Archive for the ‘Office tips’ category

SSD performance degrades over time- prevent this with DymaxIO

September 29th, 2020

Can SSD performance degrade over time and is there a way to prevent this? The answer is YES and YES. the same solution that addresses the inefficiencies of iops in Windows , SQL and VMs can also help you to maintain the performance of your solid state disks.

The reason for this degradation is an undesirable SSD phenomenon called the Write Amplification Factor (WAF), . This is a numerical value that indicates the actual amount of data that was written to an SSD in relation to the amount of data that was requested to be written from the Host (i.e. Windows OS System)

WAF = the data written to the SSD / the data written by the host

For example, an application on the Windows Server system writes out 128kb of data to the SSD, but internally on the SSD, 512kb of data is written on the SSD for this to occur. This will degrade SSDs write performance.

In this example, the WAF = 512kb/128kb = 4 ! This is bad, a 128kb write from the host that resulted in 512kb of internal writes on the SSD

Ideally, you want a WAF = 128KB/128KB = 1

Why does this occur. Unlike HDDs, data cannot be directly overwritten on a disk. On SSDs, data can only be written to erased spaces. When you have a brand new initialized SSD, all of the pages are in a free/erased state, and there is no problem for it to find free/erased spaces to write new data. But as the SSD starts to fill up with data, resulting in erased spaces having to be created that causes the WAF to increase. I can go into more detail on this but will save it for another time. Suffice to say, a higher WAF value means SSD performance degradation.

Do SSDs degrade over time?

The answer is YES but this has to do more with the SSDs filling up over time. Some recommendations on the web advise to keep free space on SSDs anywhere from 10% to 30% to avoid this degradation. With less free space on a highly I/O intensive system, a couple of things occur:

-There are less free spaces to write to, extra overhead may have to occur like block erasures to allow the new updates to occur. This increases the WAF – Not a good thing.
- With less free space, file data may get spread out to different locations on the SSD. For example, in the best case, 10 pages of file data that is being updated are all on the same block.
- When the block needs to be erased to be updated, then just that one block needs to be updated. If those 10 pages are on 10 different blocks, then in the worst case, those 10 blocks have to be erased and re-written – More overhead and a higher WAF.

The result is

➣SSDs are overprovisioned. For example, a 1TB SSD actually contains 1.1TB of data space. This extra space (seen only by the SSD internals) helps to allow the WAF to remain low.
➣SSD Garbage collection and Trim. Both of these processes include freeing/erasing spaces in the background so new writes can occur quickly on these newly erased spaces.

How doies DymaxIO™ help with SSDs Degrading?

DymaxIO has technology to keep the WAF low.

The patented IntelliWrite® technology enforces efficient Sequential Writes to occur rather than smaller Random Writes from the Windows Host. Sequential writes are more likely to place data in the same blocks which can decrease the WAF

Optimization engines keep the free space contiguous when needed on the host logical side. This will help enforce larger sequential writes to occur which decrease the WAF.

There are also a few more benefits of enforcing larger sequential writes.
- Sequential I/Os out-perform Random I/Os on storage, both HDDs and SSDs, so this ensures you are getting the optimal performance from your storage.
- Keeping the WAF low and writes lower on the SSD helps to extend the lifetime of the SSD.

IntelliWrite technology in DymaxIO does both of these functions automatically
- Keep sufficient free space on your SSDs
- Enforce Sequential Writes rather than Random Writes.

Fix at the source. 2X SQL application performance, accelerate Windows throughput 40+%, extend hardware life 2 to 3 years, reduce timeouts, crashes, and more. A software solution to software problems Just install, DymaxIOno code changes, no reboot necessary.

Call Synergy Software Systems 0097143365589

Microsoft’s Office App for iOS and Android phones

February 22nd, 2020

Microsoft’s new Office App for iOS and Android phones is now generally available worldwide, the company announced this week.

The Office App for phones can be downloaded from the Apple store for iOS devices, or from the Google Play store for Android devices.

The app is also “available for download on Android tablets with limited support,” but it’s not fully optimized yet, Microsoft’s announcement explained.

The Office App combines Excel, PowerPoint and Word into a single downloadable application that’s said to take up less space on a mobile device, and is optimized for smartphone activities.

