Archive for August, 2010

erp trend

August 11th, 2010

Doug Barney at Redmond Channel Partner, reports on a new survey from the IT research firm Computer Economics, (“Technology Trends 2010/2011”) focused on the IT spending priorities for the coming year.  Along with the predictable upgrades to Windows 7 (those 175 million licenses are not just from new computers!), and the hot topic of  virtualization, the third category mentioned as the big spending priority for IT executives is ERP, or enterprise resource planning. 

 According to Kurt Mackie, writing on the survey in Redmond Magazine, “About two thirds of the IT organizations surveyed had ERP systems.  Half of the respondents planned to invest further in those systems or buy new ERP systems for the first time. ERP investments appear to be getting some renewal after stagnating during the recession, the report noted.”

Gartner call this movement “Applications Overhaul,” as customers on old, outdated, and unscalable platforms upgrade to the new and modern technology, on premise or in the cloud, of the Dynamics ERP portfolio of products.

Identity fraud

August 9th, 2010

A  new wave of identity fraud according to an Associated Press news report,. Hundreds of online businesses are using computers to find dormant Social Security numbers – often those assigned to children  — and those companies  sell the numbers under another name to help people establish phony credit and to run up huge debts they will never repay .

According to AP: Online companies use computers and publicly available information to find random Social Security numbers. The numbers are run through public databases to determine whether anyone is using these to obtain credit. If not, then those numbers are offered for sale .

Numbers that come from young children who have no money of their own, and  carry no spending history and thus offer a chance to open a new, unblemished line of credit. People who buy the numbers quickly build their credit rating in a process called “piggybacking,” which involves linking to someone else’s credit file.

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)

August 9th, 2010

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) recorded 341 individual data breaches for the first six months of 2010. For 46% of breaches, the number of records potentially affected weren’t disclosed, and for 38%, no cause was disclosed. Hundreds more went unreported, said the organization.

The ITRC first began maintaining a detailed list of data breaches, updated weekly, in 2005.   According to the ITRC, some USA states have a protected breach list that is not made public , or is only accessible by exercising the Freedom of Information Act. One state, had a list of 200 breaches, but  little information was disseminated,  publicly, about the number of records affected.

 For medical data breaches, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created a “risk of harm” threshold for notifications under which when an organization determines that a data breach hasn’t caused “a significant risk of financial, reputational, or other harm to individual,” then it doesn’t have to report the breach, either to the person whose information was breached or to law enforcement agencies.

So  “despite a law stating that all medical breaches involving more than 500 people must be listed on the Health and Human Services breach list, ITRC recorded medical breaches that never made the list,” according 

 The “risk of harm” medical record clause was first disclosed in August 2009. and the Center for Democracy and Technology challenged the loophole, arguing that “the primary purpose for mandatory breach notification is to provide incentives for healthcare companies to protect data.”

In other words, if healthcare companies properly invest in security, they can avoid data breaches, and the attendant cost of related fines. “However, the harm standard institutionalized in HHS’s interim final rule cripples this crucial incentive,

Allowing organizations to conduct their own risk assessment, and to then determine whether or not to notify people whose records have been affected, leads to underreporting of the extent of data breaches and provides an incomplete picture of which organizations adequately safeguard people’s personal information. “Consumers want to know if they are at risk from even a small breach,” according to the ITRC. “The details of a breach help determine their risk factors as well as guide them in proactive measures.”

Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007

August 8th, 2010

With the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, it is possible to embed presence information provided by Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 within the Microsoft Dynamics AX client application.

Benefits of combining Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007:

  • View enhanced presence for a person (availability combined with contact and calendaring information).
  • Initiate communications, with a user experience familiar to most information workers. For example, when reviewing a sales order, it is possible to send the recipient of that sales order an e-mail, or send an instant message-based alert to them, or initiate an outbound phone call that uses speech technology to deliver the message.
  • Fuels business productivity. Contact fellow employees, partners, and customers, quickly and easily, without leaving the context of the Microsoft Dynamics AX screen. If the person you’re contacting is also using Microsoft unified communications, data about the conversation can be transmitted, creating a rich contextual user experience.
  • Fits with your systems. Customers are able to maximize their investments in Microsoft technologies, and to make use of that investment inside their business management solutions.
  • Familiar to your people. As with other Microsoft Office products, Office Communicator 2007 R2 is designed to be familiar and easy to use. The software-based unified communications approach puts the presence information right next to a person’s name and displays their full name and availability. This uniform user experience lowers the learning curve and helps enhance productivity.

Software requirements

The following software is required to implement the Collaborative Contact Center solution:

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2
  • Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2

‘Managing Process Manufacturing using Dynamics AX’

August 8th, 2010

My former coleague Scott Hamilton has released his 6th book on AX – ‘Managing Process Manufacturing using Dynamics AX’.

