Archive for the ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM’ category

Microsoft Modern Lifecycle Policy (and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations)

September 20th, 2017

When you move to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, whether on cloud or on premise, ensure your understand the requirements to keep your system updated. The Modern Lifecycle Policy covers products and services that are serviced and supported continuously.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/30881/modern-lifecycle-policy

The Finance and Operations online service and the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software are covered by the Modern Lifecycle Policy. Licensed customers must stay current with updates to the Finance and Operations online service or the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software in accordance with the following servicing and system requirements:
•Starting with the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations version 1611, application versions are supported for three years from the initial date of a major release, as specified in Table 1 later in this topic.

Platform versions are supported for one year . Platform versions maintain backward compatibility. . Critical fixes and non-critical updates are handled in the following way:

Critical fixes – Microsoft may provide a customer with a hotfix for their current platform version of Finance and Operations, or a fix may be provided in the latest platform version of Finance and Operations, at its discretion.

Non-critical updates – Customers must update to the most current Finance and Operations platform version to deploy non-critical updates.

On-premises software update policies

On-premises deployments
The customer is in full control of its on-premises deployments and must follow this policy. The customer is in control of installing updates in its on-premises environments. Microsoft will support the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software through December 31, 2027, at a minimum, but only if the customer keeps the deployed software current according to this policy.

The Finance and Operations (on-premises) software is licensed and supported under the Modern Lifecycle Policy. This policy requires that the customer maintain Software Assurance (SA) or the Enhancement Plan, and that it deploys updates . Customers who want to use the Fixed Support Lifecycle Policy (5+5) must downgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3.

When a customer lapses on SA or the Enhancement Plan, then it will be eligible only for the perpetual license rights to AX 2012 R3 and must uninstall the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software.

The initial release of the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software will be based on Platform update 8 and the July 2017 update of the application.

For details of what changed with which each update see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/get-started/what’s-new-changed.

Be aware also if deployed on premise of related products like SQL, Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Visual Studio, Sharepoint etc that may also need to be upgraded.

Note that both Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 support will end in 2018

Here are some products for which support will end in 2018 start planning:
The following list represents some of the products reaching end of support in the next year. For a comprehensive list of Microsoft products and their lifecycle policy timelines, please search the Microsoft Lifecycle Product Database.
Products Under the Modern Policy Moving to End of Support:
The following products, governed by the Modern Policy, have announced end of support for 2018. There will be no new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Products Under the Modern Policy Moving to End of Support
Effective end dates are shown against each>

Microsoft Azure Mobile Engagement March 31, 2018
Parature, from Microsoft
Microsoft Dynamics Marketing May 15, 2018
Adxstudio Portals v7 October 9, 2018

Fixed Policy Products Moving to End of Support:
The following products will be reaching end of support in 2018. There will be no new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Microsoft Dynamics C5 2014
Microsoft Expression Encoder
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, all editions
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, all editions
Microsoft Office Communicator 2007
Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2
Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 Phone Edition
Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007
Microsoft PlayReady Server Software Development Kit v. 2.0
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007
Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011
Windows Embedded Device Manager Software Development Kit
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, released in November 2015**
Windows 10 Mobile, released in November 2015**

January 9, 2018

FAST Unity 2.5 April 1, 2018
Microsoft SQL Server Compact 3.5
Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, all editions
Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008, all editions
Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
Microsoft Office Accounting 2008, all editions
Microsoft System Center Capacity Planner 2007
Microsoft Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition
Microsoft Visual C# 2008 Express Edition
Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition
Windows Embedded CE 6.0

April 10, 2018

FAST Featured Content 1.3
FAST Recommendations 2.2 April 23, 2018
FAST ESP 5.2 May 9, 2018
FAST ImPulse 5.0 July 1, 2018
Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008
Microsoft Search Server 2008, all editions
StorSimple 5000/7000 Series
Windows Web Server 2008
July 10, 2018

FAST ESP 5.3 July 16, 2018
FAST Recommendations 2.5 October 8, 2018
Lync for Mac 2011
Lync Meeting room
Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization
Microsoft Expression Blend 2
Microsoft Expression Design 2
Microsoft Expression Encoder 2
Microsoft Expression Studio 2
Microsoft Expression Web 2

October 9, 2018

FAST AdMomentum 3 November 2, 2018
Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway, Medium Business Edition November 12, 2018
FAST ImPulse 5.1 December 18, 2018

Products Transitioning from Mainstream to Extended Support: The following products will be moving from Mainstream Support into Extended Support over the next year. Extended Support lasts for a minimum of 5 years and includes security updates at no cost, and paid non-security updates and support. Additionally, Microsoft will not accept requests for design changes or new features during the Extended Support phase.