Excel vulnerable

July 1st, 2019

Security researchers uncovered a serious vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.’s Excel that exposes around 120 million users to attack. Mimecast Services Ltd., identified that the vulnerability relates to how Power Query, a feature in Excel that is able to pull data from other sources, can be abused. A hacker is able to use Power Query to dynamically launch a remote Dynamic Data Exchange attack into an Excel spreadsheet to actively control the payload. The vulnerability can be exploited to launch hard-to-detect attacks that combine several attack surfaces, embed malicious content in a separate data source and even load the content into the spreadsheet when it is opened to compromise the user’s machine.

In November 2017 Microsoft published an advisory that included workarounds, including recommending users disable the DDE feature where it is not needed in order to block external data connections. The same advisory did note, however, that users would have to click through a number of security prompts for malicious code to be installed. There is legitimate concern over the vulnerability as the feature is turned on by default. It’s unclear whether organizations are following Microsoft’s earlier advice, and it seems unlikely that many organizations have disabled it.

There are currently no known cases of the vulnerability being exploited in the wild, although that could change now its details have been published. Microsoft has not published a fix for the vulnerability nor has it indicated that it is working on one, but with 120 million users at risk and now widespread attention, we strongly recommend all Microsoft Excel customers implement the workarounds suggested by Microsoft.

Microsoft Office 2019 coming soon but only on Windos 10

February 3rd, 2018

Microsoft launched Windows 10 in June 2015, two and a half years ago.

According to data gathered in January 2018, Windows 10 reached 42.78% in terms of worldwide internet usage, compared to 41.86% for Windows 7, 8.72% for Windows 8.1, and 3.36% for Windows XP.

Windows 7 – end of extended support nearing —January 2020
Office365 might be the jewel in the crown for Microsoft, but a new version of standalone Office has been announced for Windows 10. Office 2019’s desktop applications will only run on Windows 10 – and has shortened support.

In an update published on February 1st, the company revealed that the beta apps for the perpetual version of Office 2019 – as opposed to the subscription Office 365 – will appear in 2018’s second quarter and a final release will ship in the second half of the year.

When the software lands, it will only run on Windows 10 or the next Long-Term Servicing version of Windows Server. For Windows 10 users, only the Semi-Annual or Long-Term Servicing Channel editions of the OS will run Office’s apps.

In the past, perpetual versions of Office were released under the Microsoft Fixed Lifecycle Policy, with a term of 5 years of standard support and 5 years of extended support.Office 2019 will get the usual period of standard support, but just two years of extended support. That will mean the suite’s planned death day is October 10th, 2025. (Which is the same day on which Microsoft will end extended support for Office 2016.)

Microsoft said this is because “As the pace of change accelerates, it has become imperative to move our software to a more modern cadence.” Which is a bit inconsistent with news that Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2018 will land “in the fall of 2018” and get five years of extended support.

Another change Microsoft’s is to make Office 365 ProPlus, the business-oriented version of the service, available only on Windows 10’s semi-annual channel. As of January 14, 2020, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016 or older and Windows 10 LTSC releases won’t run ProPlus. Nor will unsupported Windows 10 semi-annual releases.

This will keep Windows 10 and ProPlus in synch for security reasons. Those companies that deliver ProPlus to virtual desktops or over remote access will have a chllenge. Later this year, “new Remote Desktop and desktop virtualization capabilities within the SAC release cadence of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows Server.” Windows Server Insiders will see those changes before other users.

Office 2019 will add new user and IT capabilities for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud. For example:
New and improved inking features—like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay—will allow you to work more naturally.
New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful.
Visual animation features—like Morph and Zoom—will add polish to PowerPoint presentations.
Server enhancements will include updates to IT manageability, usability, voice, and security.’

Excel tutorials

October 5th, 2017

The Microsoft Excel team blog has moved to

Their new blog is mainly focused on support announcements and updates,

it seems to be missing the tutorial style content it used to have.

Meanwhile here are 40 excel tutorials you might find useful –

Insights and AI with Dynamics 365

October 13th, 2016

Microsoft is the only major CRM provider to embed external customer data, millions of key contacts, and timely, actionable insights within CRM at no additional cost. Relationship Insights, which as the name suggests gives sales people information about the status of their customer relationships at any given moment is built on the on the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which Microsoft introduced in 2015 and uses tools like sentiment analysis to check on the likelihood of the deal closing and the next best action to take.

Insights 4.0 by Insideview is included at no additional charge in all Professional and Enterprise subscriptions of Microsoft Dynamics. It offers a more streamlined, seamless user experience within the new Microsoft Dynamics 365, as well as the current version Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015.

