Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Malware attacks on leading hotel pos machines in U.A.E. – for a secure solution ask us about TCPOS

August 16th, 2016

“We believe the malware could have affected payment card data – including name, payment card account number, card expiration date and verification code – of customers who used a payment card at point-of-sale terminals at the affected properties,” the hotel group said.

The reality is that there many systems in the market with an obsolete credit card management system that although it is PCI/DSS compliant it is not safe at all and can be attacked by professional hackers.

For TCPOS this is not a risk because it does not read/save/process/analyse or see any credit card, and leaves this task to third party providers who are specialized in this field.

TCPOS is a modern dot net based solution for both Retail and F@B outlets. It is deployed globally with many leading retail and F@B outlets and has specialist offerings for example for Quick Service restaurants, or Drive-though kiosks, Multi currency and multi language as you would expect and works on almost any platform.

For more information contact us on 009714336589
We will feature TCPOS more articles in the near future, and will review the changing nature of retail and F@B and how that is addressed by new technologies.

Dynamics 365 and Linked in – How does this affect Dubai and the U.A.E.?

August 10th, 2016

The code word Madeira has now transformed into Microsoft Dynamics 365

This is Microsoft’s new approach to end-to-end intelligent business applications in the cloud. Dynamics 365 unifies ERP and CRM into one cloud service with new, purpose-built apps to manage all your core business functions: Sales, Customer Service, Finance, Field Service, Operations, Marketing and Project Service Automation. At the Enterprise level Dynamics Ax will also be an option.

Dynamics 365 is a cloud-only solution built on the Microsoft Azure stack. What excited the partners at the recent WPC conference that Synergy Software Systems’ directors attended in July, was the announcement of an underlying common data model, with deep integrations, coupled with the equally new Microsoft Flow solution and the emergence of Xamarin as Power Apps. So we will see Office 365 seamlessly connect business apps with collaboration and productivity tools like email, spreadsheets and word processing documents, Skype Business. Power BI and a flexible, extensible platform,

Dynamics 365 looks to be a game changer that will enables companies to stay nimble, adapt and innovate in real time. It will launch in the USA probably in November this year with just the Finance functional piece. Other elements will release through next year, but realistically we do not foresee it reaching the UAE as a fully featured solution much before 2018.

The life of the on-premise Dynamics Ax 2012 R3 versions is to be extended by at least another 3 years meanwhile.

Microsoft has steadily been increasing tis presence in social media, with several acquisitions embedded in Dynamics CRM. There was positive endorsement for Microsoft’s cloud and social strategy by the announcement that Facebook has adopted Office 365 ( which ahs now reached 75 million user seats).

The other recent big news of course was their acquisition of Linked-in. There are a number of ways that Microsoft plans to take advantage of its $26.2 billion LinkedIn acquisition, ranging from data-gathering to getting a foothold in social to plans for re-imagining the recruitment and talent management businesses and more.

A more straightforward integration opportunities between the two companies is LinkedIn’s integration with Microsoft Office. Microsoft explained how it could use LinkedIn’s data in familiar programs, like Outlook, Skype, or Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, for example. Microsoft says that today, there’s not a single source for data on individual professionals — it’s scattered around, and is often out-of-date. (And I might add often widely inaccurate or hyped)
By integrating professional profile data into Office 365, email and other communication apps, users may be more inclined to keep that information up-to-date. The data will maybe more visible to friends, colleagues and employers. This of course may be a double edged sword if that that data more easily accessible to anyone who wanted to know more about a professional’s background or experience.

LinkedIn has a sizable network of over 433 million users, yet Office’s footprint is much bigger. Microsoft says there are more than 1.2 billion Office users today. LinkedIn becoming a part of Office would massively increase its data’s visibility.
LinkedIn itself in 2012, bought the Gmail plugin Rapportive for $15 million, which allowed Gmail users to access a sidebar that would show the profile and other social networking updates. Maybe unfortunately, the it took out functionality that made the service popular in the first place, including its integrations with other social networks.Installing an extension into your web browser that changes what your Gmail inbox looks like and what information it displays when loaded in a tab. didn’t address the fact that many users today get their email by way of mobile phones, not just desktop web interfaces.

It makes absolute sense for Microsoft to invest in the messaging capability within LinkedIn, to create an integrated experience between Outlook, Skype and LinkedIn. Traditional email is starting to die off. Instead, communication is shorter and the frequency go3w up, leaning more towards an instant messaging type mechanicism e.g. What’s App, Snap Chat, Twitter.

