Archive for the ‘Corporate Perfomance Management’ category

DymaxIO Subscription Licensing -all Condusiv products now rolled into one for fast data.

October 21st, 2020

All of the technologies in V-locity®, Diskeeper®, and SSDkeeper® have been rolled into one new product – DymaxIO™.

New DymaxIO is fast data software. Whether on-premises or in the Cloud, DymaxIO returns more than 40%+ of your hroughput that is being robbed due to I/O inefficiencies of Windows, SQl and virtualisation.

Fix your application slows, freezes, timeouts, slow SQL queries, reduce cloud compute costs, and more, at the source – no new hardware needed.
A software solutlion to a software performance problem.

DymaxIO is sold as an annual subscription which saves you money. Subscriptions are available for client, server, and host systems.

A new DymaxIO site license is also available to conveniently and cost-effectively optimize the performance of all Windows systems.

To improve performance across your systems callus on 009714 3365589

What’s new in Dynamics SCM October 2020 Wave release – Ask Synergy Software Systems

October 6th, 2020

Edge computing is not just a buzzword. Companies often struggle with latency and connectivity when running operations in remote facilities. In fact, network latency is a top connectivity challenge for 30 percent of manufacturers, according to the IDC1. A leading cause of latency is high volume and resource-intensive processes running in parallel, resulting in reduced productivity.

Edge computing, is a means go changing where processing happens. The edge is the end of your organization’s network, the end of your reach. Edge computing put Internet of Things (IoT) devices closer to the locations they serve. The big benefits of edge computing is bandwidth savings and reduced latency, or the time it takes data to travel. Sending all data captured to a remote, central location requires a lot of bandwidth. When you put devices at the edge of your network, they can process the data before transferring only the output to your central server, which will reduce the amount of data and thus the bandwidth needed to send the information across the internet.

Data centers, typically run in cool dry atmospheres with little variability in temperature, edge computing devices are meant to operate in real-world conditions. They are usually more robust against heat and humidity and require less power, because they’re not located in big data centers that consume large amounts of electricity.

Operations without interruptions
The new Cloud and Edge Scale Unit add-ins for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, coming to preview in October, brings the power of the intelligent cloud to the edge. It allows organizations to run critical warehousing and manufacturing workloads on the edge in a distributed model using Azure stack devices. This improves resilience and ensures operations without interruptions even when temporarily disconnected from the cloud.

Scaling production and distribution with agility
Customers can make data-driven decisions before making any investment by easily simulating various factors that impact resilience of their critical manufacturing and warehouse processes, such as network latency, traffic volume, time-outs, or intermittent connectivity. They can then deploy the scale units—edge or cloud—to best overcome these challenges.

Microsoft Azure compute technologies make the deployment of edge scale units seamless with a plug-and-play experience and allows customers to easily scale during usage spikes to ensure high throughput.

In the past, edge deployments have been associated with use cases related to asset management due to the biggest concern associated with latency issues. With the new scale units for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, however, the use cases have expanded to other critical manufacturing and warehouse execution scenarios.

Many manufacturers and distributors are heavily regulated and have strict policy requirements. These customers have been conservative with their migration to the cloud, which has impeded their ability to overcome disruptions like the one caused by the current pandemic. With the ability to run distributed workloads on the edge, these companies can feel more confident running the manufacturing and warehousing workloads on their premises while migrating the rest of their operations to the cloud; thereby digitally transforming their organizations and reducing costs to become more resilient.

What is the downside?
Edge computing requires a lot of hardware. For example, a large distributor or manufacturer who wanted to use IoT security cameras would need to have those edge devices at all of their hubs or warehouses. Decentralizing your equipment can present logistical challenges when it comes to management and maintenance

Edge computing has an increased attack vector because these multiple internet-facing devices are not behind well-secured corporate networks with giant firewalls, and therefore are more vulnerable to being hacked. A malicious user might try to steal your data or just commandeer your devices.

In the consumer space, a lack of security updates is a problem for products like smart lightbulbs, doorbells, and home sensors. As vulnerabilities are found, these devices need to be patched, to ensure a cybercriminal does not get unwarranted access onto your home network or take over the operation of your lightbulbs or doorbell.

