Archive for the ‘Microsoft Dynamics Ax’ category

Dynamics 365 – LCS updates April 2019

April 28th, 2019

New features in Lifecycle Services (LCS) enable you to configure when you get updates to your production environment and how you can pause an update when you are unable to take the update due to a critical business activity.

These features were only available to customers using version 8.1 and above. From today these features will also be available to customers that are using version 7.3. For customers that are on 7.3, LCS will update their sandbox and production environments to the latest Platform update each month.
For customers that are on version 7.1, 7.2 and 8.0, you can apply the latest platform update manually using the servicing flows.

With the features now available in LCS, you will be able to do the following:
• Configure whether to get Platform updates for your production environment in the first, second, or third week of the month and in what time zone.
• Pause updates through LCS if you are unable to take the update. You can pause a maximum of 2 continuous updates. However, if you are more than 2 releases behind, then you will not be allowed to pause updates. For example, if you are on Update 23 and the currently available platform update is Update 25, then you will be able to pause. But if you are on Update 22, then you will not be allowed to pause.
• Get notified about upcoming service updates through LCS.

Changes that will affect the servicing flows that will be released in the May 2019 update of Lifecycle Services (LCS).

Sign off on maintenance operations triggered through LCS

From today, on completion of any maintenance operation (servicing, database movement, upgrade, and putting system in maintenance mode) you have the option to sign off, or to sign off with issues as the last step to indicate completion of the operation.
Only after you indicate sign off, is your environment ready for the next operation.
The following changes we will be made to streamline the sign off process:
• Going forward the environment will be ready for the next operation after the current operation has been successfully completed. This means that sign off is no longer the terminal state, but rather it is the completion of the operation. Operation completion states are now Successful, Rollback Successful, or Aborted.

• The Sign off button will be moved to the Environment history page, so after the operation is complete, you can navigate to the Environment history page to indicate sign off if you want to validate and capture this information.

• The release candidate check for moving packages from sandbox to production will continue to check whether the package was successfully applied in a sandbox before you can move it to production. It does not depend on you signing off on the update.

•T he sign off will only apply to a servicing operation, because that is the main operation where you validate the environment state to verify whether there are any issues. For other operations, such as database movement, upgrade and maintenance mode, sign off does not apply and will not be visible.

• For service updates pushed by Microsoft, whenthe environment is not in a terminal state (environment has a pending sign off), then LCS will not apply the update. There are often instances where customers forget to sign off on a previous operation and because that is the terminal state LCS skips the environment and doesn’t apply the update. As a result, customers ask us why LCS didn’t update their environments. With this change, sign off is managed separately, so if your environment is in a Deployed state then LCS will apply the update.

Provide a single package containing all customizations and ISV solutions
One recommended best practice is to provide a single package containing all customizations and ISV solutions when doing updates to your environment. With a single package because it contains all of the changes it is easy to recreate the environment and you don’t need to worry about the order of packages applied.

This also helps with the CI/CD pipeline and provides reliability when doing the updates, because all of the dependencies are included in the package.

However, LCS doesn’t have any validation checks that enforce this best practice. Soon LCS will addi a warning check for Application deployable packages to highlight that there is a difference in the modules that exist on the environment and what is available in the package that is provided during deployment.

This will initially be a soft-check but will later become a hard check that will prevent you from applying updates when all of the modules on the environment are not accounted for in the package and in the list of modules to delete. When there are modules that are listed in the ModuleToRemove file, then those will be deleted.

With the new self-service deployment feature, it is required that you use a single package. Whatever is available in the package overwrites what is on the environment.

Today, self-service deployment is available only to new customers signing up for Finance and Operations; however, existing customers will be soon be migrated to this feature based on their Azure region. This new check to help with this transition and enforce the recommendation. From today you can manage customizations and third-party models from your build server.

In the near future LCS will also add a feature that allows you to create such a package from your development environment.

Document management Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

April 21st, 2019

Document types are used to categorize the documents that you attach to records or the templates that you create.
Each document type can be stored in a unique location.
A default set of document types is provided. You can use these document types to categorize an attachment as a file, image, note, or URL.

By modifying the list of file extensions that are allowed, you can control the types of files that users can attach to records.

The File and Image default document types are configured to use Azure storage as the location. Microsoft SharePoint Online is one of the storage locations that are supported natively. Currently, only SharePoint Online is supported. Support for on-premises SharePoint (a local SharePoint server) may be added in the future. SharePoint communication works for the current user only if the following conditions are met:
• An Office 365 license is associated with the user’s account.
• The user is a typical user on the tenant, not an external user (for example, a user from another tenant).
• There is a SharePoint site for the tenant (for example, Contoso.SharePoint.com).

A good improvement is the document preview pane. This does exactly what you’d expect, show a preview of the attached at hand. Whether it’s an image, PDF file or in example a Word document, a preview of the file will be shown allowing you to quickly check the attachment. The preview pane is not just a fixed preview thumbnail, but allows you control over the file by for example, scrolling or zooming in and out of the preview.

The attachments preview uses the Web app Open Platform Interface (WOPI) that is provided by Microsoft Office Online Server. On the Document management parameters page, on the General tab, in the Office Web Apps Server field, specify the Office Online Server instance to use for attachment previews. The default value is https://onenote.officeapps.live.com. This value points to the cloud-based WOPI server.

Introduced with Platform Update 11, when viewing a record, the system will indicate the number of attachments on that record by showing a count on the Attachments button. This number will indicate that there are attachments associated with the record, without having to navigate to the attachment details form. The count will show up to 9 attachments, with more than 9 attached documents being represented as “9+”.

Microsoft opens first cloud data centres in Africa and signs agreements to support U.A.E. Smart solutions

April 15th, 2019

A landmark achievement for the MEA region. 6 March 2019 saw the launched of the first Microsoft datacenters in Africa. which opened in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. This world-class cloud infrastructure will power emerging cloud, AI and edge computing innovations across the African continent. Microsoft is the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacenters in Africa, and has announced 54 Azure regions worldwide, more than any other cloud provider.

According to the Cloud Africa 2018 report, use of the cloud among medium and large organisations has more than doubled from less than 50 percent in 2013 to pervasive use in 2018. While Kenyan and Nigerian businesses see business efficiency and scalability as the most significant benefits of cloud computing, South African companies view time-to-market and speed of deployment as the greatest advantage. The security and reliability of cloud services are pivotal when discussing digital transformation. At the same time, cloud services help with compliance for evolving laws around data protection, which have become increasingly focused on data residency requirements.

Today the Abu Dhabi Smart Solutions and Services Authority (ADSSSA) today announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft to establish a ‘Cloud centre of Excellence’ that will aim to build its capacity for the delivery of cloud services and platforms, as well as upskill the emirate’s public sector workforce. Microsoft’s collaboration with ADSSSA will focus on the establishment of a Cloud Centre of Excellence. Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide instructor-led training for 240 government employees from various departments and agencies. The training will be distributed across 11 tracks, and will encompass all Microsoft skill levels, from 0 to 300. Instruction will ensure that Government of Abu Dhabi employees are well-versed in such technologies as Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, Office 365, data, AI and Dynamics 365. Through Cloud Society in Box, Abu Dhabi Government employees will receive access to an online training portal hosted on ADSSSA Azure Tenant that can be customised to assign and track training paths. Microsoft specialists will be on hand to deliver regular support to all training delegates and guide them on their upskilling journeys.

