Archive for December, 2012

SQL updates December 2012

December 23rd, 2012

Microsoft has released Cumulative Update #5 for SQL Server 2012 RTM. Note this is *not* a cumulative update for Service Pack 1

Microsoft released new cumulative updates for SQL Server. SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update # 10

update: 31 December

Cumulative Update #5 for SQL Server 2012 – The 5th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2012 is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site. Cumulative Update 5 contains all the SQL Server 2012 hotfixes which have been available since the initial release of SQL Server 2012

Cumulative Update #4 for SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 – SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 Cumulative Update 4 is released. CU#4 contains a roll-up of hotfixes released since the initial release of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2

Cumulative Update #10 for SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 – SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Cumulative Update 10 is released. CU#10 contains a roll-up of hotfixes released since the initial release of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1

Seasonal Greetings from Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

December 22nd, 2012

As we approach year end let me say thank you to: the incredible team that work at Synergy Software Systems, our loyal customers who make it all worthwhile, the software principals who continue to deliver innovative solutions and enhancements, and the easily overlooked vendors like  our office landlords, and cleaning company, medical insurers, travel agent and so many more that help to keep things ticking over.

We are conscious that  there are regional tensions in many countries where our customers are based, and in this traditional time of peace and goodwill whatever our beliefs let us all pray for an end to violence and look forward to a  happy new year.

Dynamics AX CU4

December 22nd, 2012

Cumulative updare 4 is now released for Ax 2012

If you don’t want to apply the R2 release at this stage, then you should consider CU4  which inlcudes a number of hotfixes and enhacements.

Some new Excel BI features in Office 2013

December 17th, 2012

The inital public preview for Office 2013 is  available with lots of BI functionality.

Two key points that stake out Excel’s claim to be  the BI tool of choice:

  • PowerPivot is closer integrated into Excel, i.e the xVelocity (aka Vertipaq) engine is now native to Excel, and you load vast amounts of data from multiple data sources and query it via PivotTables directly in Excel, without installing any extra addins. PowerPivot still exists as an optional extra  to use the more advanced functionality  such as: filtering data before import, using diagram view, defining hierarchies and perspectives.
  • Power View is also  integrated into Excel so that Power View reports are a new type of sheet inside a workbook, that you  use against data held in the integrated xVelocity/PowerPivot engine. So Power View is no longer  tied to Sharepoint!
  • Anotherlitlte mentoned Excel beta add in is  GeoFlow for geospatial analysis that is closely integrated with PowerPivot see:

    Jen Underwood’s blog post:
    http://www.jenunderwood.com/blog.htm#PASSandSPC2012
    …and, this very detailed post from Patrick Guimonet (in French), which has a lot of screenshots and several long videos shot during the Sharepoint Conference:
    http://blogs.codes-sources.com/patricg/archive/2012/11/16/spc12-spc258-geoflow-for-excel-2013-a-new-way-of-exploring-geospatial-data-and-sharing-insights.aspx

    If you thought maps in Power View were impressive, just check this out…

    (Credit: abstracted from Chris Webb’s BI blog)

    December 2012 Microsoft Patch Tuesday

    December 17th, 2012

    December’s Patch Tuesday will include seven security bulletins: five critical and two important.

    Bulletin 1 is rated critical and affects Internet Explorer 9 and 10 on all platforms that support IE 9 and IE10, starting at Vista all the way to Windows 8 and RT.

    Bulletin 2, which is also rated critical, applies to all versions of Windows and again includes both Windows 8 and Windows RT.

    Bulletin 3 affects Microsoft Word and is rated critical, which happens very rarely. Usually Microsoft downgrades even Remote Code Execution Office vulnerabilities to ‘important,’ because a user interaction, such as opening a malicious file  is required.

    Bulletin 4 is a critical fix for  Microsoft server software products and it includes Exchange and SharePoint, plus an update for Microsoft Office Web Apps 2010 Service Pack 1.

    (Meanwhile a problem is reported with a windows API called GetGlyphOutline() is reported in Microsoft’s automatic patch update MS12-078/KB 2753842 ia Microsoft-designated critical patch that “resolves one publicly disclosed vulnerability and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. For certain fonts. it fails to return  the memory size needed to extract a character’s glyph’s curves. That means that any application trying to convert character to curves will fail in applications like Corel Draw that use Open Type fonts with Postscript outlines.)

    Is there more to choosing an erp system than keeping the CFO happy??

