Archive for December, 2011

Some U.A.E. events December 2011

December 10th, 2011

Monday is ‘Children’s Day’ at Al Ain Zoo this December - As part of its community commitment, Al Ain Zoo kicks-off Children’s Day and grants free access to the zoo for children aged three to 12 every Monday …

Al Hallab camel competiton returns just before the start of the fifth Al Dhafra festival in Zahyed City Al Gharbi

 Scotland won the inaugural Falcon Cup at Yas Links Golf Club this weekend

 Chef Juan Amador a three Michelin-starred chef prepares to open Rotana’s new signature restaurant at the Park Rotana hotel, which is on track to open its doors on 9th February and become a focal point of the Anu Dhabai mirate’s fourth Gourmet Abu Dhabi culinary festival, which runs from 8th to 23rd February.

Dutch street soccer group Streetkings have set up a new home in Abu Dhabi and will host the one-day tournament on Saturday 17th December from 4pm. Open to footballers of all age groups and abilities, players will be categorised into Under 12s, Under 17s and 17 and over and each team of two will go head to head in a series of nine games.

Budding street soccer stars who want to fine tune their skills ahead of the tournament can take part in a Streetkings clinic the day before, on Friday 16th December from 3pm to 5pm at the Dome@Rawdhat. Streetkings’ founder and former professional Dutch footballer Edward van Gils will be joined by his team of street football experts to offer free advice and showcase their skills

Intenational Falconry festival -Al Ain

December 10th, 2011
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) in cooperation with the Emirates Falconers’ Club and the Council of British FalconersThe festival aims to preserve falconry as an important element of UAE national heritage and is also being held in celebration of Al Ain’s recent registration on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

This year the festival’s organisers have also introduced a number of special races for salukis, camels and falcons, with qualifying heats being held in Al Ain on the 11th, 12th and 13th December, and for the first time a special Falconry Conference will run alongside the festival at the Al Ain Rotana Hotel.

Dr Nick Fox, technical supervisor of the festival and a member of the Board of Directors of the Falconry Heritage Trust in the UK, said, “We thought that falconry was practiced in only 65 countries. However, we received responses from about 80 countries when we announced the organising of this Festival. 75 of them will take part in this session.

“This makes the festival worthy to be the ‘Falconry Olympics’. We’re expecting about 700 falconers from overseas.”

.

Infor Financials SunSystems 4.4 – Synergy – Dubai

December 10th, 2011

Infor Financials SunSystems 4.4 is now generally available. The 4.4 release of SunSystems introduces the following new and enhanced functionality.

User Interface

New user experience: quick and efficient access to SunSystems functions - users can still work with keyboard access and established shortcuts. Standard menu access for each operator is complemented by a “Favorites” option, allowing a user-defined menu with personalized entries. The traditional SunSystems modules are represented as tabs. Within each module/tab, the content is organized in newer-style categories represented with icons. The majority of forms are enhanced to include descriptive content in dropdown boxes, calendar controls, and checkboxes for standard Yes/No options, and the formar character responses are preserved throughout.

Help for SunSystems 4 (core languages): The interconnected suite of Help files, , is now delivered in all languages in which the SunSystems 4.4 user interface is delivered (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese [Simplified], Chinese [Traditional], and Japanese).

Security and Control

SunSystems Security: The separate, centralized security facility introduced with SunSystems 4.3 (4.3.1) is now an integral part of SunSystems 4.4 with a single, combined installation routine.

Permission Control on Allocation Marker Updates: The application and removal of allocation markers in Account Allocation, On-Line Allocation, Journal Entry, Journal Import, and Reconciliation Manager can now be restricted by Operator Permissions. A new Allocation Marker Restrictions tab has been added to Operator Group Database Miscellaneous Restrictions in User Manager. Access to On-Line Allocation has also been made subject to Operator Permissions; a new action has been added to the Database Menu Selections for Journal Entry in Ledger Accounting.

Audit Reports: Reference and Transactional Audit Reports have been enhanced to include timestamp data.

Audit Control: Audit Control can now be configured for individual databases rather than functioning system-wide. A simple facility to copy existing audit control settings from one database to a second or all databases is available.

Customer-driven Enhancements

Account Allocation and Account Inquiry: Selection criteria to extract by due date have been added to these functions to facilitate better debtor and creditor control.

Sales Invoicing: A user’s own bank details can be recorded and made available for inclusion on the sales invoice. Default own bank details can be defined on the “Own Address” Names and Address record. This can be overridden by alternative own bank details on individual customer Chart of Accounts records.