So, what changes LinkedIn becoming a part of Microsoft,. Well that profile data can become natively integrated into Microsoft’s Office products and other communications apps which could then share their data back with LinkedIn. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explained in an email to employees, that by integrating LinkedIn’s network in Office 365 and Dynamics, the company will be able to enable new experiences like “a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete.”

In other words, LinkedIn’s newsfeed, can become highly personalized and might e.g. know what you’re currently working on, what meetings you have planned and what projects are underway. And as you head into those meetings, Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana will then be able to quickly give you background on who you’re about to sit down with, and have have their LinkedIn resumes on file. This, Nadella says, will increase user engagement, the company’s subscription business, and opens the door for targeted advertising.

It sounds both clever and creepy to think about your work projects and meetings being the subject of for ad targeting in the future. We can hope for an opt-out mechanisms that respect user and data privacy.

Knowing how employees spend their time and who they work with, could also help to inform LinkedIn’s recruiting products.

Microsoft says that LinkedIn Learning (based on LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda.com last year for $1.5 billion), will also be integrated into Office so users canlearn how to perform advanced tasks and sign up for courses without having to leave Office.

The Dynamics family has never really figured big at Microsoft -Bng for example added $5bn to the bottom line last year. Azure is the new engine of growth. Linked in may prove to be the strategic acquisition that brings Dynamics to the fore.

How much will Lined in’s profiling of a customer’s management team assist a sale in Dynamics CRM? LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator has the capability to create quality leads and present updated and accurate information to sales reps. With the acquisition, it is probable that Sales Navigator will directly integrate with Dynamics CRM and may eventually be built on Dynamics CRM. What if the records of contacts, accounts and leads in your Dynamics CRM are updated as the related profiles of those people and companies are changed? Think of all the time sales reps and administrators would save inputting and updating records or the wasted hours saved by not using wrong contact data. When a client got a new phone number, – it’s already reflected in the Dynamics CRM contact record. What if you could see the contact’s, or lead’s, recent activity on LinkedIn. What posts has he liked or shared? Has he published any LinkedIn pulse articles lately?

HR professionals may find a bigger role on the Dynamics 365 platform as the powerful recruiting tool of LinkedIn is integrated into the ERP solution. Both, human resources professionals and the projects and field service industries may benefit from LinkedIn’s to help them source and to manage temporary workers.

A recent report by Cisco said that by 2019, video will account for 80 percent of global internet traffic and this is where Microsoft’s 2011 acquisition of Skype may come to the fore. Experts predic that video is the future of recruitment, and with Whatsapp currently thought to be testing video messaging, video communication will become commonplace, even in the workplace. Hands on in the product interviews with WebEx, Go to Meeting, Team viewer etc and use webcams, or with videoconferencing are already well established, Will video meanl the end of face-to-face interviews>. Should you send a video message as your cover letter? It might differentiate you today, but if you’re not doing that in 24 months, then you’ may be left out.

Given the tie ups between Infor, Salesforce and SAGE on AWS – maybe Microsoft realises it needs to compete with the full suite of business apps to drive forward its cloud future.

Rather than pay the 35% corporate tax rate to repatriate offshore capital for the purchase, which would have amounted to approximately $9 billion, Microsoft fund4e the purchase using debt. In addition to the tax savings, Microsoft’s AAA credit rating no doubt facilitatee a low-interest loan %, which can be written off to further reduce the cost of funds. The LinkedIn acquisition is a marked departure from the strategy of ex-CEO Steve Ballmer, which deployed a series of Windows-only products in an attempt to build a moat around the f Windows franchise.

The LinkedIn purchase signals Microsoft’s intention to seize opportunities in areas with high growth potential. The deal is likely to drive significant benefits and an increasing revenue stream to the Azure cloud platform, which saw a decline in sales in Q1 2016.

The immediate significant benefit opportunity for Microsoft’s cloud initiatives is to migrate of LinkedIn’s operations, which are hosted as a private cloud across several leased data centers, to the Azure cloud service. LinkedIn need to expand its data center utilization, and Azure’s excess capacity provides a solution at a lower overall cost.

Integrating each company’s unique social graphing metrics of how users use the systems will benefit Azure , because the graphs have very little overlap. Microsoft graphs are generally Office-centric, including: calendar usage, email, contacts and documents. LinkedIn’s graphs, on the other hand, track communications, professional relationships, learning and recruiting. The combination of graphs provides the opportunity for Microsoft to present customized cloud-based productivity solutions based on a holistic view of users’ data.

In a world where the millenials are rapidly being chased by ‘generation z’ – social and media are the norm – maybe Microsoft really is ‘cool again. ‘ In this region with a high percentage of the population aged under 25, and one of the highest uses of mobile phones, a ‘Smart government’ focus, with apps for everything we are lily to see the results of such speculation very soon.