Products Moving from Mainstream to Extended Support

Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.1 for Remote Desktop Services
Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.1 for Windows Desktops
Microsoft Application Virtualization Hosting 5.1 for Windows Desktops
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2
Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Software Development Kit
Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Tools for Applications Software Development Kit
Service Bus for Windows Server
Windows 8.1, all editions
Workflow Manager 1.0
Workflow Manager Client 1.0
Workflow Manager Tools for Visual Studio 2012

January 9, 2018

Exchange Server 2013, all editions
Microsoft Access 2013
Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management 4.0
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013
Microsoft Excel 2013
Microsoft HPC Pack 2012
Microsoft HPC Pack 2012 R2
Microsoft Lync 2013
Microsoft Lync Phone Edition
Microsoft Lync Server 2013, all editions
Microsoft Office 2013
Microsoft Office Web Apps Server 2013
Microsoft OneNote 2013
Microsoft Outlook 2013
Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
Microsoft Project 2013, all editions
Microsoft Project Server 2013
Microsoft Publisher 2013
Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2013
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
Microsoft Visio 2013
Microsoft Word 2013
Skype for Business 2015

April 10, 2018

Microsoft Lync 2013 Software Development Kit April 20, 2018
BizTalk Server 2013, all editions
BizTalk Server 2013 R2, all editions
Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring 2.0
Windows Embedded 8 Standard
Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Enterprise
Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro

July 10, 2018

Microsoft Audit and Control Management Server 2013
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse
Windows Embedded Compact 2013
Windows Multipoint Server 2012, all editions
Windows Server 2012, all editions
Windows Server 2012 R2, all editions
Windows Server Update Services for Windows Server 2012
Windows Storage Server 2012, all editions
Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, all editions

October 9, 2018
** = Windows 10 follows the Windows as a Service (WaaS) lifecycle.

SQL Server 2014 SP2 CU7

September 3rd, 2017

The 7th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2014 SP2 is available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site.
Registration is no longer required to download Cumulative updates.

• CU#7 KB Article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4032541/cumulative-update-7-for-sql-server-2014-sp2
• Microsoft® SQL Server® 2014 SP2 Latest Cumulative Update: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=53592
• Update Center for Microsoft SQL Server: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sqlserver/ff803383.aspx

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Business Edition – ask Synergy Software Systems Dubai

August 30th, 2017

Later this year Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX will come together to create the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition is the set of intelligent Cloud business applications for SMBs with 10-249 employees. (the ‘Dynamics Ax’ part of D365 is targeted at Enterprise companies i.e. above 250 users).
Dynamics 365 Business Edition includes Dynamics 365 for Financials, (which is based the proven Dynamics NAV financials). Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials is already available in the USA, Canada and UK, followed by a phased roll out to additional countries.

The Sales and Marketing modules of the Business edition of Dynamics 365 will debut during 2017. CRM Online is now called Dynamics 365 for Sales.

Other than the name Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Business Edition (I will call it D365SBE) stems from Microsoft CRM Online. Microsoft has really improved and invested in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Business Edition.The Business edition will be founded on “Project Madeira” (It is in public preview now).

Until this is available SMBs can license Dynamics 365 for Sales from the Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition at a significantly reduced monthly price per user – until the Business Edition apps are launched.

Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, Activities, Marketing Lists, etc. are all expected in the Business Edition when it is released in a few months The pricing is still to be released, expect Microsoft to target at an entry level price around $40 to $65 per user per month.

Mobile and the Outlook app. One click will let you add a contact from whom get an email into to D365SBE. Learn more here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/get-started/whats-new/customer-engagement/new-in-business-edition

GDPR Affects All European Businesses – What about the G.C.C. and U.A.E.?

August 19th, 2017

See our previous article on this topic for why your company may be affected if you are a branch of a European company, or have branches in Europe, or trade with a European company.

From May 25, 2018, companies with business operations inside the European Union must follow the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) to safeguard how they process personal data “wholly or partly by automated means and to the processing other than by automated means of personal data which form part of a filing system or are intended to form part of a filing system.”

The penalties set for breaches of GDPR are up to 4% of a company’s annual global turnover.
For large companies like Microsoft that have operations within the EU, making sure that IT systems do not contravene GDPR is critical. As we saw on August 3, even the largest software operations like Office 365 can have a data breach.

Many applications can store data that might come under the scope of GDPR. the regulation has a considerable influence over how tenants deal with personal data. The definition of personal data is “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.”
GDPR goes on to define processing of personal data to be “any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction.”

That means that individuals have the right to ask companies to tell them what of their personal data a company holds, and to correct errors in their personal data, or to erase that data completely.

Companies therefore need to:
- review and know what personal data they hold,
- make sure that they obtain consents from people to store that data,
– protect the data,
- and notify authorities when data breaches occur.

On first reading, this might sound like what companies do – or at least try to do – today. The difference lies in the strength of the regulation and the weight of the penalties should anything go wrong.

GDPR deserves your attention.

The definitions used by GDPR are broad. To move from the theoretical to the real world an organization first needs to understand what personal data it currently holds for its business operations, and where they use the data within software applications.

It is easy to hold personal information outside of business applications like finance and erp and crm e.g. inside Office 365 applications, including:
• Annual reviews written about employees stored in a SharePoint or OneDrive for Business site.
• A list of applicants for a position in an Excel worksheet attached to an email message.
• Tables holding data (names, employee numbers, hire dates, salaries) about employees in SharePoint sites.
• Outlook contacts, and emails. Skype business,
• Social media sites
• Loyalty programmes
• T@A systems
• E commerce sites
• Mobile apps e.g. What’s App

Other examples might include contract documentation, project files that includes someone’s personal information, and so on.

What backups do you have of the customer’s data?
What business data do your staff hold on BYOD devices e.g. in What’s App?