To learn join us for two Webinars with Microsoft and Reddington on 21 October 2020 covering Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 SCM Dynamics 365 Fraud protection, and how the cloud and Dynamics 365 is supporting digital transformation and new business paradigms.
To learn more call us on 009714 3365589

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

PowerBi support for Windows7 and older versions of .net will end soon -ask Synergy Software Systems

September 25th, 2020

After 10 years, support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020.
In line with this, Microsoft will be stopping support for Power BI Desktop on Windows 7 on Jan 31st 2021.

After that, Power BI Desktop will only be supported on Windows 8 and newer versions.

The January 2021 release of Power BI Desktop Optimized for Report Server will be supported as per the Modern Lifecycle Policy i.e. supported until the next release (currently scheduled for May 2021), after which it will only receive security updates until January 2022, after which support will stop.

Microsoft is also making a change to the version of .NET that is required to run Power BI Desktop.
Starting from the October release you need the .NET 4.6.2 or greaterversion to be installed. This is installed by default with Windows 10 and for older versions of Windows the Power BI Desktop installer will launch the .NET installer for you.

Field Service Management – Microsoft a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant.

August 24th, 2020

Gartner has positioned Microsoft as a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management. Positioned as a Visionary in 2019, this new, improved position as a Field Service Leader reflects our ability to execute and completeness of vision. Products evaluated include: Microsoft Azure IoT (Hub and Central), Microsoft Power Platform (Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Common Data Service), and mixed-reality (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist).

Field service technology is evolving at an accelerated pace, that is significantly impacting how we work, what we work on, and how we best serve our customers. As technology speeds forward creating greater efficiencies, it promotes cutting edge technologies into the mainstream. These technologies not only streamline processes and reduce costs, they also differentiate a service organization from the pack. It is these differentiators that have elevated Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service as a driving force within the field service community.

Dynamics 365 Field Service capabilities
Many of the field service capabilities Gartner highlighted are pivotal in providing world-class customer care. Microsoft pioneered cutting edge technologies that have led to the development of rich features that empower technicians and increase productivity, optimize resources, and enhance customer satisfaction—together helping FSOs to quickly realign operations to strengthen business continuity while building resiliency within a changing economic landscape.

Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Central.
With the addition of Azure IoT Hub or Azure IoT Central, field service is transforming the costly traditional break-fix model to a proactive and predictive service model. By combining IoT diagnostics, scheduling, asset maintenance, and inventory all on the same platform, field service organizations (FSOs) can reduce downtime by diagnosing problems before customers are even aware there is an issue. Connected Field Service lets you address issues faster by remotely monitoring devices, and the service data can help in making better decisions around dispatching technicians with the right experience, availability, and location to the customer.
Power Platform including Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate, and Common Data Service.

Use Power BI’s intuitive data visualizations, Excel integration, and customer data connectors with the next generation Field Service mobile app.
Empower technicians with an easy-to-use mobile experience to view: assigned jobs, and to record work performed with” photos and video captures, bar code scanning, and digital signatures.

They have information when visiting remote destinations without internet connectivity. Power Automate is easily integrated to create flows to improve process automation and the Common Data Service can securely store and manage data used by business applications. App makers can then use Power Apps to build rich applications using this data.

Mixed reality apps including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist.
Mixed reality is a combination of augmented, virtual, and real world, where the user can interact with all views.

Mixed reality is creating a tsunami of change within the field service landscape since the advent of COVID-19. FSOs face unique challenges balancing the health and safety of technicians while maintaining business critical functions and continued support of customer needs. Dynamics 365 Remote Assist leverages mixed reality to access information and experts from anywhere, contact-free, by using Microsoft HoloLens and Android or iOS devices. Onsite workers can share real-time views of a repair, share knowledge and related documents, and perform inspections and audits to help accelerate the process.

Dynamics 365 Field Service capabilities are mapped to three distinct pillars: proactive service delivery, resource scheduling, and ensuring technician success.

