Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Power BI for Dynamics: Ax, and CRM – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

January 27th, 2015

Power BI is a cloud service that lets you share, collaborate and access your Excel reports anywhere on any device.
This toolset is regularly being updated with new features e.g.: – dashboards, new visualizations, support for popular software-as-a-service applications, a native iPad app and live “hybrid” connectivity to on-premise SQL Server Analysis Services tabular models.

Dynamics Ax provides in built cubes and Power BI for Power BI use- ( see our Dynamics Ax HR and Payroll Powwr BI demonstration.)

Power BI dashboards
Users can create personalized dashboards to monitor their most important data. A dashboard combines on-premises and cloud-born data in a single pane of glass, providing a consolidated view across the organization regardless of where the data lives.

Users can easily explore all their data using intuitive, natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. They can also explore data through detailed reports that target specific aspects of their business. Visuals from these reports can also be pinned to their dashboards for continuous monitoring. As part of this experience new visualizations have been added including combo charts, filled maps, gauges, tree maps, and funnel charts.

What is Power BI Q&A?
Use natural language queries to find answers in your own data.
With instantaneous natural language querying, Q&A interprets your question and immediately serves up the correct answer on the fly—in the form of an interactive chart or graph. And these visualizations change dynamically as you modify the question, creating a truly interactive experience with your data
Start with a question, and have fun traveling through your data refining or expanding your question, uncovering trust-worthy new information, zeroing in on details and zooming out for a broader view.
You’ll be delighted by the insights and discoveries you make.

Power BI Q&A presents your answers in the form of visualizations. As you type a question, Power BI Q&A picks the best visual to display your answer; and the visual changes dynamically as you modify the question.

The experience is truly interactive…and fast! Powered by an in-memory storage, response is almost instantaneous.

Connectivity to New Data Sources
• Exchange: Support for connecting to your Microsoft Exchange account and retrieving information about your Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks and Meeting Requests.
• Dynamics CRM Online: Power Query’s OData support to consume OData feeds from Dynamics CRM Online.

also Facebook, Salesforce, Sybase etc.

Connect live to on-premises Analysis Services models

With the new Power BI connector for SQL Server Analysis Services, customers can realize the benefits of a cloud-based BI solution without having to move their data to the cloud. Customers can now create a secure connection to an “on-premises” SQL Server Analysis Services server from Power BI in the cloud. When users view and explore dashboards and reports, Power BI will query the on-premise model using the user’s credentials.

With this hybrid solution, organizations can continue to retain, manage and secure their data on-premises, while securely enabling users to benefit from that data via Power BI.

Mobile Apps
A wave of native mobile apps for Power BI. These apps will allow users to access their Power BI dashboards and reports through immersive mobile experiences for iPad, iPhone, and Windows tablets. The first of these – the iPad app is available today and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, with other platforms following in the coming months. All Power BI mobile apps enable users to share insights and collaborate with colleagues so that they can take immediate action, from anywhere, anytime.


Power maps

Windows 10 -wow!

