Archive for the ‘SharePoint and EPM’ category

SQL server 2016- runs a lot faster!

April 23rd, 2016

There many well publicised features of SQL 2106 that have maybe overshadowed the many enhancements to improve performance.

Added together there is a huge impact as these various blofg articles reveal.

Large Data File Writes (April 15)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/15/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-larger-data-file-writes-2/

Indirect Checkpoint Default (April 12)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/12/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-indirect-checkpoint-default/

SOS_RWLock Redesign (April 7)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/07/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-sos_rwlock-redesign/

Dynamic Memory Object (CMemThread) Partitioning (April 6)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/06/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-dynamic-memory-object-cmemthread-partitioning/

Updated Scheduling Algorithms (April 1)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/01/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-updated-scheduling-algorithms/

Automatic Soft NUMA (March 30)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/30/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-automatic-soft-numa/

Instant File Initialization (March 25)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/25/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-instant-file-initialization/

LDF Stamped (March 22)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/22/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-ldf-stamped/

Automatic TEMPDB Configuration (March 17)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/17/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-automatic-tempdb-configuration/

T1117 and T1118 Changes for TEMPDB and User Databases (March 15)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/15/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-t1117-and-t1118-changes-for-tempdb-and-user-databases/

Spatial Index Builds Faster (March 10)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/10/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-spatial-index-builds-faster/

TVPs with Spatial Column(s) (March 8)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/08/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-tvps-with-spatial-columns/

Native Spatial Implementations (March 3)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/03/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-native-spatial-implementations/

DBCC Extended Checks (March 1)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/01/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-dbcc-extended-checks/

DBCC Scales 7x Better (February 25)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/02/25/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-dbcc-scales-7x-better/

Query Store – SQL 2016

April 23rd, 2016

Query Store will be available in all editions of SQL Server 2016.

This is a huge plus because Query Store serves as a data recorder for your query execution plans. It’ll help you troubleshoot :parameter sniffing issues, connection settings issues, plan regressions, bad stats, and much more.
It is a rich persisted db of query execution over time for SQL Server/Azure DB and is a central starting point for Query Tuning and Troubleshooting

- Query Store collects and persists:
- all query texts and to compile time stats
- all plan choices and runtime metrics – and allows you to force plans from history

What can you do with it?

Analyze performance and details of queries whether they are cached or not
Analyze the history of queries and plans across server restarts
Look at properties and statistics for queries not available in DMVs
What queries consume the most/least cpu, i/o, memory over time?
Compare performance before/after a change (A/B Testing)
Plan stability after upgrading to SQL Server 2016
Are ad-hoc queries killing performance filling up your cache?
What is the standard deviation of performance for a query?
What % of time is the performance of my query spent on compile?
What is the performance of queries with different SET options?
Keep performance information in the backup of the database
Allows a simpler and more robust method to force plans vs plan guides

Upgrades are also easier in SQL 2016 with Query Store – you control when Optimizer changes are enabled
and can also quickly fix regressions with Query Store

See Books Online’s section on Query Store to start learning, .

Extended support for SQL Server 2005 ended on April 12, 2016

April 21st, 2016

Extended support for SQL Server 2005 ended on April 12, 2016
customers still running SQL Server 2005 after April 12, 2016, will no longer receive security updates and technical support. We recommend upgrading to SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database to achieve breakthrough performance, maintain security and compliance, and optimize your data platform infrastructure.

Envision 2016 takeaways – Synergy Software Systems

April 12th, 2016

Nadella, in his opening Microsoft Envision keynote said “The very nature of work is changing.” He spoke about Microsoft reinventing productivity and business process through the Windows 10 platform and other products. With all of the abundance of technology, what is still scarce is human attention and time. Our goal in reinventing business process and productivity is to help you reclaim that time to grow your focus on things that matter the most to you and your organization.”

Astronaut Scott Kelly who spent nearly one year on the International Space Station, when asked what business people could learn about technology from his experience in space, said that, as he left the International Space Station for the last time, he was “absolutely inspired by what we are capable of achieving if we dream it — and that we have to put the resources behind it.”

Nadella and Lilian Rincon of the Skype team previewed enhancements to Skype that will include making Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, persistent within Skype. If you need to look something up, such as check your calendar, you will be able to click on the Cortana icon and ask Cortana to check your schedule without leaving Skype. Along with the integration with Cortana, Skype will also be able to interact with “bots” or automated artificial intelligence agents from other organizations. One example of bots included a hotel bot that helped with booking a room — all from within Skype.

