Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

U.A.E. Shows solidarity with France

November 18th, 2015

The recent terrorist actions in France do not seem so far away when we read about the regional troubles in our daily newspapers.
I felt proud of the UAE when I visited the Burj Khalifa yesterday and saw it lit up with the colours of the Tricolore echoing the display at the Eiffel tower.

Windows 10 Introduction

August 12th, 2015

Coolan- TCO for cloud or data centre- how to cut or at least know your costs

June 4th, 2015

At the 2015 summit of the Open Compute Project (OCP), Amir Michael, a well-respected data-center engineer and a founder of OCP, offered a surprise during his presentation. “Something not often talked about in the industry,” Michael mentions. “There is a trend of people moving off the cloud.”

The purpose of Coolan, an analytics platform, is to help data-center operators reduce downtime and lower infrastructure costs by analyzing metadata on how the servers are performing.

Trying to figure out the TCO (Total-Cost-of-Ownership) for your compute infrastructure is no easy task,” explains Michael. “With the proliferation of public, private, and hybrid clouds, not to mention the ever-growing number of Buzzword-as-a-Service paradigms, anyone in charge of their company’s infrastructure faces a difficult decision: Should you build or acquire your own data center, lease space in a co-located facility, or rent a piece of the cloud?”

Some of the cost points the TCO Model addresses include:
•Whether to build your own servers or buy OEM
•What type of hardware components to use
•Whether to upgrade systems or deploy new ones
•The cost of capital
•The data-center PUE
•The amount of power the network is consuming

And the ultimate question: stay in the cloud, go colo, or build a private data center?
•Managed services in the cloud wins if a company requires more computing power than storage.
•In a related sense, the amount of storage required has a huge impact on choosing a deployment method.
•The cost to grow is less for in-house data centers than cloud-managed services or leasing more colocation space.

Microsoft Mobile productivity apps – is Wunderlist the next ?

June 4th, 2015

Rumors hit the Internet that Microsoft might be in talks to acquire the popular “to-do” app Wunderlist, a new report in The Wall Street Journal, indicates Microsoft has purchased the company behind the app, the German-based 6Wunderkinder, for between $100 and $200 million.

Neither company officially confirmed this deal, but is seems that the Wunderlist team will remain in its home office in Berlin, Germany to continue working on the app.

This is the latest acquisition by Microsoft for a mobile productivity app company. It bought the e-mail client Acompli in late 2014 and put its technology into the latest versions of its Outlook mobile apps. Microsoft also acquired Sunrise Calendar in early 2015.

So why Wunderlsit- well its maybe the least intimidating Task Manager

Wunderlist Features

Lists: One of the easiest things to grasp is that you get to set up lists, and put things in those lists.
Even I can do that in Wunderlist without any guidance so it is easy to use. Set up lists and put stuff in the list, and tick things off when done

Hashtags: You have multiple lists, and an item on one list that is related to items in other lists. Hashtags in Wunderlist lets show items that may exist in one or more of your lists together in one place.

Collaboration: One of the advantages of a digital list over a paper one is the ability to share it with others. With the simplicity of Wunderlist, once you invite someone to share a list with you, they won’t need you to give them a long explanation of how to use it. Share, add items, tick things off, add comments, assign tasks, attach files, and you have a system that will allow you to work together without sending emails like “Can you do this?” or “Here’s that file”

Platforms: One of the reasons why productivity tools fail is that no one wants to use won’t use a system if it isn’t handy – i.e. wherever you are. It’s great to have your lists available in a browser, or on whatever device you’re using with Wunderlist.

Email : The whole point of using these productivity tools is to get out of email. It’s more than that. It’s about separating tasks and resources so you’re not digging through piles of emails to find that attachment someone sent or what the deadline was for the report you have to write. It’s about working from your own clearly prioritised plan, rather than letting your inbox dictate your day and your priorities. Wunderlist also has some email notification options that you can use to work efficiently without getting sucked back in to a sea of email.

Wunderlist is good for:
• People on the go, with multi-platform availability.
• Non techy people, with one of the simplest interfaces I’ve seen.
• GTD enthusiasts, with things like hashtags to manage contexts.
• Small teams, for sharing and commenting functionality.