January 24th, 2015

Microsoft lifted the veil on its upcoming Windows 10 operating system. Microsoft: Windows 10 will be free for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users for 1 year after launch.
When the software is released later this year across desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Expect numerous changes:
- A modernized Start Menu, better multitasking with Task View, and UI improvements.
- Refreshed and more modern icons
- An Action Center provides instant access to common tasks like enabling or shutting off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other settings.
-Notifications are synced across devices, so if you dismiss something on a Windows 10 smartphone or tablet, then it won’t pop up again when you return to your PC.
- Microsoft has refreshed the appearance of settings menus everywhere with a much cleaner, easy-to-understand design.
– A new, Metro-style (and very sleek) Calendar app that’s consistent across PCs, tablets, and phones.
- Photos – weed out duplicates and “clutter” when you’re syncing photos from every device you own. Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage ismuch smarter about displaying a “simple view of all your photos.
- A new Photos app will automatically enhance and touch up photos, remove blemishes like red eye and ensure you end up with the right exposure.
- Windows 10 users can also expect new apps for: People, Maps, and Music.
- Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana provides powerful search and reminder capabilities to Windows 10. . Microsoft says “you’ll see Cortana as never before” In Windows 10, it will serve as the primary search tool for a massive audience of Windows users. Cortana ‘speaks’ with a natural, conversational flow.
- Belfiore launched into the first demonstration of Windows 10 on phones, showing off a new Messages app with Skype integration, a fully-adjustable keyboard, and other improvements.
- Microsoft has all-new, universal apps for Windows 10. First is Outlook, with the Word engine built in for comprehensive styling and extra formatting capabilities no matter from what device you’re checking email. Desktop users can also personalize Outlook with a background image of their choice
- Microsoft is working hard on a new web browser, referred to as Project Spartan. Highlighting something on a page is as simple as circling your finger around it — no Surface pen or stylus required. Using a mouse also works fine; click on any section of a website to type out a comment for sharing with co-workers or friends.
- A new Reading Mode puts articles in a layout that’s easier on your eyes
- Microsoft is also introducing a Reading List that syncs content across phones, tablets, and PCs for later. (Apple has had similar functionality in iOS and OS X for some time now- but what Apple doesn’t have in its browser is Cortana. Microsoft’s personal assistant is everywhere in Project Spartan. She’ll tell you the weather in the URL bar. Visit a restaurant’s website, and Cortana will provide a map, menu information, and contact details should you decide to head there for dinner.)

Power Bi Designer preview

January 22nd, 2015

The Power BI Designer is a new companion application for Power BI.

It is a standalone Windows Desktop application that can be downloaded from the Power BI site.

This application combines Power Query, Power Pivot Data Model and Power View into a seamless experience that will allow customers to build their Power BI elements in an offline fashion and then upload to the Power BI Service.

The Add-ins for Excel 2013 and later are still available and customers can continue to use that to model their data and build reports.

The Power BI Designer will be another option and allow customers with an older version of Office to be able to create reports.

New Ax 2012 R3 benchmarks demonstrate scalability and performance

January 22nd, 2015

New Benchmarks for Dynamics Ax with summary and detail documents for each benchmark.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Benchmark for Multiple Retail Workloads

- In 2014, Microsoft conducted a benchmark to measure the performance and scalability characteristics of the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 retail solution in a simulated retail scenario.
- The benchmark showcases the ability of AX 2012 R2 to handle various specialized loads concurrently, without compromising performance and scalability on critical business processes.
- The benchmark includes many functional scenarios across different client and integration technologies, thereby providing a view of retail back-end scenarios.

The following scenarios were executed to complete the benchmark:
• Trickle feed of point of sale (POS) transactions from stores
• Posting trade agreements to stores
• Publishing product assortments to stores, including converting pre-actions to actions

End-of-day processing of POS transactions:
• Inventory reservations were made for the imported transactions.
• Imported POS transactions were consolidated and aggregated, and then transferred to statements in a peak-load situation.
• Statements were processed and transferred to sales orders, and financial updates were posted.

Please find the benchmark documents here:

https://mbs.microsoft.com/partnersource/northamerica/deployment/documentation/msdax2012r2multiretailwl

https://mbs.microsoft.com/customersource/northamerica/AX/learning/documentation/msdax2012r2multiretailwl

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Financial Benchmark
In August 2014, Microsoft conducted a financial benchmark of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 to measure the application’s performance and scalability characteristics for core financial functionality.

Multiple different workloads were simulated:
• A set of financial transactions was run concurrently.
• A batch of 500 general ledger (GL) journals of 1,000 journal lines each was posted in a separate test.
• A set of management reporter reports and scenarios was executed.
• A year-end closing process was run in a separate test.
• A consolidation process was run in a separate test.

The benchmark was modeled for two financial periods, previous period and current period. It assumed a customer in a closing state for the previous period while entering regular business transactions in the current period.
For the closing process (for example, the summary trial balance), some transaction data was created in the previous period before the benchmark run.