Yesterday Smart Dubai today announced a landmark collaboration with Microsoft to achieve the goal of making Dubai the happiest city on Earth. The move aims to accelerate digital transformation across the emirate and empower government employees to innovate faster. Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by H.E. Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director-General, Smart Dubai, and Sayed Hashish, General Manager, Microsoft Gulf, Microsoft will support Smart Dubai in its digital transformation journey by accelerating adoption of Microsoft Cloud technologies, and will conduct targeted training sessions as well as upskilling workshops in cloud and other associated technologies.

Smart Dubai was formed under the guidance and vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai a knowledge hub and the happiest city on Earth. The organisation’s strategy is to urge participation and counsel from a wide array of city stakeholders, including residents, visitors and business owners.

“We all have a responsibility to accelerate towards the vision established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister & Vice-President of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to create a Dubai that shines as a beacon for others to emulate,” said H.E. Dr. Aisha Bin Butti Bin Bishr, Director-General, Smart Dubai. “Through this collaboration with our trusted partner Microsoft, we are taking another decisive step in that journey. By upskilling and empowering our people, we are building a platform for change and innovation that will serve our citizens, residents, visitors and businesses for decades to come.”

Under the MoU, Microsoft’s UAE datacenters that are expected to open this year, will be used to support the Government of Dubai’s digital transformation efforts through the adoption of a range of Microsoft technologies. Microsoft will train departmental staff in those technologies, empowering them to achieve more in their roles, and accelerate digital transformation across the emirate of Dubai.

“The intelligent cloud has become a cornerstone of digital transformation, and Dubai’s government has led the way in its adoption,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations. “We remain a steadfast partner to the Government of Dubai in its journey to become a smart city. As strong proponents of lifelong learning, we are uniquely poised to reskill and upskill public sector employees in cloud, allowing them to add immeasurable value to Dubai’s excellence e-government services.”

Microsoft experts will also collaborate with Smart Dubai on use cases and adoption scenarios, and will work jointly on roadmaps for rolling out new platforms to other government entities. Microsoft will also conduct awareness sessions on its cloud technologies for government entities and guide those entities on how best to benefit from online Microsoft courses and certifications.

Last week HE Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence confirmed that the UAE government adopts an integrated and dynamic model for the utilization of artificial intelligence that supports industry growth, development of new sectors as well as strengthening governance and ethics frameworks, ultimately anticipating future challenges and creating a positive change for humanity.

This came during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Sayed Hashish, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf, to enhance joint cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence development, governance and ethics in the UAE, as well as developing a set of concepts, strategies and future ideas and study implementation mechanisms then implementing them. HE Al Olama said: “The UAE government focuses on enhancing innovation in modern technology applications and employing them in achieving sustainable development, and realizing the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai”

The focus of this collaboration will be on four key areas: identifying and developing technological solutions based on artificial intelligence to achieve the United Nations goals of sustainable development, enhancing the use of artificial intelligence in all government bodies in the UAE, establishing an integrated and global framework for governance and AI ethics, contributing to achieving the outputs of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

Dynamics 365 ‘One Version; April 2019 release – what’s new?.

April 11th, 2019

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations unifies global financials and operations to empower people to make fast, informed decisions.
Finance and Operations helps businesses adapt quickly to changing market demands to drive rapid business growth.

The April ’19 release will bring users together on One Version (version 10) for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. This release marks a monumental shift in supportability based on a common codebase and continuous update cadence. that’s till allows for customers to build extensible solutions for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

This release also enhances the user experience of the solution with Net Promoter Score (NPS) feedback as a primary driver. The targeted areas of t enhancements include: performance, compliance, automation, and supportability of the service.

Financial management

The April ‘19 release for financial management provides capabilities needed to comply with IFRS 15 and for responding to the guidance on accounting for revenue recognition on contracts. An enhanced expense report entry experience with a new header and details expense report, together with an automated settlements processin the general ledger completed periodically. Bank foreign currency revaluation I also added..

Supply chain management

Product information management and inventory management

Inventory management performance improvements. The April ’19 release, introduces the ability to configure and apply unit of measure (UoM) conversions for product variants so that UoM conversions at the product variant level are supported throughout the application.

In future releases, new classes of products and production processes will evolve the product definition . The inventory valuation capabilities will be expanded to support scenarios where multiple valuation methods and multiple currencies are required—for example, in case of different managerial reporting and statutory reporting requirements. Inventory on-hand information will be more readily available in distributed scenarios, such as the retail industry.

Warehouse management

The Warehouse Management System (WMS) has been gradually enhanced since its introduction in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, and a large suite of additional enhancements has recently been licensed from an ISV. With the April ’19 release, the integration of these enhancements will begin, and the ability to handle catch weight (CW) products in WMS processes will be added.

The suite of 30-plus distinct features will partially be integrated as preview for the April release and its subsequent monthly releases. For example, a feature like enabling label printing during wave adds flexibility in configuration and operation.

Sales and procurement

Usability enhancements in sales and procurement will allow Super users will be able to propose filtered views and build forms where unnecessary fields or actions can be removed. Super users knowledge can thus be more easily disseminated to the organization and all skill levels of users can benefit from targeted views, crafted for the task at hand.

Going forward expect to see: supplier collaboration, extended self-service, data sharing and maintenance capabilities, and improved business support within integration scenarios such as : purchase requisition, request for quotation and purchase ordering relative to data flow and accounting distribution constraints.

A primary focus will be improvements to track and account for goods in transit.
There will also be enhanced support to kit to stock, as well as kit to order, and to enhance sales price and promotion management with extended price management flexibility.

Manufacturing

In the April ’19 release, the focus is on optimizing the resilience of master planning toward platform and infrastructure errors, as well as to deliver incremental master planning performance improvements.

To support the connected, intelligent operations of modern manufacturer integration with the intelligent Microsoft Azure IoT service will support manufacturing customers close the digital feedback loop with close to real-time information from the shop floor with business data to generate events and actionable insights.

The future road map includes enterprise asset management capabilities to track the total cost of ownership of operations assets, nd to manage the ongoing maintenance of those assets. .

Globalization

Microsoft Dynamics for Finance and Operations is localized for 37 countries/regions and provided in 42 languages directly.

To operate in many countries or regions, businesses need to quickly respond to changing regulatory requirements and meet very specific requirements of industries and verticals. The April ’19 release, will expand the areas of configurable localization to simplify this process. Configurable engines for both Electronic Reporting and Global Tax, are accessible through Regulatory Configuration Service, so that users can extend Microsoft-delivered regulatory configurations or build new configurable features from scratch.

The invoice layout is one of the most-customized areas by customers who deploy globally, in the April ’19 release there are more configurable invoice layouts beyond the Free Text Invoice layout that shipped in the October ’18 release.