Wunderlist may do well in every day use
• Shopping lists
• ‘Read later’ lists, if you don’t use something like Pocket
• Idea lists, like blog posts about productivity…

Comparisons with other task list tools

Wunderlist vs Todoist

Todoist is good for managing tasks. The tree structure in Todoist gives visibility of high level tasks and their breakdown into sub-tasks all at once. Wunderlist supports sub-tasks, but you can only see those when you have the main task within the list selected.

Todoist labels are equivalent to hashtags, and you have to upgrade to premium Todoist to use these whereas hashtags in Wunderlist are available in the free version.

In general, Todoist can be a bit more intimidating for someone new to such tools

Wunderlist vs Trello

Items on a Wunderlist list are a bit simpler than cards on a Trello list. It means they have less functionality, so this could be a positive or a negative .

View and group multiple lists and their items in one screen on Trello, using boards. Wunderlist can only view one list at a time, even though it’s still possible to use drag & drop to move things between lists.

Trello has the edge when it comes to an intuitive visual representation but if you don’t need that ‘big picture’ view, then Wunderlist is O.K..

Wunderlist vs iOS Reminders

Wunderlist offers the simplicity that you get when using the native list app on iOS but adds extra functionality . When you use hashtags, attachments, comments or sub tasks then it’s worth installing the Wunderlist app.

An advantage of Reminders is Siri integration. Press a button and speak makes adding something to a list the simplest process possible ensures you actually use a list rather than scribbling on sticky notes. If you’re struggling to get into that habit of a technology-based solution, this could be what makes it stick

Integrations: So many apps and systems so how will; a new onework with what we already have. Here are a couple of useful Wunderlist integrations:
• Dropbox for your file storage.
• Calendar view of tasks or other items with due dates.
• IFTTT recipes that integrate Wunderlist with other systems, although Wunderlist isn’t actually supported you can do lots through email commands.

For such a simple and easy to use product, Wunderlist has lots of functionality and it’s great for people who are trying to get in the habit of using an app to improve their productivity and they find the other options intimidating.

Inflationary Wave Theory

June 1st, 2015

Is 2015 a turning point in global inflation and, if it is, what can you do to weather the storm? Pete Comely, author of a new book ‘Inflation Matters: Inflationary Wave Theory, its impact on inflation past and present … and the deflation yet to come’, explains…

Recent inflation data show that average prices in the UK have remained static for a second month in a row. History suggests that because of demographic changes we may now be about to enter a period of near-zero inflation for a lot of this century. This is going to have major implications for many aspects of life, but especially managing wealth.

Average prices were unchanged in the year to March, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index. This was due to a combination of a decline in the price of goods (-2.1 per cent) such as petrol, energy bills and food being balanced by increases in services (+2.4 per cent) including train and plane fares. However the declines are largely one-off changes and in a year when they fall out of the calculation, CPI will more than likely return to nearer 2 per cent again. But the current period of near-deflation is a symptom of a larger effect taking place across the globe that few have grasped the implications of yet.

The lower commodity prices we are seeing are as a result of supply exceeding demand. Moreover as we go forward in the 21st Century demand is going to fall still further and deflation is going to become a frequent theme. Populations in most countries are ageing. The average number of children women are having is below the replacement level of 2.1 in every developed market. The UK is 1.9 and Japan just 1.4. It is also low in South America and most of Asia. By 2050, some estimate that world population may even start to decline. In addition the ageing populations around the globe are consuming less too. The net effect of these demographic changes will be lower demand and prices.

This switch towards deflation also fits with longer term trends in inflation. We have seen significant price rises since 1900 but history shows that inflation exhibits a clear wave-like pattern and there are often periods of more stable prices.

A century of rising prices: Inflation has rocketed over the past century.
In his latest book, Inflation Matters, he shows that what drives the underlying trend is population growth and competition for resources.
A wave-like form is created when man realises prices are starting to rise again and attempts to exploit the situation. Investors buy assets that will keep their value during the inflation i.e. property/land and shares. They borrow money to invest, knowing that inflation will erode the true value of their capital and repayments. However that borrowed money increases the money supply which then fuels more inflation in the economy. Governments also join in and encourage inflation, as it allows them to spend more and let inflation deal with their deficits.