Portuguese Invoicing: Changes have been introduced to meet new sales invoicing regulations introduced by the Portuguese government at the beginning of 2011. This functionality is enabled by the introduction of a user hook and works using an encrypted hash total.

Technology

Platform Updates: Infor Financials SunSystems 4.4 is now available for Oracle 11g R2.

Windows Printing: Windows Printing has been reworked, enabling the user to identify and setup suitable Windows printers via User Manager and SunSystems for ad hoc print use. Local or network printers can be easily assigned to an existing SunSystems printer profile in a new User Manager dialog. Once Windows printing is enabled, a standard Windows print dialog is presented to the user when the print function is selected. Further amendments such as printer selection, number of copies, paper orientation, etc. may be made at this time before the print is confirmed.

Windows Database Collation: A native Windows database collation has been introduced. Data and screens now operate using a Windows collation and code page, replacing any previous DOS collation. European language users upgrading from earlier releases must convert SunSystems backup files generated from their previous SunSystems installation before restoring into version 4.4. A new CodePageConverter.exe utility has been made available for this purpose in the SunSystems program directory. 

Add-on Operator Permissions: The previous version 4.3.3 super user ZO=Maintain Add On Op. Permissions is replaced. With the introduction of the new Navigator menu interface, the installation of add-on products now requires the addition of new modules and functions to both Navigator and User Manager. A new ThirdPartyInstaller.exe utility is made available for this purpose in the SunSystems program directory. An XML file containing all required updates is required in conjunction with this utility.

Infor10 ION Suite 10.1 Is Now Available from Synergy in Dubai

December 8th, 2011

Infor is pleased to announce the general availability of Infor10 ION Suite version 10.1. This is the third release of ION this year and continues to set the foundation for interoperability, business process management, and more.

 ION 10.1 includes 40+ new features focused on:

  • New connectivity options for mobility and SalesForce.com enablement through Infor10 CloudSuite
  • Enhanced document flow modeler with brokering capabilities
  • Business process management improvement with external alerts

 In addition, significant enhancements have been delivered in event management, such as creating a workflow from an alert, and sending alert notifications to suppliers, customers, etc. ION 10.1 features new enhancements to power ION Pulse on mobile devices. Also, ION Pulse allows end users to subscribe themselves to mission-critical information and follow it.

Asian CFO’s – Infor survey on market changes -how does it affect your strategy?

December 8th, 2011

Need to manage a multi-national organization?

You can handle it, but can your financial management systems?

Taxes, regulations, multi-currency, reporting. You must be able to manage a high degree of complexity and react quickly to change.

Download this white paper to get a step-by-step checklist for evaluating your multi-national readiness. You’ll learn critical system requirements in areas such as transfer pricing, the transition to IFRS, reporting, regulatory management, and much more.

 CFOi Report:

http://go.infor.com/fms-cfoi-asia-report or 

 http://go.infor.com/global-essentials

Here is an extract from this CFO Innovation’s recently completed research into the trends regarding   market   focus   for Asian companies and changing strategies  for  business  growth  reflects some  of  the  major  challenges  and trends  that  Infor  is  seeing  amongst the more than 70,000 customers we support   globally.   Financial   executives  in  particular  are  coping  with  a high  degree  of  change,  with  their roles  becoming  more  complex  and diversified. It   not   surprising,   therefore,   that one  of  the  major  trends  amongst Infor’s  customers  is  the  increasingly strategic   role   of   CFOs   and  the finance   departments   they  run.

No    longer    viewed    as    a    simple transaction   processing   engine, finance  departments     are  being asked  to  manage  highly  analytical, complex   assessments   of   business strategies and the progression toward organizational goals. More and more CFOs are moving from the backroom to the boardroom, playing a role that goes   far   beyond   simply   reporting financial  information. They  are  now expected to play a prominent role in determining  business  strategy,  with critical  decisions  being  made  based on the input they are able to provide.

A second major trend is the challenge of      managing      highly      complex multinational   business   operations and   the   regulatory   requirements that  are  part  and  parcel  of  doing business  in  the  global  environment.

The  impact  of  the  global  economic downturn   and   the   ever-expanding reach  of  our  global  economy  have resulted  in  a  heightened  awareness of   the   opportunities,    risks,    and complexities of operating in markets outside a company’s own borders.

Because   the   operational   requirements  of  expanding  into  new  markets are a necessity for executing an international business strategy, they are typically planned to a high level of  detail.  However,  it  is  not  uncommon for preparations on the financial management  side  of  the  equation to  be  vastly  underestimated.  Often, non-financial executives assume that the systems and processes currently in place  will  simply  be  adapted  to meet the reporting, regulatory, compliance,  and  taxation  requirements of local markets. But as any CFO who manages   multinational   operations knows,  there  is  little  that  is  simple about it.