Platform

Several improvements to the developer tools will be previewed in the next 3 months.
-Development of more than one application on the same environment will be possible.
- Build automation will not require build virtual machines and will enable automated deployment to Lifecycle Services (LCS).

The Web Client introduces new features guided by user productivity, usability research, and customer feedback. This includes personalization of forms and workspaces, interacting with large data sets (with better filtering), and mobile device responsive capabilities.

An improved workflow experience, including integration with Microsoft Flow, will be available.

Analytical Workspaces support new personalization options and power user editing tools of Power BI reports within the Finance and Operations client. Power users can extend reports and do data mashups using PowerBI.com functionality without any developer intervention.

New tools for management of network printers are also introduced. The Entity Store is supported for on-premises deployments.

Integration

Customers will be able to seamlessly link to Common Data Service (CDS) for Apps from Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. A breadth of Finance and Operations entities will be available in CDS for Apps.

Entity Store will be staged in a customer’s Azure Data Lake. Microsoft will keep the data fresh with incremental syncs.

Event-driven integrations is a new capability that provides a framework to allow Finance and Operations business and workflow events to be consumed by Microsoft Flow and external systems. For example, this will enable a PO confirmation to trigger fulfillment by the vendor earlier; or enable a receipt of a damaged part to trigger the vendor claim process in real time.

Cloud operations and lifecycle services

Microsoft will manage the continuous updates of Platform, Application (Finance and Operations, Retail), and Financial Reporting . A set of tools and experiences to support this experience (called One Version) will be made available in Lifecycle Services and will enable predictability, reliability, and continuous delivery.

The service will also be made available in the China Sovereign Cloud with all customer data maintained within the region.

Diagnostic assistant enables an IT administrator to diagnose user-reported issues or performance issues using a guided troubleshooting experience in Lifecycle Services (LCS). The administrator selects from a list of predefined issues and provides a set of inputs to narrow down the search results. The inputs could vary based on the issue selected. They will then be guided on a drill-through experience that correlates multiple sources of information to help the administrator identify the root cause quickly and efficiently. Today, a lot of this information is available in LCS, but you need an expert to correlate the different pieces.

To troubleshoot the issues that arise from customization, activity monitoring, SQL insights, critical health metrics, and live view are made available to the IT administrator. The goal of this feature is to help simplify this experience. Once a potential root cause is identified, the administrator can choose from a set of predefined actions that they can take to mitigate the originally reported issue.

The true value of a cloud service is realized through continuous updates that can provide both improved reliability and new features, while minimizing operational impact.

Microsoft is optimizing the way it w ll deliver updates. A monthly update cadence aims to provide predictability, lower upgrade costs, user access to the latest product capabilities and performance improvements, and a better support experience. the ONE-V update experience available to customers and partners. You first need to Onboard: This is a one-time activity in LCS Project Settings to configure the environments for the update, configure the date and time for the production update, or select to pause updates up to three months, and to sign up for any first-release programs.

Tools to support the continuous testing process include:

Impact analysis tool: This tool provides insight into the usage, churn, and feature areas that can help assess risk and drive smarter testing.

Regression Suite Automation Tool (RSAT): Customers and partners can use this tool to validate business processes by using the web client without having to write code. This tool relies on the task recording framework that allows functional users to record business flows and play them back.

Data Task Automation: This tool allows the automation of data import and export tasks by using a data task manifest and data project definition, which therefore provides a robust framework for regression testing of data integration scenarios.

Dynamics One Version – nearly here… and then what lies ahead?

April 1st, 2019

Customers at User Group Summit Europe this week listened intently to guidance on updates delivered by Microsoft MVP Andre Arnaud de Calavon who explained the One Version approach. He suspects that while some customers have a good understanding, others still do not, both in terms of Microsoft’s policies and the responsibilities they will put on the customer as opposed to the partner.

“If you look at DevOps and split it, there is the development part operations part. The partner can do the development part and then hand it over. The customer has to do verification, the acceptance tests, and when you have done that then you will decide when and if you are going to apply [updates] in production.”

His message to AX and D365FO users was to prepare to own the operations of their own systems, especially as it relates to evaluating, preparing for, and deploying updates on a monthly or at least quarterly basis.

Historically customers have been unwilling to make frequent updates when they knew a system was working well enough. One Version forces them to do just that. The new paradigm is agile response to disruptive digital change. However, many have moved to the cloud in order to ‘outsource it’ not to be a software testing site. The move to extensions has eliminated the problems of code merges, but it does not mean that updates will be lights out and painless.,

Microsoft continues to converge its planning across Dynamics 365, PowerApps, Flow, and the Common Data Service. It has an Application Platform as a Services (APaaS) approach. industry accelerators will be delivered to these guidelines:
• Microsoft will provide the components that are the most universally applicable to a vertical. Country-specific, or micro-vertical, and other niche capabilities will be left as white space for customers t build a competitive edge with their partners/
• The architectural model will build on the state of the art for Microsoft today and will include the Power Platform, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, and other Azure service use cases thatinclude even more Microsoft products like Teams and Office 365 and Linked in features.

Flow will become the workflow engine of choice over time for D365CE. A Microsoft presenter spoke against the idea of continuing with processing-intensive workflows that queue up within a relational CRM database, and slow down the cloud service. reality of this change – customers will pay for the privilege of making Flow a core component of their CRM architecture, as with Dynamics Finance and Operations for any serious volume of use, and as is the case with Power BI once you want to use it seriously.
Its an Enterprise solution that comes at an Enterprise cost and it with azure it has the enterprise architecture to deliver.

Because access to the production instance is controlled by Microsoft analytics for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) analytics had to use Entity Store and BYOD data sources. Expect a move to azure data lakes and the use of ADLS Gen2. The approach will replace today’s options, while putting more importance on PowerBI.com. This means customers will be required to buy seats of PowerBI.com Pro or Premium for all report consumers, plus renting their own ADLS Gen2 service. Pricing for data lakes will vary. Microsoft introduces a new class of enterprises to the use of cloud data lakes for their data optimization and reporting needs. As with the case above of Customer Engagement’s use of Flow, eliminating the expense of the Entity Store databases may not result in any comparable direct savings to offset the added expense of ADLS Gen2. Its m ore about the potential for value add of enhanced analytics.

Power BI update March – April 2019

March 21st, 2019

Microsoft launched the public preview of new Power BI workspace experiences in August 2018 to enable Power BI workspace admins:
• to use security groups to manage access to workspaces,
• to enable BI teams to create workspaces without needing to create an Office 365 Group,
• to provide granular workspace roles to make giving access to workspaces easier.

At the beginning of April 2019, the new workspace experiences. will reach General Availability (GA)

Usage metrics for new workspaces are rolling out this week
This capability is much requested by customers and works the same as it did for classic workspaces based on Office 365 Groups. It may take until late this week or next week to reach all commercial cloud customers.

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/update-on-the-new-workspace-experiences-preview-including-ga-timeline/

The March update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.2.47) includes an updated version of the Mashup Engine, which matches the one released as part of the Power BI Desktop March update.