    December 12th, 2012

    We are used to to the idea that erp systems will handle financials and inventory but new technology creates new business processes, new opportuntities and new competition. These are some of the features you might also want to check on before selecting a solution a modern ERP solution:

    Mobility. In our personal lives we are more mobile and connected. Sales of tablets, netbooks, mobiles etc continue to exceed projections as does the use and prolfieration of social media. We expect the same tools at work. Organizations large and small are becoming ever more mobile, to drive down costs,and  improve service.  Mobile alerts, mobile reports,  and mobile BI are now expected.   By 2013, 1.2 billion workers will be mobile—that’s 1/3 of the overall workforce. By 2014, 50% of devices used to access business solutions are expected to be smartphones. Will the solution you’re considering accommodate mobile workers?

     IT Costs. Some people claim 84% of organizations have a remote workforce – Typically true of the sales team, installation and service engieers, meter readers, delivery men, consultants trainers, etc.  But on average 85% of datacenter capacity is idle, and 70% of IT budgets are spent maintaining datacenter operations. What are inefficiencies like these costing your company?  It’s not just the software it’s the server room rental, the energy, the A/c , the hardware depreciation and obsolesence, inusrance, cleaning etc.

    3. Access. Think about how people can interact with their solutions. Employees struggle when they can’t collaborate with people who don’t have full access to important data. Can people outside the solution or organization be given web and mobile access to specific reports, charts, graphs, and KPIs? Is the data real-time? Marketing these days is frequently a  self service activity, as in many case are business processes like booking on-line or checking in for a flight via  kiosk with a bar code on your mobile for a boarding pass, or searching a knowledgebase for help. Project teams are geographically remote but need to uodate each other and to share plans.

    4. Simplicity. Workers at home use laptops, phones, tablets—all their preferred devices—with a common experience, to make those all easier to use. What do your staff really need?

    I might throw in;

    •  Cross platform, cross company workflows – for both centralised and decentralised services, faster responses and automation
    •  Seamless integration with other applications, e.g. messaging and social media, or SharePoint or office
    • Scalable architecture- businesses and technology both change fast and your systeme should enable not constrain your growth
    • Compliance and collaboration tools – why have expensive offices, why waste staff time on travel,  mobility, internet presentation tools, collaboration portal workspaces, and cross supply chain collaboration are all factors but you also have to think about security and compliance – what support do you have for these?
    • Competitive edge – you will not outstrip your competition just with new back office systems - can your solution provide vertical specific features, can you adapt it to streamline your specific processes
    • Can you easily handle data imports? new budgets, forecasts costs
    • Can you easily handle new reporting requirements?
    • Can you easily handle new subsidiaries and acquisitions – language, currency, vertical requirements, localised statutory compliance?

    Does it matter? Watch your competitors and see what they are doing but don’t wait too long!

    Year end is a good time to rethink your strategies and your systems. if there are aspects of your business or systems that are not delivering or you are not sure what is possible then why not undertake a mini business review and let us help you understand how technology can help you to cut cost or add value or reduce risk and to evaluate whether there is a business case.

    Cut price erp projects?

    December 11th, 2012

    It’s easy to quote low to win a project just write a few clauses in the small print:

     • Out of the box reports – but do any of these really work for you?

    • Load your own data – is that easy? And what so the right sequence and validation

     • Use of out of the box security profiles – do these really fit your organisation structure where people do more than one job?

    • Use a standard chart of accounts and the same analysis codes as every other industry?

     • Don’t implement features the customer doesn’t know about

    • Leave the difficult work out of the scope e.g. budgets and consolidation, or forecasts and master scheduling

    • Make all customisations a chargeable extra

     • Etc

     So how do you get a quality implementation that makes the most of your software investment without an open ended budget? Be realistic about the scope and the business case when you set the budget. Don’t start with a budget and work backwards. If a feature adds value and there is a payback then its worth doing properly. If there isn’t a quantifiable return then don’t implement it just because it’s nice to do. If it adds value then implement it properly.

    Understand what value the consulting partner can add and what is a routine task you can do yourself. Understand the difference between quantity and quality of consulting contribution. If you face a big challenge in your personal life :you need an operation, or a tooth removed, or have to fight a legal battle then you find the best dentist, the best doctor or the best lawyer not the cheapest. However, you don’t need a dentist to tell you how to clean your teeth or a doctor to stick on a plaster, or a lawyer to write basic letters. You know your business and your data. There is much you can do beforehand to define requirements, processes, reports, and to clean up data, and bring employee basic IT skills up to scratch etc. A little bit of advance diary preparation can save the need to repeat training. Data clean up reduces time on validation and reload.