Playing    the    strategic    role    now required   of   a   CFO   tasked   with managing  a  multinational  business requires    systems    and    processes that can be easily adapted to meet a highly  diverse  set  of  requirements.

However,   a   large   percentage   of CFOs  are  working  with  antiquated financial management solutions that were either developed in-house and highly  customized,  or  that  rely  on  a one  size  fits  all  ERP  technology  that is not flexible, or responsive enough to  meet  the  dynamic  nature  of  their global operations. 

The result is not just inefficiency and excess  costs,  but  more  important-ly  –  risk.  CFOs  today  need  financial management   systems   that   enable them  to  meet  growing  expectations –  ones  that  can  effectively  manage the  modern-day  complexities  of  the global business world in which they operate.  Without them,  the  finance department’s ability to play a strategic role will be severely limited, and achieving desired results from international  business  strategies  will  be far from guaranteed.

The  following  criteria are  essentials  for  an  effective  global financial  management  solution  and can be used as a standard for CFOs to conduct  a  high-level  analysis  of  their existing systems’ global readiness:

•  The ability to communicate seamlessly   with   business   systems company-wide. Businesses today spend  too  much  valuable  time on trying to get their systems to work  together.  When key  business  systems  operate  in  silos,  a holistic   view   of   organizational performance is difficult or impossible  to  obtain.  CFOs  also  often receive information that is dated and even worse, inaccurate.

The    growth    of    multinational business   and   the   complexity of   managing   business   entities in  highly  diverse  locales  have moved company-wide system integration  from  a  nice  to  have  to a must-have. CFOs should make this  a  fundamental  criterion  for any  system  replacement  or  upgrade. 

•   The ability to augment transactions as   a   result   of   changes   in   the business or requirements for local reporting.  Often  known  as “smart transactions”,    these    transaction types     enable     companies     to capture  additional  data  whenever it  is  demanded  and  begin  doing analysis    on    that    information immediately.      As      a      result, businesses can accommodate local reporting   requirements   without making radical,  time-consuming, and  expensive  changes  to  their financial    management    systems and processes.

•   The   ability   to   support   multi-company,    independent    locale. Finance  departments  should  be able  to  independently configure business  units  so  that  each  can have its own base currency, chart of accounts and business rules as required to meet local standards.

The   ability   to   manage   entities using an independent setup or to support multiple companies within a   single   business   entity   gives CFOs  the  flexibility to efficiently and  effectively  manage  diverse and complex organizations.

•   The    ability    to    support    4-D multi-currency.   Most  financial management      systems      offer multi-currency  capabilities,  but the  degree  to  which  they  do  so plays  an  important  role  in  the system’s   overall   effectiveness.

A  global-ready  solution  should provide   the    ability    to   carry parallel  currency  dimensions  on all  source  transactions,  catering for   local   accounting   currency, alternate   base   currency,   and reporting   currencies   while allowing   every   transaction   to carry   all   four   values   and   the actual  rates  of  exchange  used.

The availability  of  an  additional “variable”   currency   code   also allows for management of more sophisticated requirements, such as branch accounting in different currencies.

•   The     ability    to   accommodate multiple financial calendars. Global-ready systems should allow finance departments   to   create   different accounting periods  for  reporting purposes  and  re-aggregate    to different periods as required.

•   The   ability   to   provide   global access.     Multinational     finance departments    are    often    faced with   operational   challenges   on the   ground   in   diverse   locales.

Internet  connectivity  and  access to  IT  support  can  vary  widely  by country.  As  a  result,  deployment options  are  a  critical  component of a global financial management system.   Companies   should   be able to install the solution centrally as  a  shared  service  or  access  it via  a  Web  interface. The  system should   also   be   straightforward to  implement  and  provide  a  low total cost of ownership to increase its  viability  as  a  solution  for  all geographies.

http://go.infor.com/sunsystemsnow-new/?requestedContent=http%3A%2F%2Fgo.infor.com%2Fcontent%2Fbrochures%2FInfor-FMS-SunSystems-Enterprise-brochure.pdf%2F&gated=yes

Make your financial management systems work the way you want it to with the new Infor10 Financials Business (SunSystems).

Manage growth with ease, drive profits and meet change with confidence with Infor10 Financials Business.

Total eclipse of Abu Dhabi 10 December 2011?

December 7th, 2011

 10th December – FULL MOON’ and astronomers all over the country are excitedly looking forwad to the possibility of a lunar eclipse

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2011

December 7th, 2011

  The UIM F1H2O World Championship penultimate Grand Prix i.e  the sixth round of the 2011 season is set to take place on 8th and 9th December along the Abu Dhabi Corniche will also be the 20th race in the city’s history dating back to 1993.