In addition to Insights’ already robust access to more than 30 million contacts, and the intuitive new interface, Insights 4.0 adds the following features:
– New filtering capabilities to easily find and import the right contacts into CRM
Discovery Center, where users can search InsideView’s database of 12 million+ companies and add them to CRM
– Custom field mapping to allow Insights data to easily update company and contact records in Microsoft Dynamics 365.
- Social feed suppression to enable/disable social media integration.
- Social media stream customization to tailor the individual user experience.

Dynamics 365 refers to the Azure-based combination of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) services. At the core of this solution is what Microsoft simply calls as Intelligence, which is actually constituted by advanced analytics and machine learning technologies. It powers the apps within Microsoft’s cloud service that provides a range of functions for business such as sales automation, operations and customer service.

Companies can integrate all of this data with internal metrics (KPIs) to drive automated actions based on the data. The solution includes partner data from the likes of Facebook and Trip Advisor (proving you don’t need to own an external data source to take advantage of it).

It’s been designed as a stand-alone service that can work with any of the Dynamics 365 CRM components — sales, customer service or field service — and can also work with any external CRM tool with open APIs. This last point is particularly telling because it’s giving customers who might not be using Dynamics 365 (but are using other Microsoft tools like Outlook) access to this feature.

Versium, a predictive analytics company, today announced their partnership with Microsoft to bring Versium Predict, their automated predictive analytics solution to Microsoft Dynamics 365

This integration will allow Dynamics 365 for Sales users to quickly build customized predictive models that score and prioritize leads, enabling sales and marketing to know in advance which consumers and businesses are most likely to purchase their products or services. The integration will also generate new, highly targeted prospect lists from the predictive model to drive campaigns, including email, phone, direct mail and display audiences, with increased customer conversion.

Versium Predict is designed to be seamlessly integrated into Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, allowing businesses to:
◾Quickly build powerful predictive models through an automated, on demand interface
◾Prioritize leads with the highest propensity to purchase or engage
◾Create new highly targeted prospect lists and customized audiences to support email, direct mail and online display advertising campaigns

‘Delve’ into Office 365

February 11th, 2016

At convergence in Orlando last year Delve was part of of demonstrations featuring Gigjam and Cortana Analytics but what does it do? In Microsoft Office 365, Delve is the app that tracks and stores your activity.

One of the benefits of having a Microsoft Office 365 subscription is that the suite of available apps is periodically updated with new features. Many times these updates and upgrades are l incremental changes that your employees may not even notice. However, sometimes these updates are completely new application features.On January 7, 2016,Microsoft released a new feature for Office 365 Delve to simplify organized team collaboration

The new feature for Delve is called ‘boards‘. The boards concept gives employees a new way both to organize and to share content with fellow employees and the enterprise in general.

Delve can now also be the app that lets you organize your activity. For example, when working on a specific project create a board dedicated to that project, and attach every document, video, meeting, and image your team creates. From that board, share everything with some or all of the entire enterprise and potentially let everyone in the enterprise add to the board for the project, depending on what permissions you establish. Enterprise wide collaboration and document sharing .

Is this useful? There other collaborative tools from SharePoint to to Yammer, to Skype Business.
Microsoft’s vision of a global mobile workforce, means collaboration comes in the form of sharing documents and easy Skype meetings, Delve boards shared amongst team members makes sense. But sharing that collaboration, with all its rest of the enterprise seems like more of a distraction and much less useful. Much like Facebook can be full of random junk or be a targeted focus group similarly Yammer can invite constructive feedback or just be a mass waste of time with uninformed contributors making ill informed comment or reading such comments out of context. We have all suffered the email tsunami of being copied on endless minor updates on trivial matters more driven by office politics than business sense.

From the rest of the enterprise’s point of view, do we really need or want to know what every small team from finance to marketing is working on for a particular client? Most of us have enough trouble tracking our own activity, let alone worrying about everyone else’s. Will all employees will be willing to share their work with the rest of the enterprise using Delve and the boards system – what if a project is not going well? Some policy guidelines and monitoring need to be thought about before adoption.

The new mobile, always connected, social media focused, collaborative workforce of today are looking for similar features to support their work effort. But does it really help when people who sit next to each other above to communicate by email; or sit around a dinner table communicating by text messages?

Collaboration between and amongst small groups working in teams is the backbone of any enterprise. However, vast dissemination of that small group collaboration sounds like noise. Where such a tool helos is that you can self serve to find information without it having to be pushed. Users can read what they want when they need, and not have their email boxes filled multiple attachments they don’t need to read. Its easier to mass communicate when users opt in. Security policies and controls need to be considered.