Take Sharepoint to the next level with Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

August 8th, 2016

SharePoint Server 2016 represents a new generation of SharePoint, that brings our experience running SharePoint at scale in Office 365 to your datacenter. This allows us to bring innovation to you at a more rapid pace and on your terms.
You can improve performance, reliability and scale, and provide a foundation for future innovation.
Watch as Microsoft’s SharePoint veteran, Bill Baer provides an overview of the key elements that make this possible including the new feature pack model; converged code base; the standard min-role topology and zero down-time patching.

One of the improvements in SharePoint 2016 is the patching process. IT pros will discover that the patching process has been enhanced to reduce the downtime of patching the SharePoint servers in your farm. Bill Baer provides an overview of the key elements that make this possible including the new feature pack model; converged code base; the standard min-role topology and zero down-time patching

SharePoint Server 2016 delivers significant value in three areas:
1.Cloud-inspired infrastructure. SharePoint Server 2016 represents a new generation of SharePoint that accrues our experience running SharePoint at scale in Office 365 and brings our investments in SharePoint Online to your datacenter to improve performance, reliability, manageability and scale.

SharePoint Server 2016 is derived from the same code used to deliver SharePoint Online—code that has been validated over years, by millions of users, making it the most comprehensively tested version of SharePoint to date. This unified code base also facilitates support and updates across both Office 365 and on-premises SharePoint Server, and enables a standardized set of APIs that span on-premises and the cloud, enabling customers and partners to innovate more easily than ever.

2.Compliance and reporting. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is non-negotiable, and overexposure to information can have legal and compliance implications. SharePoint Server 2016 provides a broad array of features and capabilities designed to make certain that sensitive information remains protected with investments in DLP, new scenarios to enable data encryption and compliance tools that span on-premises servers and Office 365 while providing a balance between enabling user self-service and ensuring content usage adheres to corporate policy.

3.Enhanced user experiences. SharePoint Server 2016 brings innovations in user experience from Office 365 to your on-premises farm, with improvements to document libraries and navigation constructs that are consistent with Office 365. These updates have proven successful in driving adoption in Office 365 and will now benefit SharePoint Server. And for hybrid customers, there will be a seamless user experience that spans from the datacenter to the cloud. We’ve also improved mobile access and the touch-based experience in team sites.

Moving to a unified code-base makes that possible, and SharePoint Server will accelerate our ability to deliver high-value innovation to you in three ways.
1.Seamless connection to innovative Office 365 features and experiences. SharePoint Server 2016 allows users to transition smoothly between on-premises sites and Office 365 sites and experiences. For example, users can launch Delve from the on-premises App Launcher to access the new People experiences in Office 365. From there, users can take advantage of intuitive and responsive authoring capabilities in the new Blog experience. These experiences are in Office 365, but the transition from on-premises is seamless. Administrators can also configure easy connections to OneDrive for Business and Yammer.
2.Integrated, unified, hybrid experiences. SharePoint Server also delivers cloud-born innovation through hybrid capabilities and experiences that span, integrate and unify on-premises farms and Office 365.

The new SharePoint home page gives users a navigation portal to sites in Office 365 and on-premises farms. Links on the SharePoint home page include links managed by the organization, sites explicitly followed by the user, and sites that are recommended based on the intelligence of Office Graph. The beautiful new SharePoint home page displays sites in a card-based UI, and each site’s card provides an activity stream powered by Office Graph.

For IT professionals, there is hybrid search, which unifies the index, query results and search experience across Office 365 and on-premises farms running SharePoint 2016, SharePoint 2013 and even SharePoint 2010. Hybrid search enables on-premises content to surface within Office Graph-powered applications such as Delve. IT professionals can also leverage hybrid configurations to unify compliance policies, eDiscovery and auditing.

We are excited to announce that the SharePoint mobile app will support both on-premises and Office 365 sites for hybrid customers.
See a demo-rich overview of the new SharePoint mobile app to access and stay connected to the content that matters most to you across your intranet while you’re on the go; and how this translates to the new SharePoint home. Watch as principal engineer, Andy Haon walks you through the key elements that bring your Intranet into the cloud first, mobile first world, so that you can: navigate your sites and portals, and access important content, information and people.

Each of these integrated, unified and hybrid experiences and services enable you to take advantage of innovation and capabilities in Office 365 while maintaining workloads on-premises that are not suited to Office 365. You can migrate workloads to Office 365 at your own pace, based on your own requirements, and still take advantage of Office 365 where it best meets your needs.

