Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Windows 10 mobile and Continuum

October 7th, 2015

Windows 10 Mobile is looking like a tool business users,- it could be the phone that replaces the PC for a lot of users.
Do you remember when Microsoft’s mission statement was to put a PC in every home? How things have changed. Teens are walking around these days with smartphones that have more functionality and connectivity than your PC with a 28,800 modem could have ever achieved. And something new is coming
People in developing nations couldn’t afford a PC or a laptop; instead they went for a feature phone. Apple, followed by Android, shook the world up and gave us smartphones where the primary function isn’t to make phone calls, but to give us access to cloud services
At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2014 keynote, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner announced that Microsoft held only a 14 percent share of all devices, and yet that still accounts for their dominant 90 percent plus share of the PC market. It’s clear that the PC is now the minority device.

So what is Continuum?
Continuum is a Windows 10 feature for devices, such as the Microsoft Surface.
- When you have the keyboard attached, the device is desktop-centric and features keyboard and mouse as the primary input methods.
- When you remove the keyboard, the device switches to a touch interface by featuring a Start Screen.

But there’s another trick to Continuum.
◾One OS: Windows 10 focuses on IoT devices, such as Raspberry Pi or your next microwave cooker, tablets, PCs, HoloLens, Surface Hub, and Windows Phones.
◾Universal Apps: A developer can write a program once and have it work across all Windows 10 devices.

A feature that enables this cross-device functionality is dynamic screen scaling. Microsoft is releasing Office 2016 as a universal app at around the same time as Windows 10, and it will work in this way — one Office, lots of devices.

Continuum is for hybrid devices and Microsoft never limited that description to just tablets with attachable keyboards. In fact, Microsoft also intended the smartphone to be a hybrid device.

So, in theory, use your smartphone like your PC today with Microsoft Office and plenty of business apps . Edit a spreadsheet, write a Word document, and wirelessly present a PowerPoint presentation
In theory but a five-inch screen might be okay for checking Twitter , but it’s not great for editing documents or interacting with business applications. The screen is too small, a touch UI is not as efficient as keyboard and mouse input.

Continuum was created for Windows Mobile that it cna also work with full-sized peripherals, and a bigger screen. Use your phone as your primary device e on the go. When you get home or to the office, plug your phone to charge, and connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the phone. The phone will display the normal Windows 10 desktop on your monitor. Interact with it as you would on the PC — and the same Windows 10 OS. Click the Start Menu, and instead of a Windows 10 Start Menu, you’ll get the Start Screen of your phone for a consistent experience. Click Excel, and Excel will open in a window or full screen on the monitor, just like it would on the PC — it’s the same Microsoft Office thanks to Universal Apps.

Microsoft has not been good at taking hardware to market- it needs to use all its channels with this.
we also have to recognise that not all corporations want their data mobile, and that it may take along time before bespoke application like erp, finance and payroll, are all updated and compatible with Windows 10 and that means a lot of some pcs will stick around for a while yet.

If you go down this route, then think about back ups, and security and support e.g If you lose your phone – second-factor authentication – optic nerve, fingerprint or facial recognition authentication – someone else logging on auto blocks the device etc.

If you are truly mobile with your business apps and devices then think abuot mobile network management e.g patches, anti virus updates, geo fending etc

The future of the enterprise desktop is stateless (i.e. mostly online) clients.

Phones and tablets can not be stateless devices because mobile focused devices are offline too much.

Thus a future phone based enterprise will be maybe more of support nightmare than the current windows desktop. Its unlikely at least for now that you will have only one device – we don’t live in a single use case world. Entertainment focused mobiles are a very different use case to a work device( Just as we need shopping trolleys cars, lorries etc..)

Dynamics Dubai Careers – Synergy Software Systems

October 4th, 2015

Synergy Software Systems is a member of the Microsoft President’s Club and has provided stable employment since we were founded in 1991. Synergy is also the also the oldest Microsoft Dynamics partners in the region and has an experienced stable consulting team that is respected globally for its knowledge delivery and support. This is reflected in our membership for several years as the Middle East partner for Ax Pact a global alliance of some of the best Dynamics partners.

Our practise continues to thrive and to expand into new verticals and geographies. If you are a seasoned consultant with 10 years or more professional and consulting experience and at last 5 years in Dynamics, or at the start of your career have strong academics in relevant subjects. Even better if you have proven documentation skills, product exposure, and can speak good English and ideally also Arabic or French and lot more! We provide an excellent learning and support environment but there is also strong peer expectation (and competition). The result is one of the most senior and stable consulting Dynamics teams, and customer bases (many with us more than 15 years).

Next year the future includes Dynamics CRM 2106, Dynamics Ax 7, Sql 2016, Edge browser, Windows 10 Office 2015, Cortana Analytics, Holo lens, and much, much more with an azure platform that is built to dominate the cloud. Where is your future. We also have other world class practices fr example Enterprise Time and Attendance.