Microsoft Office 365 Delve is an interesting application. Like all tools in needs training and experience/expertise to get best use. It will be particularly helpful for those teams that are part of a mobile workforce. The addition of boards gives teams a different tool to help organize and to coordinate their collaborative activity.

So well done Microsoft for keeping Office 365 fresh with new features and just as with any other office products use it when appropriate.

Filehold – ask Synergy Software Systems about document management for the U.A.E.

November 30th, 2015

Courier documents

Mobile document management

“We recommend FileHold as the best document management system for businesses using Windows. We chose FileHold from dozens of document management system options.
Why FileHold?
Ease of use
FileHold is a self-hosted document management system for businesses using Windows computers. It has the same look and feel of programs you’re already accustomed to using, and the interface is designed specifically with Windows Explorer in mind. The filing structure incorporates the same cabinet, drawer, folder and subfolder approach that Windows uses. So, once the software is installed, employees should have no trouble grasping how to use and navigate it.
We like FileHold’s clean interface. It isn’t cluttered with icons or images. All you see when logging in is the file library running down the left-hand side of the page and a search bar along the top. The majority of the page remains blank until you start filing, searching for or opening documents. This approach keeps you on the same page the entire time you’re using the system. Many of the other systems we examined force you to toggle back and forth between pages depending on the task you’re working on.
The FileHold library structure is designed with Windows Explorer in mind.
Adding to the system’s ease of use are the MyFileHold folders, which are placed on top of the general library of cabinets and drawers on the left-hand side of the page. The MyFileHold section features separate folders for employees’ “favorite” documents, their checked-out documents, any alerts or reminders they have, the files they recently accessed and the files they recently added to the system. This provides a quick snapshot of the documents currently being worked on and the files that need immediate attention.
Each employee can customize various portions of the system with their personal preferences. This option isn’t offered by all of the document management systems we examined. When looking at specific documents, employees can choose the tools they want to be quickly accessible. Quick links can be added for a variety of tasks, such as adding files, linking documents together and checking out files. Additionally, you can choose the metadata attributes — like document type, version, number of linked files and the author — that are shown alongside the file’s name.
Filing documents within the software is simple and can be done in many ways. You can drag and drop files already on your computer or network, as well as scan documents directly into the system. The Microsoft Office integration also allows you to add documents you are working on in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook or PowerPoint with just a click of a button.

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

January 27th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

also Facebook, Salesforce, Sybase etc.

Connect live to on-premises Analysis Services models

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

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

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

Power maps

Power Bi Designer preview

January 22nd, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Is the cloud right for you? Costs? Data security? What else? Which applications? Ask Synergy Software Systems

May 10th, 2014

Is my data safe in the cloud is a bit like asking whether your money is safer in the bank or under the bed. Banks also get robbed but in general are better protected than most other options.

Why use the cloud?
- is it a strategic decision to focus on the core business and to outsource an administrative function
- is there a limitation of available technical skills and local infrastructure,
- is there a need to deploy quickly and expectation of rapid scalability for which on premise deployment will be too slow
- is there a highly seasonal or variable demand for system use?
- is it economic decision to take advantage of the cloud’s economies of scale, or to smooth out cash flow, or to get more predictable IT costs ?

Such questions will help you to determine which is the best datacenter and cloud provider for your circumstances.

When choosing a data centre consider:
- the likelihood of natural disasters and weather, climate, geology
– the likelihood of man-made problems like terrorism or industrial disputes.
- the available skilled workforce, the quality of life on offer, what is the staff turnover> and certification levels?
- what are the contractual terms
- what are the latency issues for he software you run
- how geographically dispersed are your operations
- is the local bandwidth and latency the same everywhere.
- -will your cloud provider include a thin client in the pricing or might you also need to purchase Citrix or similar technology?
- does your business store large graphic or media files , will those also be in the cloud? What is the likely upload and download time?
- What about printing time and cost for large documents?
- What about BI? How fast will it run across the cloud?
- – Where will you site your Active Directory server? Will you also use ADFS?
- Does the cloud data centre provide the necessary viewers?
- the government, legislative and business culture. If governance is a critical factor for choosing a home for company data then to avoid government snooping, find a friendly country – and first define what friendly means.
- are you reluctant to use sites that are too far away. Do you want desire to visit the site in a reasonable time
- what are the accreditation and audit standards of the data centre
- can you undertake your own audits?
- what managed services are provided?
- are costs transparent? Have you budgeted for test and live systems, or for reporting databases, for back up storage? What if you want to move data between test and live – what is the time the cost, and who can do it, when?
- is your requirement for heavy processing for a few hours a day or do you need an always on transactional system.? I.e. a fixed cost or another monthly utility bill? Who is going to estimate the capacity and cost for usage based? How does that vary during implementation when you are data loading and developing, and during live operation? How does this impact costs when pay on a usage basis?
- what are the payment terms and what happens if you are late or miss a monthly payment?
- if you decide to move to another provider what assistance can you expect, how long will it take to move the data at what usage cost?
- Will you take your own back-ups to an on premise location, how will you test those the back up restores will work outside the cloud environment?
- Do the service levels, SLAs and up time statistics typically reflect 5 x 8 hour operation or 24 x 7 operation?
- and how do those factors compare to your own backyard?