The defined scenarios were run with 500 concurrent financial users who generated load on the Application Object Server (AOS) instances by using the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Benchmark SDK.

The overall benchmark result shows the capability of Microsoft Dynamics AX and Management Reporter to handle core financial scenarios with volume data while maintaining good performance measures.

Please find the benchmark documents here:

https://mbs.microsoft.com/partnersource/northamerica/deployment/documentation/msdax2012r3financialbm

https://mbs.microsoft.com/customersource/northamerica/AX/learning/documentation/msdax2012r3financialbm

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Day in the Life Benchmark for Retail and Distribution
Microsoft conducted a 24-hour “day in the life” benchmark of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 to measure the application’s performance and scalability characteristics when running retail and distribution workloads.

The benchmark ran a variety of functional scenarios that use different client and integration technologies, thereby providing a broad view of enterprise resource planning (ERP) workload performance on AX 2012 R3.

• The initial benchmark run showcased the daytime and nighttime activities at a complex customer installation that has 2,000 stores, each with 10 point of sale (POS) devices

. The benchmark modeled :
stock movement to replenish stores,
- use of a web storefront built on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services,
acall center doing order entry,
- a mobile app that connected to Retail Server.
• The benchmark also simulated 3,000 concurrent users performing background tasks.
• Additional benchmark runs, increased the volume to 5,000 concurrent users and also increased the volume of POS transactions.

These scenarios generated load on an instance of Application Object Server (AOS). In this benchmark, some AOS instances are configured as multiple logical AOS instances in a cluster. Batch processes run simultaneously with online processes but on separate AOS instances.

AX 2012 R3 demonstrated the ability to scale up and scale out on the AOS tier, and on the database server.

AX 2012 R3 also showed the ability to handle a more complex business process flow smoothly. User experience measures were below 2 to 3 seconds for intensive posting operations, and line save operations averaged sub-second response times.

The benchmark results demonstrate the ability of AX 2012 R3 to concurrently handle more complex scenario flows with a very high volume, without compromising performance and scalability for critical business processes.

Please find the detailed documents here:

https://mbs.microsoft.com/partnersource/northamerica/deployment/documentation/msdax2012r3dayretaildisbm

https://mbs.microsoft.com/customersource/northamerica/AX/learning/documentation/msdax2012r3dayretaildisbm

Windows 2003 end of support- ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai about special pricing for updates.

January 21st, 2015

End of support for Windows 2003 on 14th July, 2015 means no more updates, no more security patches. Don’t miss out on opportunities for success. Upgrade to Windows Server 2012/R2 today- ask us if you need help.

Save plenty with the HP ProLiant Servers and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Bundles. Valid in UAE, Saudi, Turkey, South Africa, Qatar, Kuwait, Nigeria and Kenya.

Cloud – Saas – 2015

January 12th, 2015

Amazon.com and Microsoft are locked in a battle to determine who will lead the cloud computing age. Corporate America is shifting from client-server computing, which began in the 1990s, to shared computing resources in the Internet cloud.

The cloud age is new but already Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have emerged as early leaders. Microsoft, dominated during the earlier PC-server computing cycle, and now aims to be a top player in cloud services. Amazon Web Services, part of e-commerce giant Amazon.com, is by far the leader in infrastructure-as-a-service. In IaaS, customers rent computers and data storage via the cloud

Accenture and Microsoft Corp. have expanded their long-standing alliance with the introduction of the Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure. The companies are co-funding and co-engineering this platform with new hybrid technologies and services to help enterprises to build and to manage enterprise-wide cloud infrastructure and applications.

Microsoft passed a milestone in its business overhaul for the cloud computing age. As 2015 starts, it has become the biggest seller of cloud services to business customers, vaulting past start-ups such as Salesforce.com and outpacing IBM and Oracle. While cloud services account for less than 5 per cent of revenues, the milestone is a sign that the world’s biggest software company is finally making headway as it looks beyond the PC era. (Financial Times)

The big three – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google – have the infrastructure, range of offerings and financial clout to support highly-scalable, global public cloud services, and appear to be locked in a battle to the bottom on price that is unlikely to let up in the coming years.

