Archive for the ‘Microsoft Dynamics Ax’ category

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 -OUT OF SUPPORT today

July 13th, 2019

SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, both of these versions of SQL server go out of extended support with Microsoft today 9th July 2019

Many companies and businesses are still SQL Server 2008 R2 and below. There can be a number of reasons for this, maybe the applications the databases support require an older version of SQL Server, maybe the applications are also coming to the end of life, but the end dates do not match up with the data platform end of support dates.

Sometimes applications are critical to the business and everything works just fine. The business doesn’t want to disrupt the application or introduce any risk by performing a migration to a new version so why change it?

In this situation your data platform is out of support completely. Out of support system attract hackers. Note the previous articles about fines for loss of privacy data to realise how serious this can be

So you should be making plans to migrate your legacy SQL Servers off the unsupported versions. It is likely if you are still on an old database that you are also on an old server and on an old version of Windows. That gives additional risk of failed hard disks, other system vulnerabilities – Meltdown, Spectre? Phishing…….
Investors and insurers are not likely to be sympathetic in such circumstances.

There are many performance and security benefits of upgrade.

If you decide to run on out support software and take the risk associated with running on out of support software. The main advantage of this approach is there is nothing immediate to do. The longer you run on the platform the greater the chances of you encountering a security vulnerability or failing a compliance test.
If anything does go wrong you’ll have no support from Microsoft.
Other software vendors support contracts may also require that you be on a currently supported database

Modernise and upgrade is one of the options that you have available.

You can upgrade your on premises SQL Server or migrate the databases to Azure either as IaaS solution where you run the VM in Azure or even the PaaS Azure SQL database offering

There are number of advantages to upgrading your data platform. You’ll be running your database workloads on an in support data platform, with a long support window. There will likely by new features in the latest and greatest version of SQL Server that you can use to add business value to your application – Availability Groups for example. Also you will likely find people with skills in the later technology, those skills will be more readily available in the jobs market.

There will likely be a different licensing model – the licensing model changed between SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 – it possible you will have to pay more for you SQL Server licences.

The third option is instead of doing nothing you pay for a custom support agreement. The main advantage here is you can continue to get security updates and therefore potentially remaining compliant. The main disadvantage of this approach is the cost involved, which is typically 75% of the full license costs of the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Server.

Migrate workload to Azure. Microsoft allow SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server R2 VMs running in Azure to have the security updates for free for a further 3 years. So you can migrate your database server to azure and continue to get security updates for free until 2022.

The main advantage of this is you get to keep running the same version of the OS and Data platform, the security updates are free so the cost is minimal \. The disadvantages is you would need to move off premises, if this is not an option for you then you can’t exercise this option and there will still be work in involved in ‘lifting and shifting’ the VM to the cloud.

Whatever you do when support ends for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 have a plan

Oman and VAT – Ask Synergy Software Systems to help prepare and update your systems

June 30th, 2019

Oman government representatives have said that the state is looking to implement a 5% VAT regime from 1 September 2019. In 2017,
it signed the Gulf Cooperation Council VAT Framework Agreement, which included: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. Local media reports in March 2019 quoted a senior official from Oman’s Ministry of Finance as saying that the date of implementation of VAT in Oman is under review. The official reportedly indicated that the target date had been 1 September 2019 but that this is not confirmed, although the intention clearly remains to implement VAT as early as possible. Businesses should take this as a cue to continue their VAT implementation plans in Oman, or restart and reinvigorate those if the work has been put on hold.

A key lesson from our experience of VAT implementation projects in UAE, KSA and Bahrain, across more than 100 companies is that companies that started their VAT planning and implementation projects early had a smoother transition to VAT, than those that waited for the final publication of the domestic law and regulations. A ‘wait and see’ approach backfired on many businesses in the UAE, KSA and Bahrain where there was minimal time between the release of the law and regulations and the go-live date for adequate training, data preparation and testing, and a shortage of resources in the market to cope with the backlog.

There are practical steps to take now. the first is to form an internal VAT working group of key stakeholders to monitor developments in VAT and ensure that VAT is on the Board agenda and is included in budget discussions. The working group will be best placed to negotiate professional services to support implementation, to train end users, and to define test scenarios, etc.

Next ensure there is VAT awareness is key – customers, vendors, and staff. Many in the region have never dealt with VAT, and a solid understanding of the mechanics, scope and terminology of the tax takes time, and that is a necessary foundation for the next steps.