Any company that distributes high volumes of content will be a large bandwidth user and will want to be located near to strong network hubs. This is why established internet exchanges in e.g. London, Amsterdam and other hubs continue to attract local business.

Dubai has long had major data centres and Synergy Software Systems offers cloud hosting as a private cloud in Dubai, as an IAAS service on Azure through Microsoft, or via level 4 international data centres in Europe and Asia, particularly for SPLA licensing of Dynamics Ax and Dynamics CRM.

Another powerful but undocumented reason why few data centres hosts migrate is that the expertise has become localised. Staff that have the experience of building data centres and running them have some of the rarest skills in IT. Recruiting these specialists is incredibly expensive and time consuming, so it’s often easier to take the data centre to the areas where they live. Dubai has a modern infrastucture and a ready supply of skilled IT engineers and we expect to see local cloud providers increase.

Major vendors solution road map are increasingly heading to the cloud. Microsoft with Azure is now taking all its apps to the cloud. Not only Dynamics CRM on line and Office 365 on line but also erp systems like Dynamics Ax. Solution development features and pricing is increasingly favouring cloud users.

If you plan to use Office 365 , with a hosted erp system in the cloud then consider whether your erp system integration with Office apps will work on line or wether you will still need on premise office licences.

The US is the leader in providing cloud computing services across the globe, dominating every segment of the market.

In the 2013 Informa Cloud World Global Insights survey, 71% of respondents (of whom only 9% were from North America) ranked the US as the leader in cloud computing usage and innovation.

In this same survey, 9 out of 10 respondents linked cloud computing to their country’s economic competitiveness.

Revelations about the extent of USA government agency surveillance of private data has exacerbated concerns about locating data centres there.

The National Security Agency (NSA), and other US law enforcement and security agencies, exploit the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Patriot Act to snoop on foreign electronic data is forcing foreign companies to consider their options.

A report from the US- based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, suggests that post-PRISM concerns could cost US cloud computing firms up to $35bn in the next three years should foreign companies feel storing data in the US is too risky.

Meanwhile, a stable banking sector, strong consumer spending and a solid economic outlook, a skilled workforce, and modern infrastructure and a climate that makes cooling servers much less costly are factors, making Canada a preferred location for foreign investors seeking safety and growth, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Data Centre Risk Index 2013.

Despite natural disasters like the US is still generally seen as a low-risk location. The ability to recover from Hurricane Sandy impressed analysts and the US still has the highest internet bandwidth capacity of all the countries measured by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) and the average cost of electricity, while not the cheapest, has stabilised and is relatively low.


The costs of Canadian labour and energy have reduced since last year, according to the World Bank. Canada’s international bandwidth is ranked 11th in the world. The construction of a new submarine broadband cable in 2014 and will bring better links to global commercial markets. Canada attracts increasing investment from operators and occupiers and its cold climate is perfect for free cooling.

In 2012 a policy document entitled Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe, the European Commission (EC) called for a number of steps to promote cloud computing adoption in Europe, including creating pan-European technical standards, EU-wide certification for cloud computing providers, and model contract language.

In Europe Germany, France and the UK still leader in bandwidth, latency, workforce skills and political stability, but the energy crisis is making Scandinavian countries a much more attractive proposition

UK is highly ranked thanks to its international internet bandwidth capacity and ease of doing business. The combination of recession and a recent construction boom means there are plenty of empty data centres in the UK.