A new IDC report estimates that in three years more than half of the money spent on software, servers and storage will be attributed to the cloud.

Cloud spending is projected to increase annually by 22.8 percent, nearly six times faster than the overall IT market, to reach $127 billion in 2018.

Analysis of cloud spending shows that 70 percent will be spent on SaaS, followed by infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) spending.

After what a company executive said has been a “breakthrough year” in 2014 for its cloud computing business IBM is building out its global computing network to focus on the enterprise cloud market. The company announced that it is adding cloud centers in 11 new locations. In a $1.2 billion investment, IBM has built cloud centers in Frankfurt, Mexico City and Tokyo. The other eight new locations come to IBM through a partnership with Equinix Inc., which operates data centers across the globe. This is also in part a response to laws requiring the local retention of data following revelations over U.S. government Web surveillance as well as increased corporate compliance rules.

IBM has pared down its previously lengthy cloud computing services contracts to a two-page document, replacing what the vendor described as a “complex contract that typically required long negotiations and reviews before a deal was signed.” On cloud contracts, IBM (IBM) apparently not only believes simpler is better but also that streamlining its legal agreements gives it a distinct competitive advantage over its cloud service rivals.

At an event in Boston, Oracle’s cloud head Shawn Price talked about the software giant’s 5-year journey to become a key cloud computing company. Shawn Price spent five months heading up software giant SAP’s cloud efforts until he left the company in an executive reshuffling, only to reappear in October as the lead executive for cloud computing rival Oracle. Two months later, the former CEO of SuccessFactors was a key figure at the company’s Cloud World event, giving a keynote address to promote Oracle’s aggressive efforts to expand its cloud computing capabilities, from optimizing its broad array of enterprise and data base applications for the cloud to reworking its sales teams to deal with the changing ways businesses are buying technology, and with having to sell both cloud-based and on-premises solutions.

Recently, cloud giant Amazon Web Services rebooted its EC2 following a Xen hypervisor issue and it affected many customers. “It is a fact that at the end of the day, whether you’re in a cloud, you’re in a data center or in a server cloud, that there’s hardware and there’s outages,” said Lisa Noon, client partner at Cloud Technology Partners Inc. Noon discussed the AWS reboot among other cloud news on the Cloud Computing Weekly podcast with host David Linthicum

Analysts report that private clouds will reach an 85 percent adoption rate in the coming years.

Security issues are the main factor limiting the further use of cloud computing services, research from Eurostat has found. In a survey conducted by the European Commission’s Eurostat statistics service, public cloud computing was reportedly used by 24% of large enterprises and 12% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU.

A look ahead to IT in 2015

December 20th, 2014

The Internet of Things, IoT, – a proliferation of sensors and cloud computing gives businesses access to unlimited amounts of data – he challenge in the coming year is to act on key insights, to improve customer service,to reduce time to market, to enable new innovation in product and services development, and to ultimately transform a business with new business models and revenue streams.

Rockwell Automation is a prime example of the transformative power of IoT – Rockwell is building new forms of intelligence to transform the petroleum supply chain by providing managed monitoring and support for its products across the globe. This includes cloud-based solutions that use software, sensors and devices to predict equipment failures along the vast oil and gas supply chain, track performance in real time, and help refine designs and processes to prevent failures in the future.

In 2014, big-name companies in nearly every industry fell victim to cyber-attacks, prompting FBI Director James Corney to say “There are two kinds of big companies in the United States. There are those who’ve been hacked…and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked.” A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute showed the average cost of cybercrime for U.S. retail stores more than doubled from 2013 to an annual average of $8.6 million per company in 2014, and greatly increased in the financial services, technology, and communications sector as well.

