Archive for July, 2011

Ramdan 2011 UAE start timing confirmed

July 31st, 2011

Moon-sighting committees in Saudi, UAE have confirmed Ramadan will begin on August 1

Ramadam Kareem from Synergy Software Systems in Dubai to all our staff, customers, partners and readers

July 28th, 2011

Ramadan Kareem  ( = Noble or Generous Ramadan)
Ramadan Mubarak ( = Blessed or Happy Ramadan)
Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair (= May every year find you in good health)

Microsoft Dynamics AX, version 2012 – U.A.E.

July 17th, 2011

The release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, is scheduled for September 8, 2011. Dynamics AX 2012 will launch at the Global Virtual Launch Event.

As a comprehensive ERP (enterprise resource planning) application, Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta) is a solution for midsize and larger companies and makes it easy to operate across locations and countries by standardizing processes, providing visibility across your organization, and helping to simplify compliance.. It enables businesses to work effectively, manage change, and compete globally.

The 2012 version of AX provides hundreds of enhancements to help customers improve productivity, manage change and growth and compete globally.

  • Microsoft Office add-ins to use Microsoft Word and Excel to build templates and documents that combine structured and unstructured information from Dynamics AX.
  • Model organizational structures more address book access, selectively enforce policies by address book, and create applicant records directly from application forms.
  • Global Address Book: create multiple address books,
  • A faster order entry process limits the amount of information to be entered. This permits easier access to Sales order process enhancements allows users to place orders in sales order header or line details as well as expert features allowing users to modify default settings and customize sales orders
  • Transfer and view employee records easily, and reduce manual process steps in recruiting, onboarding, development, transfer, and termination.
  • In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, the Expense Management application for the Enterprise Portal is improved in many areas to help streamline processes and improve productivity. This includes the expense entry, cash advance request, credit card dispute, travel requisition, and expense report delegation. In addition, the approval experience for expense reports, travel requisitions, and cash advances are improved or introduced.
  • Time zone enhancements: easily set and change time zone preferences, support multiple time zones, synchronize time zone preferences with local time zones, and view different time zone information for transactions.
  • Policies management: utilize this new capability to help implement a unified procurement strategy across employees, purchasing agents, and vendors.
  • Manage Product information create and maintain product definitions and master definitions for sets of products across the entire organization, and share these across companies to maintain centralized product repository control.
  • New Help system allowing you to customize topics, enabling others in the organization to create Help documentation, promptly applying and distributing updates and using Search and Help viewer to find help on your network or the web.
  • RoleTailored user interface including FactBoxes, Fast Tabs, and Preview Panes that let you view data from multiple sources without leaving the current form.
  • Time zone improvements including editing time zones, supporting multiple time zones, and synchronizing time zone preferences
  • Unified procurement strategy across employees, purchasing agents, and vendors
  • Auto-generated SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) reports and basic reports creation using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Charting Control
  • Global operations support through development of a report in one language and the reporting framework products for the report in multiple languages
  • Ability to create complex workflows and separate workflows for each line associated with a header, even automated workflows requiring no human intervention
  • Graphical Workflow Editor enables drag-and-drop functionality for workflow creation and Work Item Queues help users control what they work on and load balance across the team when necessary.
  • Environmental Sustainability Dashboard to track energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to proactively monitor your organization’s environmental impact plus the new associated data cube to keep track of energy consumption, carbon footprint and KPIs for waste and water usage.
  • Improve supply chain planning capabilities across your organization, using new views that display all intercompany supply and demand.
  • Planned intercompany demand is visible for upstream companies within the organization, and can be considered in master planning.
  • Planning and management are also supported with a full view of intercompany order-pegging using a multilevel pegging form.
  • Quickly create unlimited, form-based financial dimensions that can be shared across legal entities for a complete business view, audit trail transparency, and detailed analyses.