In April, release wave 1 provided enhancements aligned to these pillars. New feature capabilities included a preview of AI-based suggestions for IoT alerts and incident types, and shared ongoing enhancements to resource scheduling and optimization capabilities.

What’s ahead for Field Service
Release wave 2 coming this October, will add more intelligence to Dynamics 365 Field Service iwith a new dashboard for monitoring key KPIs.

You will be able to automatically send customers work order satisfaction surveys using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Voice.

FSOs will have the ability to quickly capture, and accurately calculate work order completion metrics—even metrics like a Broken Promise %. :

Proactive service delivery. Asset hierarchy and functional location, productivity enhancement for complex entities such as work order, and extended integration with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.
Resource scheduling. Optimizer embedded in next-generation schedule board, predictive technician travel time based on traffic patterns, and enhancements for skills-based matching and travel outside working hours.
Technician success. A new mobile app based on Power Apps enhancements, a technician locator for end customers, and virtual onsite inspection capabilities.

Ahead of the curve
Most field service organizations typically consist of a “boots on the ground” labor force making service calls and often ordering cticila needed parts and rescheduling site visits to complete the repair.

FSOs are transforming and this business model is changing for the better. FSOs are evolving into profit centers by redefining their business model to a proactive service delivery, supported by leading edge solutions like Dynamics 365 Field Service, with rich features that optimize resources and empower technicians to succeed.

(Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.)

Contact Synergy Software Systems for more information and see this site for demo videos. https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/field-service/demo/

SnapLogic and Data Interchange for iPaas and EDI

August 20th, 2020

SnapLogic and Data Interchange have joined forces to bring together market leading iPaaS and EDI solutions
SnapLogic provides the #1 Intelligent Integration Platform.

The company’s AI-powered workflows and self-service integration capabilities make it fast and easy for organizations to manage:
- all their application integration,
- data integration,
- API management,
- B2B integration, a
- data engineering projects on a single, scalable platform.

Hundreds of Global 2000 customers — including Adobe, AstraZeneca, Box, Emirates, Schneider Electric, and Wendy’s — rely on SnapLogic to automate business processes, accelerate analytics, and drive digital transformation.

This new partnership will combine SnapLogic’s award winning Intelligent Integration Platform, with Data Interchange’s cloud based EDI solutions – Web EDI, and DiNet –to enable forward-thinking customers to drive internal digital transformation processes from a central platform, providing self-service integration up to ten times faster than other existing technologies.

Robert Steiner, CEO, Data Interchange commented:

“A partnership between SnapLogic and Data Interchange is a win/win. Many organisations not only have the need for strong and reliable integration systems, but they also need a good EDI partner with state-of-the-art functionality and their own VAN. Combining SnapLogic’s self-service iPaaS platform with our own self-service cloud based EDI platform and VAN provides customers with everything they need,”
“Working with SnapLogic has also enabled us to expand our market reach and capabilities. Integration is not only about application to application communication but also about automated data flows and supply chain management.”
Through the new partnership customers will be able to combine the trading world of EDI, including communication protocols like AS2 and OFTP, as well as a VAN, with a modern JSON, API-first platform. This ensures customers are able to push forward with their transformation initiatives using a single augmented, integrated platform covering EDI, data integration, AI/ML, application integration and streaming. Taking this approach means more re-use, reduced IT debt, faster time-to-market, and increased transformational agility with deeper and wider connectivity.

Roger Coles, Channel and Alliances Director EMEA at SnapLogic commented on the partnership:

“EDI has become increasingly important within organisations today, as they seek to streamline processes and automate various functions with the business. So we are excited to be announcing this new partnership with Data Interchange. By combining our two best-in-class solutions we will be able to provide a combine offering which we feel will be well received by our customers thanks to the unrivalled depth and breadth of functionality Data Interchange provides through its EDI solutions.”