There comes a point when this inflation gets too far away from the underlying trend or there is a change in the population demand curve, which we starting to see now. Historically some form of deflationary shock occurs when prices collapse by about a half in a space of 5 years or so.
(What does that say for the swings in the value of property, oil stock markets etc in recent years??????)
Thereafter a bounce back follows in prices but they never reach new highs.

Over time prices gradually decline as technology and productivity improvements reduce the costs of production. The technology tipping point and exponential performance increases discussed in a recent blog is going to dramatically impact this – big dats, parallel in memory processing, nano chips, even recently chips made of wood are already here

Is 2015 a turning point for inflation?
What to do? Short-term, governments have a strong incentive to keep inflation growing as long as they can against these demographic headwinds. It helps reduce the value of their escalating debts. To this end, they have and will continue to encourage their central bankers to print money and will keep interest rates low. This will favour assets such as shares and property. On the flipside, all forms of salary, cash savings and bonds will be gradually eroded by the combination of very low yields and the inflation rate that governments manage to create.

However all that will change when we enter the transition period and the inflation trend actually changes. It is impossible to predict exactly what will cause this to happen and when but a likely candidate could well be a bond market crisis.

Transition: Which assets are best as the inflation cycle turns?
At some point the ever increasing level of worldwide government debt will inevitably collapse and with it destroy a large portion of wealth not only in that area but in nearly all financial assets due to domino effects. The reduced the money supply will impact consumer prices, as will lower velocity of money as fear spreads. During this brief turbulent period, the key asset to hold might be gold. Digital currencies may well come to the fore, if they have credibly established themselves by then. Holding cash might also be a good idea, but it is an easy target for governments.
The world will be different after the trauma of the transition. It would return to some form or normality. There may well be some growth in shares and housing, but it may probably be limited to genuine supply and demand effects.

(for example the main return from holding shares will revert to be dividends of maybe 3 per cent. However in a world of average inflation of -1 per cent, that would still be a net return of 4 per cent, not far off historical levels. Therefore investing for the long-term over the coming decades is going to be a challenge, but maybe not an impossible one. In a world of zero inflation business will look as much at cost control and efficiency as to sales growth and technology and systems can be expected to have major impact.

The nature of society , how we communicate what jobs and skills are needed are all going to be impacted much sooner and much more significantly than we may realise.

(Pete Comley’s book Inflation Matters: Inflationary Wave Theory, its impact on inflation past and present … and the deflation yet to come is available in Kindle format and in hardback from Amazon.

SQL Server 2005 – only 1 year of support to go

April 18th, 2015

Server 2005 is about to ride off into the sunset. Before support ends on April 12, 2016, you’ll need a plan to migrate any remaining instances of SQL Server 2005. What about security? For the last 5 years of “extended support”, users have continued to receive free security updates but beyond that had to pay for all non-security updates and support. Next year, support ends completely, meaning no more hotfixes or security updates and therefore potential exposure to security vulnerabilities.

A database currently attached to an instance of SQL Server 2005 could be either backed up (or detached), and later restored (or attached) on top of an instance of SQL Server 2014, and SQL Server 2014 won’t complain as it typically did in the past when you tried to restore (or attach) databases across database engines more distant than n-2 major versions.

With SQL Server 2014, it is possible and supported by the Setup code, to do an in-place upgrade of an existing instance of SQL Server 2005 without having to upgrade it first to any intermediate version (2008/2008R2/2012) which would put it in the n-2 range.

The supportability of those upgrade methods (backup/restore, detach/attach, or in-place upgrade) are documented in the “SQL Server 2014 Support for SQL Server 2005” section of the Supported Version and Edition Upgrades topic in he documentation.

And there is a note in it which reads “When a SQL Server 2005 database is upgraded to SQL Server 2014, the database compatibility level will be changed from 90 to 100. (In SQL Server 2014, valid values for the database compatibility level are 100, 110 and 120.)”

When a database is upgraded from a previous version to SQL Server 2014, there’s an upgrade process which sequentially executes a chain of upgrade processes to get it from whatever version it was, up to what the storage engine in 2014 is coded to work with. The more recent the version of the legacy database is the lesser processes will have to be executed during that upgrade phase.