Do you have what it takes to be a Synergy consultant? Don’t expect to start at the top – without the credentials but Synergy on our cv will give your worthwhile experience. There is still a global recession there are many troubled areas and refugees – try Dubai and Synergy Software Systems for challenging work, ongoing career enhancement and stable employment.

Dynamics CRM and FantasySalesTeam

September 28th, 2015

Microsoft is trailblazing in customer relationship management (CRM) software with a foray into gamification.

Microsoft has acquired FantasySalesTeam, a sales gamification platform that allows sales teams to run engaging and productive competitions.

It incentivizes sales teams to hit milestones via a game-like achievement tracking system that is similar to that of many fantasy sports platforms.

FantasySalesTeam has helped hundreds of companies increase revenue and improve adoption of CRM software. Its collaborative and team-based approach discourages old-school “lone wolf” sales attitudes and it will now become part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM offering

SANA ecommerce Web shop – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

September 15th, 2015

The solution has interfaces for Dynamics Ax, Dynamics NAV and SAP

Sales portals for manufacturing
There are many reasons to sell online Find out what B2B e-commerce can do for your company
Customers expect to directly find what they’re looking for at any moment of the day. Self-service “Pull marketing is replacing “Push marketing”.
Provide customers with an online sales portal for your manufacturing company to meet these expectations. Your competitors are already doing this.
The way B2B customers purchase goods is transforming, the manufacturing business. Technology has fundamentally transformed the way customers move online. Nowadays, every B2B client is used to a great online experience. Not only do they want to spend less time on searching for the information they need, they also want this information to be rich and valuable and easily accessible
B2B business is transforming rapidly as a result of the shift from offline to online. Therefore ‘business to business’ need an online sales channel.
But where to start?
And what are the benefits of selling online?
Although everyone is aware of the trend, only a few know how it works.
Contact us for a copy of our whitepaper
‘Things They Don’t Tell You About B2B E-commerce’

Learn more about:
- Why is the market changing?
- What exactly is B2B e-commerce ?
- What are differences between B2B and B2C e-commerce?
- What are the advantages of selling online?
- What is the role of your ERP in B2B sales?


Our e-commerce solution helps companies master the transformation of their business.
Our mobile field sales ordering app supports your sales agents when they are outside the office, anytime, anywhere.

Synergy MMS- for hotels – updated 3.6.0 released!

September 14th, 2015

SAI has completed the update for all properties using SynergyMMS.
Some of the changes incorporated into this update.

Duplicate checking now allows checking based on completed work request.

New Languages for the Desktop and Voice:
New Language for Voice only:
Manage Pools easier – Review the Pools based on Outputs and or MOD’s. You can now find all the Pools that an Output is used in by the click of a button.

Work Request
Receipts – Return receipt sent to the person who created the work request, upon completion. Never wonder if your work got done. Simply setup an Email address in the Employees area for the team members then they can choose per work request if they want to get a receipt or not when the work is complete.

See the Pool and the Output – The Dispatches tab now shows not only the output the work request is delivered to, but also the pool that that output is in.

Custom Views now show not just PM, but PM Generator vs PM on Demand.

Cancel Dispatch - Users with modify pooling rights are able to cancel an in progress work request. This means further delivery to the pool and or escalation will not happen. A new status symbol is then displayed.

Override Auto-Dispatch - Users with modify pooling rights allowed now have the ability to ‘NOT’ dispatch when in

In some cases Trade pools were evaluated not taking their time in account. We now evaluate the pool as a whole (Trade, Day and time) and if the work request doesn’t fit then it would look for Department pools to fit.

Preventive Maintenance
Grouping – Group PM’s to generate together (Simultaneously) or after completion of one (Sequentially). Group one or more PM’s to trigger generation at the same time as a parent, or after the parent is completed. Also easily review the grouped PM’s.

PM on Demand – SynergyMMS now shows the Check out date where interfaced to a PMS. This makes it easy to generate PM’s based on availability of the room.

Occupancy is now included on the Morning report. It is also retained for historical purposes.
Favorite Report Names are now longer. SynergyMMS now allows you 100 characters to name your reports and make these more meaningful.

Chinese text is displayed correctly for reports.

PerfectRoomIVR (only)
SynergyMMS automatically calculates and assigns rooms to Guest Room Attendants (GRA) based on credits and types of rooms. This allows for 75% of the process to happen with no user interaction beyond the click of a single button. Use the new IVR interface to receive assignments, complete service and update room status via any house phone. A printable list of assignment is also available for each GRA.