Microsoft Security Essentials

December 7th, 2011

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is the company’s free anti-virus and anti-malware application, and it works really well for  personal computers, and it does a good job of operating in the background without disrupting what is going on in the foreground.

The Security Essentials home website has a new link where you can download a beta version of the application. MSE has not changed much since its initial release, so a face-lift along with some functional enhancements is long overdue. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials

Dubai in the cloud? Office 365?

December 7th, 2011

When you are starting up or need a new solution fast then a cloud based solution rather than an on-premise one  will get you up and running without the cash flow hit.  . . . at least in the short-term. However, if you implement a major business application then you still need comprehensive business process mapping, data cleansing, organizational change management, end-user training , data migration local support etc.

 The cost structure of cloud ERP avoids paying a lump sum up-front, either for hardware , software, product install, or day to day IT staff  but  organizations must pay for yearly subscriptions to their cloud provider. So it’s an easy way to amortize a large upfront expense witrhout punitive bank loans or mortgages.  You also don’t need to worry about the cost of applying patches and upgrades or resizing hardware, or the cost of back up tapes nor the space costs of a server room (what is the opportutnity cost of the space in a amjor city?)  and the energy costs that go with it, not to mention insurance and support costs for the hardware.

 However if the business cash flow should cash dry up, then you may find it  impossible to pay for the subscription – you dont just lose support, you may lose your entire system.   Vendors need to make a profit so ultimately they have to cover the cost of the up front finance. Cloud applications therefore generate more predictable revenue and higher long term revenue.

There are many successful solutions particularly in the CRM space.  Why am I writing about this now? Well Microsoft recently invited me to particpate in one of the partner surveys about our awarenes of, and our business plans, re the cloud and use/planned sales of specifically Azure and other providers like Amazon web  services. So I ahd to think – we sell some cloud solutions but we not likely to be a host  of the cloud – we implement and support. So how might it change our future and offerings?

In this region there has been cautious adoption . Of course most of us use the cloud  without thinking about it when we buy books on line or upload photos, or use web email, or Facebook etc.

So what about erp solutions like Dynamics Ax . We have been able to offer this for a long time on the cloud but clients in this region are still concerend about proven reliability – there have been some prominent site outages this year, and about  risks to their data. I am less conerend about secuirty – if you choose a major provider then they will have  a Fort Knox equivalent data centre physical security with appropriate back up,  disaster recovery, firewalls, virus protection, and skilled staff  etc that will be far safer than most on premise networks. For me the problem is more about the contractual and support side which seems much less clear..

 2. Will we still own our data? a crucial question to ask your ERP cloud provider before the purchase-  how and in what format will  the cloud provider deliver your data to you when you cancel your contract – how long will that take  .

3. How to choose the ERP cloud provider? Few will have a cloud track record, but  lots of satisfied customers is always a good sign .  Check the uptime guarantees, service level agreement (SLA) and other terms and conditions and whether these cna be substantiated and what happens if those are not met . Check the vendor is operating on a large enough scale with redundant infrastructure facilities in the case of a natural disaster at their primary facility. What is their financial stability. WIll your data be in the sama server as others on a shared database, or will it be dedicated for you? How does the application licensing work if the cloud provider is not the application vendor?

4. What if  we want to bring ERP back in-house? . Some vendors only support cloud deployment,

5. Will a cloud-based ERP system be able to integrate with the other line of business applications that we use?  ERP solutions with integration tools will allow you to integrate to other on premises and cloud based solutions. Can you customise for your business, or is it a common build offered to all clients – i.e if the system is enhanced for you then all other users similarly benefit. A common build will tend to be continually improved and be easier to upgrade maintain – Birch St is a typical product that works on this module for Hospitality procurdment.

6. Will there be connectivity and response time issues   Check the latency and   bandwidth requirement per client – consider report printing and BI.  Response time is a key factor for the user with a cloud based system. Flex system is a powerful user friendly cloud BI system – its in memory processing ensures exceptional processing response time. Ask us! Its a well kept secret here but is widely used in financial services in Asia.

7. What if the internet connection goes down? Consider a  redundant internet service to ensure continued operations even when your primary ISP goes down this may also help you to load balance and peak times . Many organizations find that a redundant system also helps with load balancing during high usage time.

8. What if the cloud provider is offline? The SLA (Service Level Agreement), should define   uptime guarantees and explanation of the redundant systems in place to protect against major system failure – 99.9% uptime  means in the worst case scenario that your system isdown less than 8.76 hours per annum – probably better than an in house system .

