Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ category

Synergy support during lockdown -IT continuity guidance

March 29th, 2020

Despite the necessary lockdown we are still providing support , as best we can using a range of technologies. Microsoft Teams is helping members of practice to collaborate and assist each other.

Other than for emergencies Site visits will cease for this week, however we will be available for screen sharing sessions and conference calls.

We understand these are difficult times. You may be faced with staff absence due to illness due difficulty with travel. Ensure there is a disaster recover/continuity plan in action. Intermittent social distancing approach might be the normal way we live for at least 12-18 months.

Cybercrime is also likely to increase with new scams.

Help us to help you.

Consider shift working or staggered hours or hybrid office and home working as means to social distancing.

What if your available staff was cut by 50% for two weeks, or by 25% for 2 months? Consider if your System Admin is not there and your staff are home working.?

Improve your defences: Get servers, desktops, etc cleaned up of old temp files, update key patches and antivirus, clean down log files, review back up strategy and what is the current state of backups e.g on user laptops.
Write-up a list of your critical business services and applications that are essential to keep your company operating. Record the supplier and what you understand about their availability for remote working, for example:
- Main telephone line
- Email
- Database Applications
- Specialist “Line of Business’ applications (e.g. accountancy, architectural, legal)
- File Share and Documents
-Printers and Copiers.
Do you need additional flash storage to move or to back up data?
Who can give us access rights to dial into your system when needed?.
Who can add and suspend users?
Who can check backups?
Who can check logs?
Are key passwords securely stored?
What will be your procedure for support when your staff work from home?
Can staff take laptops home?
How will they dial into your network?
Data privacy laws
What new tools do you need? e.g.
- remote dial in connectivity e.g. to access a file on a network store
- enhanced security -you may have reduced staff to deal with any attack
- monitoring software
- central mobile network management e.g.to patch a device without needing it to come back to office.

Identify home-workers who are already set-up to work from home
Your business will already have users who regularly work from home. They will have some kind of mobile computer device that can access business cloud services or have secure access (VPN) into the office network to access on-premise services. These individuals are invariably set and ready to work from home.

Identify users that may access some business services available when out of the office (e.g. email on smartphone). These users may access certain business services, such as email, on a smartphone or home PC (webmail). However, is this be enough for them to do their jobs effectively. Identify what services they would need access to be fully productive if they were forced to work from home.

Identify users that have never accessed business technology system from anywhere but at the place of work. These users will likely work from a desktop computer in the office. They also have no remote working facility and may not even have a smartphone or home computer that can access business systems. Confirm that your users have working broadband Internet connection at their home
- Don’t take for granted that your users have broadband Internet at their homes or can get access to a good-quality connection.
- Is it adequate to access your business’ cloud and office systems.
- Confirm that your existing remote-working technology has the capacity to accommodate all of your users working remotely at the same time
- Even if you have the capability for remote working for all of users, have they all worked remotely simultaneously and can your business IT infrastructure handle this?
-Do they need any extra training to work this way?

- Speak to your IT team to ensure the equipment and bandwidth can withstand your entire organisation working from home.
- Speak to your telecoms providers and determine whether you have a cloud-based system. – If you have a cloud-based telecoms system then the likelihood of being able to setup remote extensions to manage your calls is very likely. Alternatively, you should very easily be able to divert your numbers online (via a portal).

If you have a fixed-line system, ask your provider how long it will take to setup a divert at the local telephone exchange and what is the process.

How will you leave policy be affected?

- Will there be return flights?
– What if staff are returning from an infected area?
- how much leave can they bring forward to supervise children off school or care for a sick relative?
How much can they defer because they can;t travel?

Travel Policy?
Airports, railway stations and other busy hubs almost certainly carry a higher risk than working in the office.

It may be a good idea to reduce face to face meetings and use online services like Teams to reduce travel risks.

Medical
Be ready for a rush of insurance claims.

Stop the spread of covid-19 -or else – Dubai gets tough

March 29th, 2020

We are all in this together and we all need to play our part to stop, or at least slow down the spread of the virus. Many find such restrictions onerous , or find it hard to comprehend the seriousness- so the government is enforcing firmly. Fines have drastically reduced deaths from bad driving, this is a much bigger challenge.Simple message: save money and save lives.

The Attorney General, Counselor Dr. Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, on March 27, issued resolution No. (38) for the year 2020 following the cabinet decision No. 17 of 2020 regarding implementation of regulations for spreading communicable diseases.

List of violations and penalties

> Dh50,000 fine for not complying with instructions of home quarantine.

> Dh50,000 fine for patients who refuse the mandatory hospitalisation or failing to take the prescribed medicines despite being alerted.

> Dh50,000 fine for violating administrative closure of public places like shopping centers, malls, outdoor markets, gyms, public swimming pools, cinemas, clubs, parks and restaurants dining customers. And Dh500 fine for people caught visiting these public places.

> Dh10,000 fine for organising social gatherings, meetings and public celebrations. And a Dh5,000 fine for people attending the social gatherings and events.

> Dh5,000 fine for not conducting a medical test upon request.

> Dh2,000 fine for violating precautionary measures set by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention by people coming from nations affected by communicable diseases.

> Dh3,000 fine for failure to observe health measures regarding regulation of roads, markets and other public places exempted from temporary closure.

> Dh3,000 for failure to dispose of clothes, luggage or any temporary structures proved to be contaminated and can’t be disinfected by the standard established methods.

> Dh1,000 fine for unnecessary visits to hospitals and other health facilities.

> Dh1,000 fine for allowing more than 3 persons in car.

> Dh1,000 fine for not wearing medical masks indoors and failure to maintain social distancing by persons suffering from chronic disease or having symptoms of flu and cold.

> Dh2,000 fine for leaving home with no important work or a genuine reason.

> Dh3,000 fine for violating provisions of the law when burying or transporting the body of a person who died from a communicable disease.

> Dh5,000 fine for drivers failing to maintain hygiene and following sterilization procedures in public transportation.

> Dh10,000 fine for failure to take precautionary measures failure for the crew of ships from the captain or shipping agent, as the case may be.

Covid 19-detection and prevention

March 24th, 2020

We do not profess medical expertise but with limited advice available we hope it will be helpful to share this common sense advice sent to nurses in a U.K. hospital (with our additional comments in italics.)

“At The Princess of Wales hospital. NHS staff have been sent this advice to hospital staff.
It explains the virus and hopefully, how to prevent getting it. Please share with family, friends and work colleagues.

Virus Detection:

The simplest way to distinguish Coronavirus from a Common Cold is that the COVID-19 infection does not cause a cold nose or cough with cold, but it does create a dry and rough cough.

( there are also reports that it may give reduction in sense of taste and smell)

The virus is typically first installed in the throat causing inflammation and a feeling of dryness. This symptom can last between 3 and 4 days.
The virus typically then travels through the moisture present in the airways, goes down to the trachea and installs in the lungs, causing pneumonia that lasts about 5 or 6 days.

Pneumonia manifests with a high fever and difficulty breathing. The Common Cold is not accompanied, but there may be a choking sensation. In this case, the doctor should be called immediately.
(: basically it creates a very sticky mucus that blocks the airways)

Experts suggest doing this simple verification every morning: Breathe in deeply and hold your breath for 10 seconds. If this can be done without coughing, without difficulty, this shows that there is no fibrosis in the lungs, indicating the absence of infection. It is recommended to do this control every morning to help detect infection.

Prevention:
The virus hates heat and dies if it is exposed to temperatures greater than 80°F (27°C). Therefore hot drinks such as infusions, broths or simply hot water should be consumed abundantly during the day. These hot liquids kill the virus and are easy to ingest.
Avoid drinking ice water or drinks with ice cubes.

Ensure that your mouth and throat are always wet, never DRY. You should drink a sip of water at least every 15 minutes. WHY? Even when the virus enters water or other liquids through the mouth, it will get flushed through the oesophagus directly into the stomach where gastric acids destroy the virus. If there is not enough water, the virus can pass into the trachea and from there to the lungs, where it is very dangerous.

For those who can, sunbathe. The Sun’s UV rays kill the virus and the vitamin D is good for you (but don’t overdo it)

The Coronavirus has a large size (diameter of 400-500 nanometers) so face masks can stop it, no special face masks are needed in daily life.
If an infected person sneezes nearby, stay 10 feet (3.3 meters) away to allow the virus fall to the ground and prevent it from falling on you.
When the virus is on hard surfaces, it survives about 12 hours, therefore when hard surfaces such as doors, appliances, railings, etc. are touched, hands should be washed thoroughly and/or disinfected with alcoholic gel The virus can live nested in clothes and tissues between 6 and 12 hours. Common detergents can kill it. Things that cannot be washed should be exposed to the Sun and the virus will die.
The transmission of the virus usually occurs by direct infection, touching fabrics, tissues or materials on which the virus is present.
Washing your hands is essential.
The virus survives on our hands for only about 10 minutes. In that time many things can happen, rubbing the eyes, touching the nose or lips. This allows the virus to enter your throat. Therefore, for your good and the good of all, wash your hands very often and disinfect them.
You can gargle with disinfectant solutions (i.e. Listerine or Hydrogen Peroxide) that eliminate or minimize the amount of virus that can enter the throat. Doing so removes the virus before it goes down to the trachea and then to the lungs.
Disinfect things touched often: mobile phone, keyboard, mouse, car steering wheel, door handles, etc ….

COVID -19 – Synergy Software Systems

March 23rd, 2020

Its a difficult time for all.
We continue to provide the best support service we can taking into account the safety of our staff, compliance with local health and statutory authorities, and the impacts of travel disruption for consulting assignments outside the U.A,E, or those returning from holiday.

Where possible please engage with us by email and telephone rand fax rather than seek face to face meetings.’

In most case support cases can be dealt with by screen sharing internet sessions. Similarly for training or for virtual meetings.

Any meeting should involve minimal travel, meeting duration, and minimum number of people and ensure appropriate social distancing and dispensing with shaking hands.

Please note that our building management are no longer allowing visitors to our building.

You may find yourself short of staff due to absence, or staff who cannot return from holiday. Consider engaging us to provide a limited set of managed services for essential tasks that can be done remotely e.g checking backups are complete, managing log files, adding new users.

In Lombardy’s northeastern city of Bergamo, 134 family doctors out of 600 – or 22% – had fallen sick or were quarantined, Guido Marinoni, the head of the local association of general practitioners, said….
“…….like fighting a war with a toy gun. I hope the rest of Europe learn from the good things Italy did, but also from our mistakes.”

Dr Hugh Montgomery, chairman of intensive care medicine at University College London, explained why Covid-19 is so infectious and why it’s so important to stop it as early as possible.
“If I get normal flu, I am going to infect on average between 1.3 and 1.4 people. When those 1.3, 1.4 people gave it to the next lot, that is the second time it gets passed on. By the time that is happening 10 times, I’ve been responsible for about 14 cases of flu.

This coronavirus is very, very infectious, so every person passes it on to 3 others.Now that doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but if each of those three passes it to three, and that happens at 10 levels of contact then I have been responsible for infecting 59,000 people.”

Grim and terrifying news – that starkly exposes the seriousness of the problem we all face. A Frontline Doctor For The Mail On Sunday

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/medical/the-look-of-panic-among-medics-patients-failing-to-get-oxygen-in-their-lungs-and-dangerous-under-dressing-of-staff-frontline-nhs-doctor-reveals-how-coronavirus-has-unleashed-terror-in-hospital/ar-BB11w4yB

Stay safe.

U.A.E. National Nutrition Guidelines ask Synergy Software Systems

March 18th, 2020

Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) launched the National Nutrition Guidelines (to serve as a unified national reference on food and nutrition education in the UAE’s community and health institutions. The guideline aims to:

- improve the nutritional status of the UAE’s community and raise awareness about healthy eating behaviour and lifestyle-related diseases
- reduce the prevalence of chronic and malnutrition diseases such as:obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, anemia, osteoporosis and vitamin deficiency
- scale down non-communicable diseases and mortality rates
- encourage individuals to engage in physical activities for better health.

The guidelines consist of six guides. These are:

- to support and promote a healthy living system through healthy food and physical activity
- to maintain healthy food intake at all stages of life
- to reduce calories resulting from high sugar, saturated and trans fats and to reduce salt intake
- to eat variety of diet food and drinks that are rich in nutrients and high in nutritional intensity
- to adopt healthy food patterns
-to achieve food safety.

The National Nutrition Guidelines were developed in collaboration with the U.A.E’s Food Security Office, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gulf Nutrition Committee and the local government bodies across the U.A.E.

If you are involved in food preparation and menu planning and need access to comprehensive nutritional databases and easy to use software then callus and ask about our Nutrition solution.

SnapLogic iPaaS in the news

January 14th, 2020

Snaplogic is a low code integration platform that is particularly suited to hybrid integrations between cloud and on-premise software e.g. for BI, CPM or ecommerce or EDI . several interesting recent news posts:

• Information Age – Should you consider adopting a cloud data warehouse? Craig discusses data lake and data warehouse considerations with Information Age – https://www.information-age.com/should-you-consider-adopting-cloud-data-warehouse-123486561/ In the modern world of data lakes, CDOs and CIOs will face three major challenges: how to migrate their users, how to live with a hybrid infrastructure for a while and how to future-proof their data platform

• IT Brief Australia – How AI bias is holding back adoption – https://itbrief.com.au/story/snaplogic-how-ai-bias-is-holding-back-adoption Brad writes about combating AI bias to retain public trust and ensure AI initiatives advance responsibly.

• Digitalisation World – The Cost of Legacy Technology – https://digitalisationworld.com/blogs/55941/the-cost-of-legacy-technology Neerav explains the risks, and growing costs, of sticking with outdated legacy technologies. In recent times, lack of innovation and adoption of new technology has proven to be the downfall of some well-known high street names – for example, Thomas Cook has littered the headlines following its collapse. In an era when anyone can book their travel, accommodation and holiday entertainment from the comfort of their own home, travel companies can seriously damage themselves by ignoring this reality, failing to innovate and relying on legacy systems.

Businesses need to know the full extent to which using antiquated tech can cost them money and cause them damage. ………

Be prepared for Potential Iranian Cyberattacks

January 10th, 2020

The drone attack as Suleimani was visiting Baghdad last week is widely expected to prompt counterattacks of some sort from Iran, with Iranian leaders vowing as much in recent days. One of the most rapid ways that Iran can respond is through attacks on computer systems of U.S. businesses and government agencies

The U.S. agency in charge of cybersecurity urges organizations in the United States to prepare for potential attacks from Iran in response to the American drone killing of General Qassim Suleimani.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued its warning, “Potential for Iranian Cyber Response to U.S. Military Strike in Baghdad,” on Monday afternoon. CISA is a federal agency created in 2018 to coordinate with other government entities and the private sector on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection.

The drone attack as Suleimani was visiting Baghdad last week is widely expected to prompt counterattacks of some sort from Iran, with Iranian leaders vowing as much in recent days. One of the most rapid ways that Iran can respond is through attacks on computer systems of U.S. businesses and government agencies. However, proxy attack on perceived USA allies, or major USA technology firms also have to be considered.

A key feature in your defence is the way your anti malware software handles unknown files. All Ransomware/Malware starts as an unknown file. Older protection software uses a detect and remediate approach to stop it. Basically, a default ‘allow’ policy, because they let unknown files come into their system and then try to stop the effect. This is a problem because hackers make new malicious codes every single day, and rely on signature based detection methods.

We offer a solution with a default ‘Deny’ approach. Our auto-containment features is a patented and the one-and-only technology that renders malware useless and to date the Platform and Auto Containment.
has 0 breaches.

With growing and ever more sophisticated and expensive attacks, and increasingly stringent legislation such as GDPR with swinging data breach penalties, the risks of international war by cybercrime have gone up another notch.

If you need to boost your defences then contact us on 0097143365589

SnapLogic iPasS integration as a service – from Synergy Software Systems.

October 20th, 2019

Business Intelligence Managers/Analysts, Data/ETL Engineers, and Information/Data Architects are tasked with empowering business users to make use of
data to drive smart decisions and innovations. Data-driven initiatives can be challenging considering the explosion of data volumes due to the proliferation of sensors, IoT, and mobile computing.

Moreover, a growing number of groups within the business want access to fresh data.

To fully harness their data, organizations must also have a cloud strategy for their digital transformation efforts, namely to migrate data from
on-premises environments to the cloud. Considering the tremendous business value of unlocking that data, it’s imperative to prioritize and streamline these
data integration and migration projects.

Gone are the days when IT needed hundreds of coders to build extract, transform, load (ETL) solutions and then maintain those by writing more code. Modern integration platforms eliminate the need for custom coding. Now, data integration projects deploy and scale, often as much as ten times faster.

iPaaS platforms ease the pain because they’re designed for flexibility and ease of deployment for any integration project. A drag-and-drop UX coupled with a powerful platform and hundreds of pre-built connectors out of the box.

The connectors are always up-to-date, so the IT organization doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time maintaining every integration by hand. This saves an incredible amount of time, money, and frustration across the team and projects and greatly reduces risk.

Not all integration platforms are created equal. Some do simple point-to-point cloud app integrations while others transform large and complex data into a data lake for advanced analytics. Some stgill require extensive developer resources to hand-code APIs while others provide self-service, drag-and-drop offerings that can be used by IT and business leaders alike. Some are best for specific tactical projects while others provide a strategic, enterprise-wide platform for multi-year digital transformation projects.

Organizations must address four key steps during the data migration and integration process:
1. Capture data that supports both the known use cases as well as future undefined use cases (think IoT data to support a future machine learning
enabled use case).
2. Conform inbound data to corporate standards to ensure governance, quality, consistency, regulatory compliance, and accuracy for downstream
consumers.
3. Refine data for its eventual downstream application and/or use cases (once its been captured and conformed to corporate standards).
4. Delivery of data needs to be broad and prepared to support future unknown destinations.

For decades, IT has been tasked to manage integration projects by writing tons of custom code. This onerous task is even more complex with the proliferation of SaaS applications, the surge in big data, the emergence of IoT, and the rise of mobile devices. IT’s integration backlog has exploded. Not only is the deployment too much work, but there is a growing cost to maintain all of the integrations.

Deploying a tactical or departmental data warehouse solution should take days, not months. Moreover, enterprise-wide data transformation projects should take months, not years.

The best data integration platforms:
- Support multiple app and data integration use cases across cloud, on-premises, and hybrid deployments
- Offer the flexibility to be used in cloud, hybrid, or on-premises environments, regardless of the execution location
- Provide a self-service user experience aided by AI, machine learning, hundreds of pre-built connectors, and integration pipeline
templates (patterns) resulting in greater user productivity, and faster time-to-integration
- Have an underlying, scalable architecture to grow with evolving data and integration requirements
- Support different data modes such as streaming, event-driven, real-time or batch

The SnapLogic iPaaS offering is functionally rich and well-proven for a variety of use cases. It supports hybrid deployments and provides rich and differentiating features for analytics and big data integration (Hadooplex). Clients score SnapLogic as above average for cloud characteristics, functional completeness, ease of use and ability to meet SLAs.” Gartner

SnapLogic is a U.S.-based integration platform company. In mid-2013, it transitioned from a traditional software business to an iPaaS model with the release of the SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform which provides a large set of native iPaaS capabilities that target the cloud service integration, analytics and big data integration use cases.

The flagship Enterprise Edition features a set of base adapters (Snaps), an unlimited number of connections and unlimited data volume.

Synergy Software Systems has been an Enterprise Solutions Integrator in the GCC since 1991. We are pleased to announce our formal partnership to represent Snap Logic in the MEA region.

Do you need to integrate with Azure? with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud? with Workday? With Odette compliant auto mamufacturers………..?.

To learn more call us on 009714 3365589

Gartner recognized SnapLogic as a Visionary in its Data Integration Magic Quadrant

August 7th, 2019

Gartner recognized SnapLogic as a Visionary in its Data Integration Magic Quadrant! This comes on the heels of being recognized as a Leader in three top analyst reports for the best integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions – the Gartner Magic Quadrant, Forrester Wave, and G2 Crowd Grid.
We believe these collective recognitions testify to the fact that SnapLogic is unrivaled when it comes to integrating cloud applications and on-premises data in one unified platform.

Gartner commended SnapLogic for:
• Our powerful integration convergence and augmented data integration delivery
• Our easy accessibility to diverse user personas
• Our pricing model simplicity and trial version

Synergy Software Systems is a Middle East partner. . This solution speeds up deployment of complex solutions with multiple jntegrations and significantly improves and simplifies the management and maintenance of integrations.

Whether for EDi to Odette standards for the automotive sector, or for streaming high volumes of data, or for ETL processes to bring data from multiple, enterprise systems into a data lake or Enterprise BI or Corporate performance management system, Snap Logic provides a multitude of pre built “Snap integrations: for a low code, configuration approach to integration.

Synergy Software Systems has provided integrated solutions in the region. Digital revolution is proving new opportunities and challenges. Robotic Processes Automation, Predictive analytics, ML AI, IoT, RFID, cloud services, data lakes, and mobility are now standard components of any solution. However digital revolution also requires agility and rapid robust deployment and ease of update and maintenance. Integration ETL, and streaming data from multiple systems at enterprise scale needs a new ‘productized’ low code approach to integration.

Snaplogic is a key tool for successful agile deployment of Enterprise integration, Corporate Performance management, EDI, BI and RPA solutions.

There are already major clients deploying Snap Logic in the UAE.

To learn more . Call us on 00971 43365589

SQL Server 2016SP2 Cumulative Update 8

August 3rd, 2019

The urgent security update earlier this month is not the only patch for SQL Server 2016 in July,
Microsoft has released SQL. SP2 CU8 (build number: 13.0.5426.0)
• Restores of compressed encrypted backups fail
• Data masking doesn’t
• DAXquery needs memory 200x larger than the database size
• Peer-to-peer replication fails when your host name isn’t uppercase
• QueryStore cleanup can fill the transaction log and cause an outage
•DistributedAvailability Groups cause memory dumps when automatic seeding
• AGreplication stops working due to internal thread deadlocks
•The deadlock monitor can cause an access violation
• Query a view with a union on a linked server,
• Concurrent inserts into a clustered columnstore index can deadlock
•Infiniteloop when FileTable is used for a long time without a restart
•SSAS2016 randomly crashes ( maybe not completely random if they fixed it)
•TransparentData Encryption doesn’t encrypt if it’s restarted mid-encryption

And much more.https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4505830/cumulative-update-8-for-sql-server-2016-sp2

I guess we will get a similar patch for Sp1 but by now you should be on a later patch

“Disbursements & Reimbursements’: U.A.E. – VAT clarification

July 31st, 2019

The Federal Tax Authority (‘FTA’) has released a Public Clarification on “Disbursements & Reimbursements” which addresses how to distinguish reimbursements and disbursements, and to clarify the applicable VAT treatment.

U.A.E. businesses incur expenses and subsequently recover such expenses from another party. The VAT treatment of the subsequent recovery of expenses depends on whether the recovery is a “disbursement” or a “reimbursement”.

The first step to determine whether a recovery is a disbursement or reimbursement is to establish whether you have acted as a principal or an agent in purchasing the goods or services

General principles to determine the VAT treatment of such recoveries:
Where a taxable person acts in the capacity of an agent, the recovery would generally amount to a disbursement.
A disbursement does not constitute a supply and is,therefore, not subject to VAT

Where a taxable person acts in the capacity of a principal, the recovery would generally amount to a reimbursement.
A reimbursement is part of consideration for the supply and follows the same VAT treatment as the main supply.

Principles

* The other party (from who you are recovering such expenses) should be the recipient of the goods or services;

* The other party should be responsible for making the payment to the supplier;

* The other party should have received an invoice or tax invoice in their own name from the supplier;

* The other party should have authorized you to make the payment on his behalf;

* The goods or services paid for should clearly be additional to the supplies you make to the other party;

* he payment should separately be shown on the invoice and you should recover the exact amount paid to the supplier, without a mark-up.

* You should have contracted for the supply of goods or services in your own name and capacity;

* You should have received the goods or services from the supplier;

* The supplier should have issued the invoice in your name;

* You have the legal obligation to make payment to the supplier;

* In case of goods, you should own the goods prior to making any onward supply.

Examples

Company A procured group medical insurance from a local insurance company and received an invoice directly from the insurance company.

* Company A requested Company B to make the payment on its behalf.

* The subsequent recovery of the amount by Company B from Company A will amount to a disbursement, and would not be subject to VAT.

* Company A should ensure that the Tax Invoice is addressed to it from the insurance company and should recover the input tax through its UAE VAT return, subject to the normal input tax recovery rules.

Company A entered into a contract with Company B to provide marketing services.

* The contract stipulated that Company A would be eligible to reimburse the expenses from Company B.

* Company A incurred the expenses in its own name and subsequently recovered the amounts from Company B as per the terms of the contract.

* The recovery of expenses from Company B would follow the same VAT treatment as that of the main supply.

We recommend;

* Identify the nature of your contract and agent/principal relationships (if any) based on the above principles;
* Ensure that all disbursements have proper authorizations (contracts); and
* Re-view all inter-company disbursements/ reimbursements (cross-charges).

Calorie counts on menus in Dubai deferred.

July 22nd, 2019

Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadhi, CEO of the environment, health and safety control sector at Dubai Municipality recently said that displaying calories in menus will be optional for next two years and that the Municipality decided to postpone the implementation of the rule,, “to allow enough time for the industry to prepare itself.”The Food Safety Department will continue to encourage food establishments to declare calorie content.

(In May it was announced that restaurants, cafeterias and cafes with more than five branches were expected to mandatorily display the caloric value of each and every food item from November this year. All other restaurants, catering establishments and hotels were given the deadline of January 2020 to implement the rule).

A similar postponement happened in the USA ( part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act) due to industry lobbying. For example grocery store and convenience store industries argued that the rules didn’t take into consideration the vast differences between how the various types of affected establishments operate (think fast-food restaurants versus pizza delivery chains versus gas stations). They protested the legislation would place unfair burdens on businesses that sell food and drinks that aren’t displayed on a centralized menu board, such as gas stations that may have multiple drink stations where customers can get self-serve sodas, frozen drinks, or coffee.

A number of chains, including McDonald’s and Starbucks, had already put menu labeling into effect in recent years in anticipation of the new guidelines.

Arguably one reason a lot of restaurant food tastes so good is because it’s full of fat and salt — and no restaurant wants to broadcast to its diners that they’re serving 2,000 calorie salads or 1,200 calorie milkshakes. However, In light of the global epidemics of obesity and diabetes, some believe it’s simply irresponsible for restaurants to serve burgers with more calories than an average adult human needs in a day, or lattes that have more sugar than a chocolate bar.

Whether displaying nutritional information on menus actually causes consumers to make healthier choices or not is still up for debate: Some studies indicated that calorie counts on menus don’t ahave much of an effect on what people order — but they may be somewhat effective in encouraging the restaurants themselves to offer lower-calorie foods. However, many worry about nutritional data, like eating the ‘right calories’, not eating gluten products etc.

Food establishments are free to choose the services of qualified professionals or compute the caloric value of ingredients by using third-party software. It is likely there will be a future requirement to add additional nutritional information to help customers to make informed, healthy eating choices.

If you are seeking a specialist solution to provide and manage and compute nutritional information then contact us on 097143365589

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 -OUT OF SUPPORT today

July 13th, 2019

SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, both of these versions of SQL server go out of extended support with Microsoft today 9th July 2019

Many companies and businesses are still SQL Server 2008 R2 and below. There can be a number of reasons for this, maybe the applications the databases support require an older version of SQL Server, maybe the applications are also coming to the end of life, but the end dates do not match up with the data platform end of support dates.

Sometimes applications are critical to the business and everything works just fine. The business doesn’t want to disrupt the application or introduce any risk by performing a migration to a new version so why change it?

In this situation your data platform is out of support completely. Out of support system attract hackers. Note the previous articles about fines for loss of privacy data to realise how serious this can be

So you should be making plans to migrate your legacy SQL Servers off the unsupported versions. It is likely if you are still on an old database that you are also on an old server and on an old version of Windows. That gives additional risk of failed hard disks, other system vulnerabilities – Meltdown, Spectre? Phishing…….
Investors and insurers are not likely to be sympathetic in such circumstances.

There are many performance and security benefits of upgrade.

If you decide to run on out support software and take the risk associated with running on out of support software. The main advantage of this approach is there is nothing immediate to do. The longer you run on the platform the greater the chances of you encountering a security vulnerability or failing a compliance test.
If anything does go wrong you’ll have no support from Microsoft.
Other software vendors support contracts may also require that you be on a currently supported database

Modernise and upgrade is one of the options that you have available.

You can upgrade your on premises SQL Server or migrate the databases to Azure either as IaaS solution where you run the VM in Azure or even the PaaS Azure SQL database offering

There are number of advantages to upgrading your data platform. You’ll be running your database workloads on an in support data platform, with a long support window. There will likely by new features in the latest and greatest version of SQL Server that you can use to add business value to your application – Availability Groups for example. Also you will likely find people with skills in the later technology, those skills will be more readily available in the jobs market.

There will likely be a different licensing model – the licensing model changed between SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 – it possible you will have to pay more for you SQL Server licences.

The third option is instead of doing nothing you pay for a custom support agreement. The main advantage here is you can continue to get security updates and therefore potentially remaining compliant. The main disadvantage of this approach is the cost involved, which is typically 75% of the full license costs of the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Server.

Migrate workload to Azure. Microsoft allow SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server R2 VMs running in Azure to have the security updates for free for a further 3 years. So you can migrate your database server to azure and continue to get security updates for free until 2022.

The main advantage of this is you get to keep running the same version of the OS and Data platform, the security updates are free so the cost is minimal \. The disadvantages is you would need to move off premises, if this is not an option for you then you can’t exercise this option and there will still be work in involved in ‘lifting and shifting’ the VM to the cloud.

Whatever you do when support ends for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 have a plan

Integration as a Service – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai about Snap Logic

July 2nd, 2019

Why do companies like Adobe, AstraZeneca, Box, GameStop, OSN, Verizon, and Wendy’s choose SnapLogic?

They have a problem that many other companies are facing today. On one side, business managers rely more and more on SaaS applications and big data for daily tasks yet IT is responsible for integrating the applications. These business managers need daily access to accurate information but can’t always wait for IT. On the other side, IT is managing multiple projects, including integration requests and is working with far fewer resources. Requests can take weeks or even months to complete and business leaders can’t wait that long, so end up making decisions based on less than perfect data.

The Snaplogic Enterprise Integration Cloud comes with Iris Artificial Intelligence built in. Take away he complexity of dealing with multiple applications, big data, complex APIs, and IoT and abstract it into drag and drop components, all in one platform. SnapLogic’s Iris AI further democratizes the use of data by empowering users from all departments and teams to make data-driven decisions quickly and easily with higher accuracy. Business manager can now do their own analysis with minimal support from IT and make informed, data-backed decisions quickly.

IT people can spend less time building routine integrations and more time helping the business grow. SnapLogic is already helping many businesses with these challenges. GameStop reduced the amount of time it took to build integrations by 83%. Business processes cut across functions and applications. Transform business processes faster and stay focused on managing your business with data-driven insights rather than spend time on writing and maintaining code.

General Electric’s (now Suez Water) employees are 4 times more productive when it came to onboarding partners through its multiple systems.

AstraZeneca has more than 500 users around the world who are performing self-service integrations.

Box has connected 40 applications and is processing more than 15M transactions daily with only 1.5 full-time developers needed to support this volume.

Corporate performance management or Big data analytics from multiple, disparate corporate erp and finance systems, hybrid cloud and on premise integration, migrating to the cloud or to new software versions, IoT, T@A, EAM systems, WMS systems, Payroll systems, there are many integration challenges.

To support your digital transformation call us on 0097143365589

Oman and VAT – Ask Synergy Software Systems to help prepare and update your systems

June 30th, 2019

Oman government representatives have said that the state is looking to implement a 5% VAT regime from 1 September 2019. In 2017,
it signed the Gulf Cooperation Council VAT Framework Agreement, which included: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. Local media reports in March 2019 quoted a senior official from Oman’s Ministry of Finance as saying that the date of implementation of VAT in Oman is under review. The official reportedly indicated that the target date had been 1 September 2019 but that this is not confirmed, although the intention clearly remains to implement VAT as early as possible. Businesses should take this as a cue to continue their VAT implementation plans in Oman, or restart and reinvigorate those if the work has been put on hold.