This will ensure that the reports that you publish to the Power BI Service and refresh via the Gateway will go through the same query execution logic/runtime as in the latest Power BI Desktop version.

Happiness Day, Loneliness and Power BI

March 21st, 2019

At the annual Gartner BI Bake Off session at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Orlando, Florida the Power BI team featured this report which you can explore here:

Here are some insights and highlights from the report:
• The employment groups with the most happiness are employed and retired people followed closely by stay at home parents and students.
• The highest ratio of lonely to non-lonely people by age group is between 35 and 44 years old.
• For the countries in the dataset, the UK and the US have higher loneliness ratios (0.30 and 0.29 respectively) than Japan (0.10).

if you think Power BI might provide insights into your business, and need training or assistance with report modelling, or need to understand the different licence types, then contact us – 009714 3365589

SQL 2016 SP2 CU6 is released also SQL 2016 SP1 CU 14

March 21st, 2019

The good news is that Microsoft has fixed the “String or binary data would be truncated” error!
With KB#4468101 if you enable trace flag 460, the SQL Server will now tell you just what l is going to be truncated.
SP2 CU6 also includes other fixes like:
• Users are incorrectly permitted to create incremental stats on nonclustered indexes that aren’t aligned to the base table
• Assertion for parallel deletes from filestream tables
• Filestream IO can’t be enabled on cluster shared volumes
• Assertion for linked server queries that point to themselves during a cross-database transaction (as bad as it sounds)
• MDS database upgrade fails
• Filtered nonclustered columnstore index over a clustered columnstore index may not be maintained ( in layman’s term we call it corruption)
• Stack dump during change tracking cleanup
• Data masking (doesn’t)

Microsoft also released an 2016 SP1 CU14 but that doesn’t have the key#4468101 fix. .

Dynamics 365 ‘One version’ update 10 April 2019 -some FAQs

March 9th, 2019

In July 2018 Microsoft announced a change to the way it ill deliver Dynamics 365 updates that will help you to stay current in a consistent, predictable, and seamless manner. With Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, you receive new service updates and features monthly instead of doing expensive upgrades every few years.
- You can manage how your organization receives these updates. For example, you can sign up for an early release so that your organization receives updates first.
-You can designate that only certain environments receive the updates. Or, you can remain on the default release schedule and receive the updates later. This topic explains the different release options and how you can use them for your organization.

Service updates contain both application (including Financial reporting and Retail) and platform changes that are critical improvements to the service, including regulatory updates. New features will be included in service updates.

Release processes

Each new release is designed and developed by the Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations team. Any new release is first tested and validated by the feature team, then by the entire Dynamic 365 for Finance and Operations and Retail teams. Extensive testing is done on various test topologies. A compatibility checker also runs tests to ensure backward compatibility. In addition, several customer databases and code are benchmark-tested with automation to ensure no breaks.
Ring 2 is a targeted release. This release is available to partners, customers, and ISVs who opt in through the Insider program and join the Preview Early Access Program (PEAP). During a targeted release, Microsoft monitors telemetry, collects feedback, and further validates quality by monitoring key metrics. During this phase, the release must be deployed on Dev/Test environments. In this preview phase, partners, customers, and ISVs use the release to validate their customizations and provide feedback. This release cannot be used in production.
•Ring 3 is a production-ready, first release for customers who opt in. During this phase, customers have the option of taking the release all the way to production and can choose between Microsoft managing the update or self-managing the update. Participating in the First release program has the benefit of having the Microsoft engineering team closely monitoring the update for any aberrations to ensure a successful update.
Ring 4 is the final, default ring and is available to all customers. Microsoft will manage and update all environments based on the configured maintenance window.

Here are some FAQs to provide clarity on the Finance and Operations service updates, processes, and tools you can use to prepare for it.

Schedule for April 10.0 release The 10.0 release, which will be available in April 2019, will be an update and not an upgrade

Can the update to 10.0 be delayed? A customer can pause or opt-out of the 10.0 release when they are on 8.1.2 or 8.1.3. In early March, the ability to set up this configuration or to pause updates will be available through LCS.

For a release date in early April, which ring is being released at that time? Is it the GA ring? Or will GA be released several weeks later? Standard release/Ring 4 production updates for a monthly release will be scheduled for the first, second, and third weeks in April. Depending on the configuration that you set up in LCS, you will receive updates during that specific week.

For the April 10.0 release, Microsoft will perform updates during the weekends of April 6, April 13, or April 20 based on the configuration that you set up in LCS.
Sandbox updates will always be scheduled a week before the update.
The configuration setup will be available in early March.

Service updates

What product versions are impacted by service updates?

8.1 and later All customers on 8.1 and later will be scheduled for updates monthly with a combined application and platform update starting November 2018. You will be required to have an update that’s no older than 3 months.

8.0 Customers on 8.0 will receive a monthly platform and financial reporting update. You will be required to have an update that’s no older than 3 months. The 8.0 lifecycle ends in April 2019. Customers on 8.0were encouraged to update to 8.1 by December 1, 2018. This process is like a regular package update. For detailed documentation, see the Update environments from version 8.0 to 8.1 topic.

7.x Customers on 7.x will receive a monthly platform and financial reporting update. You will be required to have an update that’s no older than 3 months. You are required to upgrade to 8.1 before April 2019 (unless extensions are not available, the only over-layered version in market will be version 7.3). Starting April 2019, the service will be updated to version 10.0.

What does the update contain?

For 8.1 and later, service updates will contain both application (including financial, reporting, and Retail) and platform changes that are critical improvements to the service including regulatory updates. New experiences will be opt-in. The service updates are backward compatible. There will be a single version representing this update.

What is a regulatory update?

A regulatory update is a new feature or an existing feature change required by law (usually for a specific country/region). The regulatory update is always required by a specific law enforcement date (LED) and should be enabled by this date or earlier.

What’s the upcoming schedule of updates?
Service updates will be available each month and starttd in November 2018. Microsoft will apply the updates monthly, based on the selected maintenance window. You are required to have an update no older than 3 months.

Are there any major updates post 8.1?

There will be 2 major updates in April and in October where new experiences will be enabled. Major updates will not require code or data upgrade.

Breaking changes will be communicated 12 months in advance such that customers can plan accordingly. Such a change will only be introduced during a major update.

What does Backward compatibility mean? This covers binary and functional compatibility. Binary compatibility means that you can apply an update on any runtime environment without needing to recompile, reconfigure, or redeploy customizations. This also means that on a development environment at design time, X++ public and protected APIs and metadata are not modified or deleted.

If Microsoft needs to break compatibility by removing obsolete APIs, then it will be communicated 12 months in advance and follow a deprecation schedule. Functional compatibility is about user experience, all new experiences will be opt-in.

Backward compatibility does not include non-X++/metadata APIs.

Microsoft reserves the right to update versions of any dependencies the product uses, as well as remove dependencies without early warning.
Microsoft does not commit to maintain backwards compatibility of dependent software libraries unless expressly stated

What does end of service mean?

