Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Microsoft Flow, Power Apps and Dynamics ask Synergy Software Systems about the new features

September 27th, 2016

PowerApps is a service for creating, managing and using custom business apps across platforms. PowerApps connects to your existing systems and data sources securely, allows you to build apps, forms, and workflows without writing code, and lets you publish apps instantly for web and mobile

This is a short tutorial in PowerApps that includes a speed run (a fully functional app in 2.5 minutes) followed by a detailed explanation of the steps of the tutorial.

Its just been announced that Dynamics AX is now supported in Microsoft Flow for events/Tasks automation in Dynamics 365. Along with the Common Data Model and Microsoft PowerApps, another significant component of Dynamics 365 is the new cloud based event automation service from Microsoft called as “Microsoft Flow”.

Microsoft flow is a task/process/event automation service, that allows to execute certain event (Such as sending an email notification, Creating a new record, saving/sharing files and more) when another event happens. (Such as a new record is added to Common data model, a record is modified, a new person follows you on twitter and more).

Microsoft Flow is a service for automating workflow across the growing number of apps and SaaS services that business users rely on. Along with Dynamics CRM Online(For Sales/Project Services), CRM Online/Adobe Marketing cloud (For Marketing) and Dynamics AX (For Operations), some of the other significant components of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud are the surrounding apps, such as the Microsoft PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, Power BI, Office 365 and more.

On the 25th September Microsoft added an important capability to Flow mobile apps – Flow creation, available both on iOS and Android apps. Now easily create a flow from your phone by just a few simple clicks. Browse our rich template gallery, navigate through our services list, or select a various template category to drill into. For a specific service or template, search the template gallery by keyword, and a list of results focused to your needs. Finally, after creating your flow, you can come back and edit or rename it directly from within the app, from the flow properties page.

SQL Cumulative updates for September 2016 –

September 24th, 2016

Cumulative update 14 release for SQL Server 2012 SP2 is now available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site. Please note that registration is no longer required to download Cumulative updates.
CU#14 KB Article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3180914
Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 SP2 Latest Cumulative Update: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50731
Cumulative update 5 release for SQL Server 2012 SP3 is now available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site. Please note that registration is no longer required to download Cumulative updates.
To learn more about the release or servicing model, please visit:
• CU#5 KB Article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3180915
• Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 SP3 Latest Cumulative Update: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50733
• Update Center for Microsoft SQL Server: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sqlserver/ff803383.aspx
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Microsoft also just announced that Cumulative Update 2 for SQL Server 2016 is now available for download here. There are a number of fixes including one regarding the Query Store. See here – you should seriously consider if you are running QSL Server 2016.

Stephen Jones
Director
Synergy Software Systems
009714 3365589
Visit our active blog site for news and the latest product information
www.synergy-software.com/blog
Microsoft Award – Highest Customer Satisfaction 2014
Microsoft President’s Club 2015

Gartner shows Microsoft Azure as a cloud leader for the third succesive year

September 23rd, 2016

Gartner has recently identified Microsoft Azure as a leader in the analyst firm’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), for the third year in a row, both based on both completeness of vision and the ability to execute.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform enables the creation of virtual networks, servers and machines, and supports multitenant storage, object storage and a robust content delivery network for both Microsoft and other vendor solutions. Azure also provides advanced services such as machine learning and Internet of things.

The Azure infrastructure has security integrated from the ground up, and all data, whether at rest or in transit, is strongly encrypted. All of offerings are supported by a leading-edge Cyber Defense Operations Centre that monitors customer infrastructure around the clock.

Gartner’s announcement comes at a time when the Gulf region is taking strident steps towards cloud infrastructure adoption. Saudi Arabia plans to invest $2 trillion in IT projects in the coming years, with a significant portion to be invested in cloud. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates will see a gradual growth in IT spend from now until 2020, according to a report from BMI Research. A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 per cent is expected.