9. What  about add on customised developments?   Will these  work with a cloud based application ? This will become more common as the cloud usage expands, but there will be an additional cost to adding ISV applications to your hosted or cloud system.

What about office tools- these are less crtical than erp solutions Most of us use a hotmail gmail ,yahoo or equivalent mail account. Google apps has a large footprint of users – and Zoho also has its fans,

Microsoft has now entered this space with 2 million clients for Office 365 in a very short time. For small businesses this is a quick way to get up and running at a known cost with Office Professional, SharePoint, Exchange server and Lync with the only requirement being an internet connection,- instant productivity with the possibility of Skype or other VOIP phone systems. Ask us for details. However, it can also be a big boon for large companies as a way of outsourcing these IT functions – useful when skilled resources are scarce /costly, and when office rents are high, and the company wants to stay compliant with ITIL, and the latest technology, or has   variabe staffing e.g a project based company  or is experiencing rapid growth which is outstripping systems.

This seems to me where the cloud will get established and  will  lead to wider acceptance of erp on the cloud. Meanwhile apps stores are increasingly adding business apps and Microsoft now also runs an apps store to complement its products.  expect to see SaaS models evolve around web services e.g pay for a credit card gateway on an ad hoc  per use basis.

Personnel Planning with Prophix 10 R2

December 6th, 2011

Witness the evolution of corporate performance management with the release of PROPHIX’s latest update. Among other capabilities, PROPHIX 10 R2 offers Detailed Planning Manager, a powerful, unified application built for personnel planning and more!

Register for a live webinar to see what’s new in PROPHIX 10 R2, including:

  • Methods for creating more accurate budgets and
    forecasts, with customizable levels of transparency and
    security for use across your organization

 Detailed Planning Manager’s capacity for headcount and expense planning, which allows users to pinpoint more accurate projections

 Several new customer-driven features, including Member Property Display, which we’ve built to boost the user experience. Now you can display qualitative details alongside quantitative values in your reports

http://www2.prophix.com/e/444/egister-536998937/HWY6M/438123336

U.A.E. National Day look back

December 5th, 2011

With all the economic doom and gloom both around the world and in the U.A,E, where growth forecast has been cut back to 3%  heee is some brighter news:.

First, – and all the more difficult for me to say being a Welshman, congratulations to the England team on winning the Emirates Rubgy 7s  -  I cheered them on last year also, and after their disastrous World Cup in the 15 a side game it was good to see them showing they have what it takes.

After enjoying the more modest Synergy celebrations on National Day morning I settled down to watch some of the miltray march pasts in Abu Dhabi. Fantastic! Its a long time since I have seen such a high standard of drill – TV is an unforgiving eye and shows all angles, and the dressing alignment  was consistently almost flawless in all directions – full arm swing to shoulder height, chests proufly out, neck in the back of the collar, straight arms, confident words of command from the officers and steadiness on parade – this was textbook stuff. As an ex military officer I salute you all – your drill NCOs had clearly put you through your paces over and over. 

Why does it matter?  Well an officer that can’t give a clear command on a  parade ground probably will not manage it under fire.  Troops that can’t learn to march together are unliley to find the team work to do much else together either. Soldiers who can’t clean their boots with pride probably will not clean their rifles any better either.  Perfomance on the day  is the  down to planning, preparation,  and practice – pride and attention to detail, and the is true for consultants. You can’t just turn up on the day.

Another news item that caught my eye is that Abu Dhabi’s ADM Shipyards has just launched the 462.5 ft. megayacht Yas, which now ranks as the world’s 6th largest, just ahead of Crown Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia’s Al Salamah and David Geffen’s Rising Sun.  The yacht, whose design was adapted from a UAE Navy frigate, is rumored to have been commissioned by a member of an Arabic royal family. The vessel, formerly known as Swift 141, features luxurious accommodations for up to 60 guests along with 56 crew and is capable of an impressive 26 knots maximum speed thanks to her military pedigree. Yas’ cruising speed is 20 knots with a transoceanic range.

Paris-based Pierrejean Design was responsible for both the yacht’s interior and exterior styling, which features massive surfaces of glass. Her superstructure is the largest composite object of its kind ever built, and she features a carbon fiber door on her tender garage which doubles as a a boarding/swim platform. Of course there is also an outdoor pool/spa.

Ice Cream Sandwich

December 4th, 2011

Google’s new Android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich is out, at least on the Galaxy Nexus, and . This year, Google completely revamped Android. It looks almost nothing like what you’re used to, almost a hybrid between Honeycomb and Gingerbread.