Data Governance Helps
Fortunately, the work done inside Office 365 in the areas of data governance and compliance help tenants to satisfy the requirements of GDPR. These features include:
• Classification labels and policies to mark content that holds personal data.
• Auto-label policies to find and classify personal data as defined by GDPR. Retention processing can then remove items stamped with the GDPR label from mailboxes and sites after a defined period, perhaps after going through a manual disposition process.
• Content searches to find personal data marked as coming under the scope of GDPR.
• Alert policies to detect actions that might be violations of the GDPR such as someone downloading multiple documents over a brief period from a SharePoint site that holds confidential documentation.
• Searches of the Office 365 audit log to discover and report potential GDPR issues.
• Azure Information Protection labels to encrypt documents and spreadsheets holding personal data by applying RMS templates so that unauthorized parties cannot read the documents even if they leak outside the organization.

Technology that exists today within Office 365 that can help with GDPR.

Classification Labels
Create a classification label to mark personal data coming under the scope of GDPR and then apply that label to relevant content. When you have Office 365 E5 licenses, create an auto-label policy to stamp the label on content in Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive for Business found because documents and messages hold sensitive data types known to Office 365.

GDPR sensitive data types

Select from the set of sensitive data types available in Office 365.
The set is growing steadily as Microsoft adds new definitions.
At the time of writing, 82 types are available, 31 of which are obvious candidates to use in a policy because those are for sensitive data types such as country-specific identity cards or passports.

Figure 1: Selecting personal data types for an auto-label policy (image credit: Tony Redmond)

GDPR Policy

The screenshot in Figure 2 shows a set of sensitive data types selected for the policy. The policy applies a label called “GDPR personal data” to any content found in the selected locations that matches any of the 31 data types.

Auto-apply policies can cover all Exchange mailboxes and SharePoint and OneDrive for Business sites in a tenant – or a selected sub-set of these locations.


Figure 2: The full set of personal data types for a GDPR policy (image credit: Tony Redmond)

Use classification labels to mark GDPR content so that you can search for this content using the ComplianceTag keyword (for instance, ComplianceTag:”GDPR personal data”).

Caveats:
It may take 1-2 week before auto-label policies apply to all locations.
An auto-label policy will not overwrite a label that already exists on an item.

A problem is that classification labels only cover some of Office 365. Some examples of popular applications where you cannot yet use labels are:
• Teams.
• Planner.
• Yammer.

Microsoft plans to expand the Office 365 data governance framework to other locations (applications) over time.
Master data management
What about all the applications running on SQL or other databases?
Master Data Management MDM is a feature of SQL since SQL 2012. However, when you have many data sources then you are relay into an ETL process and even with MDM tools the work is still significant.

If you have extensive requirements then ask us about Profisee our specialist, productized MDM solution built on top of SQL MDM that allows you to do much of the work by configuration.

Right of Erasure
Finding GDPR data is only part of the problem. Article 17 of GDPR (the “right of erasure”), says: “The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller the erasure of personal data concerning him or her without undue delay.” In other words, someone has the right to demand that an organization should erase any of their personal data that exists within the company’s records.

Content searches can find information about someone using their name, employee number, or other identifiers as search keywords, but erasing the information is something that probably also needs manual processing to ensure that the tenant removes the right data, and only that data.

You can find and remove documents and other items that hold someone’s name or other identifier belonging to them by using tools such as Exchange’s v Search-Mailbox cmdlet, or Office 365 content searches.
What if the the data ahs to be retained because the company needs to keep items for regulatory or legal purposes, can you then go ahead and remove the items?
The purpose of placing content on-hold is to ensure that no-one, including administrators, can remove that information from Exchange or SharePoint.

The GDPR requirement to erase data on request means that administrators might have to release holds placed on Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive for Business locations to remove the specified data. Once you release a hold, you weaken the argument that held data is immutable. The danger exists that background processes or users can then either remove or edit previously-held data and so undermine a company’s data governance strategy.

The strict reading of GDPR is that organizations must process requests to erase personal data upon request.
What if the company needs to keep some of the data to satisfy regulations governing financial transactions, taxation, employment claims, or other interactions? This is a dilemma for IT. Lawyers will undoubtedly have to interpret requests and understand the consequences before making decisions and it is likely that judges will have to decide some test cases in different jurisdictions before full clarity exists.

Hybrid is even More Difficult

Microsoft is working to help Office 365 tenants with GDPR. However, I don’t see the same effort going to help on-premises customers. Some documentation exists to deal with certain circumstances (like how to remove messages held in Recoverable Items), but it seems that on-premises customers have to figure out a lot things for themselves.

This is understandable. Each on-premises deployment differs slightly and exists inside specific IT environments. Compared to the certainty of Office 365, developing software for on-premises deployment must accommodate the vertical and company specific requirements with integrations and bespoke developments.

On-premises software is more flexible, but it is also more complicated.
Solutions to help on-premises customers deal with GDPR are more of a challenge than Microsoft or other software vendors wants to take on especially given the industry focus of moving everything to the cloud.

Solutions like auto-label policies are unavailable for on-premises servers. Those running on-premises SharePoint and Exchange systems must find their own ways to help the businesses that they serve deal with personal data in a manner that respects GDPR. Easier said than done and needs to start sooner than later.

SharePoint Online GitHub Hub

If you work with SharePoint Online, you might be interested in the SharePoint GDPR Activity Hub. At present, work is only starting, but it is a nway to share information and code with similarly-liked people.