Assuming your starting version is SQL Server 2005, it will execute (as far as the compatibility level upgrade goes): function (the one that would bring it to the SQL Server 2008/2008R2 level) which upgrades the compatibility level of the database to 80 if it was set to a value lower than that. Or to 100 if the database being upgraded is either TEMPDB or MODEL (these cases only happen during an in-place upgrade) function (the one that would bring it to the SQL Server 2012 level) which upgrades the compatibility level of the database to 90 if it was set to a value lower than that. Or to 110 if the database being upgraded is either TEMPDB or MODEL function (the one that would bring it to the SQL Server 2014 level) which upgrades the compatibility level of the database to 100 if it was set to a value lower than that. Or to 120 if the database being upgraded is either TEMPDB or MODEL

So, for example, if your database in SQL Server 2005 had its compatibility level set to 70 or 80, and you don’t bump it up before upgrading it to SQL Server 2014, then the upgrade process will do it for you.

Microsoft – Cloud Platform roadmap site – plans to embrace big data and open source

March 18th, 2015

Microsoft has revealed its Cloud Platform roadmap site, with the resource providing a view of the improvements and developments across the Cloud Platform business. The roadmap spans cloud services like:
- Microsft Azure, Intune, Power BI, and Visual Studio Online,
- and server offerings such as: Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server and Visual Studio.
- and Converged system appliances are also displayed, such as Cloud Platform System, Analytics Platform System and StorSimple.

Microsoft intend that this site will ensure a comprehensive and open view of the company’s current roadmap; where they are focusing on and what technology is currently in development or coming out within the next few months.

Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise Marketing Group at Microsoft, wrote in a blog: “With this view, you will be able to understand and plan for what’s coming next. In addition, you will be able to easily view newly available products and services, including those in public preview, to help you take full advantage of our expanding portfolio. ..”We believe this site is an important step on that journey. As the site grows and matures, we’ll look forward to your feedback on what is working and where we can improve, to ensure this resource is a valuable asset for your business.”

Microsoft clearly wants its Azure cloud platform to be the default place for organizations to run their workloads. In an ideal Microsoft world all those workloads would also be built upon proprietary Microsoft MSFT technologies so Redmond is keen to make Azure as palatable for non Windows workloads as it is for Windows ones.

This week sees the Strata + Hadoop conferenceis taking place, and its the home of open source big data discussions, Microsoft will further embrace other technologies. The company announced today that it is launching a preview of its Hadoop-based cloud tool that runs on Linux. At the same time it is making its existing Azure ML service, a machine-learning tool-set, more widely applicable with support for Python. This is in addition to the already-announced support for the R language. Readers will recall that just last month Microsoft acquired Revolution Analytics, the company behind the open source R language.

Microsoft is also going to make Storm, an open source stream analytics tool, available for the HDInsight platform with support for .NET and Java. This is in addition to the existing Azure Stream Analytics offering that the company plans to continue to sell. It is also looking at deal with data integration vendor Informatica. to join the Azure Marketplace so that that means is that the Informatica Cloud agent is available in Linux and Windows virtual machines on Azure. That will enable enterprise customers to create data pipelines from both on-premises systems, and the cloud, to Azure data services such as Azure HDInsight, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Factory and others, for management and analysis.

K. Ranga” Rengarajan, corporate vice president, Data Platform and Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president, Machine Learning wrote in a blog post that:

“Our goal is to make big data technology simpler and more accessible to the greatest number of people possible: big data pros, data scientists and app developers, but also everyday businesspeople and IT managers. Azure is at the center of our strategy, offering customers scale, simplicity and great economics. And we’re embracing open technologies, so people can use the tools, languages and platforms of their choice to pull the maximum value from their data.

Microsoft is in a direct race with Amazon Web Services to win the battle of the cloud vendors. Opening up to all these other solutions adds yet another value proposition for customers looking to decide between Azure and AWS.