  • Transform budget information into precise, workflow-driven management tools with multiple, variable, and hierarchical budgetary controls that allow you to define how you want to manage expenditures and achieve greater control of the procurement process.
  • Set up, view, and manage encumbrances, including purchase order commitments, in the general ledger, and manage workflow items with respect to year-end processing and encumbrances.
  • Streamline the cash-to-collections process to save time, engage efficiently with customers, and improve cash flow.
  • Simplify and help ensure accurate processing of requisitions, orders, invoices, and other key transactions by defining accounting distributions and viewing subledger journal entries before journalizing source documents.
  • Improve accounts payable operational efficiency with new capabilities to match invoices, allocate charges, process and track purchase order prepayments, add lines to invoices, and more.
  • Increase productivity and accuracy as you leverage architectural advances to share key financial data among legal entities – enhancements that include purchase order rollover and budget carry-forward options. Sharply reduce time and effort for year-end closing
  • Empower workers to order day-to-day goods and services from searchable online catalogs.
  • Help vendors operate more efficiently by enabling them to perform a variety of tasks online, such as updating profile data, requesting additional users, requesting the scope of their offering be expanded, uploading catalog content, submitting invoices, reviewing payments, and more.
  • Import, create, edit, stage, publish, and search catalogs of items for internal consumption on an internal shopping site. Or punch out directly to your vendor catalog.
  • Create a virtual workplace where category managers can manage overall spending by category.
  • Utilize requisition aggregation, work queue management, category management, and other procurement functionality through procurement-based Role Center.
  • Establish a centralized procurement desk capability across your organization to support procurement policies and processes.
  • Easily set up and maintain one or more different purchasing policies and apply those to different sets of requisitioners across the organization.
  • Easily convert a purchase order line or sales order into a delivery schedule and maintain total order discount eligibility even when multiple deliveries result.
  • Support quality management with a new inventory blocking feature that works manually or on an automated basis to enjoy greater flexibility and granularity in quality order specification, and more.
  • Improve your ability to report the value of goods in transit between companies, using two new reports in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
  • Touch Screen capabilities in Manufacturing Execution System
  • View a summary as the project budget is created, compare against funding, and make corrections before submission.
  • Create and manage projects in Enterprise Portal to enable remote access and reduce software installation and update issues.
  • Make time sheet entries more efficiently with enhanced time entry capabilities and user experiences from a web browser or the client application.
  • Allocate and post revenue based on internal sales prices for workers, categories, and dimensions, enabling profitability monitoring by allocation area.
  • Improve management of complex portfolios of projects and next-level optimization of resource schedules through enhanced integration with Microsoft Project Server 2010.
  • Improve individual productivity by referring to Role Centers for data, alerts, task lists, and reports pertinent to specific job functions; more than two dozen predefined Role Centers can be accessed from the Enterprise Portal or Microsoft Dynamics AX Windows client.
  • Use the Employee Portal and workflow tools to enforce spending and approval policies at a more granular level, and to enable employee self-service for performance goal management

Security – Hacking

July 16th, 2011

 Anonymous hackers broke into a server belonging to consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton and published a database containing some 90,000 military e-mail addresses and hashed passwords in what they have named Military Meltdown Monday

 A recent report (PDF) from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that the USA IRS has some serious problems with the security of nearly all of its 2,200 databases.

There has been a string of high profile security breaches this year – and the problems continue to threaten companies. It’s never too early to review your defences. This blog article on sa credentials and application install best practice is just the tip of a large iceberg but you have to start somewhere.

Compliance – Microsoft Dynamics AX

July 7th, 2011

There are many standards to which companies strive to comply such as ITIL, SOX, BASEL ll , IFRS , ISO standards etc.There are several components to effective  compliance:

1. Standard Operating Procedures
AStandard Operating Procedure is typically instituted within a business to define  consistent process steps to follow and actions to be carried out. These assist in demysitfiyong processes and help with the training of new people executing any particular function or task.  Standard Operating Procedures should be defined to  meet the compliance requirement.