    What happens in a project? Plan it, define the requirement, build it, test it, train users are common steps whatever implementation methodology is followed. But where is the real work content? Is that properly assessed? How much could you do yourself with the right training and tools? There add on modules for most software solutions. Tools for report writing, print output management, and data loading are examples. Typically these areas account for over half the mandays on projects and even more for budget overruns and project delays. Yes, these put up the cost of software investment but these put much more of the scope and cost of implementation and future system maintenance under your own control.

    Have you really allowed enough time for training and practice. If training is expensive, then how costly is ignorance? Why is inadequate time spent on training one of the most frequently cite causes of project failure? Usually, because training happens late in the project, when timelines and budgets are already squeezed. Most of the training was given to the project team not to the end users etc. No training needs analysis done. No post training evaluation of trainees done. No time scheduled for practice before go live. Little time spent on prototyping or reading help files or e-learning. All of these issues can largely be managed internally to reduce cost and to increase success.

    There is a right cost to any service and a right amount of effort for any project. There is also a huge cost to failure, delay and unrealised benefits. Understand the quote assumptions, and challenge how those worked out on other projects. Understand the project methodology. If implementation  quotes vary is there a reason?  – what steps are being riskily cut or overlooked, or are not included e.g. post go live hand holding, first month end support, system personalization, audits, etc. Recognize that high skills and experience are needed to deliver complex projects with predictable timelines and costs. Inexperience comes cheap for a reason.

    Budget for what you need with some contingency to allow for business changes, staff changes, etc. Control the spend, and use some of the ideas suggested here to achieve more at lower cost.

    Microsoft licences – year end offer

    December 9th, 2012

    If you are using old or multiple versions of Microsoft software, or don’t actually know what software your employees are using, then we have the right offer for you. Upgrade to the latest edition of Microsoft softwares and/or to legalize the usage of your current Microsoft technologies.

    Benefit from Microsoft’s limited time discount offer for the following products:

    Microsoft Office 2013

    Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Cals

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and Cals

    Microsoft Windows 2012 and Cals

    Microsoft Visio 2013

    Microsoft Project 2013

    Professional Desktop Platform

     The offer ends December 26th, 2012

    Contact us now to take advantage.

    Microsoft Socl.

    December 8th, 2012

    Microsoft’s new social platform, engages and blends well with the other social media platforms. Create post, followa  specific interest, and blend your other blogs.

    You can also use it as a]=a social learning platform, where things can be easily pinned, and revisited later.  It’s specific, and content focused with out a lot of the noise some other popular social platforms. its easy to:  create a new post,  to tweet or to post back to facebook or  to link your profiles across multiple platforms. Worth a look.

    Why upgrade from Sunsystems 4 to Sunsystems 6?

    December 6th, 2012

    SunSystems Version 4 is a well-regarded financial management system -proven for  for well over a decade . While it may lack some of the “bells and whistles”  it is a solid flexible and reliable accounting system that will continue to deliver.  “if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it”.

    However, if you can  combine the all the features and reliability of SunSystems V4 and have additional contemporary functionality that is of real use and benefit and not just “bells and whistles”, then surely that is worth considering?

    To decide whether to  move on to  Infor10 SunSystems you need a business case.

    1. SunSystems V4 supports a single transaction currency and a base currency.
    Infor10 supports five currencies per transaction, which can be configured in a variety of ways. So for example  you need a real time second base currency for reporting, then this will be a major benefit .

    2. Infor10 SunSystems allows all entry forms for transaction entry and reference data entry to be customised.

    Transaction entry forms can be designed with their own characteristics, rules and attributes to ensure more accurate and efficient transaction entry,esnure compliance and better support analysis..

    3. Many data fields are longer in Infor10 SunSystems

    SunSystems V4 was written when data space was limited and had to be used sparingly, these days we want to record much more data, this is now possible

     4. Infor10 SunSystems has a graphical report designer and reports are delivered via web pages or PDF files.

    SunSystems V4 has a Report Designer facility, which whilstit may look  easy to use in the hands of a Consultant, is not so easy for the lay user, so authoring and editing your own documents is that much easier and simpler in Sunsystems 6

    5. Infor10 SunSystems has a choice of clients – with SunSystems V4 you are limited to either a “thick or rich” client which is either installed on your PC or delivered via Citrix / Terminal Services, the latter of course adds another layer of technology and cost.