“Amazon Web Services leads the infrastructure as a service pack, but Microsoft’s Azure is closing; there’s a lot of room for apps to move to the cloud; and more enterprises are going with hybrid approaches, according to RightScale’s annual survey of cloud adoption. RightScale’s survey of infrastructure as a service usage covered 930 respondents with 306 enterprises with 1,000 employees or more. Of the respondents, 24 percent were RightScale users. Of the companies surveyed, 45 percent had 1 to 100 employees with the remainder 100 workers or above. By region, 62 percent of respondents were from North America, 18 percent from Europe and 12 percent from Asia. The remainder was in other regions. (ZDNet 02.18.2015)”
“More than half of all public cloud deployments use Amazon Web Services (AWS), but Microsoft Azure is gaining ground. According to an annual survey of 930 IT professionals, conducted by cloud management specialist RightScale, 57% of SMEs and large enterprises use AWS public cloud, compared with 54% in the same study last year. (Computer Weekly 02.20.2015)”
Research conducted by Tata Communications, a leading provider of A New World of Communications™, has found that organisations with 500+ employees are seeing tangible benefits from cloud computing. 85% say cloud had lived up to industry hype, with 23% declaring that cloud had exceeded their expectations. According to the global survey, this groundswell of positive opinion has been contributed to by enterprises experiencing tangible benefits when using cloud services – with 83% of enterprises feeling they have experienced benefits they did not expect to see. The most popular of these benefits cited by respondents were: increased productivity (69%), better access to data (65%), and reductions in costs (63%). (BusinessWire 02.26.2015)

Management Reporter CU11

January 11th, 2015

Here’s a summary of the new Management Reporter CU11 features:
• Drill into TOT rows from Web Viewer Drill down on total rows in the web viewer :
When viewing a report, it’s often helpful to not only be able to drill into the support account and transaction detail, but also into the total rows (TOT). With Management Reporter 2012 CU11, we can now drill into those total rows (TOT) from the web viewer.

• Ability to select closing period(s) in Management Reporter managed in Microsoft Dynamics AX

• Improved performance for integration and report generation

Note its important that this is CU11 build 2.1.11001.1 release or later( the initial release version 2.1.11000.32 was bugged.)

- AX 2009 customers must be on CU8 in order to use MR 2012.
- Prior versions of AX 2009 will use MR v2.0.

- MR 2012 CU6 – CU11 can only be used with:
– AX 2012 RTM CU4-CU7,
– AX 2012 R2 (RTM and all CUs),
– AX 2012 R3
– AX 2009 CU8 SP1**

Dubai British Embassy consular news January 2015

January 8th, 2015

Passport Applications
If you are applying for a UK passport for the first time you should allow 8 weeks from the date the application is received at Her Majesty’s Passport Office in the UK to the passport being delivered to you. . If you are renewing an existing passport it will take at least 6 weeks.

Emergency Travel Documents
Emergency travel documents for First Time Applicants are only issued at the Embassy in exceptional circumstances. Although special measures were put in place by Her Majesty’s Passport Office last summer and the Embassy was able to assist with determining nationalisation, these measures have now been withdrawn.

Notarial Services
Please remember an appointment service is in operation for all Notarial services provided by the British Embassy. In the first instance you should send an email enquiry to Please make sure you bring with you all the original documents needed

PO Box renewal
Residents in the UAE are urged to renew their PO Boxes before the end of January 2015 to avoid fines. Residents can visit any post office, postal agency or visit website to make the renewal. Residents can visit any post office or apply on line at to renew. An Emirates ID card is required and applicants can pay by credit card. .

Mobile phones
Using mobile phones whilst driving is illegal don’t get caught out. You can now get a Dhs 200 fine and 4 black points on your licence if you are caught. Click Here for more details.

2015 U.A.E. Public Holidays
Public holiday for 2015 for the UAE have been announced by the UAE Government.
The Abu Dhabi Government has announced the list of public holidays planned for 2015.

“The official reference to determine Islamic occasions, such as the beginning of Ramadan or Haj, is the Hijri Calendar. It is based on the phases of the moon. Hence, the exact dates of Islamic events vary from one Gregorian year to another as they depend on the local sightings of the moon,” the announcement reads.

Public sector workers in the UAE can expect at least 11 more public holidays in 2015.

Although the list of holidays was released only on the Abu Dhabi Government website, most other emirates tend to follow a similar schedule.

All federal ministries, public departments and institutions will be closed on the following holidays:

- January 1, New Year’s Day
- January 3, Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday
- May 16, Israa and Miraj Night*
- June 18, Ramadan expected to begin*
- July 17, Eid Al Fitr*
- September 14, Haj season*
- September 22, Arafat Day*
- September 23, Eid Al Adha*
- October 15, Hijri New Year*
- December 2 and 3, UAE National Day

* Please remember Islamic holiday exact dates are subject to moon sighting and may differ from date given.
According to the website:
– the UAE National Day holiday will be two days,
– Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha will both be three days,
– and the others will be one day
Top Tip
Passport Next of Kin Details
Remember to complete the next of kin details in your passport in case of an emergency.