Microsoft will not provide any fixes to issues on versions that have reached end of service. Microsoft will also not investigate or troubleshoot any issue that you may encounter on an older version. If you encounter an issue on a version that has reached end of service, you will be required to update to the latest update and report the issue if it persists.
All environments will continue to be operated by Microsoft. All automatic processes around your environments, such as monitoring or self-healing, will also continue as is.

Will individual hotfixes be supported?

Individual hotfixes will not be supported after 8.1. Customers must update to the latest cumulative update available to apply the fix (such as 8.1.1). Critical fixes will also be cumulative and available through the LCS servicing experience.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations version 10.0 includes Platform update 24.
New APIs have been added to help data integration retrieve errors that occurred during the import execution runs in a data project.

Optimisation advisor – Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

February 18th, 2019

Telemetry, A!, Big data analytics are just some of the features that are part of the Azure cloud that are leveraged by Microsoft Dynamics. One example is the Optimisation advisor that can help business users and implementors to adopt best practices to optimize the business processes that they own.

Incorrect configuration and setup of a module can adversely affect the availability of features in Finance and Operations, system performance, and the smooth operation of business processes. The quality of business data (for example, the correctness, completeness, and cleanliness of the data) also affects system performance, and an organization’s decision-making capabilities, productivity, and so on. The Optimization advisor workspace is a tool that lets power users, business analysts, functional consultants, and IT support functions identify issues in module configuration and business data. Optimization advisor suggests best practices for module configuration and identifies business data that is obsolete or incorrect.

Optimization advisor periodically runs a set of best practice rules. A default set of rules is released together with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations version 8.0 (April 2018). However, users can also create rules that are specific to their customizations, solutions from independent software vendors (ISVs), and business data.

Optimize configuration choices to improve for example the performance of inventory closing, or wave processing, or work creation in the warehouse.

To get the best out of your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations System contact Synergy Software Systems your Dubai Dynamics Partner (since Ax v2.5 2003) – with over 200 consulting man years of experience in implementing and supporting this solution.
0097143365589

Azure in the G.C.C. updates

February 17th, 2019

AT the end of 2018 Microsoft announced that the. Azure Kubernetes Service has added the open-source system, Moby, to provision containers and deliver more frequent upstream patches.
Additionally, the team reduced cluster provisioning time, fixed a Stream Watcher error and updated a Linux kernel for a second GitHub problem.

Azure Monitor Logs UX was in preview last year, users can now click on charts and tables in Log Analytics in view the new Logs UX instead, with a new query editor and full schema view.

On January 2, Qatar’s prime minister, H.E. Skeikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani opted to help setup a large Azure data center. The prime minister and the Cabinet issued a draft law creating a “Media City” with an independent budget that will host the data center. Microsoft already operates a Content Delivery Network (CDN) in the country, but it has no cloud regions active in the Middle East. That is about to change, though – last year, the company announced that it would open data centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Ankabut, the United Arab Emirates’ Advanced National Research and Education Network (NREN) an initiative of Khalifa University, offers academic institutions connectivity to other education networks around the world. It has partnered with Huawei, to launch a cutting-edge new cloud solution in the UAE, Microsoft’s Azure Stack.

This will be the first implementation of Microsoft’s Azure Stack solution in GCC and the ME Region. Through this partnership, Ankabut aims to take the education infrastructure in the UAE to the next level of innovation and intelligibility by implementing the platform that will offer educational institutes cloud-paced innovation and computing management simplicity, cost optimization, higher quality, huge potentials and capabilities, in addition to more reliability and added value services.

(if your idea of surfing is on the beach rather than the internet then try http://azure-beach.com/

Recent G.C.C VAT updates

February 16th, 2019

Passive interest and dividends
The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) asserted that passively earned interest income from bank deposits and dividend income are outside the scope of Value Added Tax (VAT), and there is no requirement to report these in the VAT return.
VAT is a tax imposed on the import and supply of goods and services at each stage of production and distribution, therefore, VAT implications arise only when there is a supply – when there is no supply, there is no VAT implication.
The FTA explained that the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT and its Executive Regulations have included specific provisions on what would constitute a supply of goods and a supply of services and also included a definition for taxable supplies. As such, where any transaction falls outside the scope of these provisions, it would, as a consequence, fall outside the scope of VAT.
The FTA also noted that although Article (42) of the Executive Regulations outlines the tax treatment of financial services, stating that the payment or collection of any amount of interest and dividend is considered to be a financial service and is therefore exempt from VAT, this would only apply where there is, in fact, a supply.
The Authority had issued the “VAT Public Clarification on Bank Interest and Dividends” as part of its Public Clarifications service, which are available on the FTA website and seek to educate taxpayers on all technical issues surrounding taxes, allowing them to implement the tax system efficiently.
In a press statement the Federal Tax Authority noted that if, for instance, a retail business deposits its income into a bank account and earns interest on the deposited amount, and the said retail business does not do anything to earn this income aside from merely depositing the money in the account, it can then be said that the interest was earned passively. In this case, the retail business is not considered to have made a supply to the bank, and the interest income received is not a consideration for a supply, which, in turn, means that the retail business is not required to declare this income on its VAT return, as it is outside the scope of VAT.
The Authority noted, however, that the above position only applies to interest derived from bank deposits and does not have any bearing on the interest generated from extending loans or credit, which are exempt supplies for VAT purposes.
Dividend income:
• The FTA explained that the payment of a dividend by a company is a distribution of its profits to its shareholders, where the holder of a share is not entitled to a dividend until the company has declared a dividend.
• Dividend income becomes due for shareholders in a company by the mere ownership of shares in that company and if the company makes any profits and declares dividends.
• The shareholder then receives the dividends and does not make any supply in order to be eligible for a payment of dividends, making the dividend a generally passive income.
• Accordingly, dividend income is outside the scope of VAT, and is therefore, not required to be reported on the VAT return. T
• he Authority noted, nonetheless, that while dividend income is generally outside the scope of VAT, any amount charged as a “management fee” would be subject to VAT. For example, management fees charged by a holding company to its subsidiaries would be subject to VAT.

The Public Clarifications service can be accessed through the Federal Tax Authority’s official website by clicking the “Help” button, then choosing the “Public Clarifications” tab, and selecting the required document. (https://www.tax.gov.ae/en/public-clarification.aspx)

Deregistration
The Federal Tax Authority (the “Authority”) explained that the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax has defined the cases for tax de-registration. As such, when a registrant stops making taxable supplies or if the value of the taxable supplies made by the registrant over a period of 12 consecutive months is less than the voluntary registration threshold of AED 187,500 and it is not expected that the total value of the registrant’s anticipated taxable supplies or expenses subject to tax in the coming 30-day period will exceed the voluntary registration threshold, then the registrant must submit a de-registration application to the Authority within 20 business days of the occurrence of any of these cases using the Authority’s e-Services portal, knowing that failing to submit the de-registration application within the period specified in the tax legislation will lead to the imposition of administrative penalties as stipulated in the Cabinet Resolution No. 40 of 2017 on Administrative Penalties for Violations of Tax Laws in the UAE. This was the subject of a press release issued by the Authority to clarify the conditions and procedures for de-registration for Value Added Tax, after more than a year of its implementation. The Authority confirmed that registrants will not be de-registered unless they have paid all due taxes and administrative penalties and filed all required tax returns for the period in which they were registered as stipulated under the tax legislation.