One of the big changes we’ll see is a migration to Europay MasterCard and Visa (EMV), a new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud. EMV is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. Coming in October 2015, merchants using non-EMV compliant devices that choose to accept transactions made with EMV-compliant cards assume liability for transactions that are found to be fraudulent. In 2015, we expect this compliance requirement to drive a massive move to modern card technology and modern points-of-sale devices. That translates to better security for banks, merchants and consumers. Ask us about TCPOS

Businesses will make use of big data services in the cloud and we can expect machine learning to grow exponentially across the retail, manufacturing and health care sectors driven by three factors: broader access to machine learning, massive computing power connecting systems and services, and the explosion of online data. These developments create opportunities for organizations to use machine learning for data-driven decisions. For CIOs, this means providing data liquidity: the ability to get data the firm wants into the shape it needs with minimal time, cost and risk. Many large firms have found their big data pilots shut down by compliance officers concerned about legal or regulatory violations. This is particularly an issue when creating new data combinations that include customer data.

On 21 January 2015 at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters an invitation-only sneak peak at some of the features of the company’s new Windows 10 operating system. The full release of the new OS is expected sometime in mid-2015. Microsoft has been dropping hints about what the new operating system will look and feel like. That experience will include the Cortana digital voice assistant featured on the latest Windows phones, according to a Wall Street Journal blog post.

Among the changes Windows 10 is expected to bring is a return of the Start Menu. The lack of that menu in Windows 8/8.1 alienated many users, in the enterprise environment. Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will feature an extended Start Menu with one-click access to most commonly used functions. It will also enable users to personalize the menu with their own choices of apps and Web sites.

Windows 10 will be targeted especially to business users. It will feature “enterprise-grade security, identity and information protection,” as well as “simplified management and deployment to help lower costs, including in-place upgrades from Windows 7 or 8 that are focused on making device wipe-and-reload scenarios obsolete,” according to Microsoft.

Other new features arriving with Windows 10 are: a multiple-desktop option, special features for users of two-in-one devices, a new Task view button, snap enhancements and a return to resizable windows.

There will be no Windows 9 in between 8/8.1 and 10.

Prophix 11 Service Pack 3

December 17th, 2014

Azure and Biz Talk

December 13th, 2014

BizTalk Services – Seamlessly integrate the enterprise and the cloud. Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS) provides integration capabilities in the cloud for EAI and B2BT and this new service on Windows Azure was made available in November 2013.

http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/biztalk-services/

WABS is a cloud integration platform or integration platform as a service or IPaaS.

Build your integration on premise, and deploy in the cloud, where it is hosted in a service (a set of dedicated hardware).

This operates as a subscription model for the IPaaS service in the cloud ( BizTalk Services means running on Windows Azure – hence the name Windows Azure BizTalk Services). Currently there are quite some players offering that kind of service like Dell, Attunity, MuleSoft, TIBCO, and so on.

Recent features adds this year include:
• EDIFACT Protocol Support and X12 Schema Updates
• Pulling Messages from Service Bus Queues and Topics
• Service Bus Shared Access Signatures (SAS) support with Service Bus Queues and Topics
• BizTalk Adapter Services No Longer Needs SQL On Premises
• Backup and Restore Support
• Operation Log Support
• DocumentDB is a recent storage option added to Microsoft Azure. It is a no-sql storage service that stores JSON documents natively and provides indexing capabilities along with other interesting features.

The new features to WABS extended the flexibility and ability to create cloud solutions. However, WABS will need more adapters (sources/destinations) for instance to be able to compete with some of the other IPaaS vendors like MuleSoft.

Most of the configuration of WABS is done through Visual Studio a main component currently to build, deploy and manage a bridge solution. Managing for some parts of a bridge solution like configuration of sources and destinations might be better done in a tool like management console/web application or even within Windows Azure itself.

Expect frequent improvement of the service in many areas.

Microsoft office on Android – Office 365

December 11th, 2014

Last month Microsoft announced that Office apps customers are coming to Android tablets with the start of Office for AndroidTM tablet Preview.

Microsoft is also delivering Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for iPhone® and updates for the iPad apps–

New, touch-optimized Office apps for Windows 10 are in the works

Complete functionality with Office 365

Customers get the best value and a complete set of features from an Office 365 subscription, including 1 terabyte of OneDrive online storage — with unlimited storage on the way. By subscribing, customers join a community of over 7.1 million active Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers and unlock the full productivity power of Office on every device they have.

(Ask us about special year end bundled promotions of Office 365, Power BI and On-Line CRM)

Availability:

The new Office for iPad and Office for iPhone apps are available in 29 languages and 136 countries. The apps require an iPad or iPhone running iOS 7.0 or later. The Office for Android tablet preview is available for sign-up beginning today.

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – are you ready?

December 11th, 2014

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was proposed in 2012 and aims to apply a single set of data protection rules across the European Union (EU) to protect user’s data.

Organisations will be expected to report a breach in 72 hours, and give data owners the right to request a copy of the personal data they hold, and the right to have personal data erased.

The regulation will impose greater fines on organisations that break the law -compliance failures will carry fines of up to €100m or 5% of global turnover – whichever is greater.

The proposed regulations are planned to begin at the end of 2014, coming into effect over the next two years.

A recent survey from network management and monitoring software specialist, Ipswitch showed that
- over half of employees could not accurately describe GDPR
- and 52% admitted their firms were not ready for the changes the regulations might bring.

Survey finds users think SAP is too expensive

December 11th, 2014

An interesting finding from an SAP UK and Ireland User Group survey is that:
- SAP customers find the supplier’s account managers insufficiently knowledgeable about their businesses.
- Customers say SAP knows too little about their businesses and is too expensive
- Over 50% of respondents say that SAP account executives don’t have the level of knowledge about customers’ industry or business to help with adopting innovation.
- 74% of respondents said that SAP was bringing out technology innovations at a speed with which they were unable to cope.

SAP’s reputation for high costs was also evidenced by the survey – 15% more respondents (69%) said that SAP licensing and subscription costs were cited as an adoption barrier compared to other vendors (54%)

Cloud adoption – recent analyst reports December 2014

December 6th, 2014

Cloud adoption is increasing as companies identify more IT operations they want to migrate.

The results of IDG Enterprise’s survey of 1,672 IT decision-makers represent the practices and opinions of technology buyers whose organizations already have, or plan to have, at least one application or some portion of their infrastructure in the cloud. The pace and implementation focus vary according to company size, industry and job titles of parties involved, while security concerns persist as the top challenge to deployment. (Computerworld 11.04.2014)

A survey of more than 650 IT decision makers in Australia, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, North America, and Singapore by Dimensional Research that uncovers global trends in information technology (IT) strategies for 2015 found that the vast majority (77 percent) plan to implement multi-cloud architectures in the coming year. These same decision makers are seeking interconnected colocation data center environments because they offer direct connections to multiple cloud providers for increased security, reliability and performance.

CompTIA researchers at the IT advocacy and education organization has watched cloud go from potential game changer to foundational player in modern IT. That meteoric rise, and the prospects for long-tail entrenchment of cloud in business technology, continued unabated this year, with more than 90 per cent of companies now using some form of cloud computing, the latest CompTIA study finds. (Channelweb)

Most enterprise cloud users (83%) struggle to consolidate their cloud services and get a holistic view of their cloud infrastructure, software and platform services, a study from Forrester Consulting revealed. “Cloud computing has reached a tipping point for enterprises with some 83% of the enterprises we surveyed struggling to bring together all their cloud services — from IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS and from public and private clouds to traditional IT,” See the study, titled Simplify and innovate the way you consume cloud. (Computer Weekly 11.19.2014)

43% of enterprises are planning to deliver the majority of new business applications over the internet next year, a new Akamai Technologies report revealed. However, half of the companies reportedly run 20% or less of their business apps over the internet, the “Trends in Application Delivery Strategies” survey report added. Akamai Web Experience Business Unit senior vice president and general manager Mike Afergan said: “Trends such as globalisation, telecommuting and mobility continue to drive the shift to Internet-delivered applications, and enterprises today are working hard to keep up. (Computer Business Review 11.18.2014)

In October with a series of cloud announcements Microsoft moved to put a stake in the ground with hybrid cloud computing and emerge from the shadow of cloud rivals Google and Amazon. “This helps get Microsoft onto an equal footing with Amazon and Google, who are the most talked about cloud players today,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. “It’s a smart move. It gives Microsoft a unique offering that can’t easily be matched by its competitors right now.”