Contact Numbers:
British Embassy
Abu Dhabi Tel: 02 610 1100;
Dubai Tel: 04 309 4444 Website
The UK’s worldwide pages and consular information have moved to the new government’s single website There is useful information about the UAE on there and it is also the new home of our travel advice.

Innovative companies and erp implementation

January 7th, 2015

Do innovative companies manage their ERP implementations differently than more average organizations?

In many cases the answer is yes. Three ways in which innovative ERP implementations differ from the norm:

1. They aren’t overly concerned with hard and fast budgets and timeframes. This may sound surprising to CFOs, but this is an important differentiator for innovative versus average implementations. While the average company is constrained budget and project plan , more innovative companies recognize that there’s a lot that they don’t know when they first establish their project plans and budgets- budgets area guideline not a set of handcuffs that stop management making good decisions. In addition, innovative companies realise that innovation means change of needs and that flexibility is important to achieving significant improvements to their business models.

Advanced ERP software functionality such as advanced mobility and analytics typically does not get implemented until later in the implementation cycle and then conveniently gets forgotten. Innovative organizations realise that once they have incurred the cost of server, installs training etc, they can leverage the system to maximum advantage and ensure that they find the resources to implement these important business processes.

2. They are more likely to explore creative and alternative implementation strategies perhaps with most a phased strategy rather than a big-bang approach. Some will deploy an iterative, implementation approach perhaps retyping different scenarios and configurations rather than more typical waterfall methodologies. These agile approaches can enable quicker realized functionality, or a more appropriate configuration when compared to more standardized approaches.

3. Innovative companies focus on post-implementation benefits realization. Some companies implement ERP systems for compliance, or technology sake, or are forced to because their legacy systems have become outdated. Innovative organizations have more business-focused justifications that drive their overall ERP implementations. This philosophy helps focus the project team throughout the implementation, such as how they handle business process management and organizational change management.

This business focus shows how their ERP systems are managed after implementation. Forward-thinking organizations define specific performance measures and target levels of performance that they expect to see from their ERP implementations. This disciplined approach is more likely to translate to tangible and measurable business benefits in the long-term.

Innovative companies may not find their ERP implementations to be easy wins, but they are often more effective and successful in their initiatives.

ERP solutions can revolutionize the way companies produce goods and services. They can integrate and automate process across d different parts of a company and thereby ensure smooth flow of information across the enterprise quickly. Innovative companies realise this and are less likely to build functional silos – driven by segementation of duties and security concerns outweighing the need for efficiency and effectiveness base don informed in context decision making.

ERP solutions have been popular in Europe for a long, North American companies for only the last decade and other regions perhaps for the last 5 years.
Some of the factors that contributed to ERP growth are the trend towards globalization, perceived Year 2000 problems, mergers and acquisitions, more stringent regulations, new technologies and better offerings to increase performance and drive down the cost of ownership and familiar user interfaces encouraging user adoption.

ERP systems i.e enterprise systems – are by their nature often very large and complex and warrant a careful planning and execution of their implementation. They are not mere software systems; they affect how a business conducts itself.

How a company implements an ERP system determines whether it creates a competitive advantage or becomes a corporate headache. The top contributor for a successful ERP implementation is strong commitment from upper management, becuse an implementation involves significant alterations to existing business practices as well as an outlay of huge capital investments.

other important factors are the issues related to reengineering the business processes and integrating the other business applications to the ERP backbone. Upper management plays a key role in managing the change an ERP brings into an organization.

Organizational commitment is paramount due to possible lengthy implementation and THEcosts involved.

Once implemented, an ERP system is difficult and expensive to undo.

Since no single ERP solution can satisfy all the business needs, organizations may have to implement custom applications in addition to the ERP software. Integrating different software packages poses a challenge, and the integration patchwork adds risk and expensive and may be difficult to maintain.