    With Infor 10 SunSystems, you can have a thick Windows client, a true web client, which means you no longer need Terminal Services or Citrix and also Infor10 Workspace, a SharePoint based client experience where other contextual information can be surfaced and presented to the user.

    6. Infor10 SunSystems has customisable menus – configure menus that are specific to usersand  include their own “favourites” tab, this ability to personalise the system makes for a better user experience.

    7. Infor10 SunSystems has drill around in the integrated inquiry screens and ability to call external programs.

    In SunSystems V4, Vision has to be used to achieve any form of drill down / around, Now this is a standard feature in the application. This can be further enhanced through the ability to call other external programs, for example: to a document management system, a practical application being to bring up the image of a document while examining a transaction such as a purchase invoice.

    8. Infor10 SunSystems has the ability to batc transactions for inclusion in processes like payment runs and revaluations, so that there is no need to re-extract using the selection criteria.

    With SunSystems V4, to be sure that nothing changes between the time a process such as generate payments is run and it is finally posted you may have to stop transaction entry, this is no longer the case using the various Control Desks.

    9. Infor10 SunSystems is truly multi-session, so users can have up to nine different sessions open.

    This is one feature that can add so much to an individual’s personal productivity. In SunSystems V4 a user is restricted to one task at any one time; this is no longer a restriction.

    10. Infor10 SunSystems is fully ION enabled.

    This means that through the use of the new Infor10 ION Suite (new module), you can now configure workflows and alerts that push the information that users want to be made aware of automatically to them for action.

    This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are plenty of others that I could have included, but I hope that this will give you an idea of what Infor10 SunSystems could do for you and your organisation.

    And the good news is that there is a special very discounted offer on the price of Ion for those who upgrade within the next 6 months.

    Why is Sunsystems from Synergy Software Systems so popular with its users?

    December 6th, 2012

    Sunsystems is used by over a hundred of Synergy Software Systems customers – many are among the world’s leading companies.  What is so special about Sunsystems?

    Traditional financial management system (FMS) locks you in to rules, structures, and business models that are difficult to  evolve to meet your changing needs.

    You may need to redefine your systems ‘on the fly’, to respond to changing requirements and evolving strategies. While you may be able to keep up with the business change, a traditional FMS can’t—you’re in a constant battle just to make your system meet the current needs of your business.

    Sunsystems is a financial solution that works the way you want it to-so when your needs change, your system can keep up.  Meet change with confidence and easily manage growth with Infor SunSystems.

    Infor SunSystems is a comprehensive, global financial management system that combines over 20 years of practical application with the latest technological innovations. You benefit from proven functionality for managing general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, financial reporting, and operational reporting and analysis, plus fixed assets, allocations, budget management, and related business functions. Built on open architecture, Infor SunSystems also integrates easily with other enterprise business systems.

    Its easy to use and it implements fast. Why – here are some key reasons?

    • The elegant integrated ldeger reduces the number of screens you use.and reduces learning curves
    •  The powerful Vision Query and Analysis tool drastcilaly reduces the time spent on creating reports
    • Proven methodology
    • Our long experience, expert fianncially qualified consultants and a local support helpdesk

    You’ll have the power to:

    • Easily manage an endless variety of business changes, like establishing new business locations or handling new reporting requirements.
    • Configure your system in response to multiple statutory and management reporting requirements at every level of your organization
    • Get a deep, detailed view of global financial and operational information.
    • Make better business decisions, faster.
    • Improve agility and performance from day one.
    • Get a rapid return on your investment.

    Infor SunSystems helps you get the information you need when you need it, easily manage change, and grow in any market. Contact us to learn more about how you can make your financial management an asset to growth, not an obstacle.

    3rd platform – what is it? why does it matter?

    December 6th, 2012

    IDC last week releasing its report “IDC Predictions 2013: Competing on the 3rd Platform.

    ” What exactly is the “3rd platform”?

    It’s an IDC amalgam of mobile computing, cloud services, social networking, and big data analytics technologies — which tend to be procured outside the usual enterprise IT channels.

    According to the report, these technologies will together drive approximately 90 percent of the growth in IT spending from 2013 through 2020.

    “The coming of the 3rd Platform changes many of the game rules and moves the entry point upmarket in a number of ways,” says Al Gillen, program VP, System Software, IDC. “We like to say this is a revolutionary transition that will be adopted in an evolutionary way. The truth is there remains much that needs to change, but that change will take place over a long term, and much of today’s infrastructure software lives on in tomorrow’s world.”