An accompanying decline in hardware sales together with BMI’s prediction that SaaS will take an increasing share of software sales, and strongly indicates a decisive shift to cloud for the GCC.

When Microsoft announced the G series of virtual machines, back in Q1 of 2015, it represented the most memory, highest processing power and the largest local SSD capacity of any VMs then available in the public cloud. The G series, allowed Azure to lead the market with continued innovation also supporting SAP HANA workloads up to 32 TB. Azure has industry-wide recognition too for its support of Linux and other open-source technologies having nearly one third of all Azure VMs on Linux boxes.

Gartner’s report singled out Microsoft’s “rapid rollout” of these new features and many others, signaling that the company’s brand and history, both with its customers and with its delivery of enterprise-class solutions and services, combine to allow the company to ‘rapidly attain the status of strategic cloud IaaS provider’.
“Microsoft Azure encompasses integrated IaaS and PaaS components that operate and feel like a unified whole,” Gartner analysts wrote.

Microsoft has been rapidly rolling out new features and services, including differentiated capabilities. It has a vision of infrastructure and platform services that are not only leading standalone offerings, but also seamlessly extend and interoperate with on-premises Microsoft infrastructure (rooted in Hyper-V, Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center), development tools (including Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server [TFS]), middleware and applications, as well as Microsoft’s SaaS offerings.”

Gartner’s analysts also cited Microsoft’s “deep investments” in engineering and “innovative roadmap” as crucial factors in the company’s current IaaS market standing. The report further recommends Microsoft Azure for General business applications and development environments that use Microsoft technologies; migration of virtualized workloads for Microsoft-centric organizations; cloud-native applications (including Internet of Things applications); and batch computing.

Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

Microsoft Gulf opened its Dubai-based headquarters in 1991 the same year as Synergy Software Systems.

For cloud hosting, or to back up to the cloud, or for applications like Dynamics 365 or Ax RTW (7) or Synergy MMS, or our xRM HIS, or Imaging storage, and Document management, or for cloud based monitoring of your clouds and on premise networks, find out how we can help with your move to the cloud.

Cloud – IaaS,PaaS,SaaS – what does this mean for Microsoft Dynamics?

September 20th, 2016

•<IaaS – Infrastructure as a service shares a huge gird of raw computing power and storage, including databases, rules engines, processing power and other infrastructure capabilities. A cloud provider makes this power accessible on an “as needed” basis. Its usually charged as a utility – you pay for what you use. for many comanies this is a way to outsource much of their day to day IT server management and strategy. The cloud provider takes care of hardware and database and operating systems upgrades, patches. log management, database tuning and expansion, and support, together with the associated overhead cost of energy, staff, server room – (no fit out, space to rent,n or A/c needed no separate maintenance contracts, no need for back up and anti virus software, etc)
PaaS - Platform as a service. This allows developers to access tools to create their own applications. The building blocks are made available by the software vendors to provide a jump start on development. PaaS is what your supply chain IT support or third party consultants can use to create customized workflows or tools specific to your needs. This may also for example be a temporary environment for testing
•SaaS – Software as a service. The business process application (“solution” in vendor-speak) layer in the cloud. Users can ‘rent’ or subscribe to applications on a per use basis to tackle specific business issues. SaaS is what you log on to use without any customization. Some vendors may also offer a rent to buy option.

Dynamics CRM is available on the cloud as part of the Office 365 suite ,and also on premise.

Ax can be run on premise, or the on premise licenses can be hosted on a cloud such as Azure i.e. IaaS charges are based on the server and database option selcted, the amount of storage space , the number of environments and a per month cost based on usage.
Both CRM and Ax are also available on a SPLA i.e rental licence basis/per user role either premise or on a hosted platform.
Third party hosting providers may offer a fixed priced SPLA and IaaS offering, for example Synergy Software Systems provides this option via our partner SaaS Plaza.

The current version of AX, released under the codename “AX 7″, or sometimes as Ax RTW provides both infrastructure and platform as a service, and you could also say software as a service for many businesses. It is currently only available as a cloud offering with a minimum of 20 Enterprise users or equivalent (this minimum number was reduced to 20 this month)

Note Historically AX has been a favored development platform and is often bought with the purpose of customizing the logic to match the exact needs of the business, instead of a company attempting to adjust their business processes.

The next step will be Dynamics 365 which will launch in the USA in November this year and we expect to see in the U.A.E. mid 2017. This will be an integrated solution with a common database, common data layer (out of the box master data integration), office productivity (Word Excel …) and communication tools (Skye Business,) collaboration tools )SharePoint, Yammer..) CRM, A Business logic layer which until recently was called ‘madeira’ this will extend to include sales, purchases finance … and will be an excellent solution of the SMB sector and medium size businesses. For the Enterprise customer Dynamics Ax 7 will also be an option finally set of tools will work across this solution stack Power Apps (think Xamarin, AsxStudio) Power BI, Microsoft Flow etc. And that’s not all there will also be an apps store and it will be easy for developers to push new apps into the store.

we will be covering lot more in this topic in coming months.

So the cloud is coming and offers more options than ever. Many companies will have a mix of on premise and cloud based solutions for the foreseebale future.Azure technology stack is due mid next year and will enable on premise Ax 7 as will as other hybrid cloud options There are many other azure solutions, e.g. for cloud based back up, or Cortana Analytics for Bi or the Azure IoT stack.

All the major IT vendors are now focused on the cloud. As the world becomes more mobile, and business models more disruptive expect its adoption to accelerate -we already mass use cloud systems One note, drop box, Facebook Linked-in Google apps, Hotmail, You tube, Vimeo,…. and many mobile apps already in our personal lives and the new ‘generation z’ employees now entering the job market expect the same power, agility and simplicity f se in their work tools.
So if the cloud, social and mobile are not part of your IT strategy then you have already ‘missed the bus’.

Windows Server 2016 – Synergy Software Systems, preview.

September 19th, 2016

Microsoft will launch Windows Server 2016 at the upcoming Ignite event on September 26-30. (The event is sold out, but sessions will be available online).
Security is the main focus areas for this release. Windows Server 2016 includes layers of security that help prevent attacks and detect suspicious activity with new features to control privileged access, protect virtual machines and harden the platform against emerging threats.

- Better detect threats using Microsoft Operations Management Suite and new Windows Server 2016 security events
- Use Microsoft Operations Management Suite with the new Windows Server 2016 security events
- Protect credentials from ‘Pass the Hash’ attacks using Credential Guard and Remote Credential Guard:
- Deploy Shielded Virtual Machines
- Device Guard, helps to control what runs on your server so that you can lock down highly sensitive servers and make sure your environment is running authorized code
- Manage privileged identity using ‘Just Enough’ administration.

Why the ‘cloud’? What is a hybrid cloud? Ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

September 19th, 2016

Buy or rent?. On premise or SaaS.? The answer to the questions, for enterprise computing, goes in cycles. When mainframe computing was at its peak, many organizations did not own such expensive machines outright and many companies rented processing time on these machines when needed, an arrangement known as time-sharing.
Moore’s law changed that. The era of mini — and then micro — computing made processing power so cheap that many organizations chose to own. As enterprise computing infrastructures became more complex, and the cost and difficulty of finding expert IT staff increases, so renting or subscription as it now called, has come back into vogue once more, in the form of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing

The terms “cloud” and “data center” may sound like interchangeable technical jargon or trendy buzz words. A data centre is ideal for those companies that need a customized, dedicated system that gives them full control over their data and equipment. Typically those with many integrations, and uncertain internet connections, and an internal IT team will consider this route. Since only the one company will be using the infrastructure’s power, a data centre is suitable for organizations that run many different types of applications and complex workloads.