Microsoft also announced an important new partnership with car manufacturer Toyota at the Microsoft Envision event. The new collaboration called simply Toyota Connected was touched upon briefly in Nadella’s remarks. The new initiative will deliver a connected car technology drawing in part from Microsoft’s Azure cloud service.

Microsoft is partnering with R3, a consortium of major banks around the world, to develop new blockchain technologies, leveraging the underlying approach from the Bitcoin digital currency to change the way they track transactions and offer financial services to their customers. The blockchain is a public ledger of transactions, and the R3 consortium consists of more than 40 banks, including big names such as BNP Paribas, Wells Fargo, ING, JPMorgan and Citi. Microsoft will work with the consortium to “develop, test and deploy blockchain technologies to modernize decades-old processes and streamline operations, potentially saving billions of dollars from back-office operations,” said Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president for business development, in a blog post explaining the news. Goals include faster trades of assets such as stocks and bonds, and direct transfer of ownership, which cuts clearing houses out of the processes, something that’s appealing to banks because it promises to cut costs and reduce the risk of fraud, Johnson said. The partnership could be a boon for Microsoft’s partners and its cloud platform. The consortium will use Microsoft Azure and also have access to more than 45 “blockchain as a service” technologies from companies that work with Microsoft. In addition, Microsoft says it will offer dedicated technical support and service to R3’s blockchain labs.

Paypal President and CEO Dan Schulman said Bitcoin is “not necessarily something that we’re betting on,” even though PayPal allows Bitcoin through the Coinbase bitcoin wallet. However, the underlying blockchain technology is “very interesting,” Schulman said. What blockchain allows is … theoretically a friction-free, cost-free way of doing transactions.” The key, he said, is to tie the blockchain into a currency that isn’t as volatile as Bitcoin.

PayPal is used by 180 million people worldwide. It’s also used by 14 million merchants, according to Schulman, the CEO of PayPal since the company’s split from eBay back in 2014. Schulman gave a fireside chat format interview with Peggy Johnson, EVP of Business Development at Microsoft. PayPal has two other brands. The company bought Xoom about a year ago. Xoom is an international money transfer service. PayPal is also behind Venmo, the digital wallet service with a social element to it. Venmo, which is popular with millennials and younger generations, is used four to five times per week on average by customers because of the social element and the ability to split the cost of payments for things like meals and entertainment. Whereas, PayPal is used on average by customers just a little over two times per month. Schulman foresees that Venmo and PayPal will be a seamless experience in the future

Clearly many prominent Dynamics partners have opted for WPC and don’t see Envision as a replacement for Convergence. The focus of this conference has massively shifted, as has Microsoft’s vision in general. Attendees included top company executives, department managers, and other decision makers. This opens up opportunities to see how the vision of “One Microsoft” can be achieved through the use of many products. For example someone attending because they are a Microsoft Dynamics AX customer had the opportunity to see how they could leverage PowerBI, Office 365, and Azure to create a more connected and efficient business environment.

Many big players announced new solutions built on top of CRM, and azure/Cortana based solutions. However relatively very few partner products were showcased. While many of the main partners had a booth, the expo floor was much smaller with very limited product selection. The attendance and the expo traffic was significantly lower than Convergence. the rationale may be that top executives focus on strategic, visionary sessions – not on deciding what third-party product would be a good match for their requirements.
Extension in Microsoft Dynamics is eagerly awaited its not yet available in the current RTW release but should be a features of the upcoming ‘AX 7 update 1’ . The ability to adapt queries for the processes of drafting or extending existing elements, without overriding into other layers. means that developers no longer need to customise elements; instead elements will be extended. All customisations and code are then stored in a separate assembly and are therefore not influenced during upgrades and tests.. This approach will significantly reduces upgrade cost and conflicts.

Microsoft announced the availability of two out-of-the-box Power BI content packs for different business users: Financial Performance and Retail Channel Performance. Both power packs can be selected from the service catalogue and be deployed ‘within minutes’.

If you missed out, then see available on-demand the keynote and several session videos on the new Microsoft Envision YouTube Channel.
They have 87 videos on the site and 16 playlists uploaded.

SQL Server 2005 extended support will end on April 12, 2016.

March 13th, 2016

Reminder that SQL Server 2005 extended support will end on April 12, 2016.
After this date, no security updates, hotfixes, or Microsoft professional support will be available for SQL Server 2005. Continuing to run the product after the end of support may expose your business to security risks, increased maintenance and operations costs, as well as compliance violations and possibly a fine.

To avoid the risks of running unsupported software, Microsoft recommends that you migrate to SQL Server 2014 or Azure SQL Database prior to April 12, 2016. You can find more information on how to plan your SQL Server 2005 migration at http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserverupgrade.

GESS Exhibition ( Global Educational Supplies & Solutions ) 2016

March 2nd, 2016

Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) opened yesterday and is being held under the patronage of his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, GESS and Global Education Forum (GEF). In its 9th edition, GESS provides the ideal platform for education professional worldwide to meet, find new products and services, and discuss a range of topics about education and its future.

H.E. Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of UAE Ministry of Education, UAE and Synergy Software Systems Account Manager Sudhakar Raman at yesterday’s exhibition in Dubai. The event continues today and tomorrow.

H.E. Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi was appointed Minister of Education in 2014 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He is also CEO of the Emirates Advanced Investments Group of companies.

Synergy Software Systems is a Microsoft President’s Club member and implements solutions for the Education sector, such as: specialised Admissions and Billing in Dynamics Ax, library system, classroom scheduling, as well as traditional enterprise solutions for finance, HR, payroll, CRM , T@A and the Office 365 suite of applications.

ERP 2016 – what is new?

February 29th, 2016

According to a 2015 Gartner Research report on the growth of Enterprise ERP mobility, “…the proliferation of (today’s) mobile devices represents a real opportunity to increase the penetration of ERP for all types of workers — in healthcare, manufacturing, finance, even charity organizations — and overcome some of the resistance to ERP usability. However, deploying ERP on mobile devices presents many challenges, due to the rapidly evolving mobility device and app landscape.Mobility does not come free from the ERP vendors. It requires expensive upgrades to their newest technology platforms and constant patching as the vendors deliver functionality a little bit at a time.”

So, in this social media, always connected world of smart phones where does erp fit in?. User demand will drive it as will software vendors, but be clear why you need it – mobile technicians in the field, mobile workflow approvals – or just a lot of pretty pictures. If you are going down the road of mobile operation give some thought to mobile device management – patching, security, geo-fencing, mobile support logs etc.

Agility, flexibility, simplicity, scalability, are typical buzz words but first worry about stability and security – whether on cloud or on premise. When you do that think about your own Internal IT skills and staff turn over, and those of your implementation and support partner. Moving to the cloud may offer a whole load of costs and benefits- but who is managing and supporting your end -do they have the skills? Citing research from IDC, a recent TechTarget report explained that by 2020, approximately 30 percent of tech suppliers currently in the market will have either failed, been acquired or changed dramatically. As businesses become dependent on these service providers for everything from virtualization functions to core cloud systems, they must be prepared to handle the operational disruption that will come when different vendors go out of the market.

IDC projects that the global Internet of Things (IoT) market will be worth $1.7 trillion by 2020, and enterprises from all sectors are embracing the opportunity to deliver and take advantage of the connected economy. Gartner describes a “digital mesh,” which it defines as “an expanding series of devices, services, platforms, informational networks and individuals that integrate together and provide contextual intelligence and enable greater collaboration.The connected economy is now wide open to midsize companies. Leveraging cloud technologies to connect employees, customers, partners and devices together is fast creating new ways of doing business. The changing market for products and services means businesses will move from a single SKU per product to a bundled product with affiliated services (warranty, monitoring) and subscriptions. Organizations’ existing back-office systems, including ERP, need to adapt to this new business model and support effective management and monetization of bundled and multi-modal products. An ERP that has integrated configure, price, quote (CPQ) capabilities will enable customers to easily order products, and for businesses to let the customer know when to expect delivery.

Forget the technology – there is emotional effort needed to successfully get a full-fledged ERP system adopted into a company culture. These days people even try to pay lip service to BPR and change management, or senior management ownership and leadership. Just demand the lowest costs and fastest time, oh and by the way we would like a lot of extras thrown in. Out of the box will do as long as it works exactly the way we want. Why do we need to test – it should work. Training – ‘train the trainer’ is often close to the bling leading the blind. And the consultant who comes at half price is the one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.

Such factors have produced more ERP failures than Apple sells phones. ERP selection and implementation failures whose fault is it. If every lesson ever learned is ignored if cut price costs and unrealistic timelines are more important than success then where does Corporate leadership responsibility come in to get the ball across the goal line.

Technology and project documents alone will never ensure a successful ERP selection outcome. The enterprise culture has to commit whatever needs to be done, whenever it comes time to do it. Whether in the cloud or on premise out of the box or bespoke, mobile or at your desk does not change the need for two hands to clap. A joint team means shoulder to shoulder.

‘Delve’ into Office 365

February 11th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft’s cloud ambitions expand with Azure stack – Hybrid cloud and Metanautix

February 7th, 2016

Microsoft unveiled its new Azure Stack offering at last year’s Ignite conference as a solution that would enable users to easily run Azure cloud services in their own on-premises datacenters, thus supporting the increasingly hybrid nature of organizations’ IT environments.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson, speaking at the 2015 Ignite keynote, described Azure Stack this way:
“This is literally us giving you all of Azure for you to run in your datacenters. What this brings you is you get that great IaaS and PaaS environment in your datacenters. You have incredible capability like a unified application model that gives you a one-click deployment experience for even the most complex, multi-tier applications and then you get that cloud-inspired infrastructure. We’re giving you the same software controller that we built for our network, the name is the same, network controller. We’re giving you our load balancing. We’re giving you all the storage innovation.”

Azure Stack represents an evolution of Microsoft’s older Cloud OS solution, which also promised to give partners and organizations the ability to build Azure environments in their datacenters, but suffered from low uptake due to its complexity. Azure Stack shares a common architecture, application model and DevOps tool set with Azure, according to Microsoft. This minimizes the work that developers need to do to make sure their apps work on both Azure and Azure Stack, as well as lets IT pros extend on-premises apps to the cloud without having to drastically change the tools they use for automation or management. Microsoft has not given a specific date for Azure Stack’s release, but because it is linked with the company’s 2016 wave of server releases, it will likely become generally available by year’s end.

While Microsoft claims 100,000 new Azure subscriptions per month, it also recognizes that many enterprises “still have business concerns around moving fully to the public cloud, such as data sovereignty or regulatory considerations.” So they are in limbo between the public cloud and on-premise; hence the need for a hybrid cloud approach that provides consistency across private, hosted, and public clouds.

Among the capabilities:
• Azure and Azure Stack feature a standardized architecture (e.g., the same portal, a unified application model, common DevOps tools); thus, developers can offer the same end-user experience as Azure delivers.
• IT professionals can transform on-premise datacenter resources into Azure IaaS/PaaS services while maintaining oversight and corporate governance, using the same management and automation tools that Microsoft uses to operate Azure.

For heavily-regulated companies, control where data resides. Highly regulated companies (SOX, HIPAA, FDA, etc.) having their data hosted at a Microsoft Azure datacenter doesn’t typically meet all of their regulatory requirements. and there is a growing demand for enterprise cloud apps, with a hybrid cloud platform product that helps enterprises deploy Azure Services in a private cloud environment.

So, businesses have the freedom to decide where applications and workloads reside – overcoming one of the most vehement objections to the cloud.

Azure Stack and Dynamics
The new Dynamics AX, which will be launching on Azure first, apparently in March. The plans to bring the new AX to private cloud and on-premise customers hinge on the release of Azure Stack for the Windows Server 2016 wave of products.

Metanautix,
In December Microsoft furthered its pursuit of enterprise analytics with the acquisition of Metanautix, a company that makes it possible for businesses to pull together all their data and gain insights into it. Metanautix’s product can pull information in from a variety of private and public cloud data sources including traditional data warehouses, NoSQL databases like Cassandra and business systems like Salesforce. Once it’s aggregated, businesses can use SQL to query the resulting data pipeline in order to glean insights from the information. Microsoft isn’t saying much about its plans for Metanautix’s technology, but it can be expected to roll it into products like SQL Server and the Cortana Analytics Suite.

Why Azure anyway?
Managed Web Sites
Window Azure has a special mode of use just for 2-tier web sites, called Windows Azure Web Sites. Both Microsoft’s SQL Database or MySQL databases can be used. WAWS web sites use a shared VM pool, and provisioning happens in just seconds, not minutes. Customers can promote to reserved VMs if they choose. WAWS web sites are fast, easy, and superbly managed.

WEB FRAMEWORK SUPPORT
Window Azure Web Sites also support common open source frameworks, including DotNetNuke, Drupal, Joomla, Orchard, and WordPress. Web developers can quickly provision web sites with their desired framework.

WEB DEPLOYMENT FREEDOM
Web developers work in different ways, and there’s no single way to deploy. Windows Azure Web Sites support several popular methods of deployment, including Web Deploy, FTP, Git, and TFS. In addition, the deployment is conveniently always to a single “server”, even when running multiple server VMs in the cloud. WAWS takes care of distributing new and updated deployment files to the individual VM instances.

IAAS
Window Azure now has Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) support, to complement the Platform-as-a-Service (Paas) support. IaaS Virtual Machines are based on VHDs which are fully portable between cloud and on-prem and those are also persistent, making Windows Azure viable at last for single-server solutions and for running server products such as AD, SQL Server, or SharePoint Server.

Non-Microsoft OS & Database support

Traditionally, Microsoft has offered platform services based on Windows Server and SQL Server. With the new platform there is support for Linux virtual machines and MySQL databases. This means a broader range of software can now run in the Microsoft cloud even SAP.

VM Image Gallery
When creating Virtual Machines, select from a gallery of pre-configured images. For example, install Windows Server 2008 plain, or with SQL Server also installed or add your own VM images to the gallery.

VM Composition

Window Azure virtual machines is easily provisioned, configured, and managed in the Windows Azure portal. Once you connect to and set up a VM, capture its disk to create a reusable image that is added to your VM image gallery.

Cloud Services

The traditional Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) mode–now known as Cloud Services–not only remains, it’s getting new and updated services. An expanded virtual networking capability can interface with enterprise VPN appliances to enable hybrid cloud scenarios where segments of your local network are joined to your cloud assets. Windows Azure Media Services, a new service in limited preview right now, will allow uploading, transcoding, and delivery of media content such as video. A new identity service is coming that will extend the identity federation we currently have in the Access Control Service with expanded capabilities.

The New Portal

Window Azure gets a huge usability boost in a cutting-edge new . HTML-based, management portal that can also be used on mobile devices such as iPads and Windows 8 slates. The new portal also provides a view of built-in metrics for WAWS, Cloud Services, and Virtual Machines.

New Data Centers

Two new data centres were added recently (West US and East US), bringing the number of Windows Azure data centers to 8 (four in the US, two in Europe, and two in Asia). In addition, there is supporting worldwide infrastructure including a 24-node edge cache CDN network.

ERP Project Failures

December 16th, 2015

Reports have appeared of two more high profile SAP project failures, one at Deutsche Post DHL, the other at Dow Chemical.

Deutsche Post DHL Group is struggling with a software upgrade in its DHL Global Forwarding division. The upgrade gone wrong has already led to a write-off of €345 million. Dubbed the New Forwarding Environment (NFE), the upgraded software for DHL’s Global Forwarding division was to enable a variety of new capabilities, including better shipment visibility through improved capture, management and display of operational milestones, and a reduction of paperwork through greater use of a document management system. It was originally used by SAP as a global reference for SAP TM 9.0 when it was released in February 2015, so this failure is particularly embarrassing for SAP.

Dow Chemical Co. spent eight years and $1 billion implementing a new enterprise resource planning system that didn’t deliver value as quickly as hoped and said that another eight year project was ‘unimaginable’.

It is easy to point fingers. There will no doubt be many lessons to learn about the challenges of large scale project management, scope creep, budget, training, partner selection and channel capacity, etc. Another factor that is often overlooked is what can reasonably be expected to work in the real world. Long projects risk more staff changes, more consultant changes, more business changes, more technology changes and the urgency of day to day issues tend to take higher priority.

We don’t live in a perfect world, its easy to dream up automatic processes, detailed field by field segmentation of duties, directed workflows for every step of every process, with hundreds of reports, kpis , dashboards etc
The result is often over engineered and over complex solutions. It takes a long time to build, even longer to test, and by then the user has changed, or the business requirement has changed, a new code version, new database version, new operating system are released, the government changes taxes, etc, etc.

Users resent being micro managed, the project adds more work to their daily load etc.

Does a global solution provide efficiency and standardization, ease of support, and global rollout or or does it stifle local autonomy and agility, and result in inflexible systems that need external workarounds to meet local requirements?

Rethink the rfp – ‘what can I live without for now? “rather than ‘what else can I conceivably demand?’.

be realistic about the team size and effort needed internally – its at least as big as the consulting effort. Who really has the experience to make the policy decisions? – how much time can they sped away from day to day business tasks?.

One of our most successful clients has grown from 100 to 2500 +staff in the last 5 years. What is important is done excellently, but they don’t automate for the sake of it, they understand that complex data structures, and processes and workflows and security provide ongoing maintenance challenges, they don’t reinvent the wheel, They also take ownership of their system.

The difference between success and failure is not always that great. When you firs town a car, ease of use, reliability, proper driving instruction are more important then whether its BMW or a Mercedes. Before worrying about the stereo, and the colour work decide whether it is right for your needs or do you need something else like a Van or a HGV.

Consider why management want the system then consider why the users will use this system – are the reasons aligned?

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

November 30th, 2015


Courier documents


Mobile document management

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8031-best-windows-document-management-software.html

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

Dynamics Dubai Careers – Synergy Software Systems

October 4th, 2015

Synergy Software Systems is a member of the Microsoft President’s Club and has provided stable employment since we were founded in 1991. Synergy is also the also the oldest Microsoft Dynamics partners in the region and has an experienced stable consulting team that is respected globally for its knowledge delivery and support. This is reflected in our membership for several years as the Middle East partner for Ax Pact a global alliance of some of the best Dynamics partners.

Our practise continues to thrive and to expand into new verticals and geographies. If you are a seasoned consultant with 10 years or more professional and consulting experience and at last 5 years in Dynamics, or at the start of your career have strong academics in relevant subjects. Even better if you have proven documentation skills, product exposure, and can speak good English and ideally also Arabic or French and lot more! We provide an excellent learning and support environment but there is also strong peer expectation (and competition). The result is one of the most senior and stable consulting Dynamics teams, and customer bases (many with us more than 15 years).

Next year the future includes Dynamics CRM 2106, Dynamics Ax 7, Sql 2016, Edge browser, Windows 10 Office 2015, Cortana Analytics, Holo lens, and much, much more with an azure platform that is built to dominate the cloud. Where is your future. We also have other world class practices fr example Enterprise Time and Attendance.

Do you have what it takes to be a Synergy consultant? Don’t expect to start at the top – without the credentials but Synergy on our cv will give your worthwhile experience. There is still a global recession there are many troubled areas and refugees – try Dubai and Synergy Software Systems for challenging work, ongoing career enhancement and stable employment.

Software selection – human considerations

October 3rd, 2015

To Organise and to manage a software selection project is not so easy. If you cannot get a critical mass of people deeply involved in the accounting software selection project, then think twice before starting. Change management is often given only superficial consideration. A new tool is of little use if no one uses it. It does little good for a company to spend $500,000 on anew accounting software, or ERP software when the people who will be using the accounting software systems cannot, or will not operate it effectively.

Is your company organized for success (culture, leadership style, business processes and finally business management . If not then you need to consider more carefully the role of the implementation partner and not blame the software.

In addition to the usual questions of :
• Can the software systems do what you the businesses needs?
• What operating and hardware configuration do I require?
Also ask
Do your employees have the ability to utilize these software or ERP solutions effectively?
Hoc an I change that?
Does my implementation partner offer industry and business knowledge and track record of enabling that change process in a company like mine?

Businesses try to work to policies- which are based on predetermined assumptions, conditions, processes, statutory and other constraints, and if effect embody pre-defined decisions. decisions.

The real world is full of exceptions. Companies use information to control day to day operations relating to the production of goods and services. This information is used to control budgets and cash flows and the best utiisation of assets. . Managers combine the latest information with their managerial experience to make sound business decisions within the policy guidelines..

The negative side is that this information is of little use when the data is not updated correctly on time, and or is not integrated. Thus all functions need to participate and collaborate- if one drops out and relies on manual or Excel systems alone then the integration loop is broken and “system” does not operate effectively. The key to the effective utilization of accounting software systems is the effective production of and access to timely a, accurate meaningful information to ensure timely informed decision making at all levels of the organisation. “Knowledge is power.”

Managers can make faster and better or worse decisions based on the available information ,but they may not even be aware they need to take a decision without information whether in an inquiry screen or a report, a bI dashboard, an alert or a kpi.

Advanced software can be sued to auto decide some decisions, or to make recommendations e.g mrp. or forecasting tools. genrall software systems do not make decisions. People do. When people are not provided with the tools they require to make these critical decisions, it’s very likely mistakes will be made. Some of these decision taking responsibilities are imposed upon by the market in which the company competes. Some are imposed by the owners or managers interpretation of how the business should be operated. However, the methods by which these decisions are made can only be formulated by each individual person, and that is why the software/human relationship is so importsnt.

Each person in any company is unique. So when defining just what software systems consider the unique needs of each person with whom the accounting software systems will “integrate” or how you will select those unique people who will be comfortable with the system

Each person who will be processing transactions (e.g. customer orders) must be given the opportunity to express their personal needs, for it is these people who will be required to operate the system. Further, each manager who will be making decisions based in part upon the information produced by the accounting software systems must express their reporting needs as well (e.g. Business Intelligence, Performance Metrics, and Exception Management ). It is only after these needs are identified and understood recognized that the broader corporate strategic needs should be defined.

At the core of these considerations is a clearly understood definition of what the company is to do strategic objectives , and it must do well in order to succeed- tactical excellence. The way a company organizes itself and controls the flow of information into and out of the accounting software systems, determines to a large degree how successful the accounting software systems will become.

As individual people define their needs, do not limit their responses to factors relating only to the software systems. Let them express their needs with respect to how they fit into the overall business, what information they require when, in what format, from other people, where potential bottlenecks may occur, and in general how the manual side of the business management processes should be controlled.

Selection of a new software systems does not eliminate the need for business process control procedures, and it is those procedures impact on the effectiveness of the new accounting software systems. Some people swear will champion software systems or ERP solutions, while others will believe those are seriously flawed and will cling to old, manual systems. Some will be reluctant to share knowledge- the basis of their experience and seniority. Some may fear new technology. others may worry more about social change – reporting to a new boss, working in a different office. Most people adopt new technology is every day life a new phone, car, tv etc, but don’t so easily change their personal relationships.-

One person sees the software systems as a friend, while the other as a threat. You cannot compare your new wife to your old girlfriend fi you want a long and happy marriage. All people, whether they have had computer experience or not, have developed some personal definition of what they consider to be “good” software systems. If the software systems you purchase meets these pre conceived notions, the task of learning and operating the system will be relatively easy. If the system does not make sense to people, then they will resist entering data, and undergoing training and errors will be made. Evaluate the degree of fit between your employees and the accounting software systems you are examining during your software selection project. The cultural fit with the consultants is equally important.

Tyr not to impose a new software systems on people. Consider whether they feel their opinion is as important as others, and that that the accounting software systems will assist them personally. WIFIM “What’s in it for me?”

While you might argue that first impressions can be changed over time, andc omputer system can seem quite a daunting challenge to . The operator, whether it is accountant, bookkeeper, or clerk can be suffering silence. This suffering might reach the point where the person is willing to consider another job.

No amount of patience, encouragement, or training will reduce this suffering. Mistakes will begin to occur more frequently as well. If the person does not leave, you may have to face the grim decision that their mistakes can be corrected only by removing them from the job. Has this achieved anything positive? Certainly not! If too many critical people in the organization resist the software systems, you can consider the selection project a complete failure. That’s why this evaluation of personal needs is so very important.

Any multi-user accounting system or ERP solutions will be operated by a number of different people with different job functions and different skill levels. The larger the system becomes, the more diverse these individual abilities become, and the more critical an evaluation of their relationship to the accounting system becomes.

Perhaps the least skilled person who might be called upon to operate the accounting software systems is a warehouse manager or even a shipping or receiving clerk.
Does the system meet their needs?
Does the menu structure segregate their input screens into one logical area?
Does the language used, particularly Help Screens, talk to them on their skill level?
Will the processing methodology make sense to someone with their relative skills and educational background?
Do they have to work in multiple systems?

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of training. If you want to remove fear, then you have to build confidence.
You need to reduce errors, not only for the business to avoid fear of personal embarrassment. These result from a lack of experience I.e training and practise with the new software systems.
Invest the time in practical training – understanding a demo does not make you fluent in transaction entry or in report analysis. Reading the highway code is not enough for you to drive – you also need 40 hours on the road experience. You also need an instructor by your side for sometime and to be formally tested and certified. If the investment in training appears formidable, then beware. The major lesson that those who implement cite is that they unde-rbudgetted time for training. Don’t be fooled by those who calm they can configure and get you live in a month or so with an accelerator, or a blueprint . Configuration is a relatively simple, job. Defining the right configuration need user interaction and the testing, To make that work needs their training and practice time. Transforming a an install into a working implementation is another matter. It is not enough to buy a tool you have to understand the many different ways to use it and build up skill.

Depending upon the vendor or product reseller you have selected to provide your accounting software systems, you will probably have several options open to you. If your system is a large multi-user installation, you might want to consider sending several people to a regional or national training seminar lasting several days. While expensive on the surface, this intensive class room oriented environment will enable these people to develop a detailed knowledge which can be passed on to others. Train the trainer really works.

Demonstration accounting software systems are excellent training tools. An even better one is a training company with your own Chart of Accounts, vendors, customers, and employees. This provides people the opportunity to experience a “real” data processing environment without running the risk that errors will lead to catastrophes.

One last point should be discussed with respect to training. Some people will find it difficult, if not impossible, to make the transition to new accounting software systems, or from one accounting software system to another, perhaps more powerful ERP solution.

While you might wish the accounting system or ERP solution could be installed with minimum problems, this may be your most significant hurdle. If the installation of integrated accounting software systems is the best alternative for your company, what is to be done with those people who cannot, or will not make the adjustment?

You must face the very real possibility some people may have to be replaced. It’s not a very pleasant thought, but do not delude yourself into thinking all people will be as excited about new accounting software systems as you are. Business is not easy sometimes, and this is one of those times. I do not like the idea any more than you do, but changes may be necessary for the good of the company and its employees.

Ask yourself if you know how to organize and control an accounting systems selection project. One of the greatest dangers is people assuming they know when in fact that are ignorant. They do it rarely in their business life. Can IT or choose a finance system, do they really know how to select a vendor or a solution? Manger’s need to have confidence in their decision making but often they do not know how to evaluate facts outside their core functional area, nor even what facts are needed to evaluate a solution. Its too easy rush into a demo and to benchmark everything against the first software seen .

In practice its better to spend sometime discussing your business needs, your change management challenges, and the business case and to focus on the implementation partner understanding and expertise. the right partner will guide you through the process and will not waste your time with inappropriate solutions, and then the demo will have some relevance to your needs. and you will have a better idea how to evaluate it.

Power BI now released – try it with Syenrgy Software Systems, Dubai!

July 25th, 2015

Microsoft released Power BI as a beta earlier this year, and the new service is finally ready to exit preview and become generally available this month.
Microsoft built Power BI around three essential components: datasets, reports, and dashboards.
Power BI can draw content from a firm’s data, and leverage connections to multiple sources such as: Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL Database, SQL Server Analysis Services and more.
Power BI currently supports 44 languages and will also work on multiple platforms.
Preview builds are already available for Android and iOS, as well as Windows, and the final release will hit mobile versions as well.

Power BI Freemium Model:
Interested customers can try out Power BI for free if they sign up with their business email address, but the free tier comes with a 1 GB data cap per user and allows users to update their data only once a day. A Power BI Pro subscription will be available for $9.99 per month for each user, boosting data capacity to 10 GB and allowing users to refresh their data every hour, in addition to other benefits.


Power BI with Dynamics CRM


Inventory aging in Dynamics Ax

WPC 2015 summary – and a sneak peek at Ax 7

July 20th, 2015

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reinforced Microsoft’s bold mission: To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. “Together with our partners we are transforming the business world for the next era.”

Microsoft and partner speakers outlined how this will be accomplished. Create more personal computing, reinvent productivity and business processes, and continue to build, strengthen, and evangelize the intelligent cloud. Throughout the keynote, Microsoft executives thanked partners for the essential role they play in executing on this vision to foster mutual success.

Microsoft is investing in tools, resources, and product offerings to enable its partners to take advantage of the rapidly expanding markets for cloud and mobile technologies. The imminent release of Windows 10 will ushers in a new era of personal computing with one operating system that spans all platforms and devices.

As CEO Satya Nadella said,”What makes Microsoft unique is the people in this room, this partner ecosystem.” Together, we are on the frontlines of transforming business around the world.

we saw how , Autodesk, will use HoloLens, the world’s first fully untethered holographic computing device powered by Windows 10, to fundamentally change how design professionals create, communicate, visualize, and work.

Project GigJam: empowers business workers to spontaneously summon, assign, and track information from their line of business and SaaS apps. Project GigJam breaks down the barriers between people, devices, and apps to expedite business tasks.

Cortana Analytics Suite: is a fully managed and comprehensive set of services to help businesses transform data into intelligent action, will be available this Fall as a monthly subscription, as well as through third party solutions. The Suite brings together leading technology infrastructure with perceptual intelligence to enable businesses of any size to transform themselves through the power of data.

COO Kevin Turner outlined a plan of action for reinventing business productivity and owning the cloud. “It’s an exciting moment to be in technology,” A new Microsoft-commissioned IDC study shows that 80% of business customers buy through channel partners for cloud services. The study indicates that customers of all types look for a partner who can play the role of a trusted technology advisor – the most important criteria customers look for in a solution provider. Microsoft partners are a massive competitive advantage, and this research is a validation of the critical importance of partners in the cloud era.

A peek at Ax 7


WPC 2016 will be Toronto, Ontario, Canada