Prepare for Ax 7 – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

September 6th, 2015

Microsoft is number four and the biggest R & D spender as reported in Fortune magazine’s November 2014 article ‘The Biggest R & D Spenders Worldwide’. This amounts to 10.4 billion dollars annually. . Microsoft employs over 1,000 doctorate holding researchers and countless developers and thus Microsoft is constantly improving their products to help companies drive more business value by running processes efficiently, managing change easily, and competing globally. In the context of enterprise resource planning, Dynamics AX is considered the flagship of the Microsoft Dynamics family.
Microsoft Dynamics AX 7 (also known as “Rainier”) will be released by the end of 2015, and the release will bring a change in paradigm from on-premises hosting to the cloud. The product strategy followed for Microsoft Dynamics AX 7 will be mobile first – cloud first.
• Mobile first – the new enhancements ensure that the application experience, regardless of the device platform it’s accessed on, remains the same for the user.
• Cloud first – is focused on AX 7’s new optimized platform which is suitable for both public and private cloud deployments with a “what you need, when you need it” approach on Windows Azure.
Now that we’re in the second half of the year, it’s the right time to start thinking about how to prepare for this new version.
How you should prepare for AX 7 depends on from where you are starting – whether you are currently an AX R3 user, an AX user on an older version, or are not an AX user but are thinking of implementing in the near future.
Scenario 1: You are an AX 2012 R3 user.
You can upgrade to AX 7! There are several things to consider: upgrade needs, cost, and cloud readiness.
Implementation: Right now, your AX ERP is hosted on-premises on your server. If you stay on premise then you may need to update your server, and your operating system, database version, bowser etc. As you use more of the software and move to later versions then the underlying platform also has to be considered. For many that is a reasons to move to the cloud. Should your company’s data need to be migrated to the cloud then all applications and customizations will also need to shift to the cloud.
So consider which applications and third party solutions are already integrated with AX.
Understand how you will connect those applications with your cloud AX and whether they are compatible with the latest releases of operating system, database , browser etc.

Selecting the right partner who can help move the existing application and customize from on-premises to cloud is critical. The upgrade process will take a few months.

As an R3 user, you paid a one-time license fee and pay an annual BREP as % of the license value you have purchased for on-going software enhancement. Going forward, you will have subscription-based user licenses for cloud access. For many industries this will offer advantages for several reasons. If your business is seasonal, and you have high users for only a few months, then there is no need to pay for the entire year anymore. For example ice cream and cold drinks in the summer, harvest time, retail Christmas sales, or Thanksgiving Eve and Super Bowl Sunday. It doesn’t make sense to purchase a huge number of servers just for two days’ worth of traffic. But with everything on the cloud, such companies can pay for just what they need when they need. The same holds true as you scale up and down for any reason.
Some users will have intense data processing perhaps only at month end- whether for reforecasting, scheduling, budget updates, month end close, consolidation, BI etc. However through the month there may be a more even workload.

Cloud Readiness: If you are a global AX user, identify where your AX 7 access will occur. You can purchase more than one access point to avoid any time delays or access issues. You should also review infrastructure needs. If you have a large number of users that you think will be on the ERP, then you may need to increase infrastructure bandwidth for speed and data usage, to connect to the cloud. The bottom line for R3 users is that you are well-positioned for an AX 7 upgrade, as long as you pay attention to a few issues along the way. The first of which is to get upgraded to CU or 9. The second is to ensure you have configured the new Warehouse module correctly. The third is to understand the license changes.

Scenario 2: You are an AX user, but do not have R3.

If you have not upgraded to or implemented AX 2012 R3, then you cannot go to AX 7 right away. The first step is to upgrade your current system, whether it’s AX 2009 or AX 2012 R2, to AX 2012 R3. Depending on which AX version you currently have, and how complex your system is, there will be different timeline implications.
You will also need to pay for the upgrade work and to consider your own testing time. Once all of this is complete, you’ll find yourself in “Scenario 1” and migration to AX 7 can happen immediately after.
However for many customers a reimplementation will be a better option – faster, cheaper and less business disruption because they can then take advantage of new features without being constrained by legacy data. For example the new COA dimensions at Ax 2012 may lead you to change your COA structure for enhanced analysis and reporting. In a new implementation that change will new straightforward, however if you want to migrate legacy data then the task will be significantly more complex and costly and will take at least 2 to 3 times as long. To validate and reconcile the data conversions

An important consideration is licensing. In older versions many modules had to be purchased separately, and user licenses were concurrent. At Ax 2012 all modules are provided within one AOS license. Ax 2012 and Ax 7 are both licensed as named users. There are different levels of user at Ax 2012. License type needed is based on system use and is tied to role based security and actual tasks undertaken. Microsoft licensing does not restrict your use or the number of users-which gives flexibility if users adopt more functionality over time. However, you are expected to pay for what you use and to update your license when needed and Microsoft like other erp vendors has the right to audit the use of its licensed software and to require that you become compliant. This is similar to the approach adopted for other Microsoft products like SQl for those on an EA (Enterprise Agreement). It is likely that at Ax 7 Microsoft will further align licensing of its solutions and introduce the option of Ax 7 on azure within a package of e.g, Office 365, Exchange, ADFS, CRM, Skype Business etc..

