers.

Johan Vandekerckhove, CCO at Ferranti/MECOMS: “We build relationships with our stakeholders, continuously collect their feedback and see how we can adapt to immediate needs in our industry or surfacing innovations that benefit our customers. It is an honor for us to receive the Award for Innercircle Member Microsoft Business Applications. Being part of the Innercircle allows for efficient communication and front row access to trends and innovations in our industry. I would like to thank everyone at MECOMS and Microsoft for our collaboration over the past period and I’m looking forward to continue this the coming years.”

MECOMS is positioned as a Major Player in the IDC MarketScape:

Worldwide Customer Experience Management Solutions for Utilities 2021.

It shows that the efforts and investments in our product development are bearing fruit and that we have a future proof strategy in place, which obviously benefits our customers in the first place.” Ellen Schrauwen, Operations Manager and MECOMS Product Organization.

We are very proud of the position and recognition that MECOMS receives in the IDC MarketScape. The fact that our customers recognize us for our industry expertise, that’s a credit to our entire MECOMS Family and our network. 

This IDC MarketScape provides energy utilities globally with insight into the current capabilities and future strategies of customer experience management (CXM) software vendors, guiding them in their experience enhancement projects or as they plan for an end-to-end CXM solution deployment. 

If you need a utility billing system built on a proven enterprise solution delivered by an experienced U.A.E. partner then call Synergy Software Systems 01472885282

Dynamics 365 Project Operations

September 13th, 2021

Dynamics 365 Project Operations will soon be one year since GA and more features will come next moth in the Wave 2 update. It is a combination of previous solutions (Project Management and Accounting feature of Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain, Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation, and Microsoft Project) into a single set of user scenarios typical of project-centric businesses.

The long-term approach to the database back-end for Dynamics 365 Project Operations is he Dataverse. (formerly known as the Common Data Service) which consists of foundational, secure data entities to enable standard, mainstream business use cases with reusable business logic. 

Project Management and Accounting development work will continue on X++ while Project Service Automation solutions will still be built on the Power Platform.

IFRS 17 – compliance accelerator system- ask Synergy Software Systems.

September 1st, 2021

IFRS 17 is the newest IFRS standard for insurance contracts and replaces IFRS 4 on January 1st 2022. It states which insurance contracts items should by on the balance and the profit and loss account of an insurance company, how to measure these items and how to present and disclose this information.

This is a big change for insurance companies and data administration, financial presentation and actuarial calculations will need to change.

 

Why are IFRS 9 and IFRS 17 implemented together?

  • The insurance liability (IFRS 17) is always closely connected to the financial instruments (IFRS 9) within insurers.
  • When a client buys an insurance, the insurance liability is created and with the paid premiums are financial instruments bought.
  • Insurers want to reduce the volatility in their earnings and there are some choices within IFRS 9 and IFRS 17 which they can make which can impact the volatility.
  • Under IFRS 17 insurers can decide whether results of changing financial risk assumption go through OCI or through the profit and loss account.
  • Under IFRS 9 insurers can decide whether changes in equity will go through profit and loss or through OCI.

Both standards will impact earning volatility and hence balance sheet management choices are connected. Consequently, the IFRS board decided it is better that insurers are granted the option to implement both standards together.

IFRS 9 explains the classification and the measurement of financial instruments. Hence IFRS 9 helps to improve the information disclosure around financial instrument. Many perceive the information disclosure around financial instruments during the financial crisis as inaccurate for example impairments on financial instruments were taken too late and the amounts were too little.

IFRS 9 makes the classification of each financial instrument more logical and principle based. There are two questions which need to be answered for the classification:

  • Why is the company holding the asset; just for collecting the cash flows from the underlying asset, or is the asset also held for trading?
  • What kind of asset is the financial asset? Is it a derivative, an equity or a debt instrument? With the SPPI (solely payment of principal and interest) model it can be tested whether an instrument is really a debt instrument.

 The classification determines:

  • which accounting principle is used;
  • should the instrument be measured at fair value or at amortized cost
  • and whether earnings and losses should go through the profit and loss account or through the OCI (other comprehensive income) account.

IFRS 9 also includes a more dynamic credit loss model instructing when an insurer should take an impairment on financial assets. The model is forward looking thereby also expected future losses should be taken into account with the impairment.

 IFRS 9 also makes hedge accounting possibilities more rule based, thereby being in line with how risks are  managed within insurers.

Why does this matter?

There is a huge impact on insurers and a big change in the disclosure.