  • Perform More Processes Faster: Automated workflow helps to enforce compliance. Manual processes slow productivity. Microsoft Dynamics AX in built Workflowengine  lets organizations define the workflow steps and approvals with notifcations , esclaations etc .
  • Better Internal Controls with Approval Workflows for Financial Journals: Standard Operating Procedures also include enforcing internal controls for specific, pre-defined actions and processes. This can be especially relevant in financial processes.
  • Document and Record Tasks and Activities Automatically: Micorosft Dynamics Ax has a built in odcument handlign feature, this can attach any source or supporting  file to any record or transaction.  Templates cna also be added as  structured checklists .  The in built task reocrder allows  best practice to be automatically capturedby a key user  with screen shots and navigation path to create precise, step by step Work instructions  Accurate documentation of tasks and activities and making this information easily accessible are crucial components to enforcing standard operating procedures successfully. Microsoft Dynamics AX supports  logging and recording tasks and activities and making the information available from the Compliance Center, in Microsoft Office documents and in Microsoft SharePoint sites.
  • Improve Employee Compliance Awareness and Training: Publishing compliance practices and standard operating procedures and making those available within the organization is an important part of managing compliance and alsoa sssits in employee training of  compliance practices and company policy .

2. Documented Transactions
Many compliance requirements focus on recording exactly what happened, when, and by whom. For compliance requirements that ask for documented transactions, the transaction should be captured as close to the source of the transaction activity as possible.

  • Track and Trace Transactions: The audit trail system in Microsoft Dynamics AX supports compliance requirements that require documented transactions. Microsoft Dynamics AX makes it possible to identify the origin of an entry; the user who created the entry and the entry date and time. The inventory trace system also supports batch serial and lot number track and tracing to raw material lots. In addition, compliance reports such as Audit Trail enables users to view a list of transactions and who created them, transaction types, and accounts and vouchers by transaction date and created date. The audit trail reports are available from the Compliance Center.
  • Automate Quality Assurance: Microsoft Dynamics AX supports quality management by automating the quality assurance process and managing turnaround times when dealing with non-conforming products, regardless of their origination point.
  • Verify and Approve Transactions with Electronic/Digital Signature: Microsoft Dynamics AX enables obtaining approval information for user-defined compliance control processes electronically with electronic signatures. This feature can be used to comply with the Life Sciences process industry requiremenes and for general compliance scenarios in the  finance and public sectors.

3. Data Integrity
When you document transactions electronically to meet compliance requirements, there must be assurances that the data is available, secure, and tamper proof. In cases of sensitive data, such as credit card and Social Security information, this is a must, and if this data is mismanaged  then the organization may face significant risk and financial implication. To help ensure data integrity, systems and procedures (such as backup processors and disk systems) must be put in place to  ensure there is high availability of data.

Pro-actively Monitor Data Changes with Alerts: Alerts in Microsoft Dynamics AX help organizations monitor and control compliance-related business activities and events. Employees can quickly and easily create alert rules that deliver automatic notifications of changes to purchase orders, vendor address, customer records, data changes, and so on.

  • Standard Reports: Build compliant financial reports such as an income statement or balance sheet in Microsoft Dynamics AX. Ledger accounts can easily be mapped into line items. This helps organizations compose reporting rows based on given posting layers to produce financial statements for different generally accepted accounting principles (GAAPs).
  • Reduce Risk with Improved Security Settings: This starts nwith Active Directory integration. Security settings are set up and maintained in one place and no matter how much the system is customized the user security-features setup retains its integrity. Microsoft Dynamics AX gives organizations an efficient way to control who has access to what features and data. The administrator can create user groups that have permission to access specific functionality and data based on the organization’s business processes and needs. The administrator then assigns users to the individual groups. The users in each group can only see the functions and data for which they have permission. Security is role based and can be be defined down to record level within a field.
  • The Micorsft Dynamikcs Ax chart of accounts allows sytme accounts to be locked to prevent manual journ als ot those accoutns to ensure sub ledgers will always reconicle to the GL. Other features include the ability to specify default ofdset accounts, whether a proposal should be debit or credit for a specifc account, and balance control
  • Although an organization may document transactions and capture and securely store data, this is often not enough, on its own, to meet compliance requirements. There must also be a trail of exactly what changes happened to the data, when it changed, and who/what made the change. This trail of changes is typically referred to as an audit trail. The database log in Micorosft Dynamics Ax can log changes to master data tables for example who created a new account number, who changed a credit limit or term of payment. On the manufacturing side all BOMs and BOM versions have to be activated and approved