To make migration easy ask us about Sharegate
To rapidly add your own SharePoint Intranet ask us about VALO
To extend SharePoint with rapid development using drag and drop and no code ask us about Agile Point

Dynamics Ax and Office 2016 and SQL 2016

August 3rd, 2016

Office 2016 and SQL Server 2016 is now supported with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 cumulative update 11 and Dynamics AX 2012 R2 cumulative update 9.
1.SQL Server 2016 is supported with cumulative update 9 for AX 2012 R2 with hotfix KB 3160713.
2.Office 2016 is supported with cumulative update 9 for AX 2012 R2 with hotfix KB 3155797.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse

July 23rd, 2016

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure SQL Data Warehouse.
There are incompatibilities between the on-premises version and the cloud version, and new technologies like PolyBase which makes the move form on premise SQL less than trivial.

Redgate have released a new Data Platform Studio Azure SQL Data Warehouse to reduce the task to hours rather than days – Data Platform Studio is free to use for one-off migration.

Always Encrypted in Azure SQL Database – now available to all

July 23rd, 2016

Always Encrypted in Azure SQL Database is Generally Available

Always Encrypted is a feature designed to ensure sensitive data and its corresponding encryption keys are never revealed in plaintext to the database system. With Always Encrypted enabled, a SQL client driver encrypts and decrypts sensitive data inside client applications or application servers, by using keys stored in a trusted key store, such as Azure Key Vault or Windows Certificate Store on a client machine. As a result, even database administrators, other high privilege users, or attackers gaining illegal access to Azure SQL Database, cannot access the data.

•To ensure the data is protected from malicious cloud database admins, co-tenants, or/and malware in Azure SQL Database. Always Encrypted can guarantee full isolation of data from the cloud provider when client applications or middle tier services are hosted on premises, but even for all-Azure apps, Always Encrypted substantially reduces attack the surface area, by removing the database from it.
•To prevent the disclosure of sensitive data within customer’s organization. With Always Encrypted, DBAs, who do not have access to the keys, can administer the database without having access to sensitive data in plaintext.

see https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/sql-database-always-encrypted-azure-key-vault/ for more information and a tutorial

Microsoft wins Data privacy battle

July 23rd, 2016

Tech giant Microsoft scored a major legal victory yesterday with a unanimous decision by an appeals court that ruled warrants issued by U.S. authorities do not extend to data stored in other countries. The ruling by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was applauded by the vast majority of the tech industry, which had strongly supported Microsoft’s case against the government.

“The decision is important for three reasons: it ensures that people’s privacy rights are protected by the laws of their own countries; it helps ensure that the legal protections of the physical world apply in the digital domain; and it paves the way for better solutions to address both privacy and law enforcement needs,”
Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said in a statement about the decision.

Territorial Limitations

The case centered around a previous decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which had ruled against Microsoft’s efforts to quash a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA). The SCA is part of the broader Electronic Communications Privacy Act passed in 1986 designed to protect the privacy of users interacting with an electronic communications service provider.

The warrant directed Microsoft to seize and produce the contents of an email account that it maintained for a customer who used the company’s electronic communications services. The government stated that it believed the emails contained information about narcotics trafficking.

But the information the government requested was stored on servers in Ireland, and Microsoft refused to transfer the data to the U.S. In explaining its decision in favor of the company, the appeals court explained that “warrants traditionally carry territorial limitations: United States law enforcement officers may be directed by a court-issued warrant to seize items at locations in the United States and in United States-controlled areas . . . but their authority generally does not extend further.”

A Ruling for Privacy

The decision was hailed by technology companies, business groups, and privacy advocates. “This ruling is a major affirmation that the rights we enjoy in the physical world continue to apply in the digital world,” said Greg Nojeim, director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project for the Center for Democracy and Technology. “By declaring that a U.S. warrant cannot reach communications content stored abroad, the court ruled strongly in favor of privacy and national rule of law.”

Amicus briefs supporting the company had been signed by the Chamber of Commerce, AT&T, Verizon, Apple, Cisco, and the National Association of Manufacturers. The Republic of Ireland also supported Microsoft’s case, arguing that the warrant represented an assault on the nation’s sovereignty.

While the decision is certainly a win for Microsoft, the government may yet appeal. The case could eventually end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. is also likely to push for new laws requiring companies to store customer data within the U.S. if it decides it can’t legally compel organizations to surrender data stored overseas.