Microsoft (MSFT) and IBM (IBM) announced a partnership aimed to enhance their respective positions in cloud space. The partnership will let IBM’s middleware software, known as WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ, and DB2 database, run in virtual machines (or VMs) on Microsoft Azure for development and deployment purposes. Although fierce rivals in the market for cloud computing services, IBM and Microsoft both pledged to make their technologies interoperable in the cloud for the sake of their users. In October thecompanies jointly announced that many Microsoft enterprise products would run on IBM’s infrastructure and platform services, and that many key IBM middleware products would be available for use on Microsoft Azure. (Computer World 10.22.2014)

Microsoft added three new big data services to its Azure cloud platform as part of its ongoing efforts to make Azure a leading platform for big data services and to make it ready to tackle the Internet of Things (IoT). “Every day, IoT is fueling vast amounts of data from millions of endpoints streaming at high velocity in the cloud,” says Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of Machine Learning at Microsoft. “Examples of streaming analytics can be found across many businesses, such as stock trading, fraud detection, identity protection services, sensors, web clickstream analytics and alerts from CRM applications. In this new and fast-moving world of cloud and devices, businesses can no longer wait months or weeks for insights generated from data.” (CIO.com 10.30.2014)

Public IT cloud services spending will reach $56.6 billion in 2014 and grow to more than $127 billion in 2018, according to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC). This represents a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8%, which is about six times the rate of growth for the overall IT market. In 2018, public IT cloud services will account for more than half of worldwide software, server, and storage spending growth. (BusinessWire 11.03.2014)

Dynamics CRM, Cortana and Windows 8.1 devices

December 6th, 2014

Dynamics CRM 2015 will ship next month with multiple enhancements, including one literally audible: using Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 devices, users will be able to talk to the customer relationship management suite.

Tasks available via Cortana voice commands will include setting up meetings and reminders, searching for contacts, accounts and activities, calling up customer lists and creating new records. (Computer World 11.06.2014)

>”This is very significant. Salespeople spend a lot of time on the road, so this lets them leave voice memos on an account while on the go, without having, for example, to be typing and driving,” said analyst Ray Wang, chairman and founder of Constellation Research.

Nucleus Research vice president, and analyst, Rebecca Wettemann, said it’s been proven that adding mobile access to CRM drives significant productivity gains. “This is just the tip of the iceberg in vendors leveraging the voice capture and analytics technologies to deliver CRM productivity,” Wetttemann also views the integration as part of a broader and recent Microsoft trend to leverage its product portfolio to boost its enterprise applications under new CEO Satya Nadella. “The bigger story is that this is a great example of how Microsoft is bringing its product strengths to bear on CRM,” she said.

A recent example of this approach was last month’s launch of the Sales Productivity bundle, which combines Dynamics CRM Online Professional with Office 365 and Power BI.

Oracle license audits survey November 2014 – user mistrust

December 6th, 2014

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2843992/oracle-licensing-practices-lead-to-mistrust-among-customers-says-survey.html

http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/feature/2383728/does-oracles-licensing-leave-its-customers-hostile-and-filled-with-deep-rooted-mistrust

Oracle’s relationship with customers ‘filled with mistrust’:
A survey by the Campaign for Clear Licensing has found that customers do not trust Oracle and are confused by its licensing structure.

CCL contacted 100 global end-user organisations,
- 92% said Oracle does not clearly communicate licensing changes
Less than a quarter said the firm was helpful during an audit or contract-renewal process.
- 88% thought Oracle audit requests were unclear and difficult to manage or to respond.

Three themes emerged from CCL’s research:
• customers do not feel autonomous;
• messaging from the vendor is inconsistent;
• Oracle moves the goalposts to suit its own revenue objectives.