Selecting and managing consultants pose a continuous challenge. There is a shortage of skilled consultants in the market. ERP vendors bring out industry-specific solutions and newer methodologies to cut the length and costs of implementation. Organizations try to reduce the total cost of implementation and to reduce customization by adapting to the ERP’s built in best practices as much as possible. Innovative companies are more worried about the cost savings after implementation and whether value is added. They will customise where it gives a competitive edge e.g. vertical solutions and use standard industry processes e.g. matching an invoice where those are proven.

Selecting the right employees to participate in the implementation process and motivating them is critical for the implementation’s success in innovative companies they are already used to embracing new ideas and change, and improving processes. Such companies also understand how important it to train the employees to use the system to best effect.

The people at the keyboard make important decisions about buying and selling — important commitments of the company. They need to understand how their data affects the rest of company. Some of the decisions front-line people now make with an ERP system were formerly the responsibility of a manager.

Managers in Innovative companies understand and welcome this change in their job and encourage the front-line people to be able to make those decisions themselves so they can manage upwards and outwards rather than downwards and inwards. ERP systems demand rigorous training, and intensive practise. It is difficult for trainers or consultants to pass on the knowledge to the employees in a short period of time. This “knowledge transfer” gets hard if the employees lack computer literacy or have computer phobia. In addition to being taught ERP technology, the employees also have to be taught their new responsibilities. In an innovative company users of the ERP systems are continuously trained to leverage new technology and features to meet the changing needs both of the business and employees.

DIFC Registrar of Companies (ROC) – Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

December 1st, 2014

The ROC recently sent out a letter clarifying their role and the reporting obligations in relation to FATCA. The UAE and the US have in principle agreed the terms of the Intergovernmental FATCA Agreement.
The DIFC is required and empowered to collect the information required under the intergovernmental FATCA agreement and the ROC is to be the point of contact.
The FATCA reporting process will flow from the Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) to the ROC on a form prescribed by the US, and this information will be forward by the ROC to the Ministry of Finance, which will consolidate it with data from federally regulated FFIs before sending it to the US Treasury.

CRM 2015 – Synergy Software Systems takes a closer look

November 26th, 2014

With the release of Dynamics CRM 2015, Microsoft made available the related tools including the new Report Authoring Extension The Report Extension (required to build FetchXML reports) is now compatible with Visual Studio 2012.
SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence for Visual Studio 2012 must be installed, together with .NET Framework 4.5.2

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Report Authoring Extension (CRM 2015 BIDS)
Latest version: 07.00.0000.3543 – 17 November 2014
Download link:

Microsoft updated its iPad app for Dynamics CRM (App Store) with CRM 2015 support.
The App description starts with an important note:
For CRM 2015, this app is supported on iOS 6, 7, and 8.
For CRM 2013, it is supported on iOS 6 and 7.

•Use multiple dashboards on the go
•Personalize your Home page
•Create records and capture notes while disconnected
•Support for additional languages
•Bug fixes

Gitex 2014 Day 2 – Synergy Software Systems

October 14th, 2014

Visitor of the day:

TCPOS with its friendly user interface and dual purpose for both retail and restaurant operations had a steady stream of visitors.

The handpunch and other biometric devices were also a magnet for visitors.

The manifold features of AEC construction and it BIM and engine ring and project management features were a revlation for most visitors.

Eid Mubarak

July 27th, 2014

As we head into the long weekend we wish all our readers Eid Mubarak.

Synergy offices will be closed Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon , Tue and will re-open on Wed 30th August.

(Blessed Eid ( عيد مبارك‎,) is a traditional Muslim greeting reserved for use on the EID festivals. Muslims often use the phrase Eid Mubarak after performing the Eid prayer).

Middle East Bank Regulatory reporting getting tougher.

June 22nd, 2014

I have just returned from what is becoming a regular trip to Kuwait after also meeting with man\y banks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Meetings with many of the banks has highlighted the increasing burden of regulatory reporting driven by a zealous Central Bank and imminent new Basel lll requirements.

This month there have been statements and white papers from Central Banks in the region to notify that to ensure sound banking practices are enforced.
the regulations will get tougher as the year progresses

The need for comprehensive Regulatory Capital Compliance in the Middle East is similarly seen in KSA where an implementation date for Basel iii was announced as long back as January 1 2013, with its regulated banks due to report under Basel iii in due course.