  • Almost all of the asset and liability side is hit by the combination of IFRS 9 and IFRS 17.
  • New concepts and terms are introduced.
  • The standards will impact the presented numbers. Under IFRS 17 the insurance liability needs to be based on updated assumptions which is not currently a requirement. .
  • More data with more granularity and more history will challenge internal data storage, reporting and IT performance.
  • Reporting timelines are shortened, which will challenge the systems, and the cooperation between different departments.
  • New components like the unbiased Cash Flows, Risk Adjustment, Discount Rate and CSM are introduced. This means the insurer needs to understand the IFRS 17 principles and decide how to implement IFRS 17. For example which measurement model to choose for an insurance product, which transition measure to user. Read here more about the IFRS 17 model, and here about the transition period.
  • In the balance and income statement, insurance liability will n be specified in a different way, the importance of gross written premiums will disappear, while equity will be impacted.
  • The presentation of the balance and P&L are also significantly affected.
  • Risk engines are needed to calculate the CSM and cope with all the different groups
  • Insurers need to disclose information bases on group of contracts.
  • A group is a managed group (often a product) of contracts which were all profitable, onerous, or may become onerous (decided at inception) with a certain inception year. Insurance companies can have hundreds of groups and IFRS 17 insists on this grouping to have more transparency as insurance companies cannot offset the result of one group to another

Synergy Software Systems has been implementing and supporting financial solutions in the insurance vertical for 25 years. If you need to rapidly implement a solution for IFRS 17 compliance that will sit alongside your existing erp and finance systems then call us on 0097143365589.

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.

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.

e-invoicing in KSA and Dubai – does your system meet the requirements? Ask Synergy Software Systems.

July 16th, 2021

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The Kingdom announced e-invoicing for resident companies, which was published on December 4, 2020. e-invoicing will become mandatory for tax payers from December 4, 2021.

The aims of the e-invoicing mandate are to provide more transparency, and enhance consumer protection and anothee benefit of e-invoicing implementation is the readability of the invoice formats

. Companies registered in Saudi Arabia should immediately start updating or changing their systems and processes to support issuance of e-invoices. This may be a little challenging. However, the key to successful implementation is to start early.

Note that Dubai has also announced similar legislation.

If you need to upgrade or change your system or to .add additional functionality to your systems to comply with the invoicing mandate then please contact us 009714336589

On this blessed occasion of Eid, we wish you and your family good health, wealth and prosperity. And don’t forget to take a reflection on you and your business this Summer.

GDPR _ Microsoft’s Windows diagnostic data processor feature is GA

July 13th, 2021

Microsoft introduced a new capability in some of its products to help organizations ensure their compliance with data privacy regulations, in particular the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The “Windows diagnostic data processor configuration” became generally available this week, Microsoft announced, It’s enabled in certain Microsoft tools, namely “Desktop AnalyticsUpdate ComplianceMicrosoft Managed Desktop, and the Windows Update for Business deployment service,” .

Data Controller Oversight
Windows collects diagnostic information, and organizations have had rather non-transparent ways of limiting what gets collected. They can just select a pre-set data collection level. Microsoft’s current data collection levels include “Diagnostic Data Off” (previously called “Security”), “Required” (previously called “Basic”) and “Optional” (previously called “Full”). Organizations that use the Windows Update service to keep systems patched need to use the Required option. These nuances, and more, are described here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/privacy/configure-windows-diagnostic-data-in-your-organization#enable-windows-diagnostic-data-processor-configuration

Microsoft is positioning the Windows diagnostic data processor configuration capability, as being equivalent to having data controller oversight as required by the GDPR.

From the “Configure Windows Diagnostic Data” document:

The Windows diagnostic data processor configuration enables you to be the controller, as defined by the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for the Windows diagnostic data collected from your Windows devices that meet the configuration requirements.

According to a European Union glossary entry, “the data controller is the party that, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data.” The glossary entry adds that “the actual processing may be delegated to another party, called the data processor.”

It seems that Windows diagnostic data processor configuration capability is mostly conceived as a means for organizations to become compliant with the GDPR with regard to their customers. It’s also an assurance about Microsoft’s data collection practices.

Now generally available, the Windows diagnostic data processor configuration further empowers you to manage your organization’s diagnostic data. It provides you familiar tools to support data subject rights, including managing, exporting, or deleting data stored securely in your Azure tenant. It also lets you benefit from our technology without compromise.

The capability also helps organizations to elete data should they get a customer request to do so, which is also a GDPR prerogative. The customer, in GDPR lingo, is known as the “data subject” in such cases.

Handling data subject requests happens though “the admin portal,” according to a note in this “Windows 10 and Privacy Compliance” document.

Prerequisites to Using Diagnostic Data Configuration
There are prerequisites to using the Windows diagnostic data processor configuration capability, which is just supported on devices using “Windows 10 Pro, Education or Enterprise editions, version 1809 with July 2021 update or newer.” In addition, the Windows devices “must be joined to Azure Active Directory.”

The Windows diagnostic data processor configuration capability just applies to data collection by Windows components. It doesn’t apply to the apps running on top of Windows, which have their own data collection practices.

Synergy Microsoft Gold partnership

June 23rd, 2021

Our Microsoft Partner Network Gold competency membership has been confirmed again for the 15th time.