5. Segregation of Duties/Responsibilities
With highly critical decisions that carry high risk/high value, it is often not advisable to place full responsibility in the hands of a single individual. In a chain of related processes, this would mean separating the authority of people so that they could manage only sub-sets of an activity. In this way, two or more people are required to complete the entire process.

Microsoft Dynamics AX delivers an integrated and automated solution designed to help you manage the risks and costs associated with meeting compliance requirements. Furthermore, it extends your investment in Microsoft products and technologies, and gives you deeper visibility into and control of business practices that you can use to generate a competitive advantage.

The good news is that Microsoft Dynmaics Ax 2012 considerbaly enhances the compliance features for example: an enhanced work flow engine,  more advanced security options , sophisticated PO budget control,  ability stio scheidle staff based on certifcations and skills etc.

Pleasae find the following links for more information about IT compliance with Dynamics Ax 2009.

Partner Source :

Managing Compliance Whitepaper:

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Demo:

SharePoint 2010 SP1 and the June Cumulative Update for SharePoint 2010

July 5th, 2011

See these links

to explain the difference between SP1 and the June CU.

  • SharePoint 2010 SP1 contains all SharePoint updates published through the April 2011 Cumulative Update in addition to other fixes that were applied specifically to SP1 during its development. SP1 is a baseline, and that baseline is tied to our Service Pack Life Cycle Policy. We recommend applying SP1 to your SharePoint environment because it resets the baseline for your entire SharePoint environment, and prepares your environment for future releases such as the June CU.
  • The June Cumulative Update is the first Post-SP1 build released to customers. It contains new fixes to issues raised through various escalation channels and through our support organization. The June CU is based on Service Pack 1, but it adds new updates to some of (not all) the packages that SP1 installs.

The recommended approach is to apply Service Pack 1 and the June CU into an environment together. Because the packages changed by the June CU supersede SP1, the order of installation isn’t critical. If you install the CU before SP1, the packages that the CU updated won’t be overwritten by SP1. Because the June CU is from a later build than SP1, many will be comfortable installing SP1 first, and then applying the CU.

A separate topic of conversation is the order in which you should apply SharePoint Foundation vs. SharePoint Server Updates. Per the guidance from the SharePoint team, when applying SP1 or the CU it is recommended to apply the Foundation packages before applying the server packages.

The recommended order of installation is as follows:

Update Foundation first:
SharePoint Foundation 2010 Service Pack 1
Service Pack 1 for SharePoint Foundation 2010 Language Pack
June 2011 CU for SharePoint Foundation 2010

Then SharePoint Server:
SharePoint Server 2010 Service Pack 1
Service Pack 1 for Server Language Pack 2010
June 2011 CU for SharePoint Server 2010

You can then run the Configuration Wizard (PSConfig) one time on all boxes.

Some links which will help in planning and executing your SharePoint 2010 SP1 and SharePoint 2010 June CU deployment: – Updates for SharePoint Products – SharePoint Foundation Updates – SharePoint Server Updates – List of all SharePoint Server 2010 SP1 Packages – Technical Details about the SharePoint 2010 SP1 and Office Server 2010 releases – Description of the June CU for SharePoint Server 2010 – Install a Software Update for SharePoint Server 2010