Document your transaction flows . VAT is a transaction tax, with each transaction triggering a potential VAT consequence. This will help you to identify: software changes, processes to update, training needs, data collection needs, commercial document redesign, financial report redesign etc.

Review Contract to ensure they are ‘future proofed’ for the introduction of VAT. For example, to identify whether they include suitable clauses allowing VAT to be charged in addition to contractually agreed prices. The UAE VAT law clearly mandated that communication be sent to all customers within a specific timeline stipulating whether their contracts will be treated as exclusive of tax, failing which customers can dispute the tax being charged in the contract. Therefore, revisiting contractual obligations for both customers and vendors and determining cutover dates, incorporating tax clauses and revising prices and quotations will play a pivotal role to safeguard the business interests of all parties to a contract.

There will be transactions which are closed before the go-live date, and there will be instances where payment is received post the go-live date or where the supply is scheduled post the go-live date, but where the relevant invoices are paid prior to it. Failure to assess and communicate/agree on the VAT impact between all parties to the transaction on such spillover transactions might increase the cost of such transactions and either of the parties may be out of pocket in such scenarios, and there may be unwelcome friction with trading partners, if not managed.

IT infrastructure will be the ‘backbone’ of the VAT compliance function from issuing VAT compliant invoices to producing the VAT return.

Identify VAT resource requirements, particularly external consultants and auditors. Skilled VAT resources are drawn from a diminishing pool of individuals. Take advantage of the experience gained by service providers implementing in Dubai, KSA and Bahrain. There are many wrinkles, not immediately obvious.

Industry associations can raise common issues and concerns with the Ministry of Finance, particularly in advance of the formal publication of the VAT law.

While you can choose to defer VAT implementation be ready to demonstrate to your owners/investors/respective boards and shareholders, that you have done so only after undertaking an appropriate level of due diligence of the likely preparation of the VAT environment. Some key areas include:

Upgrades to ERP systems and user acceptance testing Reporting
Timely VAT registration, (company by company or at Group level?)
Timely Collection of Tax registration numbers for Trading partners
Timely returns, accrual and and payment of taxes
Scoping the need for professional service and selection/references, time for reaching agreement with partners.
Unforeseen penalties
Cash flow management – how will this change? the delayed inflow on account of receipts from customers; outflow after the discharge of tax liabilities on supplies without consideration/deemed supplies (if any); outflow on account of payment to vendors; and additional outflow due to the payment of taxes (net of input tax recoverable) to tax authorities.

Tracking changes in law/ public clarifications

Some businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia faced challenges when ERP systems were not implemented in time to capture VAT on transactions or to generate customised VAT payable or receivable reports. The first quarter of the respective VAT regimes required substantial manual effort to properly account for transactions.

Another hurdle was training staff on the upgraded ERP software as well as new reporting standards

In a test system for financial or erp system, for training and requirement scope you could get early familiarity with the Dubai or KSA framework – there are unlikely to be major changes in the Oman framework.

If you current system is largely manual, or has significant limitations then now be the time to plan for upgrade, or reimplementation or a new system. The UAE VAT law has a penalty provision whereby every incorrect invoice can trigger an AED 5,000 fine (approx. OMR 500), irrespective of the value of the invoice. Exposure to these fines can be significant in industries where high volumes of transactions are made per day, for example the retail, utilities and banking industries. Compliance depends on a robust system and operations preparedness. The audit trail of the process, and other documents, help to ensure correct and timely filing of the returns as well as avoiding any unwarranted penalties.

Businesses across the globe tend to see a fall in demand where the display prices on products do not include VAT, specifically in the case of products which are price sensitive. The implementation of a new indirect tax law will have an impact on turnover and consumer preferences. Some prices ma need to be rounded up or down. You may need to show VAT separately, item by item on a receipt or invoice – is your software able to do that?

Given that the potential VAT rate in Oman may vary between 5 per cent, exempted, non-taxable and zero-rated, businesses should ascertain the price impact of VAT on imports which are recoverable and non-recoverable, final product pricing and alternative sourcing if imports are expensive, and vice versa.

Calorie display on Dubai menus – are you ready? Ask Synergy Software Systems.

June 30th, 2019

It will soon be mandatory to display the caloric value of each and every item in the menu, in whichever form it is. The Food Safety Department announcement is that:
All food outlets in Dubai have to display calorie content of ready-to-eat foods by January 1, 2020.
An early deadline of November 1, 2019 is set for establishments with more than five branches to implement it.

The circular and guidebook is posted on municipality’s portal www.dm.gov.ae and has clear instructions for labelling nutritional value with examples for manual calculation in Excel-sheet templates.