SQL updates July 2016

July 23rd, 2016

The 13th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2012 SP2 is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site.
•CU#13 KB Article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3165266
•Understanding IncrementalServicingModel for SQL Server
•SQL Server Support Information: http://support.microsoft.com/ph/2855
•Update Center for Microsoft SQL Server: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sqlserver/ff803383.aspx

The 4th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2012 SP3 is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site.
•CU#4 KB Article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3165264
•Understanding Incremental Servicing Model for SQL Server
•SQL Server Support Information: http://support.microsoft.com/ph/2855
•Update Center for Microsoft SQL Server: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sqlserver/ff803383.aspx

SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 2 (SP2). This service pack is available on the Microsoft Download Center, MSDN, Eval Center, MBS/Partner Source and VLSC. SQL Server 2014 SP2 includes a rollup of released hotfixes as well as more than twenty improvements centered around performance, scalability and diagnostics . These improvements enable SQL Server 2014 to perform faster and scale out of the box on modern hardware design,
SQL Server 2014 SP2 now includes:
•All fixes and CUs for SQL 2014 released to date.
•Performance, scale and supportability improvements.
•New improvements based on connect feedback items filed by the SQL community.
•Improvements originally introduced in SQL 2012 SP3, after SQL 2014 SP1 was released.
see https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/sqlreleaseservices/sql-2014-service-pack-2-is-now-available/

Qatar to implement data privacy law -watch out for the fines

July 20th, 2016

Qatar’s Advisory (Shura) Council unanimously approved the draft of a landmark new data privacy law, requiring companies to increase their level of data security and protection against cyber threats. The law was originally drafted in 2011, but has recently gained importance in the wake of the alleged cyber attack on Qatar National Bank. During the attack, hackers gained access to the bank’s customer records and leaked them online in a massive 1.4 GB file. The file contained sensitive information on more than 1,200 individuals, including Al Jazeera journalists and members of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family.

Creating a regulatory framework for cyber security has become an urgent priority to prevent similar attacks from occurring in the future. In the near future, these laws will place the burden and responsibility of protecting sensitive information on the leadership of every organisation in the country. Organisations that fail to comply with the new laws will face heavy fines of up to 1.37 million USD.

Qatar is not the first country in the GCC to implement such laws. Oman, for example, has been one of the most proactive countries in the GCC in terms of adopting legislation to help promote cyber security and protect the country’s virtual borders. Under the new law, companies are obliged to protect sensitive information from being leaked or hacked. Failure to do so could result in hefty fines (5 million QAR).

According to the Qatari Ministry for Transport and Communication, the new law seeks to create “established standards of data protection as determined by the state”. The third chapter of the law outlines basic data protection responsibilities will become mandatory for all organisations in the country. These responsibilities include properly training data handlers to detect and to mitigate cyber security threats, by using “the necessary precautions to prevent personal data against loss, damage or disclosure”.

Organisations will be required to ensure that their networks and systems are adequately protected. They will be expected to rely on effective, up-to-date cyber security measures, and test these measures on a regular basis. In Qatar CEOs may need to urgently look into authorising budgets for cyber security – to pay for technology rather than to pay fines.

Synergy Software Systems, Dubai goes to Microsoft WPC Toronto 2016.

July 16th, 2016

The WPC 2016 in Toronto was the first WPC to be sold out. More than 16,000 attendees from 135 countries.

In his keynote, Satya Nadella demonstrated how Microsoft is dedicated to continue to support the growth of its customers and partners through new innovations and partnerships, driven by the Microsoft ambitions to reinvent productivity and business processes, build the intelligent cloud platform, and create more personal computing. see https://partner.microsoft.com/en-US/wpc/wpc-2016-vision-keynotes
Nadella stated that the entire Gross Domestic Product is being shaped by digital technology. You can learn more about the transformative power of technology in his new LinkedIn post, Reinventing Business Processes.
On Day 1 Satya Nadella described the three core ambitions that Microsoft will pivot the business around in FY17. It was the turn of three VPs to flesh out the story for each of these:
• Build the intelligent cloud platform – Scott Guthrie (@scottgu), Executive VP Cloud + Enterprise Group
• Reinvent productivity & business processes – Kirk Koenigsbauer (@kjkoenigsbauer), Corporate VP, Office Marketing
• Create more personal computing – Yusuf Mehdi (@yusuf_i_mehdi), Corporate VP, Windows & Devices

This year in particular, the message of digital transformation has been very strong, and has been anchored around what Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise Group, called “a generational shift” of organisations seeking to move their business to the cloud. Scott as usual pleased the crowd with lots of great info on the scale and industry leading capability of Azure. He claimed that the 34 Azure regions are more than AWS and Google combined, talked up the increasingly “open” nature of services available on Azure and highlighted Azure’s leadership position in multiple Gartner Magic Quadrants (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/campaigns/magic-quadrant/).