This change in the regulatory landscape, together with its ambitious commercial
strategy and wish to become internal ratings-based (iRB) compliant, challenges the way banks manage regulatory capital data, and the capital calculations.

Over the last 6 months it is evident that banks are increasingly aware that for regulatory reporting. the current largely manual compliance and reporting processes need to be automated, to enhance the timeliness, efficiency and accuracy of regulatory capital calculations and regulatory reports.

Part of the challenge is that core banking systems were not designed to generate such returns. Data is typically spread across multiple back office systems and spreadsheets. Another challenge is that banks that operate internationally may need to report the same data to multiple regulatory authorities in different reporting templates. Central banks are also looking to automate their own regulatory reporting efficiency and there is a gradual move to digital reporting e.g. via XBRL format.

Enterprise Data Consolidation into a central data platform is the key to streamlined and accurate regulatory capital compliance and reporting. Standard Microsoft SQL technologies such as SSAS, SSIS, and SSRs can then manage the ETL process and data validation and aggregation. Risk and other calculation engines with built-in calculations for Basel ii and Basel lll compliance provide a single platform for reporting. The required data can then be surfaced from underlying data cubes into specific central bank formats, typically in Excel.

It is not efficient for each bank to have to study complex regulations and to each develop the same report, in discrete systems that are individually maintained. Banks need a productized, out-of-the-box solution ,which embodies: approvals, audit trails, and kpi dashboards, and industry standard security, built on a standard configurable framework. This provides a common platform for support, and makes it much easier to introduce report modifications and even new reporting requirements.

Central bank regulatory requirements are essentially the same globally and reflect international compliance to accords like Basel ll and FATCA, COREP and FINREP etc. This means the underlying data model can also be common, though local calculations and report output formats. With a common model , report format changes can be incorporated by the software author to the benefit of all. This not only reduces the cost, time and risks of implementing a regulatory compliance solution but also the ongoing maintenance and the need to incorporate new reporting requirements.

in addition to streamlining compliance, automating regulatory capital management helps to augment overall business management. The underlying data warehouse can also be used to create internal MIS reports. Consolidated regulatory capital data allows a bank to fully reconcile its risks with its balance sheet. This single version of the truth enables the bank’s senior management to understand its risks, and to ensure the bank is properly capitalized to meet the needs of both the regulator and the business.

An SSAS data warehouse allow powerful data ‘drill down’ to understand the breadth and depth of the risks that banks manage and how these change over time. Managers are fully informed, to take risk-based decisions, based on the bank’s business strategy.

BRSAnalytics is a purpose built solution for regulatory compliance and management control. It is not a BI tool that has been adapted. It is a purpose built solution that embeds regulatory knowledge and is built on industry standard technology. Such a system helps a bank’s directors to meet their personal Corporate governance obligations. it provides key stakeholders and management a comprehensive toolset to manage its risks, its capital and its business strategy.
The solution is proven over the last 7 years with 100% implementation success.

“By automating the process of data gathering, it has significantly reduced time spent on otherwise unnecessary internal regulatory computation maintenance.”
Alan Bartoli, ICT & Operations Officer (Izola Bank plc)

In holding in-depth discussions regarding BRSANALYTICS, it was evident that the solution was well thought out and backed by a knowledgeable implementation team with the necessary expertise to cater for our regulatory needs. The simple fact that it condenses all the data to produce one single accurate report made it the obvious choice in treating this monthly burden with confidence and efficiency.”
Anthony Schembri, Managing Director (Raiffeisen Bank)

Ask for a copy of the Fimbank Case Study:
“…providing a wealth of functionality such as drill-downs”
“…enable business users to analyse and respond to regulators’ queries”
“…Drastic Reduction of Data Collation and Verification Time”
“…the Bank has been able to dramatically reduce the time it took to prepare regulatory reports by at least gaining 75% efficiency”
“…now, we are able to do the same process in a fraction of the time. This is remarkable”
“…This has given its members the time to focus on primarily ensuring a more qualitative output and submission to Regulators”
“…I’m very happy to say that because of BRSANALYTICS, we have achieved this goal”
“…Better Insight”
“…Easy Localisation”
“…deploying the solution has proven to be a game changer”
“…we are now able to focus on other important assignments”
“…gain better insight on our financial activities, be more productive and improve our decision making due to the use of business analytics