The department will verify the accuracy of the calculations through auditing. It will also at a later stage, provide an electronic-platform for computing the calories

Eateries, including fast food chains, must display caloric value of food items either on the menu or at the point of sale. There are some establishments that already declare calorie content on packaging, flyers, tray mats, websites etc. However, the municipality wants everyone to display the caloric value, against each item in the menu from which diners choose items at the point of sale. When there is no menu, then it should be in the menu boards or the menu displayed on tablets — basically, whichever form of the menu which the consumer checks for choosing the food.

Dubai eateries will have options how to calculate calorie contents for display in the menus to comply with a new regulation that aims to help diners make informed choices. For most a software package will be administratively simplest to ensure compliance.

For online menus displayed for food ordering services, the rule will not be mandatory, for the time being, since the department is not regulating electronic platforms for food delivery.

Dubai Municipality says that Food establishments in Dubai should declare in their menus the calorie content of all ready-to-eat food items.

The primary objective of the rule is to help diners make healthy food choices for reducing obesity and related diseases. The Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality hopes to make a big difference in food decisions taken by diners just with the knowledge of how much of calories they consume.
The population of Dubai is three million. As per our calculations, we expect more than one billion food decisions to be based on the calorie count displayed in menus in a year,” Iman Ali Al Bastaki, Director of the Department
.
During the six months of the World Expo 2020 starting on October 20, 2020, Dubai expects to welcome 25 million visitors. Hence, the number of food decisions taken based on displayed calories is expected to be multi-billion during the Expo.

For example, a food outlet making a traditional meal with a lot of oil will have to display a high caloric value for the meal. When consumers prefer to go for another meal with less calories or a smaller portion of the same meal, the establishment will encourage its chefs to reduce the use of oil, thereby reducing the calories and providing a healthier meal.

Dubai, is the first emirate in the UAE to implement such a rule. It referred to similar practices in countries like the US and Canada. Dubai already has a system of nutrition labelling that displays all nutritional values in packaged food items e.g.: sugar, sodium, fat.

For cooked or prepared food that is ready-to-eat, the first step in declaration is the basic declaration of calories. The municipality wants to ensure the readiness of the market before moving to the next level of detailed nutrition labelling in cooked foods.

This is part of a holistic approach that Dubai Municipality has been working on to improve health and to reduce obesity and diabetes in Dubai that include healthy meal project in school canteens, an initiative to reduce salt and sugar content in bakery items and verification of claims about healthy food items.

With over 100 branded hotels and industrial caterers, and other food producers as our customers we have more than 20 years extensive experience in the F@B area, and our solution for nutrition data is widely adopted.

If you need, a software solution or to integrate our nutrition data to your erp system or F@B software, then contact us to learn more about our solutions.

Synergy Software Systems: 00917 43365589
Deyafa Systems: 00971 4 3240066

Electronic health data originating in the UAE – Federal Law No. 2 of 2019 (the Law)

June 26th, 2019

Important changes for anyone who collects, processes or transfers electronic health data originating in the UAE.

Besides a host of new data protection measures and new rules around use of a centralized database managed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Health, a general prohibition on transferring health data outside the UAE has a significant impact on healthcare service providers and life sciences companies operating locally.

Cloud based health solutions which involve collection, storage and processing of health data, such as wearables and health monitoring apps, may be particularly affected. It is imperative for companies operating in the sector to carefully monitor developments.

On 6 February 2019, the President of the UAE issued Federal Law No. 2 of 2019 (the Law) which regulates the use of information technology and communications (ITC) in the healthcare sector. This Law:
• aims to raise the minimum bar for protection of health data and to introduce certain concepts which are on a par with best international practice in information law;
• supports the legislative trend towards localization of sensitive categories of data;
• paves the way for centralized health data capture and analysis to support public health initiatives conducted by the UAE Ministry of Health.

The Law was published in the Federal Gazette on 14 February 2019 and will come into force three months from publication. (May2019). The implementing regulations which will provide further details on its application are to be issued within six months from the date of publication.

The law is the first Federal data/privacy law of its kind in the United Arab Emirates albeit limited to healthcare data.

The law prescribes 31 articles and its application is wide both in terms of geographical spread and industry sectors. The law covers the entire United Arab Emirates (UAE) including its Free Zones and will impact on many sectors including local healthcare regulators in the different Emirates as well as all sectors dealing with healthcare data/information.

The health authorities in each local emirate are empowered to establish the rules, standards and controls for their own electronic data and health information systems, such as the methods of operation, exchange of data and information and their protection, as well as access to and copying of data and information

The Law applies to all entities operating in the UAE, whether onshore or from one of its free zones (including Dubai Healthcare City), which provide:
• healthcare services;
• health insurance services (including insurance brokers or providers of related administrative services);
• healthcare IT services; or
• any other services, directly or indirectly, related to the healthcare sector, or engaged in activities that involve handling of electronic health data.

1. Regulation of health data

The scope of the Law is broad – it regulates the processing of all electronic health data regardless of its form, including names of patients, information collected during consultation, diagnosis and treatment, alpha-numerical patient identifiers, common procedural technology (CPT) codes, images produced by medical imaging technology, and lab results among other types of data.

2. Prohibition on storage of health data outside of the UAE

The Law formalizes the longtime informal regulatory policy that health data must be processed and stored inside the UAE. Critically it provides that such data may not be transferred outside of the UAE, except where an exception is issued by the relevant heath authority. The Law also prohibits the creation of health data outside of the UAE which relates to health services provided inside the UAE. Accordingly, cloud solutions hosted out of country, outsourcing of IT services to overseas locations, remote IT support from other departments within multi-national Healthcare Service Providers and remote collection and monitoring of patient information within the UAE, such as heart rate, sleep patterns, or steps walked, from outside the UAE through apps and wearables may be significantly impacted.

The Law envisages certain exceptions to the default data localization requirements. These will be set out in subsequent ministerial resolutions or the implementing regulations.

3. Minimum standards for processing of health data

In addition to reinforcing the duty of Healthcare Service Providers to maintain the confidentiality of health data, the Law introduces a number of concepts similar to overseas data protection frameworks. For example:
• Purpose limitation: Patient information must not be used other than for the purpose of the provision of health services, except with the prior consent of the patient;
• Accuracy: Healthcare Service Providers must ensure that the health data processed is accurate and reliable;
• Security measures: Healthcare Service Providers must put in place measures to protect health data and to prevent its unauthorized processing, damage, alteration, deletion or amendment; and
• Non-disclosure/patient consent: The Law reiterates existing obligations not to disclose patient data to any third party without the prior consent of the patient.

4. Retention period

Health data must be retained for a minimum period of 25 years from the date on which the last procedure on the patient was conducted, or as long as is necessary if longer.

5. Centralized data management system

A new centralized data management system (DMS) will be established and operated by the UAE Ministry of Health to facilitate access to, storage and exchange of health data. Healthcare Service Providers are required to register to access the DMS and identify all members of personnel who are authorized to access it.

6. Website blocking for advertisement or licensing violations

The UAE Ministry of Health is entitled to instruct the relevant local or federal health authorities to block any website, whether inside or outside of the UAE that does not comply with the regulations applicable to healthcare advertising or which provides healthcare information without a license or permission from the UAE Ministry of Health.

The only circumstances in which a patient’s information may be used or disclosed without the patient’s consent are:
• to allow insurance companies and other entities funding the medical services to verify financial entitlement;
• for scientific research (provided that the identity of the patient is not disclosed and applicable scientific research standards and guidelines are complied with);
• for public health preventive and treatment measures, for example. in the case of a public health crisis;
• at the request of a competent judicial authority; or
• at the request of the relevant health authority for public health purposes including inspections.

There is a delicate balance to be struck between the potential benefits of this practice and the protection of each individual’s right of privacy. Where to draw the line in this assessment remains a topic of discussion between industry stakeholders and regulators, particularly in light of high profile breaches in recent years such as the collaboration between the Royal Free London NHS Trust and Google Deep Mind to identify patients at risk of kidney disease, or in the context of using health data for secondary research purposes. In January 2019 the European Data Protection Board issued its opinion on the European Commission’s draft Q&A on the interplay between data protection under the EU General Data Protection Regulation and clinical trials regulation. Wewait for the Law’s implementing regulations to see what position the UAE authorities will take on this sensitive issue.

As well as certain penal sanctions for breach of key requirements, such as the data localization obligations, the Law sets out a number of overarching disciplinary sanctions for breach of its provisions. These sanctions range from warnings to fines of AED 1 million and/or cancelling the breaching company’s permit to use the DMS.

Typically, access to centralised systems – such as the planned healthcare system – is facilitated by open APIs (application programme interfaces) made available to third party suppliers of IT systems which access the system. Where those IT systems already exist and are in use (under contracts between healthcare providers and the suppliers), technical changes to the systems will be required.

Some businesses will need to revisit their business procedures to comply with the Law. We recommend that companies affected by the Law:
• Keep up to date with the executive regulations setting out further details
• Ensure IT systems are capable of interacting with the central IT system
• Complete necessary administrative steps to obtain access to the central IT system, such as registration / licensing requirements
• Have technical and organisational processes in place to ensure that all patient data is treated confidentiality, kept secure, kept accurate and uncorrupted, not used for other purposes and retained as required
• Not transfer or store any patient data outside the UAE unless authorised to do so by a resolution issued by the local health authority
• Conduct a data mapping exercise to identify what type of health data is held, where it is processed and with which third parties it is shared.
• Where such third parties are based overseas, take steps to cease the transfer of health data to them, or to anonymize / denonymize the health data transferred;
• for any health data which cannot be anonymized / denonymized due to the nature of the processing activities, source alternative third party service providers to conduct the processing of that data within the borders of the UAE
• review contracts with third party service providers which process personal data and ensure that the contractual obligations for data processing and information security are sufficient to meet the new requirements of the law
• consider contracting obligations on service providers to support compliance with the law, such as annual rights of audit;
• add a step to the existing compliance sign-off process prior to adoption of new operational processes and business lines to ensure that no health data leaves the UAE and that the minimum statutory compliance standards are met.

June 24th, 2019

Guides is a new solution that works with Microsoft applications based on HoloLens (and, increasingly, mobile and tablet devices) in mixed reality, in four core areas: remote assistance, training, collaborative visualization, and contextual data access, (‘your data in your space’.)

Guides, trains people on how to correctly work with assets in a real-world setting.

Guides can display 3D visuals, training materials, and interactive tasks through HoloLens. It is intended to train workers and measure their performance. It has the ability to capture and store data on their usage history via the Microsoft’s Common Data Service – or in other apps that consume CDS data like Dynamics 365 Field Service or Finance and Operations.

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 – end of life July 9, 2019 -ask Synergy Software Systems

June 23rd, 2019

Microsoft has previously announced that SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 will reach end of life on July 9, 2019.

This means that in less than a month, Microsoft will no longer release regular security updates for the product.

There are several reasons this is important to you.
• Attacks against software products of all types are common and ongoing. With Microsoft SQL being such a prevalent platform, attacks against it are ubiquitous, and it’s important to keep your database platform up-to-date with the latest Microsoft security patches.
• Many compliance requirements dictate that you must be running currently supported software.
• As Microsoft drops support for a product, many third-party applications may also discontinue support for their products running on those platforms.

So, if you are still running SQL Server 2008/2008 R2, then what are your options?

1.Upgrade to a newer version of SQL.
SQL 2019 is in preview release as of this writing, so the current production version of SQL Server is 2017. Its end of life will be October 12, 2027.
Evaluate your applications and databases to make sure they are compatible e.g. Dynamic Ax 2012 is not supported beyond SQL 2016

Plan a migration for either on-premises or cloud. A move to an Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, will not require you to upgrade in the future. By choosing this option, you will also gain access to new features which have appeared in the latest SQL Server versions. However, it only offers subset of SQL features so you need to be sure it will support your application and use.

2.Migrate to Azure to receive three more years of Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2. If you need to stay on the same SQL code base for a bit longer, Microsoft will allow you to rehost your SQL 2008 environment in Azure and still provide you with security updates for an extended period. There is no extra cost for the extended updates beyond the standard Azure VM rates.

3.Purchase extended support. Microsoft allows customers with an active Enterprise Agreement and Software Assurance subscription to purchase and receive three years of Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2. The annual outlay for the updates is 75% of the full license cost.

4.The least desirable option is to stay where you are and pray. If circumstances prevent you from moving forward now, then at minimum you should:
• Recognize and account for the risk;
•Plan and budget for a transition as soon as possible;
•Re-evaluate your security and tighten it as much as possible.

Microsoft provides guidance for handling the end of support of SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 at https://www.microsoft.com/2008-eos.

Of course, Synergy is ready to help you to evaluate and to progress to the next level. 0097143365589

If you are running newer versions of SQL Server, then here are their End-of-Life dates.
•SQL Server 2012 – July 12, 2022
•SQL Server 2014 – July 9, 2024
•SQL Server 2016 – July 14, 2026
•SQL Server 2017 – October 12, 2027

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, support is coming to an end.

June 23rd, 2019

Sometimes lifecycles end because of age or workload and other times they expire due to vendor support.
In the case of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, Microsoft announced that Extended Support will end on January 14, 2020.