The Authority went on to assert that the UAE Tax System is based entirely on voluntary compliance by Taxable Persons, whether it being with regards to registration, filing Tax Returns and payment of due tax or de-registration, noting that these services are available free of charge.
The Authority also mentioned that these procedures can be completed within few minutes through simple steps via the e-Services portal, available 24/7 on the Authority’s website (www.tax.gov.ae).

KSA
Reduction of the value-added tax (VAT) registration threshold to SR 375,000 from January 1, 2019, will increase the taxpayer base by about 150,000
The 2018 base was over 140,000 VAT-registered taxpayers.

Non-resident taxpayers are required to appoint a tax representative to act on their behalf and to assume joint liability for VAT debts. This requirement is posing some challenge to some non-resident taxpayers. Hopefully, progress in this area can be made soon.

VAT audits have commenced and assessments issued for contraventions of the regulations such as late registration and filing of VAT returns as well as incorrect declarations.
The global trend is towards tax authorities accessing taxpayer data directly and, in some territories, preparing the return for the taxpayer. Saudi taxpayers need to be prepared. Expect an increase in the level of scrutiny as GAZT continues to build its resources to challenge the VAT treatment of specific transactions.

Foreign Business VAT recovery
In a new guide on “VAT Refunds for Business Visitors”, published on its official website, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) outlined four conditions that allow foreign businesses to recover Value Added Tax (VAT) incurred in the UAE To be eligible for the VAT refund.
1.The first condition is that foreign businesses must not have a place of establishment or fixed establishment in the UAE or in any of the VAT-Implementing GCC States that fully comply with the provisions of the Common VAT Agreement of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
2.Second, such foreign businesses must not be a Taxable Person in the UAE.
3.Third, they must also be registered as an establishment with a competent authority in the jurisdiction in which they are establishe
4. The fourth condition is that they must be from a country that implements VAT and that equally provides VAT refunds to UAE businesses in similar circumstances.

FTA Director General His Excellency Khalid Ali Al Bustani described the refund procedure as clear and transparent, noting that it supports economic activities in the areas in which the visiting business of the country participates, which is reflected positively on many sectors including tourism, trade, exhibitions, conferences, etc. He stated that the mechanism is in accordance with the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax and the terms and conditions set in its Executive Regulations, which call for refunding taxes paid on supplies or imports made by a foreign entity not residing in the UAE or any of the Implementing States, subject to meeting certain conditions. He further explained that reciprocity is a key condition for the procedure, whereby the Authority will refund the VAT to businesses resident in countries that refund VAT for UAE businesses visiting their territories.

The Federal Tax Authority clarified that the period of each refund claim shall be a calendar year, noting that for claims in respect of the 2018 calendar year, refund applications can be made as of April 1, 2019. However, for subsequent calendar years, the opening date for accepting refund applications will be March 1st of the following year; this means that for the period from January 1 to December 31, 2019, applications will be accepted as of March 1, 2020.

The FTA went on to stress that the minimum claim amount of each VAT refund application submitted by business visitors is AED2,000, which may consist of a single purchase or multiple purchases. The Authority urged potential applicants to hold on to the original tax invoices on the purchases for which they would like to reclaim VAT, as they will be required to be submitted along with the refund applications.
Businesses residing in any GCC State that is not considered to be an Implementing

State may still submit a VAT refund application to reclaim VAT incurred in the UAE under this scheme, the FTA assured, outlining only 3 situations where VAT cannot be reclaimed,
1,The first situation is if the Foreign Business in question makes supplies in the UAE, unless the recipient is obliged to account for VAT under the Reverse Charge Mechanism.
2. Second, a VAT refund cannot be processed if the Input Tax in respect of any goods or services is “blocked” from recovery and, therefore, not recoverable by a Taxable Person in the UAE.
3. The third situation where a refund is not possible is if the Foreign Business is a non-resident tour operator.

The guide on “VAT Refunds for Business Visitors” can be accessed on the FTA’s official website via the link:
https://www.tax.gov.ae/pdf/VAT%20Refund%20User%20Guide-Business%20Visitors_EN.pdf (See Public Ax 2012 Finance Vat folder)
Independent Directors Services

Independent Directors’ services
The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has confirmed that the date of supply for Value Added Tax (VAT) with regard to Independent Directors’ services is determined either in accordance with the general rules or the special rules, depending mainly on whether the fees for the said directors were known from the outset or not.
Where such fees are known from the outset, the date of supply shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Articles (25) and (26) of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT, depending on whether or not there will be periodic payments. If such fees are not known from the outset, they shall be determined upon conclusion of the Annual General Meeting and the date of supply shall be established only when such fees become known.
The date of supply prescribes the point in time when a VAT Registrant needs to account for VAT, the Authority explained in the Public Clarification on the Date of Supply for Independent Directors. This is part of the “Public Clarifications” service available on the FTA’s website to introduce taxpayers to all aspects of the tax system and facilitate compliance. The service can be accessed via the link: https://www.tax.gov.ae/public-clarification.aspx
The FTA explained that in instances where the Board Fees are known at the outset and involve periodic or multiple payments, the date of supply would be determined as per Article (26) of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT, where the date of supply would be the earliest of the following three: The date of issuance of the tax invoice; the date the payment is due as shown on the tax invoice; and the date of receipt of payment. If 12 months have passed from the date of provision of services and none of the aforesaid events has occurred, the date of supply will be triggered at the end of the 12th month.
As for the instances where Board Fees are known at the outset but there are no periodic or multiple payments, the date of supply would be determined as per Article (25) of the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT. Accordingly, the date of supply would be the earliest of the following three: The date of issuance of a tax invoice; the date on which the provision of services was completed; and the date of receipt of payment.

Profit Margin Scheme
The UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) asserted that only those goods which have previously been subject to VAT before the supply in question may be subject to the profit margin scheme. As a result, stock on hand of used goods which were acquired prior to the effective date of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) on Value Added Tax (“VAT law”), or which have not previously been subject to VAT for other reasons, are not eligible to be sold under the profit margin scheme. VAT is therefore due on the full selling price of such goods.

The taxable person will not be allowed to apply the profit margin scheme in such cases where he has issued a tax invoice or any other document mentioning an amount of VAT chargeable in respect of the supply.
• The profit margin is the difference between the purchase price of the Goods and the selling price of the Goods,
• The profit margin shall be deemed to be inclusive of Tax
• A VAT registered business may apply the profit margin scheme to eligible goods when:
o the goods must have been purchased from either a person who is not registered for VAT;
o or a taxable person who calculated VAT on the supply by reference to the profit margin i.e. a VAT registered business, which already applied the profit margin scheme on the same goods.
o In addition, the profit margin scheme may also apply when the taxable person made a supply of the goods where input tax was not recovered in accordance with Article 53 of Cabinet Decision No. 52 of 2017.
Suppliers should be confident that a good has previously been subject to tax in order to apply the profit margin scheme. Such evidence or information of this position could include but is not limited to.:
o information relating to the date the good was first manufactured, sold or brought in to use
o e.g. in the case of a car, the date the car was first registered would indicate its sale would have been subject to VAT if it was registered on a date after 1 January 2018;
o Evidence that the supplier paid VAT on their original purchase e.g. by asking the supplier for a copy of the tax invoice relating to their purchase of the good.
Where a Taxable Person has charged Tax in respect of a supply with reference to the profit margin, the Taxable Person shall issue a Tax Invoice that clearly states that the Tax was charged with reference to the profit margin, in addition to all other information required to be stated in a Tax Invoice except the amount of Tax.