If you need a faster and more robust way to develop, manage and maintain interfaces, with pre-built ‘snaps’, ETL, and streaming data callus ot learn more: 0097143365589

Dynamics 365 HR and Payroll for the G.C.C. – ask Synergy Software Systems

August 19th, 2020

Microsoft rebranded Dynamics 365 Talent as Dynamics 365 Human Resources.( Dynamics 365 Talent is no longer sold -see our February 2020 post. The Attract and Onboard service will be available until 1 February 2022, or until your contract ends, whichever occurs first. LinkedIn is taking the lead on Talent Acquisition, Learning and People Success applications. Linked Talent Hub is a new applicant tracking system (ATS) that became available on 26 September 2019. LinkedIn Learning and Glint complete the portfolio of Talent Management solutions. Microsoft will offer a migration path to LinkedIn Talent Hub. The initial release of LinkedIn Talent Hub supports customers with less than 1000 employees. Data export tools will be available from within Attract to help customers transition to the Talent Acquisition solution of their choosing. Eligible customers using the Talent Onboard app may continue to use it through 1 February 2022 or until the end of their most recent Dynamics 365 contract or renewal, whichever occurs first. Migration tools will be provided within the Onboard app to help customers export onboarding guides.

Core HR – is now Dynamics 365 Human Resources

The key features include:

A central database for staff, with automatic updates.
The ability to set up and run benefit policies.
Automated absence monitoring and time management tracking.
Full CPD management, including performance reviews, matching competencies to job roles and target tracking.
Creation and delivery of training courses, including analysis of outcomes.
A questionnaire feature for gathering feedback and insight from employees. These are conducted digitally, with responses automatically linking to staff records and triggering suggestions for updating policies and strategies.

When you set up a Dynamics 365 Human Resources account, the first stage is to create an HR strategy on the platform. This will provide the overarching structure for how human capital is managed in your organisation, and includes things like specifying whether processes will be managed by department, by jobs or by positions.

Set up plans to guide day-to-day management of your HR operation through Microsoft Dynamics 365 Human Resources. These might be compensation and incentive plans for rewarding strong performance, or they might be training plans which link development to key strategic goals for the business overall.

An advantage of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Human Resources is how all of the data that is linked to plans is centrally stored and automatically updated. When you create a scheme for staff benefits such as a company laptop, phone or a car, then logging of data about upgrades and replacements is automated. The same applies to company incentive schemes like health insurance or pensions, which saves huge amounts of time in administration data maintenance work.

Dynamics 365 Human Resources supports compliance with employment laws in different jurisdictions. It will, for example, suggest complying with equality and disability laws, making recommendations based on personnel data.

Dynamics 365 Human Resources Employee Self Service allows employees to view and manage their core data via employee self-service. This ranges from the ability to view and manage personal details, bank information and competencies to compensation, leave & absence and benefits taking the load off from HR personnel making sure they can stay focused working on higher priority tasks.

Managers are also empowered to view and handle processes directly from Manager self-service and do not have to reach out to HR to manage tasks such as team’s to manage their team’s leave & absence, performance, to approve relevant requests or to view their team members’ position or compensation related information.

Leave & Absence in D365 HR was recently enhanced and allows HR to configure and manage as many leave & absence plans as needed and specify multiple details for each plan such as accruals, carry over amounts, how and when the balances are calculated and pro-rata rules to name a few. In addition, time off can be requested from employee self-service or manager self-service and the requests can be viewed in a calendar view format making it easy for manager or HR to assess the situation for any given period of time.

The HR team can effectively manage core processes related to hiring, transferring and terminating employees optionally supported by workflows to ensure that any required approvals are obtained before the processes can be finalised. These processes can be also enriched by utilising Task management in the form of checklists to make sure, that any related activities needed to be completed are distributed to relevant parties to action.

Dynamics 365 Human Resources makes it simple to configure compensation programs your organisation needs to support any plans and guidelines to ensure salaries are recorded properly. Any variable compensation such as bonuses or shares can be also easily recorded and managed within D365 HR to store the information in one place for comprehensive reporting and data management.

Performance management in D365 HR offers the ability to configure and manage reviews and goals accompanied by the option to record activities actioned or to be actioned during the review period. In addition, reviews and goals templates can be constructed to support your business and provide managers and employees with a starting point and a guiding framework to follow during the review process. Support each review by a different workflow to ensure the manager’s and employee’s approvals are in place before the review process is finished.