Scott referenced a great set of resources covering key Solution Areas that are enabled with Azure (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/). Scott closed out his presentation with a review of management tools. EMS now called Enterprise Mobility + Security (https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/server-cloud/enterprise-mobility/Overview.aspx) kicked things off (apparently 40% of installed Office365 base have access to EMS). He invited Julie White to show a couple of new tools within EMS.

Azure Information Protection (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/azure-information-protection) was also pretty impressive in the way that rights management and control of Microsoft Office documents was simplified and automated so that users might actually use it (all be it in the controlled world of demos).
Cloud App Security (https://www.microsoft.com/en/server-cloud/products/cloud-app-security/) can identify the SaaS apps that are running within your business and allow you to drill down into detailed information on each of these (apparently they have information on 13,000 SaaS applications).
Next up was Operation Management + Security/OMS (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/operations-management-suite) allowing management across multiple environments (including non Microsoft such as vmware).

The big news here was that EMS and OMS are available to partners through the CSP licensing program.

A starring role in this section went to Facebook. Tim Campos (@tcampos) – the Facebook CIO explained that they had decided to go with Office 365 and then gave a glowing endorsement of Microsoft.

‘We need partnerships with industry leaders and we are glad that Microsoft has got its mojo back.’ He explained that Facebook employees spend four hours per day in collaboration systems with an unprecedented access to information. He discussed how tools such as Delve, Clutter and Microsoft Graph would help employees “sift through the noise”. . This was a huge endorsement of Office365.

There were some good demos across the Office 365 capability including Delve Personal Analytics (https://products.office.com/en-us/business/explore-office-delve) which was both impressive but a little Orwellian
The demo of all the capabilities of the Office suite from SharePoint to Skype was very slick and you can watch it at the 19:10 min mark in this video https://player.vimeo.com/video/174410386

In the last part of the day1 keynote there was one BIG item-
Windows10 is now available through the CSP program as a subscription service and called Windows10 Enterprise E3 at USD$7/seat/month. Providers will be able to wrap up a full end to end solution suite and buy it under a single subscription program (CSP) – Azure + Office365 + Dynamics365 + Windows10 E3.

Azure Stack (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/azure-stack/) got another call out, although there was not too much detail. A short discussion about the common APIs and services and how this would help deliver the vision of the Hybrid Cloud. However, for the service provider community this is a “must find out more” area.
Azure stack becomes an extension of Microsoft Azure and together they will become a huge connected network of compatible Azure services. @maryjofoley provided more detail in her article (http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-readies-first-technical-preview-of-azure-stack-hybrid-cloud-bundle/).
The sad news is that it has only just gone into beta and without it the new Dynamics Ax RTW will not be available till next year (as predicted by us long back in a blog post).
And for the official Microsoft site go to https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/azure-stack/.

Microsoft and General Electric on Monday announced a deal to make GE’s industrial software platform available on Microsoft’s cloud, a move that puts Microsoft one step closer to its cloud computing rival Amazon. The deal also bolsters GE’s software ambitions. One memorable phrase was “Digital Twins” where IoT sensors feed data about a physical object to a virtual/ digital companion to allow near real-time review of status etc. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Twins).

Last week’s announcement of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource to showcase just how seriously Microsoft takes this message. Available this fall, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will unify the current Microsoft CRM and ERP cloud solutions into one cloud service with new purpose-built apps to help manage specific business functions. Microsoft AppSource will be Microsoft’s new destination for business users to find and try out line-of-business SaaS apps from Microsoft and Microsoft partners.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 will bring together the best of CRM and ERP cloud offerings into one cloud service with specific, purpose built, apps for each of your key business processes – like Finance, Sales, Customer Service, etc.

To ensure interoperability and extensibility they also use a common data model and consistent application platform. The common data model is a cloud-resident, business database, with hundreds of standard business entities spanning both business process (Dynamics 365) and productivity (Office 365).

The combination of these things gives customers a comprehensive solution for business process innovation that lets them:
• Start with what they need by offering apps that fit roles, industries, businesses – and grow at their pace to run their entire business in the cloud.
• Enable greater productivity by connecting structured workflow of business applications (Dynamics 365) and processes with the unstructured work of collaboration and productivity (Office 365) so tat employees are empowered with productivity tools surfaced in the context of their business processes, and vice versa.
• Gain built-in, actionable, intelligence with business applications that infuse big data, advanced analytics and IoT into processes which proactively guide employees and customers to optimal outcomes. With Dynamics 365, data and insights are transformed into intelligent
• ompose, modify and extend processes in real-time. Power BI, PowerApps and the new Microsoft Flow can empower business users to change and adapt their processes without requiring IT support, and with a consistent, flexible, extensible platform.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud service so it will not be available, as is, on premises or in private clouds.