Managing Process Manufacturing explains how Microsoft Dynamics AX supports the unique business practices of process manufacturing, including hybrid scenarios involving discrete and process manufacturing. The targeted reader includes those individuals implementing or considering Dynamics AX as their ERP system, as well as those providing consulting assistance. The book content provides a complete walk through of functionality related to operations and supply chain management in process manufacturing.

The book can help businesses involved in implementing and using Dynamics AX by accelerating the learning process, supporting gap/fit analyses, and reducing implementation time and costs. It suggests changes that can improve system usage and revitalize a wayward implementation.

(Note: Synergy consultants are trained in the Microsoft Dynamics Ax Process Manufacturing  module , which was acquired by Microsoft last year)

Visual Studio LightSwitch

August 8th, 2010

Visual Studio LightSwitch includes pre-built templates and tools in a simplified development environment for building scalable custom business applications that connect with existing applications, legacy systems, and Web services. Developers can choose from a wide variety of hosting, deployment, and third-party plug-in options. Deployment is simplified in that applications (which are at their core Silverlight applications) can be deployed to the client, browser, and even Windows Azure (post-beta). LightSwitch can be used with C# or Visual Basic and it supports SQL Server, SQL Azure, SharePoint, and Microsoft Office.

Microsoft says that LightSwitch dramatically decreases the time it takes to build a custom application by automatically handling routine code; it’s a rapid application development tool that offers application shells and screen templates to allow the developer to concentrate on the core business logic. 

There’s also a lot of “drag and drop” functionality, but full access to the .NET Framework is still available; if you need to tinker under the hood, you can do so by opening your LightSwitch application in the “full” version of Visual Studio.

Microsoft Releases Internet Explorer 9 Final Platform Preview

August 8th, 2010


Microsoft released a final Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9 for developers Aug. 4, a ramp-up towards the  September beta release. This Preview features native JavaScript integration and fully hardware-accelerated HTML5, .

Against th recent trends and despite a strong challenge from rival browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, Internet Explorer has managed to make incremental gains with regard to overall users. Net Applications estimated Internet Explorer’s share of the browser market at 60.74 percent (a slightly increase from June’s 60.32 percent), followed by Firefox with 22.91 percent, Chrome with 7.16 percent, Safari with 5.09 percent, and Opera with 2.45 percent.

User adoption of Internet Explorer 8 has been on the rise, even as the respective shares for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 continue their decline.  Microsoft currently intends to support Internet Explorer 6 through April 2014, despite concerns from some quarters over its security and relevance.

Security Intelligence Report (SIR) v8 Now Available!

August 7th, 2010

Security Intelligence Report (SIR) v8 Now Available!

Volume 8 of the SIR provides a comprehensive perspective on malware and potentially unwanted software activity around the world. The report analysis is based on data from over 500 million computers and from some of the Internet’s busiest online services in the second half of 2009, and offers information about developing secure software and securing Internet-facing systems from attack.

Security Tip of the Month: Application Privacy Assessments Find out how to easily evaluate how well an application and its operating environment stack up against industry privacy and data security best practices and how well they comply with your organization’s privacy and data security policies.

Auditing in SQL Server 2008

August 7th, 2010
SQL Server 2008 introduces an important new feature that provides a true auditing solution for enterprise customers.

While SQL Trace can be used to satisfy many auditing needs, SQL Server Audit offers a number of attractive advantages to help DBAs to meet regulatory compliance requirements.

Exchange Server 2010 Help

August 7th, 2010

Microsoft has recently released the standalone Exchange Server 2010 Help file for August 2010.

Brief Description
This download contains a standalone version of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Help

emails are core communication mechanism and have legal significance  – compliance policies, data retention,disclosure requirements,  data privacy,  and policy enforcement, and storage management are all areas of increasing importance.

Note: Synergy offers several low cost solutions that enhance management of Exchange server – back up and archiving, add a company disclaimer, logo or markeing emssage to all emails leaving your business- thereby reduce the size of individual mails and ensure  consistent content  and house style , Postini for email security, email encrytion  and digital signature, content montoring for inappropriate content etc.

IIRC -Integrated Financial Reporting

August 5th, 2010

” . .we are at present “battling to meet 21st century challenges with, at best, 20th century decision making and reporting systems.” Prince of Wales

The IIRC  committee is in the early stages of development with companies participating on voluntary basis but exepct be more talk about it in the future as accounting  moves closer to unified international standards.

“The IIRC’s remit is to create a globally accepted framework for accounting for sustainability: a framework which brings together financial, environmental, social and governance information in a clear, concise, consistent and comparable format – put briefly, in an “integrated” format. The intention is to help with the development of more comprehensive and comprehensible information about an organization’s total performance, prospective as well as retrospective, to meet the needs of the emerging, more sustainable, global economic model.”