Dynamics 365 Human Resources allows HR users to schedule courses for which employees can be allowed to be signed up to via employee self-service. Skills and competencies recorded against the course and the course can be transferred to the employee’s record upon completion. HR and Managers can utilise skill assessment and skill to job analysis to see what competencies are needed and potentially missing when compared to required job-related competencies.

Synergy Software Systems has been implementing localied HR and Payroll and T@A systems in the UAE for over 20 years.
Our GCC localised HR admin and Payroll module for Dynamics 365 further extends and automates the core features with extensive workflows, reports and Power Bi dashboards.

Contact us on 009714 3365589

Why do data warehouses fail? ask Synergy Software Systems for the latest research report

August 6th, 2020

Organizations are increasing their data warehouse investments, however, the process of identifying and moving data into a data warehouse is not always straightforward.

IT leaders report that organizational and technical challenges are hindering success, according to new research from SnapLogic and Vanson Bourne. This research firm surveyed hundreds of IT decision makers (ITDMs) and recently published their findings.

Key findings:

• Nearly nine in ten (88%) of ITDMs experience challenges trying to load data into data warehouses, major inhibitors are: legacy technology, complex data types and formats, data silos, and data access issues tied to regulatory requirements
• The average enterprise has 115 distinct applications and data sources, with almost half of those (49%) siloed and disconnected from one another
• 89% of ITDMs are worried about those data silos.
• ITDMs report that, on average, 42% of data management processes that could be automated are currently being done manually, taking up valuable time and resources
• As a result, almost all respondents (93%) believe improvements are needed in how they collect, manage, store, and analyze data

Building a data warehouse is one thing. continuously updating it with high data volumes, and rapidly and easily maintaining and updating multiple interfaces with low risk as software updates and business and regulatory requirements change is an ongoing challenge.

Find out how prebuilt snaps, data management tools, data streaming, and low code rapid integration development are supported with an integration platform as a service iPaaS.

Contact us today for a copy of the report and to see demo of Snap logic. 0097143365589

IPaaS – Snaplogic for rapid integration – ask Synergy Software Systems

July 1st, 2020

Forrester TEI Report – contact us for a copy. Learn how Box easily integrated 30 apps and saved $1M

the latest additions to a growing liwt of awards.

Oman launches tax card from July 1

June 29th, 2020

The Oman Tax Authority will launch a new tax card system from July 1, which will be the proof of the registration for any taxpayer from the tax Authority. The card will be issued for RO 10.

All ministries, public authorities and institutions, and companies, which has more than 40 percent holding by the state must request the taxpayer to submit a copy of the tax card when issuing any contracts, or directly undertaking any transaction with the taxpayer. The chairman of the Oman Tax Authority may impose a fine in the event of failure to obtain the tax card.

Every taxpayer must apply to obtain the tax card when initiating the incorporation or licensing procedures for practicing the activity or registration in the commercial or Industrial registry and shall request for renewal upon the end of the validity of the card.

The Tax card will replace the tax certificate currently in use at the Authority that is required by some government authorities, except in cases where the tax certificate Is requested for the purposes of canceling a commercial registry. dissolution, merging. or liquidation of any company.

KSA to add VAT on on-line purchases

June 29th, 2020

Saudi Arabia announced it will levy 15 percent value added tax (VAT) on items bought from online sellers and online stores based abroad. The Saudi customs authority said on Sunday (June 28) the new rule will be applicable to all products shipped to the kingdom on or after July 1. Saudi Arabia is tripling its VAT from 5 percent to 15 percent starting on July 1. It will also suspend the cost of living allowance to its citizens on July 1.

The online order placed before June 30, 2020 is delivered to the buyer after June 30, then 15 per cent VAT will apply on the selling transaction, whereas the seller should issue an additional tax invoice pertaining to the difference of the applicable tax due. E-commerce companies should ensure to collect additional 10 per cent from the buyer if the products will be delivered to the buyer on or after July 1, 2020 because they have to pay 15 per cent VAT at the time of custom clearance of the goods.