Steve Clayton (@stevecla) Demo -Steve has the great title of Chief Storyteller at Microsoft and he gave an impressive demo that pulled almost all of Microsoft cloud assets together:
•Dynamics 365
•Office365
•Azure (IoT)
•Azure Cortana Intelligence Suite

There were also some other tools that were included in the demo that looked interesting a certainly worth further investigation. For example, Microsoft Flow (https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/) a tool to help create automated workflows across Microsoft application portfolio.
Satya talked up the Conversations as a Platform “What if we could teach all computers and computing around us human language?”.

The wow factor as last year came form Hololens. The opportunity with “mixed reality” as an alternative to ‘Augmented Reality’ gave us some new jargon to use.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_reality).

The focus was on a proof of concept Microsoft and Japan Airline (JAL) have worked on to provide virtual training for aircraft engines and co-pilots. (https://blogs.microsoft.com/transform/2016/07/11/japan-airlines-creates-yet-another-first-class-experience-this-time-using-microsoft-hololens/).

The resignation of Microsoft COO Kevin Turner essentially removes a layer of management from the company’s operating structure. Gavriella Schuster was named full time worldwide channel chief. To her credit she took the trouble to visit the partner regional meetings and take questions head on.

Former Oracle channel chief, Judson Althoff will now have increased influence as the commercial lead. Reporting to him will be EPG (Enterprise Partner Group), SMS&P (Small, Midmarket Solutions & Partners), Public Sector and Developer Experience and Services.
Althoff took over Turner’s customary Wednesday morning vision keynote to describe the new operating model and how it will work. It was not a good sign that there was a steady stream of delegates walking out throughout his presentation. He had perhaps the most important messages for partners.
Of all information the provided at WPC apart the key question is where are Microsoft putting their focus? This is what all Microsoft internal metrics will be based on and therefore where Microsoft employees themselves will be focused. he dealt with that directly.

‘This does not mean that partners have to immediately change everything they do, but it absolutely means that the story they tell about their business to Microsoft has to align with this focus.’ Judson could not have made this clearer.
The all up drivers that shape the business:.
• Mission: Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more
• Worldview: Mobile first, cloud first
• Ambitions: •Reinvent productivity and business process
• Build the intelligent cloud platform
• Create more personal computing
• Culture: Make a difference

…..and this is what that means for Microsoft’s sales teams:
1.Drive Digital Transformation with customers
2.Accelerate cloud adoption
3.Propel Windows 10 Enterprise deployment
4.Generate SQL Server 2016 growth
5.Drive ISV and SI momentum
6.Make experiences come to life through hardware solutions

The huge societal shift that is driving all of this is Digital Transformation and Experiences. According to PWC research 86% of CEOs think digital is their #1 priority and are using it to transform their businesses:
This is what all Microsoft internal metrics will be based on and therefore where Microsoft employees themselves will be focused.

An explicitly re-enforced theme was that SECURITY is at the heart of all of the differentiation messages. His claim is that EMS (https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/server-cloud/enterprise-mobility/Overview.aspx) is the fastest growing product that MS has ever had. This is a must add asset for cloud deployments.

SQL Server 2016 will be the richest in terms of built in capability, the most secure and also the best value that will democratise access the analytics.

There was lots more messaging -watch the whole video (https://player.vimeo.com/video/174543385)

Of all the partner programs at Microsoft relevant to Dynamics ERP and CRM VARs, none is more wide ranging and relevant this year than the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program . Coming up on two years of execution, CSP has grown from Azure, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility Suite to include CRM Online and the new AX on Azure. Project Madeira is on the horizon but expect at least another 18 months before it gets out to our region.

An online certification programme, the Microsoft Professional Degree is a Microsoft-led initiative built on the Open edX on Azure platform. It will look to provide professionals with ‘real-world knowledge and hands-on experience to grow their skills in critical fields’. The first curriculum will focus on the Data Science Degree programme, and will target the development of skills and experience in the data science industry, which is evolving rapidly. “The ability to offer Learning as a Service, to meet a learner where they are in their own journey and provide the targeted experiences they need to reach their specific goals, is critical to closing the skills gap,” said Alison Cunard, general manager of Microsoft Learning Experiences. A study by McKinsey & Company estimates that by 2018 the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.”

WPC was also a good chance to network with other partners, see new solutions, get first hand demos, meet up with AxPact and there was a mega concert with Swedish duo Icona Pop, and Gwen Stefani at the Air Canada centre but I am the wrong age to comment – suffice to say that the rest of the audience were obviously having a great time.

“day in the life” of how a modern retailer can delight customers and staff with Dynamics Ax POS

June 15th, 2016


This animated video shows a “day in the life” of how a modern retailer can delight customers and staff alike through the use of the Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail Point of Sale solution. Dynamics AX for Retail Point of Sale (POS) is available either as part of the integrated Dynamics AX for Retail business suite, or as an individual POS solution. Features shown include the Modern POS experience, product.

As well as POS features such as multi-currency and multi-language, category and assortment management , multiple promotion and discount options and so on Dynamics Ax Retail also comes with advanced features for order management, margin alerts, and Trade rebate management, Royalties. This is supported by an Advanced WMS system with mobility, cross docking, buyer push, ASN, containerisation etc.

Ask about our advanced complementary solutions such as electronic labels for instant central price update across all your outlets.

Microsoft to buy Linked-In

June 13th, 2016

Microsoft is buying the professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion (£18.5bn), the two companies have announced.
The news, announced on Monday afternoon, instantly sent LinkedIn’s share price soaring by 48% percent. The deal will represent one of the biggest in Microsoft’s history.

Microsoft said LinkedIn boss Jeff Weiner will stay in charge and report to Satya Nadella.
The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”

For Microsoft, it’s bringing a key, missing piece into the company’s strategy to build out more services for enterprises. “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, said.

Support for Microsoft Dynamics in the U.A.E. – Dubai – and the G.C.C and more -Synergy Software Systems

June 9th, 2016

“Go with Synergy and sleep at night.”

That mantra was propagated by our customers in the 90s and is still the message today – that is why:
- we have many customers who have been with us over 10 years and some over 15 years.
- we received the Highest Customer Satisfaction Award from Microsoft
- we attained President’s Club status (top 5% of Partners globally)
- we are the only Dynamics Ax partner in the Middle East accepted into Ax Pact
- we are the only Middle East Dynamics partner to attend Connect at Seattle last year
- we regularly work with Microsoft’ s global platinum partners to assist their deployments in this region.

The reasons are simple.
Our business is built on support, not on selling licenses.
We don’t outsource,
We don’t use temporary staff
We don’t use freelancers
All our consultants are centralized, in large modern offices, in the heart of Dubai
We support customers globally with web dial in and screens sharing.
We maintain a support infrastructure for testing, patching analysis.
We participate in the Microsoft TAP programme for beta testing
Even the support receptionist is a Microsoft certified consultant
We support an manned CRM helpdesk -even the
If we can’t support it ourselves then we don’t implement
Those who implement and our know your people and your business and your build are there to support you.
We have the depth and breadth of skills that a small company cannot offer.
On average our consultants have more than 10 years experience
Our Dynamics team has more than 300 man years of relevant experience and numerous certifications

Synergy Software Systems -”Working together”
Find out why so many companies have benefitted from our post implementation project review to stablise their system to provide a firm platform to take them forward, so that they can leverage the full power of Microsoft Dynamics.
Let us help you to sleep at night.

Windows 10 _ last chance for free upgrade -Redstone

June 9th, 2016

The free Windows 10 upgrade offer for consumer editions will end on July 29, Microsoft warns.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Redstone 1) will be released in late July,

In early January, just five months after making Windows 10 generally available, the Microsoft reported that the OS had already hit the 200-million-device mark, significantly outpacing the growth trajectories of both Windows 8 and Windows 7. Microsoft’s goal is to put Windows 10 on 1 billion devices by fiscal 2018,

Microsoft warns of new self propagating ransomware – Ransom:Win32/ZCryptor.A

May 31st, 2016

The new ransomware, which Microsoft has dubbed Ransom:Win32/ZCryptor.A, is distributed through spam emails. It can also infect a machine running Windows through a malware installer or fake installers like a Flash player setup file.
The ransomware would run at boot and drop :
• a file autorun.inf in removable drives,
• a zycrypt.lnk in the start-up folder,
• and a copy of itself as {Drive}:\system.exe and %APPDATA%\zcrypt.exe.
It will then change the file attributes to hide itself from the user in file explorer.
The Microsoft advisory said a file headlined “All your personal files are encrypted” would be displayed to the user and the ransomware would encrypt numerous files, changing their extensions to .zcrypt in the process. A total of 88 file-types would be encrypted and Microsoft said it was important to enable file history, or system protection so that restoring personal files from a backup was possible in some cases. However, it appears that Microsoft was also not fully aware of the actions of the ransomware because it offered the following advice: “Some ransomware will also encrypt or delete the backup versions and will not allow you to do the actions described before. If this is the case, you need to rely on backups in external drives (not affected by the ransomware) or OneDrive.”

Windows users take care.