 As of August 2, 2010 the  International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC) was formed by the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Microsoft Dynamics Ax Retail goes live

August 5th, 2010

Micorsft Dynamics Ax Retail goes live; This is a great solution for customers looking for an end to end retail solution. From POS through to Back Office ERP.

What is unique here is that the retail solution is an extension of the core Microsoft Dynamics AX. Customers are not deploying different solutions for different parts of their business. The breadth of functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX is now extended with retail functionality.

This is a great example of the simplicity in the Microsoft Dynamics AX architecture.  Customers  have one system and one view of their business without having to invest in systems integration and maintenance of those integrations.

For retail companies looking to make a strategic investment in a business solutions backbone for their business they can do this with Microsoft Dynamics AX. To read more about Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail you can find more here

(Synergy was the first company to be trained in Microsoft Dynamics Ax Retail in the region (even before it was bought by Microsoft) and we attended the latest training in April this year.)

Microsoft Dynamics Ax – Mobile solutions

August 5th, 2010

Mobile solutions allow real time data inquiry and data entry- they do this via utlra thin client connectivity- you do not need your full erp system or a pc just  to enter a transaction  : – van sales, meter , service engineers, large or remote warehouses, construction sites, oil and gas rigs, defence logisitics providers, can all benefit from a mobile deployment of their coproarate erp system. 

Increase productivity by direct and paperless execution of your
warehouse processes.

Reduce the number of errors by using RFID and bar code scanning of documents assets and items - to move and issue the right
items to the right orders when and where the transaction takes place .

Provide your company with real-time update and  information of inventory levels, item locations, order statuses and work in process. 

Our solution is  fully integrated with Dynamics AX. It does not use its
own database, all data is stored in the central Dynamics AX database and . Also, the business logic is created in Dynamics AX’s native X++ code.

This means you have true integration without any 3rd party software!
Each transaction that takes place  is processed immediately, real-time, using the standard business logic of AX. This gives you the certainty that all
transactions are validated correctly and that all data is stored where it belongs, in the central AX database.

 Applications are developed within the Dynamics AX development environment. This means that no middleware is required, and no duplication of  business logic should ever be needed. In addition, developers experienced with the Dynamics AX  development platform can develop and support the Framework applications without
having to familiarize themselves with a new development platform or other middleware.

Developing directly in Dynamics AX eliminates the problem of having to open up Dynamics AX functionality to an external process or application.
A key element of the Framework is the Dynamics Anywhere Portal. Utilizing Dynamics AX Business Connector technology to connect to Dynamics AX,

The Portal carries Dynamics AX into the mobile world. Designed specifically to work flawless with any mobile device, the  Portal presents the user with a simple, attractive, fast and reliable user interface. In addition,
the user interface is designed to make the most of the mobile device, providing a clutter free view of the application and making full use of additional resources like barcode scanners and RF tag readers to improve
user productivity.�

Many mobile devices  due to their design and configuration, have a limited
implementation of their browser, making ordinary HTML based solutions unsuitable . Our Framework will run on any device with a browser, and fully supports using multiple device types and form factors simultaneously

The UI is designed to guide the user through his tasks, step by step. Each
task is offered as a logical workflow which makes its use very easy.

The UI supports most Windows Mobile/CE 5 and 6 devices; both landscape
and portrait devices.

New Mind Manager versions – 10 August 2010

August 5th, 2010

Coming on the 10th of August 2010:

MindManager Version 9 for Windows

MindManager Explorer for SharePoint

 New 5Plus License Program – Now with Mindjet Software Assurance!

 MindManager Version 9 Upgrade Promotion

Sales Forecasting for Dynamics AX

August 2nd, 2010

We are pleased to announce the upgrade of  Sales Forecasting for Dynamics AX.

This release includes the market-leading Forecast Pro forecasting engine to considerably increase the power of the module and produce more accurate forecasts, particularly where sales demand patterns display seasonal trends. This will help customers to get better results from Dynamics AX Master Planning.

The Forecast Pro engine extends the range of formulae to include an optimal selection from the following forecasting models:

  • Simple Moving Averages
  • Discrete Data Models
  • Croston’s Intermittent Demand Model
  • 9 Exponential Smoothing Models
  • Univariate Box-Jenkins Models
  • Event Models
  • 4 Curve Fitting Models
  • Dynamic Multiple Regression

Sales Forecasting for Dynamics AX enables customers to generate sales forecasts quickly and easily without the complexity of interfacing to non-AX forecasting products. They get powerful sales forecasting functionality while enjoying all the benefits of a module developed specifically for AX.

Forecasts are generated using statistical formulae and are graphically presented for comparison with sales history.  Sales history can be manually adjusted to remove abnormal demand and forecasts can be adjusted to reflect promotions and other known influences, both without losing the original figures.

Call us for a demo: