Archive for March, 2010

Internet Explorer 9

March 17th, 2010

Microsoft has allowed developers a preview of Internet Explorer 9 – the Platform Preview, it seems to be faster and prettier.

It needs to be if it is to maintain IE’s rapidly decreasing market share

U.A.E. WPS teething troubles -tips for small companies

March 17th, 2010

Companies with between 15 and 100 employees came into the WPS scheme in February. The Central Bank server seems to have been overloaded with the rush this week as employers and bank staff across the region tested out their systems, validated their data and trained staff .

Note this will roll out to all companies by the end of May 2010 so here are some lessons learned for those companies with 1-15 employees who will be affected soon

1, Be clear on what data is needed and be 100% certain of its accuracy
2. To minimise the complexity of file generation, and submission and error reconciliaition and make all your payroll payments from one bank and have all your employees accounts with the same bank
3. Do a test run through the bank system well in advance
4. Be aware that each bank has implemented different processes with regard to how files are transmitted, and how errors are reported by the bank (fax, email , phone, web posting etc.)
5. In most cases you will need to deal with their head office and not your local branch make sure you have the relevant contact details
6. Remind ex-patriate staff that thier salaries have to be paid in AED to a local bank.
7. For many employees it may be simpler to make payments via an e-payment card and a number of banks and exchange houses are offering this option so that a low wage employee does not need to operate a bank account and can withdraw money from an ATM
8. Take particular care with file names, especially with regard to the date format part of the name
9. Note there is a specific SIF file format, specific fields and field lengths and file name ofrmat that has to eb 100% correct
10. Some banks e.g. NBAD will insist on use of their file encryption utility, others may refuse to accept encrypted files, some may accept a web upload, others may require an email attachment etc. Its important that that you consider how you will record and track the creation and sending date of such files. The Central Bank will update the Ministry of Labour with the details of which employees were paid what and when. If a salary does not reach an employees account due to a fault in the banking system and the employee complains then you need to have records to show the Ministry of Labour.
11. Note also that you are not allowed to deduct more than 10% of total employee salary in any month e.g. for rent advance so you should review your polices in this area and advise staff in good time.
12. For expert WPS consulting advice and assistance and a low cost utility to create and to validate WPS files please call our switchboard and ask to speak to one of our account managers.

Construction savings with our solutions

March 17th, 2010

The UAE currently has around US$105 billion of infrastructure projects planned or under construction. Abu Dhabi city’s strategic development plan will involve US$200 billion expenditure on infrastructure projects by 2030. Civil Engineering Middle East takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on the 24-26 May 2010 and is the first dedicated exhibition for the Civil Engineering sector within the Middle East.

With such major investments even small efficency savings are significant.

Our Construction solutions make a tangible difference to your bottom line. On 6 May 2010 we will be holding a Construction seminar at Microsoft offfices in Dubai to showcase the BRIX solution with the option to integrate to the very functional, easy to use Microsoft Dynamics Ax solution.

Microsoft also recently acquired a Professional Services module built in Microsoft Dynamics Ax that greatly enhances the Project Accounting Module functionality. rofessional service firms of all types can benefit from the Professional Services Administration module inside Dynamics AX including:

Advertising & Marketing Firms
Engineering Firms
Government Contractors
Legal Services & Law Firms
IT & Management Consulting

Data Integration of financial, human resources, and job management information:

Reduce redundant data entry and management efforts
Streamline staff planning and budget reconciliations
Improve accuracy

Integrates Microsoft Dynamics AX general ledger, purchasing, receivables, and time and expense functionality to increase staff productivity

Microsoft Dynamics AX general ledger, purchasing, and receivables, streamline financial processes by implementing automatic posting of client invoices and employee and vendor expenses. Benefit from tight integration with familiar productivity software, including Microsoft Office Excel® 2003 and Microsoft Office Word 2003.Provide integration with familiar productivity software, including:

Microsoft Office Excel 2003
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Office Project Server 2003

Time & Expense Reporting, including:

Document and line-item-level timecard approvals
Expense report approvals Integrate client and agency expense reimbursement rules
Automatically download assigned tasks to timesheets
Assign credit card statements to expense reports automatically

Business Data Analysis:
Gather and analyze account- and job-related information
Change processes or strategies at any time
View client, contract, and job details in real time
Avoid cost overruns and employee allocation issues

Virtual “Job Bag”:
Manage critical tasks, documents, and information in one place with this Web-based application
Powerful reporting capabilities
Dashboard organizes and presents information in an easy-to-read format
Information can be displayed as account and/or agency-wide views of job activity
E-mail alerts keep management and team members informed about changes to jobs, documents, and tasks

We can also offer integration to BIM solutions and scheduling tools like Primavera or line of balance or Microsft projects …….
and for many of these solutions we can offer hosting options.

E-Signature ROI

March 16th, 2010

Without a doubt paperless straight-through processing holds enormous potential to revolutionize business operations for organizations across all industries. Estimates of returns simply do not provide decision makers with the assurances they need to prioritize an e-signature project. Constructing an accurate business justification for moving business processes online remains a challenge for many companies. Recent projects for Silanis the leading provider of digital signature include:

A top P and C insurance carrier that reduced the cost per transaction by $10 on new business applications.

A top 10 US bank will save millions in transaction processing costs and reduce future risk of loans by 50%.

March 15 What are ides?

March 15th, 2010

The Ides of March is a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and is March 15 in the Roman calendar. The term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C.

‘Ides’ is a term for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other months.

Enterprise asset management – Microsoft Dynamics AX

March 15th, 2010

Synergy offers the Wellpoint EAM solution as an integrated Ax modude in lconjucniton with QMENA who provide a range of specialist oil and gas solutions. We are hosting customer meetings at our offices on Thursday the 18th with both Wellpoint Systems and QMENA staff pesent to provide specialist advice on the solution.

Wellpoint Systems Reports Record Revenue and Net Income in 2009, Credits Success of Microsoft Dynamics AX Solution
Wellpoint Systems, the Calgary-based software vendor provides solutions to the oil and gas, mining and exploration, chemical, and utility industries, including enterprise asset management solution for Microsoft Dynamics AX, and reported its 2009 financial results today. Revenue increased by 4 percent to $37.75 million (Canadian dollars), Net income per share was $.07 per share, as compared to a $.60 per share loss in 2008

New Mirdiff City Centre mall

March 15th, 2010

Mirdiff City Center covers a total area of 196 sqm and will have 430 outlets.Parking for more than 700 vehicles is available over three levels.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) opened new bridges to and from Mirdiff City Center before the mall opens to the public.

One three-lane bridge links the mall to Emirates Road, while the other will serve inbound traffic from Tripoli Road.

New parks

March 15th, 2010

Two new public parks have been opened – Al Nahda Pond Park and Al Qusais-2 Residential Park – A further green space – New Garhoud Park – is set to open on Thursday

The news parks have been opened as part of Plantation Week.

Parking costs double

March 15th, 2010

The minimum parking charge across Dubai is set to double -
the first hour of parking will rise from AED1 to AED2 in some areas,

RTA workers will update between 100-150 parking machines a day over the next two weeks. More than 2,500 machines in total will be changed over this time.

Note also that 11,897 parking fines were issued last month in Abu Dhabi as a result of the recently introduced paid-for parking rules.

Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 RTM on track

March 14th, 2010

The Microsoft Office Product Development Group official blog asnnounced that Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010 are all on track to reach RTM next month.

A huge amount of new functionality is promised

On May 12, e Stephen Elop, President of the Microsoft Business Division, will deliver a live keynote focusing on the next wave of productivity that Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 will deliver.

There will also be virtual breakout sessions.

Microsoft Dynamics Ax, Silverlight and Surface

March 14th, 2010

A chance to see all 3 applications in this Silverlight presentation of a demo of Microsoft Surface used as a Warehouse command centre interface.

Google Public Data Explorer

March 14th, 2010

Google is toying with web-based BI with the launch of Public Data Explorer, a tool to analyseat some on line public data sets .

Though fairly basic compared to other tools it does seem very easy. There’s a limited number of data sets available and not many options for slicing and dicing, but it works … and you can zoom in and out along the time dimension. There a number of samples with different graphic representations

Twitter security

March 14th, 2010

Twitter the microblogging social network had a surge in celebrities joining Twitter in 2009 and a corresponding high incidence of spam and phishing attacks. One in eight Twitter accounts last year was malicious, suspicious, or suspended, according to a recent report issued by Barracuda Networks whose spokesman says Twitter identify 3 to 4 percent of Twitter accounts as malicious. 9 to 10 percent of accounts on Twitter are actively engaging in malicious activity.

Twitter has introduced a new service to detects malicious URLs that will scan all URLs before they hit the Twitter feed.

Currently it is only scanning URLs sent via Twitter direct messages [DMs] and email notifications about DMs for which it will use its own URL shortener – you may notice links shortened to in Direct Messages and email notifications,

A researcher at the RSA Conference 2010 last week demonstrated a tool that impersonates a Twitter user’s account in order to execute automated targeted attacks on the person’s followers .

Microsoft Dynamics + Wave “14”

March 9th, 2010

Microsoft Dynamics is built to run on Microsoft’s IT infrastructure – including the business productivity software that is used by hundreds of millions of information workers every day: Microsoft® Office and Microsoft® SharePoint Server. Both have advanced significantly over the last 10 years, enabling improved collaboration, communication, insights and productivity across the business. And Microsoft Dynamics has taken advantage of these advances through:

Adopting SharePoint Server as the standard portal and collaboration infrastructure

Recognizing the importance of Microsoft Outlook as the communications hub around which people spend much of their day

Delivering business intelligence to the masses via Microsoft® Excel.

The latest version of Microsoft’s business productivity infrastructure – and the two key components of the Wave “14” Launch – are Microsoft Office® 2010 and SharePoint® Server 2010. Both are currently in public beta, and are planned for release in the first half of 2010, at which time we expect all Microsoft Dynamics® ERP and Microsoft Dynamics® CRM products to be certified to run on those solutions..

Collapse of IBS-STL UK – erp lessons

March 9th, 2010

The collapse of IBS-STL UK was largely attributed to its failed SAP implementation, the blog timeline (which undoubtedly has a few gaps) formulates the questions that should be asked in order to ensure that a disaster like this doesn’t happen again. The fact that SAP was intended to be a global roll out that stopped in the UK also raises questions:

Several themes emerge – changing the operational procedures to fit existing working models that SAP has already had defined to save time (and officially money) caused chaos in the warehouse and acheived the opposite result – longer implemntation and higher business costs

The use of freelance consultants made it difficult either to reschedule activities or to keep continuity of support – “Delaying to March would mean the SAP consultants having to leave for 4-5 months … as they are all freelance consultants, getting them to come back as a team was regarded as unlikely.”

….More time was needed for testing it with their operating procedures than had been anticipated.