With the implementation of VAT on online selling, e-commerce companies are expected to collect additional fees from buyers if products are delivered to Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom will also suspend cost of living allowance from next month in order to shore up state finances, which have been battered by low oil prices and the coronavirus. The revised higher VAT rates will be applicable to all supplies of taxable goods and services in the country.

KSA Higher Customs Duty June 2020

June 29th, 2020

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has published the new list of goods on which higher customs duty rates which are effective from 20 June 2020.

Earlier the Customs duty increased was supposed to be effective from 10 June 2020.

Further, in view of the VAT rate increase to be effective 1st July 2020, it is recommended for the businesses operating in KSA to do an impact assessment to identify the impact of VAT and Customs duty increase on their business.

KSA VAT changes 1 July 2020

June 29th, 2020

The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)announced that the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate will increase to 15% from the current 5%, effective 1 July 2020.The increase is one theof additional measures taken by the KSA government in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, due to the decline in government revenue resulting from lower oil prices, reduced economic activity and increased healthcare expenditure.

How could this impact your business?
In addition to the increased VAT rate, businesses in KSA should expect an increased level of scrutiny from the General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT), as VAT becomes a more important source of revenue.

Businesses whose sales are partially or fully VAT exempt, will experience an increase in costs as a direct effect of the rate increase. Nevertheless, the rate increase will impact all industry sectors in KSA and not primarily the Financial Services, Insurance and Real Estate sectors. All consumers will finally bear the brunt of the increases and it is not clear whether a lower rate of VAT, may still continue to apply to such items as food and utilities, to mitigate the impact.

We advise to review existing contracts that provide for continuous or periodic supplies of goods/services, and consider the required documentation changes that should be effected before 1 July 2020. Be clear on the correct rate of VAT to charge on contracts and supplies that span both June and July 2020. As o the 2018 introduction of VAT shows, transitional rules can be difficult to implement.

The rate increase will also impact cash-flow for businesses due to the timing difference between the payment and recovery of VAT, so cash flow planning will take on renewed significance.

Review the internal systems and processes to reflect the increased VAT rate. What systems and report need update and testing when.

We remind taxpayers that the window for voluntary disclosures without incurring penalties remains open only until tomorrow 30 June 2020, he rate increase heightens the importance for businesses to ensure they are fully compliant from a VAT perspective.

Economic Substance Regulation (ESR) in the U.A.E. ask Synergy Software Systems

June 16th, 2020

Existing companies should have complied with the regulations by now, since the starting date was 30th April 2019.

(If an entity fails to meet the requirements or if inaccurate information is given to the regulatory authority, annual administrative penalties of AED 10,000 to AED 300,000 will apply. If they fail to meet the requirements for consecutive years, the penalties will increase and might force the authorities to suspend, revoke or deny renewal of an entity’s license.)

(In the case of new entities, regulations must be complied with upon receiving its trade license.)

This legislation (collectively, referred to as the “Economic Substance Regulations“) were issued in response to the UAE’s inclusion in the European Union’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, and their aim is to facilitate tax transparency and fair tax competition in the UAE’ The Economic Substance Regulations apply to natural or juridical (legal) persons, including all UAE onshore and free zone companies, branches, foundations, non-profit organisations and partnerships (referred to as “Licensees“) that carry out one or more of the following “Relevant Activities” in the UAE -see below for the details. With the introduction of ESR, UAE has been removed from the blacklist of tax havens.

BEPS [Base Erosion Profit Shifting)] Base Erosion Profit Shifting directives are regulations issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] to combat corporate policies for Tax Planning which would shift the profits of companies from low tax rate jurisdictions to high tax jurisdictions. Thus “eroding” the tax base in high tax jurisdictions.

The appropriate regulatory authority varies depending on the type of Relevant Activity and the location in which it is undertaken. Each regulatory authority will set out the form of the reports to be filed and the mechanisms for submitting such forms.

What is the economic substance test?
The economic substance test requires a Licensee to demonstrate that:
• the Licensee and the Relevant Activity are being directed and managed in the UAE;
• the relevant Core Income Generating Activities (“CIGAs“) are being conducted in the UAE; and
• the Licensee has an adequate number of employees and adequate physical assets and expenditure in the UAE.

Licensees carrying out a holding company business or a high risk IP business are subject to different economic substance test requirements.

See: https://www.mof.gov.ae/en/StrategicPartnerships/Pages/ESR.aspx for some useful documents including a flow chart.

The Regulations require UAE onshore and free zone companies and other UAE business forms that carry out any of the “Relevant Activities” listed below to maintain an adequate “economic presence” in the UAE relative to the activities they undertake.

Relevant Activities:
• Banking Business
• Insurance Business
• Investment Fund management Business
• Lease – Finance Business
• Headquarters Business
• Shipping Business
• Holding Company Business
• Intellectual property Business (“IP”)
• Distribution and Service Centre Business

The Regulations provide a definition to each of the above Activities. The provisions of the Regulations shall not apply to Companies in which the Federal Government of the UAE or the Government of any Emirate of the UAE, or any governmental authority or body or any of them has at least 51% direct or indirect ownership in their share capital.

Entities that are governed by the Regulations will need to submit a notification to their Regulatory Authority (defined under Cabinet Decision No (58) of 2019 issued on 4 September 2019) from 1 January 2020 onwards, and prepare and submit to the same Regulatory Authority an economic substance declaration within 12 months from the end of their financial year (e.g. 31 December 2020 for entities with a financial year ending 31 December 2019).

An entity is not required to meet the economic substance test and file an economic substance declaration for any financial period in which it has not earned income from a Relevant Activity. Failure by an entity to comply with the Regulations shall result in administrative penalties, spontaneous exchange of information with the Foreign Competent Authority (as defined in Article 1 of the Regulations), and potential suspension, revocation or non-renewal of its registration.

In the DIFC, the ESR will be administered by the Registrar of Companies (“Registrar”) for all DIFC entities, including entities that are regulated by the DFSA. Key points to note about ESR and how to prepare your business for it :
1. All DIFC entities are required to submit an economic substance notification by 30 June 2020 in the DIFC Client Portal
2. The UAE Ministry of Finance has issued a Relevant Activities Guide which should assist you in determining whether your business conducts a relevant activity and falls within the scope of the ESR.
3. Your business may also be required to file an economic substance return (“ES Return”), within 12 months of your financial year end, to demonstrate that your business meets the ESR requirements. Information relating to the ES Return will be issued in the second half of 2020.

There is a requirement for a business to use the “Substance over Form” approach when evaluating whether they undertake a relevant activity or not. This means that companies will not only be evaluated on what activities are stated on their commercial license but their activities will be evaluated and ESR applied accordingly.

It is not a requirement that a UAE entity is directly engaged in the performance of a relevant activity directly. When an entity is earning income passively from a relevant activity, it will be sufficient for the application of Economic Substance Regulations [ESR].All Entities which assess that they are involved in the performance of a Relevant Activity will carry out the Economic Substance Test for Economic Substance Regulations [ESR].

The Economic Substance is composed of two parts:
1. The Direct and Managed Test:
The Entity needs to be directed and managed in the UAE with regards to the relevant activity carried out in the Emirates.

2. The Core Income Generated Activities Test [CIGA]:
1. The Entity that performs the relevant activities for the purpose of application of Economic Substance Regulations [ESR], need to demonstrate that the CIGA’s are undertaken in the UAE.The activity which constitutes as a CIGA varies with the activity being performed.

The Entities which exist in the United Arab Emirates and carry out relevant activities within its jurisdiction need to follow certainly and comply with certain reporting requirements. The entities will be required to submit an annual notice to their Regulatory Authority indicating that they are carrying out a Relevant Activity in the preceding Financial Year and whether there has been any Income from the Relevant activity that has been subject to Taxation outside the United Arab Emirates.