A key lesson from our experience of VAT implementation projects in UAE, KSA and Bahrain, across more than 100 companies is that companies that started their VAT planning and implementation projects early had a smoother transition to VAT, than those that waited for the final publication of the domestic law and regulations. A ‘wait and see’ approach backfired on many businesses in the UAE, KSA and Bahrain where there was minimal time between the release of the law and regulations and the go-live date for adequate training, data preparation and testing, and a shortage of resources in the market to cope with the backlog.

There are practical steps to take now. the first is to form an internal VAT working group of key stakeholders to monitor developments in VAT and ensure that VAT is on the Board agenda and is included in budget discussions. The working group will be best placed to negotiate professional services to support implementation, to train end users, and to define test scenarios, etc.

Next ensure there is VAT awareness is key – customers, vendors, and staff. Many in the region have never dealt with VAT, and a solid understanding of the mechanics, scope and terminology of the tax takes time, and that is a necessary foundation for the next steps.

Document your transaction flows . VAT is a transaction tax, with each transaction triggering a potential VAT consequence. This will help you to identify: software changes, processes to update, training needs, data collection needs, commercial document redesign, financial report redesign etc.

Review Contract to ensure they are ‘future proofed’ for the introduction of VAT. For example, to identify whether they include suitable clauses allowing VAT to be charged in addition to contractually agreed prices. The UAE VAT law clearly mandated that communication be sent to all customers within a specific timeline stipulating whether their contracts will be treated as exclusive of tax, failing which customers can dispute the tax being charged in the contract. Therefore, revisiting contractual obligations for both customers and vendors and determining cutover dates, incorporating tax clauses and revising prices and quotations will play a pivotal role to safeguard the business interests of all parties to a contract.

There will be transactions which are closed before the go-live date, and there will be instances where payment is received post the go-live date or where the supply is scheduled post the go-live date, but where the relevant invoices are paid prior to it. Failure to assess and communicate/agree on the VAT impact between all parties to the transaction on such spillover transactions might increase the cost of such transactions and either of the parties may be out of pocket in such scenarios, and there may be unwelcome friction with trading partners, if not managed.

IT infrastructure will be the ‘backbone’ of the VAT compliance function from issuing VAT compliant invoices to producing the VAT return.

Identify VAT resource requirements, particularly external consultants and auditors. Skilled VAT resources are drawn from a diminishing pool of individuals. Take advantage of the experience gained by service providers implementing in Dubai, KSA and Bahrain. There are many wrinkles, not immediately obvious.

Industry associations can raise common issues and concerns with the Ministry of Finance, particularly in advance of the formal publication of the VAT law.

While you can choose to defer VAT implementation be ready to demonstrate to your owners/investors/respective boards and shareholders, that you have done so only after undertaking an appropriate level of due diligence of the likely preparation of the VAT environment. Some key areas include:

Upgrades to ERP systems and user acceptance testing Reporting
Timely VAT registration, (company by company or at Group level?)
Timely Collection of Tax registration numbers for Trading partners
Timely returns, accrual and and payment of taxes
Scoping the need for professional service and selection/references, time for reaching agreement with partners.
Unforeseen penalties
Cash flow management – how will this change? the delayed inflow on account of receipts from customers; outflow after the discharge of tax liabilities on supplies without consideration/deemed supplies (if any); outflow on account of payment to vendors; and additional outflow due to the payment of taxes (net of input tax recoverable) to tax authorities.

Tracking changes in law/ public clarifications

Some businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia faced challenges when ERP systems were not implemented in time to capture VAT on transactions or to generate customised VAT payable or receivable reports. The first quarter of the respective VAT regimes required substantial manual effort to properly account for transactions.

Another hurdle was training staff on the upgraded ERP software as well as new reporting standards

In a test system for financial or erp system, for training and requirement scope you could get early familiarity with the Dubai or KSA framework – there are unlikely to be major changes in the Oman framework.

If you current system is largely manual, or has significant limitations then now be the time to plan for upgrade, or reimplementation or a new system. The UAE VAT law has a penalty provision whereby every incorrect invoice can trigger an AED 5,000 fine (approx. OMR 500), irrespective of the value of the invoice. Exposure to these fines can be significant in industries where high volumes of transactions are made per day, for example the retail, utilities and banking industries. Compliance depends on a robust system and operations preparedness. The audit trail of the process, and other documents, help to ensure correct and timely filing of the returns as well as avoiding any unwarranted penalties.

Businesses across the globe tend to see a fall in demand where the display prices on products do not include VAT, specifically in the case of products which are price sensitive. The implementation of a new indirect tax law will have an impact on turnover and consumer preferences. Some prices ma need to be rounded up or down. You may need to show VAT separately, item by item on a receipt or invoice – is your software able to do that?

Given that the potential VAT rate in Oman may vary between 5 per cent, exempted, non-taxable and zero-rated, businesses should ascertain the price impact of VAT on imports which are recoverable and non-recoverable, final product pricing and alternative sourcing if imports are expensive, and vice versa.