A data centre, however, has limited capacity — once you build a data centre, you will not be able to instantly change the amount of storage, or processing power to accommodate for example significant changes in workload and data processing. On the other hand, a cloud system is scalable to your business needs. It has potentially unlimited capacity, based on your vendor’s offerings and service plans. When you are looking at big data processing for predictive analytics, of have high day end or seasonal workloads, then the ability to ramp up and down is important to avoid oversizing. For project based companies both the number of user licences required, and the processing power may vary from year to year. For a rapidly expanding company hardware and server room expansion and management is a challenge on premise.

In a recent IDC (International Data Corporation) Multi-Client Study, CloudView 2016) respondents to the survey said that they expect to increase their cloud spending by approximately 44% over the next two years, and 70% of heavy cloud users are thinking in terms of a “hybrid” cloud strategy.

The idea of a hybrid cloud is to get the best of on-premise deployment by leveraging cloud services. Some work is done on premise, some on the cloud e.g. BI or payment gateway. A combination of both public and private platforms, a hybrid cloud is meant to provide organizations with greater IT and infrastructure flexibility, as well as visibility and control over their cloud usage. The result should be that a, hybrid cloud enables business agility, including streamlined operations and improved cost management.

Sounds good but what does it all mean and what are the challenges? First let’s review some of the basics concepts.

Public Cloud
A public cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are provided off-site, over the Internet. Data centre hardware is not owned by clients and so you face no capital expenses. Instead, providers sell hosting as a ‘utility’ or rental service. Providers offer maintenance, disaster recovery and backup, however basic this may be. This is typically a multi-tenant software solution. Individual company data sits in separate blocks in a common clustered hardware. Data for individual organisations is kept separate and protected with robust security. Breaches of data with a reliable provider are rare. However, some security standards are not suitable for very sensitive data, rigorous audit trails or industry-specific compliance.

A Public cloud is y used to host web servers or develop applications. It is attractive to small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) when they are happy to use out-of-the-box menu specifications. Virtual machines are configured quickly – often within hours. Some SaaS (Software as a Service) services are placed within a public cloud when they have high levels of built-in security.

Private Cloud
A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. It operates on an isolated network and is extremely secure. It keeps data behind a firewall and is built either on-premise or in a ring-fenced section of a data centre. A Private cloud is a single tenant solution, with the hardware accessed by one, or multiple businesses. It’s an ideal solution for enterprise organisations or specialist firms with high levels of security and compliance. Clients generally maintain their own cloud system and own their hardware.

Security and compliance on private cloud is configured to meet compliance standards. Private cloud systems cost much more than public cloud and re-configuring is more complex and lengthy.

Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud uses public and private cloud for different elements of computing. Only some elements will require high security and customisation but others will not. Hybrid cloud offers private cloud for sensitive data but keeps non-sensitive, generic data (e.g. customer literature) in a cheaper public cloud environment. Hybrid cloud is usually hosted by different cloud providers – one for public and one for private. Hybrid cloud benefits companies who experience seasonal spikes so extra computing power is deployed quickly and cheaply in public cloud while keeping sensitive information in its private cloud.

A Hybrid cloud is the biggest growth area in cloud computing for enterprise businesses. As servers become ‘smarter’, hybrid cloud is estimated to represent 75% of future enterprise cloud computing.

A Hybrid cloud does not mean failover to onsite, for which a failover solution or a clustered install is needed and the failover can be to any other site whether local, remote or on cloud. Nor does hybrid mean offline working on premise option.

IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) polled more than 1,000 C-level executives to reveal that 78% of respondents deploy a cloud initiative that is fully integrated or coordinated — an increase from 34% in 2012. Enterprises may be embracing the cloud, but they are not yet fully invested in a cloud-only strategy. Across 18 industries, 45% of workloads are expected to remain on-premise in the near future.

A hybrid cloud deployment is a collaboration of public cloud, private cloud and traditional IT platforms that allow enterprises to customize a cloud solution that meets the particular needs of their company. The top motivating factors for adopting hybrid cloud solutions, according to the IBM study, include lowering the total cost of ownership, facilitating innovation, improving efficiency and meeting customer expectations.

Among the companies that embrace cloud computing, 76% responded that they were able to expand into new industries, 71% created new revenue sources and 69% supported new business models.

Security remains a concern, however, and has become a hurdle for companies and a deterrent from fully investing in the cloud. Nearly half of respondents expressed that security and compliance risks are a challenge in IBM’s study, while 41% of respondents expressed that the cost of the cloud was a deterrent and 38% feared a disruption to company operations by introducing a new cloud solution.

When survey respondents are segmented by performance, IBM concludes that twice as many high performers have fully integrated their cloud initiatives compared to low performers.

Nati Shalom, recently discussed in his post Achieving Hybrid Cloud Without Compromising On The Least Common Denominator, a survey that demonstrates that enterprises these days are often leveraging as many as six clouds simultaneously, and the list just keeps on growing with new technologies sprouting up by the minute. IT markets are not just moving to the cloud — they are moving to ‘clouds’,” said Ed Anderson, research vice president and Sid Nag, research director at Gartner in their report: “Market Trends: Cloud Adoption Trends Favor Public Cloud With a Hybrid Twist,” published August 4, 2016. “Evidence is mounting that as organizations mature in their usage of cloud services they are opting to use multiple cloud services, bound together through hybrid implementations.”

That’s why solutions like the Azure Stack, that are also geared towards multi-cloud scenerios in the context of app migration to the cloud from traditional data centers, especially while taking all of the enterprise-grade considerations involved in such a transition into account, are critical.

Many solutions don’t provide the extensibility and interoperability that enterprises need for future-proofing, application deployment portability among other popular use cases across clouds. Hybrid cloud itself has also has proven that it isn’t immune to future proofing with disruptive technologies arising every day

Azure users now have a set of building blocks for managing the entire application stack and its lifecycle, across clouds, stacks and technologies. And with Microsoft now having the most open source developers on GitHub, yup – ahead of Facebook, Angular, and even Docker – Azure is uniquely positioned to achieve this level of openness and interoperability.
This will also ultimately provide a higher degree of flexibility that allows users to define their own level of abstraction per use case or application. In this manner, cloud portability is achievable without the need to change the underlying code, enabling true hybrid cloud.

Fifty-five percent of CIOs surveyed by Gartner indicated that by 2020 they will structure more than half of their applications as SaaS or manage them in a public cloud infrastructure. To manage and govern public, private and hybrid cloud services requires a focus on cloud management. This, in turn, requires new roles, processes and technologies.

Key Employee roles for the Hybrid cloud
Database professionals to filter out business critical data from the data overload we have today. A Big Data Foundationprofessional will be familiar with – Hadoop and MongoDB.
Software developers no longer just push code, they are pivotal to the user experience and thus the user adoption of cloud solutions.
Information security managers must appreciate the risks involved with business data and discuss this across the organization (at all levels) to align key stakeholders in positions to invest in and implement security measures.
Enterprise architects. Today solution architects, need the skills to adapt to cloud computing and hybrid cloud environments. Companies want to avoid working with ad hoc systems implementations, and architects who understand cloud computing and all its service models are in high demand. to design a scalable and sustainable cloud infrastructure which optimizes the use of private and public cloud.
Business managers working in the cloud need to understand how the technical infrastructure supports the business strategy get the benefits of cloud computing to drive their objectives.

Microsoft’s Hybrid cloud blog: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/hybridcloudbp/2016/09/

If you are considering how the cloud can benefit your business then contact us to explore the many options.

Find out out about the new integrated Dynamics 365 offerings. e.g.
Ask about specific vertical solutions like Synergy MMS for hotel facility management, or 7 Medical HIS and imaging solutions
Host your applications in a secure managed cloud – with both fixed price or based on use billing.
Monitor your on site global networks with cloud based monitoring systems.
Use Cortana Analytics and Power BI to turn data into information.
Back up to the cloud.
Skype Business
and much, much more.

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.