Document Management – Dubai, U.A.E., Qatar, Kuwait, KSA, Oman, Bahrain – anywhere! Synergy Software Systems

March 4th, 2014

As we move more and more into the digital world the need to access documents electronically, anytime anywhere is of increasing importance. To complement our financial and erp systems we have also provide solutions such as fax software, print management software and document management. Many erp systems have some facility for document linking or attachment e.g Dynamics CRM and Dynamics Ax. However the document repository is usually best kept outside the erp system for many reasons e.g.:
- Users need an erp license to access documents stored in an erp system
- Documents stored in an erp system are usually static in contact because those relate to specific transactions and time and should not be subject to changes and version control.
- Documents take up database space and increase the size of the erp system back ups thereby extending downtime on the operational system
- There may be document workflow processes outside of erp.
- OCR scanning and searching are generally not supported within erp systems

Filehold is a modern feature rich comprehensive document system which integrates with SharePoint and we extend it with Arabic OCR. It is available on premise or on-cloud.

There are several considerations to select and to introduce a document management system. For example:

How many documents?
What types of documents?
What is the mix of document types e.g., what % are created soft copy by applications e.. erp systems, email systems and thus don’t need scanning or physical printing and filing , and how many are received as hard copies e.g. faxes, or printed contracts?
Do you receive faxes as hard copy print outs or do you use a fax software to send and to receive?
How many users?
How many locations?
Will hard copy documents need to be scanned?
If so, then will there be a central scanning department or will users have individual access to scanners?
Do you already have scanners in place?
Is OCR scan conversion required?
If so then does this need to be multi lingual e.g. Arabic or English?
Do you need to ocr scan dual language within the same document? e.g. a bi-lingual Arabic-English contract?
How much integration is needed to other systems and how easy is this e.g. from within email systems, or within erp systems?
will the document management system work with you collaboration system e.g. SharePoint?
Does it offer version controls?
Does it offer workflow approval processes?
What will be done about legacy hard copy documents- how many are there?
How long would it take to unbind, scan, ocr convert, index, and then re-file?
Does it provide the right security Access controls to digital documents rather than to physical documents?
Which physical documents will still also be filed?
How should it be phased in e.g. by one function or one department at a time?

Business case?
For a knowledge-worker time is money. If the average annual cost of an engineer is ~$100k then how much of that workers time is consumed searching for amendments in paper contracts?

Modern businesses create complex contracts that often require multiple revisions and many authorizations. Creating and managing those contracts electronically in a document management system saves time and frustration and ensures that everyone is working with the most current version of a document.

Filehold provides important features for contract management that : maintains security, allows users to collaborate, provides alerts and reminders as to contract expiration or renewal dates. It is essential that the solution allows project users at site users to look at and even check out contract documents from anywhere in the world from where they have access to the Internet.

Engineering organizations and engineering departments create large and complex design and report documents. Being able to put these documents into a document management workflow for review and approval saves time and money. Tight version control ensures everyone uses with the most recent version of a document.

There are obvious cost saving benefits stemming from document management such as reduced printing, postage, and physical storage costs. The more significant benefits from the business impacts:
• Rapid find and search of key data and files for timely decision making based on all the related information
• Version control to ensure the correct prices, designs and contractual terms are used.
• Streamlined electronic processes,
• Support for compliance and audit trails and avoidance of legal disputes

If you are drowning in documents and want to streamline our business, reduce errors, improve collaboration, reduce errors and ensure compliance then document management is often one of the fastest solutions to implement with the quickest ROI.

Ask us for a demo: 00971 43365589

Implement erp fast and save money and look good -Formpipe Lasernet

February 6th, 2012

Lasernet form FormPipe

Look good, save money and make everyone’s life easier. Really!

Systems cannot ‘go live’ without external facing documents:  Purchase orders, Quotes, invoices,  cheques, delivery notes etc.

‘Out of the box’ reports are seldom adequate without customisation. 

It takes time. Time to explain, to develop, to deploy to a test system, to create test data and transactions, to test layout content and printing, to test distribution and archiving, to rework, to move to live systems, to create variations by site, and by trading partner  and to get approval from marketing and management is a major area of underbudgeted implementation time and cost.

So why not do this outside the systems in tools like Microsoft Word using your own staff, who know how to use that software  and how they want the finished report to look?

Yes it can be done!  Use the same solution instance for all of your companies for almost any software, from anywhere in the world you have connectivity ..

FormPipe Input/Output Management ensures that the document goes in the right format from operational systems to business systems, from web to business systems and from business systems to the web.

Send the document the way you want in the format you want

Improve your branding with modern fonts, colours and consistent look and feeldon’t be constrained by canned report formats.

Rapidly change company logo, address, or registration details or quickly update marketing messages, across all your system documents

Three major areas are addressed:

  • Convert from one data format to another, eg XML to PDF / A
  • Appearance/layout handling, basically the graphical part of a document
  • Distribute in the correct format to the right receiver

FormPipe Input/Output Management manages the organizations many different types of business documents, Print templates, forms, letters, invoices, orders, reports whether an electronic format such as XML, XHTML, EDI, PDF /  or in paper format.

With FormPipe Input/Output Management your organization will be compliant with all requirements of a document’s appearance and data format, regardless of original system format.

Manage information flows in and out of all your business systems, and use with any operating system regardless of what those systems do or what data they produce.

Produce consistent house style and branding across all you application documents . Tailor external documents by trading partner – add their logos, or use a different sort order, or add a page total , or a bar code etc. Format and sort and group outside your erp system using familiar office program template documents. Produce as a pdf a fax or an email or send an sms at the same time while you also save a copy in the associated document management system.

The benefits of the solution are many and our customers use FormPipe Input/Output Management for example:

  • Template Management
  • Form Handling
  • Print Management
  • Process incoming electronic documents
  • PDF rendering
  • Layout management of business documents

In built modules for SAP and Microsoft Dynamics Ax

Save time and cost on erp implementation

Save on time and stationery once operational

When you upgrade your business systems your reports do not need to be redesigned -  remap the print output to the same report templates and save days of reprogramming and testing.


· BOC Edwards

“Through good project management, SAP implementation cost overruns and delays are becoming rarer, however, when they do occur they are generally caused by output programming errors. By using LaserNet we were able to avoid all these issues as well as adding some beneficial document management facilities. Overall LaserNet was a key factor in the success of the SAP implementation overall.” (ERP: SAP)


“We send up to 70,000 invoices a year to our customers, and with FormPipe LaserNet we can convert each and every one of them into an electronic format, so that they can be sent to the recipients by the customers choice of email, fax in addition to XML: all without operator intervention. Just by switching 20% of our invoices to email delivery we saved several thousand euros within a few months and anticipate a significant return on investment within the year.”


“Thanks to our LaserNet system we can now print our business forms on to plain laser stock, eliminating the cost & difficulties associated with pre-printed stationery. Further on, FormPipe LaserNet enables us to distribute documents via email and archive them electronically. We save over 15,000 euro a year on printing, postage & filing costs. With a low starting cost the FormPipe LaserNet solution is an investment that has given us our money back many times over.” (ERP: Dynamics AX)


“There are three good reasons why we chose to implement LaserNet: Firstly, LaserNet is not dependent on a printer, in contrast to our previous form printing system. Next, we can perform the programming and preparation directly in LaserNet which we’d otherwise have to do in our financial management system. It’s a huge benefit to us, saving both time and money. And last but not least we can easily and efficiently reuse the forms we make in LaserNet when we switch from using Concorde XAL to Dynamics AX as an ERP system”. (ERP: Dynamics AX)

SQL 2012 and SSRS

February 4th, 2012

Reporting Services in SQL Server 2012 will support XLSX, DOCX formatsand this removes the 65536 rows limit in XLS files ;)

the 65.536 rows limit in an Excel sheet was removed with Office 2007/2010 with the introduction of new Excel format XLSX.

 SQL Server Reporting Services lacked XLSX file export support in SQL 2008 and ealier versions.

That means you won’t receive the error messages like below.

However think twice before generating an XLSX file with millions of rows. Who will open this Excel sheet with millions of rows in it ?

Even if the answer  “I will reach this XLSX file programatically not directly opening with Excel” rmemebr that Excel files are not intended to be used as a database!

Dubai in the cloud? Office 365?

December 7th, 2011

When you are starting up or need a new solution fast then a cloud based solution rather than an on-premise one  will get you up and running without the cash flow hit.  . . . at least in the short-term. However, if you implement a major business application then you still need comprehensive business process mapping, data cleansing, organizational change management, end-user training , data migration local support etc.

 The cost structure of cloud ERP avoids paying a lump sum up-front, either for hardware , software, product install, or day to day IT staff  but  organizations must pay for yearly subscriptions to their cloud provider. So it’s an easy way to amortize a large upfront expense witrhout punitive bank loans or mortgages.  You also don’t need to worry about the cost of applying patches and upgrades or resizing hardware, or the cost of back up tapes nor the space costs of a server room (what is the opportutnity cost of the space in a amjor city?)  and the energy costs that go with it, not to mention insurance and support costs for the hardware.