ISV Initiatives

There many ISV-sponsored white papers on GDPR and how their technology can help companies cope with the new regulations. There is no doubt that these white papers are valuable, if only for the introduction and commentary by experts that the papers usually feature. But before you resort to an expensive investment, ask yourself whether the functionality available in Office 365 or SQL is enough.

Technology Only Part of the Solution

GDPR will effect Office 365 because it will make any organization operating in the European Union aware of new responsibilities to protect personal data. Deploy Office 365 features to support users in their work, but do not expect Office 365 to be a silver bullet for GDPR. Technology seldom solves problems on its own. The nature of regulations like GDPR is that training and preparation are as important if not more important than technology to ensure that users recognize and properly deal with personal data in their day-to-day activities.

Micorosft CRM 4.0 support ends April 2018

August 12th, 2017

Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 will reach the end of extended support on April 10, 2018.
If you are using this version, then please plan to upgrade to at least Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 or a later version before April 10, 2018 to ensure supportability.

The best way to continue to get full support for Dynamics CRM is to upgrade to the latest versions, now known as Dynamics 365.
The following resources are available to help you upgrade:
• Microsoft Dynamics 365 IT Pro Technical Library
• Upgrade CRM 4.0 Organization to CRM 2011
• Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

If you need help to plan an upgrade then please call Synergy Software Systems: 0097143365589

“Outlook add-in” deprecated in July 2017 update for Dynamics 365

August 12th, 2017

Dynamics 365 for Outlook (“Outlook add-in”) was deprecated with the July 2017 update for Dynamics 365.
The Outlook add-in was a legacy feature
What deprecation means
When a Dynamics 365 feature is “deprecated,” it means intent to remove the feature capability from a future major release of Dynamics 365. The Outlook add-in will continue to work and is fully supported until it is officially removed. However, Microsoft will not invest in new functionality for the add-in. After the removal, the Outlook add-in will no longer work.

The add-in is was deprecated with the July 2017 update for Dynamics 365 (online), which was a major release (version 9.0).
The add-in will be removed with version 10.0, .
The removal applies for versions 10.0 and onwards. Microsoft will continue to support the add-in in versions earlier than version 10.0 until the Dynamics 365 version itself is not supported.

Today’s users expect products to be fast, contextual, and easy to navigate.
While the add-in has many capabilities, the user experience is not as up to date as the rest of the Dynamics 365 product.

COM add-ins (on which Dynamics 365 for Outlook is based) are older, slower, technology which is supported only in limited versions of Outlook.
In recent years, Office has released “Office add-ins,” which, unlike COM add-ins, don’t have any code physically installed on the user’s device or Outlook client, and thus result in better maintainability and reliability.

The new add-ins are not limited to Outlook running on Windows; they also run on: Outlook Web App, Outlook for Mac, and Outlook for mobile.

With the latest Dynamics 365 enhancements, improvements to Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, and with enhancements on the roadmap, users will both have a better experience while using Dynamics 365 App for Outlook and get the functionality they need to run their businesses.

The combination of the new Office add-ins, enhancements to Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, and the long time provided to prepare for this change is the reason for announcing the Outlook add-in deprecation at this time.

Microsoft Social Engagement 2017 Update 1.7 – Ask Synergy Software Systems

August 12th, 2017

Microsoft Social Engagement 2017 Update 1.7 is ready and will be released in August 2017.
New and updated features
Microsoft Social Engagement 2017 Update 1.7 introduces the following features:

Listening and engagement on YouTube
• Get in touch with your audience on YouTube directly from within Social Engagement.
• Users with at least a Responder interaction role can now rate and reply to videos and comments on YouTube.
• Add a social profile for YouTube under Settings > Social Profiles, or get a YouTube profile shared with you before you can interact on this source.
• Additionally, Social Engagement extended the listening capabilities and is now capable of acquiring video posts and comments on YouTube channels.
• Any user with permission to create search rules can create YouTube rules under any search topic and add YouTube channels to gather posts and comments from.
• Keyword-based searches on the video source continue to reside under the keywords rule and now also contain comments for actively discussed video posts.

Resolved issues
In addition to the new features, Update 1.7 addresses the following issues:
• Fixed an issue in the Social Engagement content pack for Power BI that was causing the content pack installation to fail when the Social Engagement solution has no name set (found in Settings -> Global Settings -> Default Preferences). Please download the latest content pack from AppSource to avoid this issue
• Fixed an issue in Social Profiles displaying the wrong icons regarding acquisition usage.
• Fixed an issue for Surface Hub devices where the on-screen keyboard wasn’t shown when defining keyword filters.

August 7th, 2017

The latest upgrade of Dynamics 365 Enterprise for Finance and Operations was more than just a name change.
A major are of enhancement is embedded Powwr BI analytics.

Analytical Workspaces and Business Intelligence Reports (via Power BI) are now directly embedded into the ERP. With these tools, users are able to access powerful, data driven reports without having to leave the Dynamics 365 interface thereby delivering a seamless experience.

Some of the benefits of embedded Analytical Workspaces include:
• Power BI readily available without navigating away from Dynamics 365
• Service Licenses already included in the purchase price for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
• Ability to drill-down past visuals for more in depth data analysis
•Role and task based security for all reports
• Ability to personalize workspaces with a variety of Power BI tiles

With Power Apps you can also view Power BU reports on your mobile devices.

The term embedded business intelligence (BI) refers to experiences that use highly intuitive and fluid visualizations to provide insights that are relevant to a task, so that user is more informed and can make better choices. Embedded BI is used throughout the user interface. At a technical level, building rich visualizations requires a powerful charting framework, and also an efficient way to access aggregated data that enables the display of fluid visualizations. Finance and Operations meets both of these requirements, so that application developers can build rich and deep embedded BI–enabled scenarios.

In Finance and Operations, perspectives reside within the analytics collection in the Application Explorer. Perspectives have undergone a major upgrade and now incorporate the following improvements:
• Model new aggregate models and customize existing aggregate models as a star schema within Application Explorer.
• Modeling for key performance indicators (KPIs) in Application Explorer is supported.
• Model data entities by referencing aggregate models and expose those models to external reporting tools, such as PowerBI, as OData endpoints. Data entities canbe consumed within Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.
• Consume aggregate models directly in the programming model by using X++ or C# code. You no longer have to write MDX code to consume aggregate data.
• Aggregate data is similar to the behavior of detailed data. For example, aggregate data can be enriched with extended data types (EDTs) and enumerations, and you secure these by using Finance and Operations security concepts.
• By default, aggregate measurements are real-time. A system administrator, can manage the latency of aggregate data and controls based on available resources and business needs, without having to deal with the complexity of scheduling and external tools.
• Finance and Operations perspectives enable easier and more predictable modeling that takes advantage of business concepts that are already available throughout Finance and Operations. This lets developers re-use existing business models, and thus makes the modeling process quicker and easier.

Projects that were generated by using perspectives from Dynamics AX 2012 and later can be upgraded to Finance and Operations metadata equivalents.

Measures are aggregate numbers, such as Total Sales or Number of Orders.
Dimensions are slicers, such as Product, Vendor, or Customer, that help you analyze the measure.

For example, the measure of Total Sales isn’t useful unless it can be sliced by Product, Region, and Customer. Aggregate measurements are the evolution of AX 2012 analysis cubes.
Whereas a cube was based on a multidimensional online analytical processing (OLAP) technology, an aggregate measurement abstracts the underlying technology. Therefore, you no longer have to know about the underlying implementation technology. The underlying technology infrastructure now also takes advantage of improvements with in-memory real-time technology.

The integration of Finance and Operations and Power BI enables data mash-up scenarios that require access to external data sources that are supported through Microsoft Power Query for Excel.

Users can personalize workspaces by embedding tiles that are hosted on PowerBI.com.
Users can also add direct links to reports that are hosted on PowerBI.com.
In this way, users can access and interact with the reports without leaving the application. Power BI content (PBIX files) that partners and ISVs develop can be embedded directly into the application.
PBIX files that are associated with a model file are automatically published in Power BI Embedded as part of the application deployment process.
Additionally, add X++ extensions for embedded reporting scenarios that require the following functionality:+
• Drill-down navigation into detailed pages in response to user interactions
• Report filters that are based on user and session context information, such as company or date range
• The ability to navigate directly to a specific tab on a Power BI report via menu items

If you’re using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition July 2017 update, the following Power BI content is available:
•Actual vs budget Power BI content
•Benefits Power BI content
•Cash overview Power BI content
•CFO overview Power BI content
•Compensation Power BI content
•Cost accounting analysis Power BI content*
•Credit and collections management Power BI content
•Employee development Power BI content
•Financial performance Power BI content*
•Fixed asset management Power BI content
•Learning Power BI content
•Practice manager Power BI content
•Production performance Power BI content
•Purchase spend analysis Power BI content
•Recruiting Power BI content
•Sales and profitability performance Power BI content
•Vendor payments Power BI content
•Warehouse performance Power BI content
•Workforce metrics Power BI content

We have great response from customers to Power BI- and yes it also works with Ax 2012 and other data sources. If you would like to book a place on one of our Power BI training courses then contact us on 0097143365589

Docs.com – New Microsoft documentation portal

August 6th, 2017

Microsoft Corporation has provisioned a new portal for all their application/framework documentation and are also placing the ability to add to that content.

The new docs.microsoft.com rolled out recently for their documentation for each of the following topic groups arranged by product line/focus:
• SQL
• Windows
• Microsoft Azure
• Visual Studio
• Office
• .NET
• ASP.NET
• Dynamics 365
• Enterprise Mobility + Security
• nuget
• Xamarin

So no longer navigate to msdn.microsoft.com. The central portal leads to additional functionality and information sharing not previously offered.

Dynamics 365 (CRM) what’s new July 2017 – our favourites

July 22nd, 2017

A few of our favourite new features:

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations -July 2017 update – huge enhancements – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

July 15th, 2017

In addition to the name change, and the release of an on-premise version there are significant improvements in many areas.
• A new attribute framework is extended to support configuration-driven development for customer and sales order entities – add new fields without coding.

• New tools and templates are released to speed up implementation, and to reduce possibility of and thus to also reduce risk

• Many new code extension capabilities to support the move from over-layering.

• Many new Power BI content packs – Power bi is now pervasive and licenses for use in Ax are now free for Ax users using out of the box Power BI content. here some examples for Sales.

• Sales mobile app – View sales order details, sales order lines, status, customer contact information, order taker contact information, and historical shipping transactions. This app will empower salespeople to gain valuable insights into customer information and sales orders at any time and in any place.

• Expense management mobile app and greatly enhanced features for Expense management.

• Many, many functional enhancements. For example a new data validation workspace e.g. Credit control workspace with many new credit control features, Cost Accounting -many new features. And much, much, more in retail, master planning, Project Accounting, Vendor Collaboration …….. .

The Prospect to cash integration capabilities deliver first party integration between Dynamics 365 for Operations and Dynamics 365. This solution leverages the strengths of the individual Dynamics 365 components and connects them via Common Data Service. While the data is flowing seamlessly between Dynamics 365 for Operations and Dynamics 365 for Sales, customers can carry out sales and marketing activities in Dynamics 365 for Sales and handle the order fulfillment with inventory management in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

If you are considering Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations then take another look – it keeps getting better and better.

To learn more about Synergy Software and its more than 15 year’s of experience in implementing Dynamics Ax (since version 2.5) call 00971 4 3365589

Please note that our Dynamics Ax 365 for Operations and Finance modules for localised GCC HR and Payroll are also now available.

European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – 2018 what should GCC countries consider?

May 30th, 2017

The UAE Ministry of Economy is raising awareness among private sector companies of the need to be ready for new European data protection rules, which comes into force one year from now.

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to become law by May 2018. The new rules govern all companies in Europe, as well as all companies trading with European companies and individuals.

The GDPR was drafted to “harmonise the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons in respect of processing activities and to ensure the free flow of personal data between Member States

The law includes strong penalties for either misuse of data, or failure to protect the personal data of customers, with fines of up to 4% of annual turnover, or 20m euros ($22m).

HE Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Economy, noted that the regulation issued by the EU aims to protect the data of every individual in the EU.

This not only impacts companies operating in European countries, but includes all institutions and companies that conduct business, trade and investment activities within EU countries, including the UAE business sector linked with European trade relations.

Due to this, the Ministry is working on deepening its knowledge about the new legislation, its provisions and requirements, and aims to reconcile its operational procedures with European authorities, in adherence with the framework of the GDPR, before May 2018.

Al Kait emphasized the EU is one of the UAE’s most important trade partners. Trade between the two sides generated $65.8 billion in 2016 alone. The UAE has become one of the top 10 destinations for EU exports, and is home to over 41,000 European companies, in addition to over 121,000 EU citizens.

Penalties will also apply to information controllers and processors, including cloud software companies.

The new legislation also outlines terms of approval for the use of data, to prevent companies from using legally illegitimate terms, and gives both parties the ability to easily withdraw if desired.

The compliance world will change dramatically for a number of GCC organizations on 25 May 2018. In just over one year’s time GCC organizations that:
1.have a branch, subsidiary or single representative in the European Union (“EU”);
2.do not have a physical presence in the EU, but offer goods or services to data subjects in the EU; or
3.neither have a physical presence in the EU nor offer goods or services to people in the EU, but monitor the online behavior of data subjects in the EU, will have to ensure that they are complying with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

Who is likely to be affected?

Based on the test set out in the GDPR, the new regulations will likely apply to a significant number of entities in this region.
Obvious examples include:
– major airlines that fly to and from the EU,
- hotel and tourism operators who promote travel to the region to EU data subjects,
- regional banks and other financial service companies that have branches in the financial centres in the EU and online.

Less obvious examples include:
- e-commerce companies that are able to accept payments in euros and deliver to the EU
- mobile apps that can be downloaded by users in the EU and which have access to a user’s contacts, photos or location data.

All of these businesses may need to comply with the GDPR and to mitigate the risk and cost of failure to do so.
If your organization is affected it has three main options:
1. wait and see i.e. do nothing (not advisable);
2.consider what it needs to do to ensure that it does not fall within the scope of the GDPR;
3. take immediate steps to prepare to comply with the GDPR .

For option (2), if your organization does not have an establishment in the EU and does not need to target or monitor EU data subjects then you ight consider making it very clear that your website or app is not for use by EU users (e.g. including geo-blocking EU data subjects).

for option (3), if you have not started the process of ensuring compliance by now, then there is a lot to do.

1.monitor business to consumer business practices, including:
- conducting a data protection audit,
- examining the legal basis on which it processes personal data and updates its privacy policies;
2.monitor internal business practices, including:
- review and update of agreements with data processors,
- implement processes for adoption of pseudoanonymization and privacy by design
- considering the legal basis on which it transfers personal data between jurisdictions;
3.establish compliant accountability processes, including”
- processes for record keeping,
- appointment of a data protection officer or EU representative and dealing with data subjects;
4.invest in infrastructure, including:
- how to determine the severity, and impact on data subjects of a data breach
- to establish robust security processes and procedures for notifying regulatory authorities and data subjects -

The need for compliance, especially for longer-term projects such as records of processing and compliant contracting, must be addressed as soon as is practicable.