Microsoft provides: Mainstream Support, Extended Support, and Beyond End of Support.

Mainstream Support

Mainstream Support is Microsoft’s first phase of support and lasts five years. It includes the following benefits:
• Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)
• Security update support
• Ability to request non-security updates

Extended Support

The Extended Support phase follows Mainstream Support, and also lasts five years. The key features of Extended Support are:
• Paid support
• Security updates at no additional cost
• Ability to request non-security updates (available only via Unified Support, a new model of support that offers comprehensive support that covers your entire organization)
• Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the Extended Support phase.

Beyond End of Support

The Beyond End of Support phase is the final phase of the product lifecycle and lasts for three years. Here are the key things to remember.
• Request to change product design and features are not available
• Security updates are available only with the purchase of the Extended Security Update Program for up to three years. This typically costs 75% of the on-premises license cost annually.
• Technical support is provided when you purchase Extended Security Updates and have an active support plan in place on the product that has moved beyond the Extended Support date.

Server 2008 and 2008R2 are moving out of the Extended Support phase on January 14, 2020. From that date on,
non-security updates will no longer be available,
security updates will be available only if you pay for the Extended Security Update Program,
and other vendors will diminish their support of this operating system version.
If you are not prepared, then this will leave your environment open to security holes, application instability, and support restrictions.
If you have not already planned for this then now is the time to get it into your budget for first thing next year.

Synergy certifications

June 22nd, 2019

Happy to announce that our Gold partnership with Microsoft has been confirmed again for the next 12 months.

Recently we have also certified consultants in ABBY the industry leading OCR software.

Earlier in the year we became a gold partner with UIPath the market leading Robotic Process Automation solution, for which Synergy has more than 50% of the certified consultants in the region.

This is part of our commitment to deliver professional service for digital transformation to our clients.

Enhancements to the production order release process in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations

May 30th, 2019

When you release a BOM or formula line to the warehouse, the system first determines whether material is already available at the production input location on the shop floor where the material will be consumed for the production process.
• If the material is available at the production input location, then it’s picked from that location immediately after the signal is given for the release of material to the warehouse.
• If the material isn’t available at the production input location, then the material release indicates that material must be moved from locations in the warehouse to the production input location. The material is moved via warehouse work for raw material picking. Therefore, warehouse processes for raw material picking must be configured. For more information, see Replenishment and Control warehouse work by using work templates and location directives.

Configure the release of BOM and formula lines so that it occurs as part of the release of a production order or batch order. Alternatively, control the release either by a batch job or as a manual interaction.

The method that is used to release BOM and formula lines is controlled by the Production line release parameter. You can find this parameter at Production control > Setup > Production parameters.

If you release materials by using the On production order release parameter setting, then when you do a manual release, you have two options for controlling the material release:
•Release material per operation number.
•Release material in proportion to the amount of finished goods. You can release raw material for a partial quantity of finished goods . For example, a production order is created and scheduled for 1,000 pieces (pcs.). The shop floor supervisor is planning the production of 100 pcs. for the next shift and wants to release materials only for that shift. In this case, the supervisor can use the Quantity field to release materials for the 100 pcs. that are planned for the next shift.

•To release raw material in a specific unit, select Production control > Production orders > All production orders, select a production order, and then, on the Warehouse tab, select Release to warehouse. Then use the Unit field to select the unit of the finished good to release material in. The units that are available are defined in the unit sequence group ID of the finished good.

Major SQL updates don’t skip – SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU7 and SQL Server 2017 CU 15

May 26th, 2019

This week, Microsoft released two major updates.

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU7 has multiple fixes including:

• Filtered index corruption
• Access violations in sys.dm_exec_query_statistics_xml, sys.dm_hadr_availability_replica_states, sys.availability_replicas, sys.dm_db_xtp_hash_index_stats, sys.fn_dump_dblog, sys.dm_db_xtp_checkpoint_files
(I.e. if you monitor your servers, which you should, then you should apply this CU to avoid problems caused by the monitoring tool’s queries)
• AG failover fails
• Incorrect query results on columnstore indexes, and also this

SQL Server 2017 CU 15 has even MORE fixes, read the full list. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4498951/cumulative-update-15-for-sql-server-2017

Note also, that from SQL Server 2017, the Analysis Services build version number and SQL Server Database Engine build version number do not match

There are some CUs you might be tempted to skip because they don’t affect you. These releases will affect a wide range of features and you should plan to apply these sooner than later.

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.