Scenario 3: You are evaluating ERPs but currently are not an AX user.
Whether you have another ERP, are planning to implement an ERP for the first time, or want to go from NAV or GP or other ERP system to AX, then you can consider going straight to the cloud and AX 7.
Identify a proven implementation partner and complete the usual business process study, fit-gap analysis, and lay down the implementation blueprint. It’s also worth doing a price comparison of the price per user per month cost of SAP, Oracle, or any other ERP vs AX 7. Understand what the price covers, and consider how a fully cloud-hosted solution will work to your advantage. Even if your current ERP is on the cloud, inquire where it is hosted and how efficient is the hosted solution. Bear in mind your initial usage, (and thus the cloud resources needed), while loading data will be quite different than when there are active users and live transactions and processes like payroll or mrp, or month end, or BI and it may take a year or more to ramp up to full system use for a multi-site operation. ‘
A question that people evaluating Microsoft Dynamics ERP often ask is, “How many companies are using Microsoft Dynamics?” These are the recently updated numbers from Convergence 2015 provided by Jim Desler, Director, Corporate Communications at Microsoft.
2015 Breakdown of the Microsoft Dynamics customer numbers worldwide by product:
Microsoft Dynamics® AX 20,000 companies
Microsoft Dynamics® GP 47,000 companies
Microsoft Dynamics® NAV 110,000 companies
Microsoft Dynamics® SL 13,500 companies
Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 40,000+ companies 4.4 million users
Microsoft Dynamics Retail: 46,500
Microsoft Dynamics C5: 85,000
Microsoft XAL,C4/Apertum: 30,000

Cloud or on premise?
When you estimate the sizing and costs, consider how many backs up you will take? Don’t forget the need for separate development test /training environments, and maybe to run both old and new versions during upgrade. If you want your implementation partner to access your system for data load, or for support, then also consider the cost of those licenses. The different environment may have different sizing and user numbers.
As you can see, dependent upon which category you find yourself in, there will be different ways to prepare for the AX 7 release, which will be initially offered on the Azure cloud, and with an on-premises version offered shortly after.

Also keep in mind that AX 7 is a new product release; as with any new release, there may be some initial issues. The issues will definitely get resolved, but for some may make sense to plan to go live a little later. One reason for this is that the Microsoft road map indicates there some features that may not be available in the initial release so it depends whether those features are needed. The fewer the modules you use, and the more standard i.e out of the box your system the sooner you can plan to move to Ax 7. For many customers on legacy versions they may find that complex customisations are no longer needed because of the significant product enhancements introduced at Ax 2012, and Ax 7.For others those new features may be a compelling reason to reimplement.

Whether or not to go on premise or on the cloud again has many pros and cons depending on the company. The cloud can reduce initial cash flow and investment and lead to faster deployment. Whether a company has a large IT department, or finds it difficult to recruit and retain such resources, and whether it has multiple interfaces to other solutions, or whether it uses Office 365 will influence the technical decision.

For example a company with a mobile workforce e.g. one that does international contracts may value the new web client for ‘anytime anywhere/ access more than any other feature. If internet connections are a problem in the country where the company operates, then on-premise may be a more sensible option.
Whether to move to the cloud is often seen as a cost or a cash flow issue. This will make sense for many however this is not so clear cut an assessment as it may seem. More important is the management philosophy of whether they want to vertically integrate operations, and see IT as a strategic competitive weapon, or whether they want to outsource back office functions to concentrate on the core business.

Knowing how to prepare for the soon-to-be-released AX 7 will help plan and make the upgrade or implementation a much smoother process. Besides the points stated above, how else are you preparing for AX 7? Do you have any other questions about what it will take to get ready, either from a technology or business point of view?
Budget now and take time to understand the issues and to evaluate and to plan appropriately.

Windows 10 – WaaS – Windows as a Service

August 24th, 2015

Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions have a new upgrade delivery method called Windows as a Service, and the inclusion of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) as an SA benefit.
Windows as a Service acts as the transition from periodic major releases to continual updates, and it gives enterprise organizations added flexibility in how they update user devices.

Microsoft has three methods by which customers can receive updates:
1.Current Branch: Updates will stream to devices, akin to the present Windows Update. However, Current Branch users cannot delay updates.
2. Current Branch for Business: This model regularly delivers security updates, and it permits update deferrals for eight months, giving IT the chance to install updates after broad preview validation. Business customers can start testing as soon as preview features are released via the Windows Insider Program.
3. Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB): Under this more traditional model, security updates and fixes are delivered regularly, and organizations will be able to update at a service pack-level pace.

Windows 10 gives customers several options to manage delivery of updates based on their needs.
For example, Windows 10 Enterprise includes LTSB, which caters to devices with strict change management policies where only security and critical updates are required and feature updates are not delivered. Customers that purchase the Enterprise edition can add SA coverage to gain access to Current Branch and Current Branch for Business, along with the ability to deliver new feature updates after increased assurance of validation. On the other hand,
Windows 10 Professional only includes Current Branch and Current Branch for Business.
Windows 10 Education Current Branch and Current Branch for Business is available to active SA customers.