Businesses that either operate, target customers or monitor individuals in the EU should :
• Audit: to identify key remediation areas.
• Record of Processing: This mandatory record will require significant internal resources, but will also help to plan and implement GDPR processes. .
• Consider Contract Renegotiations: The GDPR requires that contracts with data controllers include additional obligations. As companies come to renegotiate contracts, ensure that adequate data protection clauses are added.
• Review and update, where necessary, employee notices to be GDPR compliant. If you currently conduct criminal records checks, then review national laws where you operate to ensure you can continue to do so . There is an emphasis on transparency in the GDPR. Notices must be clear, concise and informative. Employees must be adequately informed of all data processing activities and data transfers and the information set out in Articles 13 to 14 must be provided. Criminal records can no longer be processed unless authorized by member state law.

Consider whether your organization is processing any sensitive personal data and ensure the requirements for
processing such data are satisfied While the grounds for processing are broadly the same as those set out
in the current Data Privacy Directive, the GDPR imposes new requirements to gain valid consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and systems must be able to handle withdrawal request.

• Review and update, where necessary, customer notices to be GDPR compliant
• Consider whether your notices have to accommodate “child-friendly requirements”. he GDPR requires parental consent for the processing of data related to information society services offered to a “child” (ranging
from 13 to 16 years old depending on the member state.
• Data privacy rights. The current rights to request access to data or require it to be rectified or deleted have been expanded to include a much broader right to require deletion (“the right to be forgotten”), a right not just to access your data but have it provided to you in a machine readable format (“data portability”). Versions of the existing right to object to any processing undertaken on the basis of legitimate interests or for direct marketing and the right not to be subject to decision based on automated processing are also included and expressly refer a right to object to profiling.
These must be clearly communicated in the notices given to data subjects, e.g. privacy policy
• Privacy by design. Ensure processes are in place to embed privacy by design into projects (e.g. technical and organizational measures are in place to ensure data minimization, purpose limitation and security)

Consider what data you hold in emails, in CRM systems, Social media.
What should be your data access use and retention policies?

Personally I think it will be great if this is a way to prosecute the perpetrators of all the spam nd phishing emails I get or at least to remove data form their lists!

Dynamics 365 Talent leverages LinkedIn -coming soon.

May 20th, 2017

In a recent post we announced details about the Linked-in Sales Navigator: http://www.synergy-software.com/blog/?p=5707 following Microsoft’s blockbuster acquisition of LinkedIn last year,

Dynamics 365 will also include features for Human Capital Management (HCM). Earlier this month, Microsoft announced its new Talent application for Dynamics 365 which is scheduled for release from July 2017 as a standalone cloud-based HCM application that includes Human Resources (HR) admin, workforce planning and employee experience capabilities and utilizes Microsoft Common Data Services as the data storage and extensibility model (i.e. it is not directly part of either CRM, and you need to on cloud to use it.).

Some of these capabilities are built out from the HCM capabilities of the Dynamics 365 ERP Operations app / Dynamics AX which will retain that existing functionality.

Microsoft has highlighted two new HCM workflows: for candidate engagement, and for employee on-boarding that will be exclusively available to Dynamics 365 Talent, and that leverage the LinkedIn integration.

to see a Technical preview register your details here: https://info.microsoft.com/get-updates-for-dynamics365-talent-app-register.html

Talent Engagement

When hiring new staff HR teams have many disconnected sources of data: LinkedIn profiles, CV’s, portfolios of work and actual job applications all of which need to be matched to the selection criteria for each role.

Without visibility of a complete candidate profile, time is lost to build up a profile from these various sources, or is wasted on interviewing unsuitable candidates.

Connecting directly to LinkedIn Recruiter, Dynamics 365 Talent will offer a more complete human resources profile that also connects Office 365 and that will make the hiring process more transparent for HR professionals. Using LinkedIn Recruiter, teams will be able to define the criteria for a job role: location, skills, spoken languages and job titles etc to find prospective, matching candidates:

Within the Dynamics 365 Talent interface, hiring managers can easily see what both internal and external recruiters are doing thanks to new integration with LinkedIn. This will for example show which individuals applied for the role, and the current stage of the process for each candidate. Each candidate’s LinkedIn profile, including their application detail, is integrated and accessible directly from Dynamics 365 for HR teams from both desktop and mobile devices.

From this interface to Dynamics 365 Talent, use Office 365 integration to check the availability for all members of the interview team to suggest suitable times to set up interviews in the hiring team’s schedule. Send out Calendar invites from Dynamics 365 to each party and track these and the invitation responses:

Provide feedback about candidates which is shared with everyone involved in the hiring decision within Dynamics 365 Talent to help identify which individual(s) will be made an offer.

Employee On-Boarding

Hiring the right people doesn’t necessarily mean an appointment will be successful and high attrition from new starters is costly in terms of the recruitment costs and lost productivity.

The new, on-boarding experience, provided by Dynamics 365 Talent provides added support to manage these logistics. in the launch event, Microsoft demonstrated how Dynamics 365 will streamline on-boarding processes to help new employees get started so they fit in with the organisation’s culture, and quickly contribute to its growth.

These capabilities include on-boarding templates, that feature a series of activities which need to be completed by HR teams and successful candidates prior to their arrival. For example, this running background checks on the individual and following up references, or getting the candidate to provide their national insurance details, send an employment tax summary from their previous employment, submit visa information, or complete a non-disclosure agreement.