UAE entities that qualify for an exemption from the Economic Substance Regulations, or those that did not earn any income from their Relevant Activities will still be required to file a notification with the Relevant Authority.

UAE Entities which qualify for submission of notification, and those that earned any income from the same, will also be required to file an Annual Economic Substance Return. The purpose of the Return is to make an assessment of the requirements of economic substance regulations are met, the income earned, qualifications of the staff involved, and information about the premises and other assets used in carrying out the relevant activity.

What are the Penalties for Non-Compliance of [ESR]?
In addition to an exchange of information by the UAE with countries which are a member of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] to remove the possibility of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, failure to comply will cause the levy of administrative penalties not less than 10,000 AED and not more than 50,000 AED for failure to comply for the first year. In case of failure to comply with ESR, the minimum amount of penalty will be increased to 50,000 AED and the maximum amount to 300,000 AED. In addition to this, additional penalties, such as suspending, revocation of UAE Trade License may also be levied.

Security, Agile and DevOps

June 13th, 2020

As we move to an era of no code citizen developers there is increasing risk that security remains an afterthought when organizations are building software. The latest Verizon threat report identified that web application attacks have doubled, and that cloud-based data is under attack. The surge in web app security breaches in 2019 further solidifies that ‘crowd funded’ testing is no substitute for proper QA. The whole agile /DevSecOps approach has done much to improve user feedback to developers to improve the functionality and speed to market of business solutions, but informal end user tests alone are not sufficient where security is concerned,

With the rush to embrace digital services, organizations are too often focused on the speed of release rather than on the quality of services. To accelerate the pace of digital transformation, security must be a fundamental part of software development. To develop code faster, you should also identify vulnerabilities sooner. Otherwise, you run the risk of DevOps, simply creating software with vulnerabilities, more quickly.Embed security within all aspects of your software deign and development process rather than expect it to be bolted on as an afterthought. The threat is real sophisticated and growing. Criminals also use automation and Machine intelligence to identify and to attack vulnerabilities faster.

Attackers recently hijacked powerful machine-learning clusters inside Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing service so that they could mine cryptocurrency at the expense of the customers who rented services. The nodes, which were misconfigured by customers, made the perfect target for so-called cryptojacking schemes. Machine-learning tasks typically require vast amounts of computing resources. By redirecting thsoe to perform the compute-intensive workloads required to mine digital coins, the attackers found a means to generate large amounts of currency at little, or no cost.

The infected clusters were running Kubeflow, an open source framework for machine-learning applications in Kubernetes, which is itself an open source platform for deploying scalable applications across large numbers of computers. Microsoft said compromised clusters it discovered numbered in the “tens.” Many of those ran an image available from a public repository, apparently to save users the hassle of creating one themselves. Upon further inspection, Microsoft investigators discovered it contained code that surreptitiously mined the Monero cryptocurrency.

After finding the infected clusters, investigators turned their attention to how the machines were compromised. For security, the dashboard that allows administrators to control Kubeflow is, by default, accessible only through istio ingress, a gateway that’s typically located at the edge of the cluster network. The default setting prevents people across the Internet from accessing the dashboard and making unauthorized changes to the cluster.

This week Yossi Weizman, a security-research software engineer in the Azure Security Center, said : “We believe that some users chose to do it for convenience. Without this action, accessing the dashboard requires tunneling through the Kubernetes API server and isn’t direct. By exposing the Service to the Internet, users can access the dashboard directly. However, this operation enables insecure access to the Kubeflow dashboard, which allows anyone to perform operations in Kubeflow, including deploying new containers in the cluster.”

Once attackers have access to the dashboard, they have multiple options for deploying backdoored containers in the cluster. For instance, attackers can create what’s known as a Jupyter Notebook server that runs on the cluster. They can then place a malicious image inside of the Jupyter Notebook. If a Jupyter Notebook is already installed, it can be maliciously modified.
Weizman wrote.:” Azure Security Center has detected multiple campaigns against Kubernetes clusters in the past that have a similar access vector: an exposed service to the Internet. However, this is the first time that we have identified an attack that targets Kubeflow environments specifically.”