It’s important that customers understand the delivery method included in each Windows 10 edition, so that they can license Windows based on how they want updates to be delivered to end-user devices.

What in the SA coverage?

MDOP was a subscription license a customer needed to buy in addition to SA to take advantage of a suite of technologies that personalize the user experience, simplify application deployment, improve application compatibility, and assist in management and device security. With the release of Windows 10, MDOP is now included through SA coverage.
Customers interested in MDOP can purchase the Windows 10 Enterprise Edition with SA to receive this benefit.
Organizations renewing SA, through either the Enterprise Cloud Suite or Windows Enterprise, need to plan for a price increase due to the inclusion of the MDOP technologies.

On Aug. 17, Microsoft released MDOP 2015 with complete support for Windows 10, and it is now available for download for volume licensing customers (as well as MSDN subscribers). Microsoft has more details on enhancements to the MDOP suite.

In addition, Microsoft has published Windows 10 content to help organizations with planning and deploying Windows 10. Those resources include: technical demos, IT Pro FAQ and forums, system requirements, and details on key features.

Mobile malware coming your way every day

August 24th, 2015

This is a summary of a blog post by Michael Canavan is the Vice President, Sales Engineering, Kaspersky Lab North America
That I feel is important enough to share.

Malware is a threat to all platforms not just to Windows devices.
The more popular the O/s the more it is targeted , and the more vulnerabilities are found.
Smartphones connect us with social media accounts, banking services, and retailers.
The important question for a mobile device is not just whether its operating system is secure, but whether it has an effective security patching strategy for when (not if) the latest malware eludes a device’s safeguards.
The mobile device market is dominated by two operating systems.
Android owned 81.5 percent of the market in 2014, compared to 14.8 percent for iOS
However, only Apple can patch its mobile operating system similar to the way desktop OS manufacturers patch security holes and shortcomings.
Android’s openness is a strength, but is also its greatest security weakness – Google doesn’t have the last say when distributing security updates and patches – the OEMs and service providers hold that power. Google is virtually powerless to stop malware from compromising an Android device, unless the program comes through the Play Store.
Controls that block the installation of unknown, third-party software are easily circumvented, which an easy means of attack for cybercriminals.
Mobile malware — 99 percent in fact —mainly targets Android devices.
The number and kinds of attacks of mobile malware are growing at a staggering pace,
In 2014, the number of mobile malware attacks against Android more than quadrupled, affecting about one in five Android devices.
When you consider that mobile devices now often store critical information – credit card numbers, online banking logins, etc. – and are more vulnerable to a host of attacks, it’s critical to defend devices against malware. Most users don’t get updates in time, or at all.
Users are installing unknown, third-party software and no controls (e.g., security software) in place to detect malicious apps or activity.
Complicating matters is Apple’s controls for iOS. It’s true that software sources are more tightly controlled through the App Store, but protection software is banned, and it’s unclear how often iOS devices are compromised.

In these days of BYOD this raises questions for the safety of your corporate systems.
If the mobile devices are provided by your company the you can restrict what is loaded by whom, enforce patching, control what sites are accesses us etc.
Ask us about mobile device management.

Windows 10 scam beware

August 3rd, 2015

According to Cisco, cyber criminals are impersonating Microsoft in an attempt to exploit their user base for monetary gain. They are doing this by spoofing the email to look like it is coming directly from Microsoft ( The email purports to contain the installer package for Windows 10. The attackers are even using a similar colour scheme to the one used by Microsoft. Cisco experts have been able to unmask the attackers, establishing that the message actually originated from IP address space allocated to Thailand.
Once a user opens the email, downloads the attached zip file, extracts it, and runs the executable, the user then gets a message informing that their PC is infected and their files are encrypted by CTB-Locker. They are then told to pay a certain amount of money within 96 hours to have their files decrypted or they lose those forever.
CTB-Locker is a notorious ransomware variant. The malware uses asymmetric encryption that allows the adversaries to encrypt the user’s files without having the decryption key reside on the infected system. Also, by utilizing Tor and Bitcoin they are able to remain anonymous and quickly profit from their malware campaigns with minimal risk.
Cisco recommends keeping a current backup of your files at all times.
These backups should be stored offline to prevent them from being targeted by attackers.
Microsoft isn’t distributing Windows 10 through email attachments or links embedded in emails.
If you have signed up for the OS, it will be automatically downloaded onto your system at some point in the next few days or weeks, and you will receive a notification on your PC when it’s time.
So delete any such mails