Transportation

As per the Clause (4), Article (45) of the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 on Value Added Tax and as per Article (34) of Cabinet Decision No. 52 of 2017 on the Executive Regulations (“VAT Executive Regulations”): The supply of the means of transport shall be subject to the zero rate in the case of, a supply of bus or train that is designed or adapted to be used for public transportation of (10) or more passengers.

One such qualifying means of transport includes the supply of a bus or train that is designed or adapted to be used for public transportation of 10 or more passengers. This Public Clarification discusses the definition of ‘public transportation’ and its interpretation for the purposes of identifying those buses or trains which qualify to be supplied at the zero rate under this provision.As a result, those means of transport which are designed to transport a specific category of individuals, such as school students or employees of a business, do not meet the conditions to be treated as a qualifying means of transport for the purposes of the zero-rating provisions. Such means of transport shall therefore be subject to the standard rate of VAT.
This denotes that, any supplies of means of transport (e.g. supply of buses) made for the use of schools or business are subject to 5% tax at the time of its purchase.
It has also been clarified by the FTA that, whether or not the original supply of the means of transport qualified for zero rating has no impact on the VAT liability of any charges made for the supply of transportation services. The VAT treatment of the means of transport when purchased does not determine the VAT treatment of any supply of transport services made using that vehicle. Providing services to business for transporting its employees from one place to another still remains exempt under law. Therefore, where local transport is made for a charge to a defined group of people, any VAT incurred on the costs of purchasing the means of transport, fuel etc. in order to provide that service is not recoverable.

Difference between private transportation & public transportation in the VAT Law:
What is Private Transportation?

FTA defines ‘Private Transportation’ as ‘all means of transportation used to transport a specific group of people under contracts.’
What is Public Transportation?
The transport used for ‘public transportation’ shall be interpreted by the FTA as, ‘all means of mass transportation used to transport all individuals without specifying any category.’
The difference between the two forms of transportation therefore means that public transportation should be available for all individuals without exception. Public transportation would not include transportation which is only available to a specific category of user.
To summarize, if a bus or train is designed or adapted for a specific class or group of people, or is only available for use by a specific class or group of people, then it shall be considered to be designed or adapted for use for private transportation. And thus, the supply of such means of transport will be taxable.
Factors relevant to identify Public Transportation:
In order to determine whether a bus or train is designed or adapted for use for public transportation, the following factors would be relevant:
1. Features exist which allow passengers to pay for the transportation or to indicate they possess a ticket e.g. a payment booth, ticket scanner or device to take payment;
2. There is branding either within or outside the vehicle advertising the transport service, indicating the transportation is available to all;
3. There is branding or other features indicating regulation of the means of transport by the entity regulating public transportation in the Emirate of operation;
4. The intended use of the means of transport is to transport members of the public without exception or limitation to a specific group.
By considering above points, the following means of transports are not be considered to be used for public transportation:
1. School buses;
2. Buses used to transport groups of employees or workers to or from a place of work;
3. Shuttle buses used to transport hotel guests to other locations e.g. a mall, airport, park, or other tourist attraction.
Hence the and the supply of such means of transports shall be subject to VAT at the standard rate.
VAT Liability of Transportation Services:
To add on, services related to transportation shall be governed by Clause 4 of Article 46 of the VAT Law and Article 45 of the Executive Regulations which state that any supply of local passenger transport shall be exempt from VAT where the supply is of local passenger transport services in a qualifying means of transport by land, water or air from a place in the UAE to another place in the UAE.
For the purposes of the exemption from tax, one of the qualifying means of transport listed includes a motor vehicle, including a taxi, bus, railway train, tram, mono-rail or similar means of transport, designed or adapted for transport of passengers.

Emirati Nationals – Home owners
The Federal Tax Authority issued a guide Apr2018 with details for home owners on how to claim the refund.
Emirati house owners have the right to a five per cent value added tax (VAT) refund when constructing their homes, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has stated. The Authority has issued a guide with details for home owners on how to claim the refund. It clarifies that only UAE citizens have the right to ask for the refund. They need no new account on the Authority’s website, and only need to download and fill a form and submit it back so the Authority
t UAE nationals can claim the VAT refund against the construction expenses for a residential building, when they construct it either for themselves or for their family members.
UAE nationals can claim the refund against a newly constructed building to be used solely as residence, under Article (66) of Cabinet Decision No. (52) of 2017 on the Executive Regulations, of the Federal Decree-Law No (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax,”.
The VAT refund is not allowed in relation to a building that will not be used solely as a residence by the person or the person’s family. For example, it is not to be used as a hotel, guest house, hospital, or if the property is to be used for rental purposes or for any other purpose not consistent with it being used as a residence,
According to the guide issued by the FTA, an Emirati owner has the right to ask for the VAT refund if he bought a piece of land and allowed an authorised person or company to establish a housing unit on it. The guide says that the VAT refund only includes the money spent on establishing the unit, adding that it includes the amounts paid as building materials, except for electricity products of furniture or green areas.
On the other hand, the refund also includes VAT paid for doors, fire alarms systems, floors, kitchens, health units, bathrooms, windows, and electricity cables. A third entity is going to review the housing units to approve the refund and its amount after the Emirati owner submits the form. Moreover, the owner needs documents that prove his ownership for the unit, show the date of issuing the certification of establishment, prove the ownership of the land and show the value of VAT paid during the process.
It should be noted that the VAT refund will be claimed after completion of the new building which is ready to use. The owner must file a VAT refund application after getting registration with the FTA within six months from the date of completion of the newly built residence. Processing can take up to 20 days.
A newly built residence is considered complete at the date the residence becomes occupied, or the date when it is certified as completed by a competent authority in the state, or as may otherwise be stipulated by the Authority.
Also where the Authority has repaid tax and following the receipt of such repayment, if the person used the building for rental or any other commercial purpose, then he will be required to repay the amount of the tax that was claimed by him. The UAE national can claim VAT against construction related expenses excluding furniture or electrical appliances.

Grants and Sponsorships
The VAT treatment of donations, grants and sponsorships depends on whether the donor, grantor or sponsor, as the case may be, received any benefit in return for such payments.
o Where any benefit is received in return for the payments, VAT implications will arise.
o However, where no benefit is received, the payments will be treated as outside the scope of VAT as they will not be seen as consideration for a supply.
The VATP011 clarification states where donation and grants do not have any supply, they are considered as out of scope.
Generally, sponsorship will be subject to VAT as there is usually associated supply to such sponsorship.