This provides clear visibility from a single interface about the state of readiness for both the candidate, and the organisation ahead of the employment start date. Templates can also be used to share more information that will prepare the individual for their first day. This could include logistical detail such as parking information and building security processes, details of the training they will need to complete and more detail about organisation and its values, e-polices, office access out of hours, claiming expense, reporting absence etc. This content can also provide more information about their role, and how this contributes to the success of the business.

Leveraging LinkedIn integration, the on-boarding template can also introduce the individual to their new work colleagues enabling them to connect with these contacts ahead of their arrival. This will also highlight other contacts within the organisation who they may already know, this can include individuals who attended the same school, or who also worked previously for the same employer. Once defined, adapt each template and re-use for future on-boarding processes.

With access to the respective skills, qualifications and past experiences of staff using LinkedIn data that will enrich Dynamics 365 this will likely evolve to enable individuals to be more accurately matched to projects. It will be interesting to see how this eventually works with the Dynamics 365 project service to go beyond its existing skill ratings functionality. Already it is clear that these new connected capabilities will help organisations to strategically hire the right people and nurture them for mutual success.

LinkedIn announced last month that it had “crossed an important and exciting milestone” by reaching a half billion users across 200 different countries, compared to the 467 million the company reported in October. “A professional community of this size has never existed until now,” noted Aatif Awan, vice president for growth and international products, in a LinkedIn blog post .

The United Arab Emirates, is the country with the most connected users, with an average of 211 connections each, while London is the most connected major city, with an average of 307 connections per user.

Power BI premium is now available

May 20th, 2017

The introduction this month of Power BI Premium promises greater flexibility in terms of: licensing, scaling and ease of deployment. See the announcement on powerbi.microsoft.com,

The license flexibility gives Organizations greater control over its user’s level of access, fully enabling capabilities for some, while others who just need to view and interact with reports will be able to do so without licenses.

Similar to many other Microsoft cloud-based products and services like Dynamics 365, Power BI Premium comes with greater scalability, to allow organizations to scale up or down based on their changing business needs over time.

Premium also provides the ability to manage Power BI reports on-premises with Power BI Report Server.
Power BI Report Server on-premises is fully compatible and cloud-ready. This is particularly of interest for those looking into a Local Business Data (on-premises) deployment of Dynamics 365 for Operations. The new service will be generally available late Q2 2017.

Microsoft has also just released the new Process Analyzer Content Pack for Power BI for Dynamics 365 Version 8.2 and higher. Use this content pack to monitor and analyze your business processes based on the detailed process information stored in your Dynamics 365 system.

There was also a recently introduced Microsoft Power BI content pack for Social Engagement with a new Engagement Analytics report; and of course there still tne Engagement Performance and Team Performance reports previously released.

The Engagement Analytics report provides additional insights regarding engagement on social media with metrics based on location, sentiment, tags and authors. The data model is also enhanced to include these additional dimensions to give more power to explore and to analyze your Social Engagement data.

VAT planning- GCC framework is published

May 10th, 2017

The GCC’s unified agreement for value added tax (VAT) has recently been published (in Arabic only) by the
Saudi Ministry of Finance on their website.

This unified agreement sets out the framework under which VAT can be implemented in each of the
GCC member states. The framework includes agreement on certain matters but still allows member
states discretion on how to treat others.

Once the agreement is ratified, each member state can issue its own local law and implement VAT.

The UAE intends to implement VAT with effect from 1 January 2018 but other states may take another 6 months or so.

The framework paves the way for implementation, for a basic rate of VAT of five percent with certain supplies of goods and services zero rated or VAT exempt. We understand that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) will release the UAE’s law on VAT towards the end of June. This will detail how the UAE will interpret the GCC framework and how it will deal with those matters where it has discretion. These will include whether to treat certain supplies as zero rated or VAT exempt.

The local law will detail conditions for:
VAT deductions,
VAT grouping
Rules for recovering VAT in respect of financial services
Reporting formats

There is no indication of how VAT will apply to free zones.

The MoF has recently been holding a series of public awareness sessions, outlining how they
propose to apply VAT to those areas where the GCC framework allows discretion. The UAE has also
taken steps to set up its own Federal Tax Authority (FTA), which will be responsible for all VAT
matters in the UAE.

The framework provides information to start planning for VAT.

VAT will impact all businesses in the UAE, either directly or indirectly.

So carefully review your systems and review their processes to understand the impact of VAT and to determine what needs to be done to be fully compliant with the new laws.

Do you need to recruit? Train?

Budget for auditors, or consulting support, or system modifications or upgrades?

What contracts are in place beyond 1 January 2018 -how will those be impacted by VAT?

All businesses will be required to maintain extensive and proper books of account because complete, verifiable
documentation will be essential to support a VAT refund claim and avoid penalties for non-compliance.

Accounting systems should be able to identify and record VAT – payable and receivable, – across the entire supply chain. Ensure that your systems will enable you to:
- hold VAT registration ids by trading partner
- hold VAT codes by item fro the relevant tax rate or exemption.
- identify and record rebates,
- exemptions,
– or other special VAT treatments on particular transactions.
- generate commercial documents like invoices or till receipts with VAT shown
- deal with rebate and returns
- create timely, accurate statutory returns
- work with current interfaces.
- product auditable accounts.

We have already received several dozen inquires to assist with this transition, if you need assistance with your business systems to comply with VAT then please contact us in good time – year end is a holiday season and also a busy time for new system go live, and for financial audit preparation.