Windows 10 in Dubai

July 30th, 2015

Windows 10, is now available in Dubai. The Start button remains.
Microsoft’s vision for this next-gen platform goes much further “third platform”, “next generation” and “mobile computing”. Microsoft management is now being driven by technologist rather than marketeers and it looks to be setting the ICT agenda again, as we are also seeing with its approach to the cloud.
The OS will initially be offered for free, which means that existing Windows users will be allowed to upgrade when the release comes out. This is very much in line with the likes of Apple, which over the years has moved to a pricing model where you pay for the hardware and the services you may run on that hardware, but software is more or less free.
With Windows 10, the same is happening for Microsoft, where the push will be around the services you run on it, whether it is Outlook 365, Office in the cloud or the OneDrive cloud storage solution.
Cortana is a prime example , it could embarrass Siri and Google Now. Cortana was Named after an AI presence in the Xbox “Halo” franchise
Cortana is supposed to be a character in a user’s daily Windows drama, taking on a cultural identity to match the localisation settings in Windows. In other words, it not only learns your habits, but adapts to the region in which your device operates. Microsoft sees Cortana as the company’s digital rep, popping up to assist even on other platforms where Redmond’s application software is installed. Eventually, Cortana will be available on Android and iOS, but for now, just Windows… and only in the US, the UK, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
It featured in Microsoft’s Gigjam demo at WPC and was a big hit with the audience.
The Win10 kernel is the most lightweight in the OS’ history and the much-maligned Internet Explorer, while still present in day-one versions of the OS, will be accompanied by Microsoft Edge. (The codename for the project: Spartan has delivered a slimmed-down Web browser . Redmond is noticeably proud of the result.
Windows 10′s security features, Biometric credentials (hardware permitting – the OS supports fingerprint scanners, and if you run Windows 10 on a machine with an integrated Intel RealSense camera, you have access to facial recognition), and Windows 10 ability to mange PCs more like smart phones means a lot less effort on the part of the IT organisation.
A further option is to connect through Microsoft’s unified communications platform Azure, which offers a one-time-password (OTP) option for two-factor authentication.
In switching from laptop to tablet mode on a Lenovo Yoga Pro 3, Windows 10 asks if you want to switch to tablet mode. If you choose “yes” then you also have the option of never being asked again, but all such options are stored in the system’s Notification Centre, so you can change your mind later. We felt that the transition showed genuine thought as to the different interfaces required in working with laptops and tablets – something that reflected early promises made by Microsoft regarding its intentions for Windows 10. The Live Tiles for tablets, and the classic interface for keyboard-and-mouse use, is a dual concept.
For Microsoft to make this a success it requires support for the new Windows Store, which in turn will require the software developers to find the platform attractive. Ultimately this third-party support will play a big role in determining how much the Windows experience evolves towards the goal of lighter-weight management.
Expect Windows 10 to feature prominently at Gitex.

Windows server suport ended 14 July 2015

July 26th, 2015

As of July 14th, Microsoft is no longer providing updates or support for Windows Server 2003.
Windows Server 2003 extended support ended on July 14, 2015. This has the potential to be the “biggest security threat of 2015″ according to one IT specialist.

What does this mean for you? Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for any version of Windows Server 2003. If you are still running Windows Server 2003 in your datacenter, then you need to take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure. By migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure or Office 365, you can achieve concrete benefits, including improved performance, reduced maintenance requirements, and increased agility and speed of response to the business

Are you prepared?

Chances are, you may not be. With the end of support behind us, according to estimates, there are still millions of servers running Windows Server 2003. It was the workhorse of choice for many years. Unsupported platforms are vulnerable to security exploits leaving your data at risk. How do you migrate to a newer, fully supported platform?.
There are many options for migrating your file, DNS, and DHCP services during your Window Server 2003 upgrade, but what about your print servers? Using the standard Windows migration wizard does not address all of your migration needs.

Synergy Software Systems can help you through this process.

WPC 2015 summary – and a sneak peek at Ax 7

July 20th, 2015

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reinforced Microsoft’s bold mission: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. “Together with our partners we are transforming the business world for the next era.”

Microsoft and partner speakers outlined how this will be accomplished. Create more personal computing, reinvent productivity and business processes, and continue to build, strengthen, and evangelize the intelligent cloud. Throughout the keynote, Microsoft executives thanked partners for the essential role they play in executing on this vision to foster mutual success.

Microsoft is investing in tools, resources, and product offerings to enable its partners to take advantage of the rapidly expanding markets for cloud and mobile technologies. The imminent release of Windows 10 will ushers in a new era of personal computing with one operating system that spans all platforms and devices.

As CEO Satya Nadella said,”What makes Microsoft unique is the people in this room, this partner ecosystem.” Together, we are on the frontlines of transforming business around the world.

we saw how , Autodesk, will use HoloLens, the world’s first fully untethered holographic computing device powered by Windows 10, to fundamentally change how design professionals create, communicate, visualize, and work.

Project GigJam: empowers business workers to spontaneously summon, assign, and track information from their line of business and SaaS apps. Project GigJam breaks down the barriers between people, devices, and apps to expedite business tasks.