Pre Vat Orders and post Vat supply
As per the FTA’s statement, the only case where consumers are directly responsible for paying VAT on services are those that were delivered fully or partially after VAT went into effect from January 1 and it was contractually/ stated that the amount due is exclusive of tax.
According to the FTA’s statement, suppliers will be liable for VAT in two cases:
o if the contract states that the amount received against the good or service is inclusive of VAT;
o or if the contract issued to the consumer did not refer to VAT.
In the latter case, when the goods or services recipient is registered for tax, the amount due is treated as exclusive of tax. So the supplier has to ascertain whether the recipient is registered, and the recipient ability to recover tax as per Article 70 of the VAT Executive Regulations.
The authority stressed that in all cases, the supplier remains liable for accounting for the tax and paying it to the FTA.

Bahrain and Utility Bills
A Bahraini lawyer has insisted that the recent decision by the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) to apply Value Added Tax (VAT) on subscribers’ bills are unconstitutional, demanding immediate cancellation of the decision. This came as lawyer Mohammed Al Thawadi appeared before the High Administrative Court, which is examining a complaint lodged by him against the authority. The court said that it would issue its final verdict in the case on February 24.
In his statements, the lawyer asserted that the decision is unconstitutional, claiming that Articles 15 and 17 of the Constitution of the Kingdom stipulate that taxes should only be imposed through legislation. Mr. Al Thawadi also accused EWA of not adhering to the Unified GCCVAT Agreement.
“Article 29 did not stipulate the imposition of taxes on electricity supply services, but on the contrary, it gave each state the right to exempt some sectors in accordance with local law. “Additionally, Article 30 stipulates the exemption of government bodies from paying taxes, and therefore it is not permissible for the authority to collect taxes.” The lawyer’s last statement came after the authority denied the accusations during the previous hearing.
“The authority does not exercise its functions as sovereign and there is no monopoly of providing electricity and water supply services in the Kingdom,” the authority’s counsel had told the court. Further supporting his accusations against the authority, Mr. Al Thawadi said: “The authority’s claim that it does not operate in a sovereign manner and that there is nothing preventing competition with it from any other party in providing its services is incorrect.

Cloud back ups or on-premise?

February 16th, 2019

Pretty scary.
We have suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of a hacker, last seen as aktv@94.155.49.9 This person has destroyed all data in the US, both primary and backup systems. We are working to recover what data we can.

Though they’re back up and running, who knows if customers will stick by them, or will sue them.
What impact that had on infrastructure mail servers, backup servers, and SQL Servers for customers is hard to judge.
A large number of people might have lost their mailboxes and previously stored mail that was in IMAP storage.
This is likely an annoyance for individuals, but potentially catastrophic for businesses. Imagine your small business hosted with them and all your mailboxes were lost with customer communications and who knows what else.

Could this happen with a cloud provider like Azure O365, Google Apps or AWS?
Maybe but they will have DR backups,
But what if you store back ups on the cloud but run on premise- how long would it take to mass restore multiple, customers? Do you still have ad3qute on premise test systems to restore on and the staff and the time to do it?

Do you assume that you will always have either a primary server and an online backup server/share/bucket/container and can download data.
The problem is that online systems that connect to the primary can be accessed.
If an attacker were to access one, they potentially could access the second.
The world seems to be moving towards more online storage, or in the case of cloud vendors, a reliance on snapshots. That might be good enough for cloud vendors, but is it good enough for your on-premise system.
It’s likely that an attacker, possibly even with insider help, would wipe out backups first, then primary systems.
Some sort of disconnected offline backup of data, especially database servers gives you a third line of defence.
don’t forget that back up- need to be tested- if the back up software compatible with old versions, does your back up use the same version as the current erp software installed on your primary, or the same SQL version (i.e when you upgrade do you also upgrade your back ups, or maintain an older environment?)

Microsoft and other large vendors have had downtime whether self induced by releasing code too early, or due to hardware failure, or malicious attach . What is important to realise is just how infrequent are just issues given the number of clients they have across a range of solutions, and how little was the downtime and how fast they are at in addressing issues that arise. The think about how you would have been able to deal with the same issues in your own server room?

There are increasing risks, and increasing issues of statutory compliance with regard to data protection e.g, GDPR. The cloud generally offers cheap storage nd robust systems, yet it needs to be part of a holistic approach to reduce overall risk and cost, and not the only line of defence.

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU5, SP1 CU13 – many fixes

January 25th, 2019

Many fixes inside SP2 CU5 and SP1 CU13, e.g.:
• Access violation when you compile a query
• Access violations and unhandled exceptions with Always On Availability Groups automatic seeding
• Dynamic Data Masking doesn’t when there’s a cursor involved
• Access violations for XML data types
• Query Store blocks transactions and log truncation
• Out of memory errors
• Non-yielding schedulers with heavy use of prepared statements
• Can’t restore compressed backups of encrypted databases
• High CPU usage when there are many batch requests (which we would expect?)
• SQL Server service crashes when you cancel CHECKDB (on a “large database” – doesn’t that apply to all? )
…. lots more

Dynamics 365 April19 update – release notes

January 25th, 2019

https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/2018/12/12/announcing-the-dynamics-365-april-19-release-timeline/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/business-applications-release-notes/April19/index

The April ’19 release signifies a key milestone for Dynamics 365. It is the first major update where all customers across Dynamics 365 will be on the same latest version and on a consistent update schedule. It is also a template of how major updates will be done going forward in April and October every year. The most obvious change is the move to a Unified fluent interface.

The enhancements to Dynamics 365 applications in the April ’19 release include hundreds of new capabilities across Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Portals, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Finance and Operations, Talent, Retail, and Business Central. Includes a new set of mixed reality experiences using Microsoft Layout and Microsoft Remote Assist. These are described in the links above and in a lengthy ‘What’s new” document

The April ’19 release delivers continued Artificial Intelligence capabilities that leverage the power of Microsoft AI research, tools, data, and the Power Platform to help organizations transform customer service, sales, and marketing functions.
• AI for Sales provides actionable insights to drive personalized engagement and proactive decision-making.
• AI for Market Insights enables business users to gather actionable insights based on what consumers say, seek, and feel about their brands and products. Optimize your customer service experience through AI enhanced analysis with Customer Service Insights.

Microsoft Layout
Design spaces in context with Dynamics 365 Layout. Bring physical designs from concept to completion with confidence. Import 3D models to experience room layouts as holograms in the physical world or in virtual reality.1 Share with stakeholders2 and easily edit layouts in real-world scale, to make better decisions before you build.

Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
Modernize your field service operations, so you can make the most of your time and money. With heads-up, hands-free video calling on Microsoft HoloLens, technicians can collaborate with any remote expert on PC or mobile to troubleshoot issues in context. Enable on-site technicians to share what they see with remote experts, while staying heads-up, hands-free with Remote Assist on Microsoft HoloLens. With modern tools like mixed reality video calling, annotations, and file sharing, technicians and remote experts can work together to solve problems in context.3