 However if the business cash flow should cash dry up, then you may find it  impossible to pay for the subscription – you dont just lose support, you may lose your entire system.   Vendors need to make a profit so ultimately they have to cover the cost of the up front finance. Cloud applications therefore generate more predictable revenue and higher long term revenue.

There are many successful solutions particularly in the CRM space.  Why am I writing about this now? Well Microsoft recently invited me to particpate in one of the partner surveys about our awarenes of, and our business plans, re the cloud and use/planned sales of specifically Azure and other providers like Amazon web  services. So I ahd to think – we sell some cloud solutions but we not likely to be a host  of the cloud – we implement and support. So how might it change our future and offerings?

In this region there has been cautious adoption . Of course most of us use the cloud  without thinking about it when we buy books on line or upload photos, or use web email, or Facebook etc.

So what about erp solutions like Dynamics Ax . We have been able to offer this for a long time on the cloud but clients in this region are still concerend about proven reliability – there have been some prominent site outages this year, and about  risks to their data. I am less conerend about secuirty – if you choose a major provider then they will have  a Fort Knox equivalent data centre physical security with appropriate back up,  disaster recovery, firewalls, virus protection, and skilled staff  etc that will be far safer than most on premise networks. For me the problem is more about the contractual and support side which seems much less clear..

 2. Will we still own our data? a crucial question to ask your ERP cloud provider before the purchase-  how and in what format will  the cloud provider deliver your data to you when you cancel your contract – how long will that take  .

3. How to choose the ERP cloud provider? Few will have a cloud track record, but  lots of satisfied customers is always a good sign .  Check the uptime guarantees, service level agreement (SLA) and other terms and conditions and whether these cna be substantiated and what happens if those are not met . Check the vendor is operating on a large enough scale with redundant infrastructure facilities in the case of a natural disaster at their primary facility. What is their financial stability. WIll your data be in the sama server as others on a shared database, or will it be dedicated for you? How does the application licensing work if the cloud provider is not the application vendor?

4. What if  we want to bring ERP back in-house? . Some vendors only support cloud deployment,

5. Will a cloud-based ERP system be able to integrate with the other line of business applications that we use?  ERP solutions with integration tools will allow you to integrate to other on premises and cloud based solutions. Can you customise for your business, or is it a common build offered to all clients – i.e if the system is enhanced for you then all other users similarly benefit. A common build will tend to be continually improved and be easier to upgrade maintain – Birch St is a typical product that works on this module for Hospitality procurdment.

6. Will there be connectivity and response time issues   Check the latency and   bandwidth requirement per client – consider report printing and BI.  Response time is a key factor for the user with a cloud based system. Flex system is a powerful user friendly cloud BI system – its in memory processing ensures exceptional processing response time. Ask us! Its a well kept secret here but is widely used in financial services in Asia.

7. What if the internet connection goes down? Consider a  redundant internet service to ensure continued operations even when your primary ISP goes down this may also help you to load balance and peak times . Many organizations find that a redundant system also helps with load balancing during high usage time.

8. What if the cloud provider is offline? The SLA (Service Level Agreement), should define   uptime guarantees and explanation of the redundant systems in place to protect against major system failure – 99.9% uptime  means in the worst case scenario that your system isdown less than 8.76 hours per annum – probably better than an in house system .

9. What  about add on customised developments?   Will these  work with a cloud based application ? This will become more common as the cloud usage expands, but there will be an additional cost to adding ISV applications to your hosted or cloud system.

What about office tools- these are less crtical than erp solutions Most of us use a hotmail gmail ,yahoo or equivalent mail account. Google apps has a large footprint of users – and Zoho also has its fans,

Microsoft has now entered this space with 2 million clients for Office 365 in a very short time. For small businesses this is a quick way to get up and running at a known cost with Office Professional, SharePoint, Exchange server and Lync with the only requirement being an internet connection,- instant productivity with the possibility of Skype or other VOIP phone systems. Ask us for details. However, it can also be a big boon for large companies as a way of outsourcing these IT functions – useful when skilled resources are scarce /costly, and when office rents are high, and the company wants to stay compliant with ITIL, and the latest technology, or has   variabe staffing e.g a project based company  or is experiencing rapid growth which is outstripping systems.

This seems to me where the cloud will get established and  will  lead to wider acceptance of erp on the cloud. Meanwhile apps stores are increasingly adding business apps and Microsoft now also runs an apps store to complement its products.  expect to see SaaS models evolve around web services e.g pay for a credit card gateway on an ad hoc  per use basis.