Cortana Analytics Suite: is a fully managed and comprehensive set of services to help businesses transform data into intelligent action, will be available this Fall as a monthly subscription, as well as through third party solutions. The Suite brings together leading technology infrastructure with perceptual intelligence to enable businesses of any size to transform themselves through the power of data.

COO Kevin Turner outlined a plan of action for reinventing business productivity and owning the cloud. “It’s an exciting moment to be in technology,” A new Microsoft-commissioned IDC study shows that 80% of business customers buy through channel partners for cloud services. The study indicates that customers of all types look for a partner who can play the role of a trusted technology advisor – the most important criteria customers look for in a solution provider. Microsoft partners are a massive competitive advantage, and this research is a validation of the critical importance of partners in the cloud era.

A peek at Ax 7

WPC 2016 will be Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Microsoft 2015 restructuring continues.

July 6th, 2015

Microsoft yesterday announced a fire-sale of its loss-making business units as CEO Satya Nadella’s restructuring strategy continues. It will offload its display advertising business to Verizon’s AOL As part of the AOL deal, Microsoft promised no layoffs and said employees of the ads division could transfer to AOL.
The US ISP will take charge of ad sales on MSN,, Xbox, Skype and some apps in a number of major territories worldwide. In addition, AOL Web searches will use Microsoft’s Bing.Microsoft has reportedly seen a $10bn loss from its online properties over the past five years and Nadella has promised that Bing will see profit in the next fiscal year.

Microfo will lso and sell some elements of its maps unit to cab-hailing app firm Uber. price tag for the Uber sale was not disclosed, but the purchase is thought to involve Microsoft’s imagery acquisition and map-data processing technologies, which it acquired when it bought Nokia’s devices division. Uber will integrate he technology with other solutions from providers such as Google, Apple and China’s Baidu. Uber has reportedly also offered to take on Microsoft employees working on the acquired tech.

“Today’s news is evidence of Microsoft’s increased focus on our strengths: in this case, search and search advertising and building great content and consumer services,” the company said in a statement.

Microsoft – what’s behind the changes?

June 29th, 2015

The last major senior management shake-up at Microsoft was a couple of years ago and was initiated by Ballmer. His reorganization involved doing away with several product divisions and folding the remains of the old units into larger, “flatter” groups to allow for improved communications among formerly disparate factions.

Nadella’s recent exec changes, particularly the ouster of Elop, whose former unit has been integrated into a new group called Windows and Devices Group (WDG), which includes Xbox, smartphones, and Surface tablets, among others, along with the Windows division. This change stands out because it undoes at least part of Ballmer’s reorg from two years past and puts even more of Nadella’s stamp on the “new” Microsoft.

More importantly, Microsoft’s recent exec changes better align it with the first pillar of Nadella’s “mobile-first, cloud-first” initiative. Nadella’s mobile strategy has always been more than simply building Lumia smartphones or selling more Xbox units: though some may still look at quarterly sales and believe Microsoft is dropping the mobile ball. But there’s more to it than that.

There seems to be a move to technology rather than marketing in the management changes

Mobile-first: more than devices
If there was any doubt about Nadella’s vision for mobile, even after (finally) announcing Microsoft’s wildly successful Office solution is now compatible with Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, those should have been dispelled with the introduction of its Windows for iOS and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) dominant Android OS. The pending Windows 10 OS is said to provide an even better integration experience for users, regardless of device .

Similar to Google’s strategy behind its free Android OS, getting Windows into as many devices as possible — regardless of manufacturer — accomplishes several things. Microsoft’s Bing will be the default search engine, and with last quarter’s 21% jump in search ad revenues, Bing is quickly becoming more than an afterthought.

More devices running Windows should help maintain, the growing number of consumer Microsoft Office 365 users — a figure that increased a whopping 35% last quarter sequentially. integrating Windows into as many devices as possible ramps up Office 365 usage and boosts other app sales like Dynamics CRM.

Nadella’s new WDG division headed up by Terry Myerson better aligns Microsoft with its plans for a more holistic approach to mobile.

With Office 365, Microsoft is placing more emphasis on tools that enhance the entire online platform instead of focusing exclusively on content management

Rather than a “big bang” release every few years, Microsoft is becoming more nimble and shifting toward smaller, more frequent releases whether for Dynamcis, or Office 365

Work is not where we go, but what we do. The workplace is changing and so is the workforce. The enterprise must adapt to new ways of working—whether employees are at the office, working from a café, or from the lobby before a big presentation. Employees expect to be just as productive no matter where they’re at or what device they’re using. VPN clients, intranet access, or home office productivity, or Office 365 in the cloud.

Security has to be rock solid in order for all of this mobile, BYOD, and sharing functionality with partners and customers to work. Microsoft made a point to highlight security in the Ignite keynote. Office 365 has been verified to meet requirements specified in ISO 27001, EU model clauses, HIPAA BAA, and FISMA. It can also support the most complex scenarios around eDiscovery, device management, and DLP.

Social functionality within the workplace is now proven. It provides more effective and time-efficient methods for your employees to work together than traditional methods that require that employees know who to go to for help (e.g., sending an email to a specific recipient vs. posting a question on a forum that anyone can respond to). New functionality in Office 365 is heavily focused on leveraging this model e.g Yammer

BI, big data predictive analytics and dashboards, which highlight cross-team interaction and provide data on how and when you work to help maintain work-life balance. Understanding all of this usage data is key to ensuring effective use of technology, as well as staying attuned to your users’ needs. See the Office telemetry dashboard.

Office Graph is the next iteration of search + cloud + Azure machine learning. It is the “brain” behind features such as Clutter and Delve. To work effectively, it is important for organizational details (e.g., role, hierarchy, team name, location) to be up to date in Active Directory to be able to find:
1) content without query;
2) content trending around you;
3) content you didn’t know existed;
4) colleagues by expertise or interest.
In addition, Microsoft will expose Graph via an API to develop custom apps directly against it.

SharePoint is now positioned as one function of the Office 365 platform. The platform has evolved. With Office 365, Microsoft is placing more emphasis on tools that enhance the entire online platform instead of focusing exclusively on content management. With this broader focus, there is more choice, and with that the need to clearly define business cases for each technology.

What does this all mean?

Groups, Delve, Microsites, Team Sites, OneDrive, and Yammer, do you know which provides the best fit and value for how your team works?

The emphasis on mobile underscores the importance of responsive, fast user experiences. Many core elements of an on-premise solution (e.g., structured navigation, content query web parts) have implications on performance that are magnified in the cloud. In addition, heavily customized user experiences often leverage custom master pages. By using custom master pages, we can miss out on new experiences and features being rolled out on the Office 365 platform

A move to the cloud provides an opportunity to reassess current information architecture. Has your business remained static since you first deployed SharePoint? Take advantage of the opportunity to ensure that all of the assumptions, process definitions, and changes since are reflected in a manner that provide an experience that supports and enhances how your employees work.

In an age of social collaboration and online productivity, new roles are required to ensure an organization is working in the best possible way. Site or community ownership is no longer a passive role. Site owners will evolve into community managers and shift their focus from governance to content curation.

New technology also spawns new roles, such as machine-learning engineers and data experts who strive to garner knowledge from new ways of looking at data that were not possible in the past.

Microsoft’s increased focus on social collaboration and dashboards, which highlight cross-team interaction and provide data on how and when you work to help maintain work-life balance. Understanding all of this usage data is key to ensuring effective use of technology, as well as staying attuned to your users’ needs.

when you’re deploying a new solution for a client, individual users resist changing the way they get their work done and their performance suffers, making them a drag on workgroup productivity and profitability.

Customer-business transitions to cloud-based and hybrid cloud and on-premises solutions are making the “people” side of adoption and change even more important. At the same time, increased use of cloud and mobile applications means upgrade-time cycles are becoming extremely quick. Microsoft is adjusting the previously stately pace of Windows upgrades to accommodate the accelerated expectations of the market.

Change management is important. Agile powerful and simple is the Dynamics Ax mantra and is major factor in user adoption . Some of the basic keys to starting a good Adoption and Change Management (ACM) project are:

•Situation Awareness: a clear, broad, and deep awareness of the way the people in the company do business today, how they’ll be doing business in the future, and what the gaps are between those two scenarios.

•Sponsorship: Understand the power structure in your organization, and determin who is for and against the changes being planned.

•Resistance: Find out whether there are individuals or groups that will be resisting the planned changes and what the root causes are for their feelings.

•Incentives: Determining what employee incentives are in use in the client company. WIFM “What’s in it for me” for many it is fear of the unknown rather than belief in a better future .

•Training: Understand how new and existing employees are to be trained on new business tools and processes.

•Communications: Survey how client management communicates with employees across the company and within workgroups.

•Expertise: A change management team leader who’s trained, knowledgeable and, experienced in change management.

One benefit of using consultants is their exposure to change management every day. Its easy to pinpoint the need but it takes time and conscious effort to out theory into practice and manager also need to go through a change process.

SQL Server Management Studio 2015 – new version (June) – with Check for Updates!

June 27th, 2015

Today, Microsoft announced a new standalone SQL Server Management Studio download

“This is our first effort to release SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) in a mechanism outside of the SQL Engine releases. Our goal is to update this frequently with new features, fixes and support for the newest SQL Server features in SQL Server Engine and Azure SQL Database.”

Microsoft might start shipping updates to SSMS outside of the regular SQL Server Service Pack scenario! This telegraphs a couple of interesting things: first, surely they have to do it because Azure SQL Database ships updates much faster than SQL Server does. So this gives Microsoft a way to enable those updates in SSMS without releasing a separate service pack.

This implies that SQL Server Management Studio is now considered The Way to Manage Azure SQL Database. There isn’t a separate tool coming, nor will designer/developer tools like Visual Studio become a management tool. That sounds good news.