    The ‘3rd Platform’ of information technology and its four pillars – big data and analytics, mobility and broadband, social business, and cloud services – is creating an ecosystem within which retail business and IT strategies will continue to rapidly evolve.

    The ‘3rd Platform’ is already playing out in retail, creating new line of business roles, bases of competition, applications and analytics, and the adoption of consumer and associate online devices inside stores.

    Together these forces create an information environment within which retailers earn customer loyalty, bring successful new products to market, collaborate through supply chains with business partners, enable associates, reduce risk, ensure compliance, promote their brand. However to do this effectively, retailers need to capitalise on big data and analytics.

    Predictive analyticse goes beyond marketing e,g into healthcare planning and insurance risk assessment.

    Four quadrants of the intelligent retail economy – customer data sources, social data sources, market data sources, and supply data sources produce constant streams of data creating millions of transactions and billions of interactions,” said Greg Girard, program director of IDC Retail Insights. “The returns on investment in big data and analytics can be monetised through traditional levers of customer loyalty, revenue growth, cost reduction, and new business models.

    “Value creation requires aligning big data and analytics projects with three imperatives of omni-channel retail – insight, personalisation, and personalised community engagement with the brand. Retailers will derive more value from big data and analytics as they successfully manage five dimensions of change – intent, process, people, data, and technology.”

    Solid state dsiks, new  multiprocessor chips, and in memory processing tools e,g. Power Pivot, Haddop  are maing complex analysis tasks of massive datasets relatively fast and easy. The trend was started long back e.g. Google analytics and  all those government super computers monitoring text messages, and cctv cameras and emails. Our icrceasing on line, social media driven, digital presence provdes mote and more data for analysis.

    Amazon Web Services is designed as a service to automate the process of parsing large sets of data. For example, one pipeline can move log data from an AWS EC2 (Elastic Cloud Compute) instance to the AWS S3 (Simple Storage Service) once a day, and then, once a week, evoke an analysis job on the data on an AWS Elastic MapReduce cluster. The company also recently unveiled a data warehouse service and an auto-discovery service to ease the management of its ElastiCache. It has also cut the prices of some of its storage services and created two new EC2 instance types, for high-memory usage and large data usage.

    Cloud services are starting to dig deep into vertical industry areas with the potentail for rapdi growth of PaaS [platform as a service]for the creation of industry-specific application platforms.

    IDC sees a $65 billion market in these industry solutions for 2013, rising to $100 billion in 2016. Businesspeople will use  these platforms to create new innovation and new value in new markets.

    Note: Some of this blog is an abstract from https://www.infoworld.com/t/cloud-computing/how-it-will-be-blown-bits-208216?source=IFWNLE_nlt_cloud_2012-12-03 win which infoworld blogger Eric Knorr recounts a discussion with IDC Senior Vice President Frank Gens

    Secure collaboration -Intralinks

    December 4th, 2012

    Accessing work-related data, anytime and anywhere is perhaps one of the most significant trends in 21st Century working practices.

    Liberated from the desktop, work and home are blending in terms of both time and technology. According to IDC, the number of mobile workers is set to increase to about 1.19 billion by 2014 – the  trend is here to stay.

    How do you balance the needs and demands of users with your duty to protect sensitive company information from potential breaches?:

     Mergers? Takeovers? New Product launches? Sensitive formulas? New  designs? Sensitive legal matters?  How do you sahre and colloborate securely with a user base that is external and varies by project?.

     In a recent Harris Study of IT trends globally, 45% of companies in the UK enable the use of such devices and subject those to corporate guidelines, but do not provide support .  What’s the alternative?

    IntraLinks empowers users to access and to share sensitive information and has done this for  over 15 years. 

    800 of the Fortune 1000 companies trust IntraLinks for ecure and encyprted collaboration with enforceable policies..

     With IntraLinks your users can:

    •  Share sensitive information via email – securely

     • Work on their mobile devices – securely

     • Organise content and give access to content – securely

    • Manage documents – with full audit and control

    For more information go to www.thinksafesharing.com/enand then contact us for a trial.

    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 released and compatible with Windows 8

    December 1st, 2012

    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 has successfully passed compatibility testing and has achieved the “Compatible with Windows 8” certification.

    The Compatible with Windows 8 certification means that the product has passed Microsoft testing criteria for compatibility with Windows 8. The Microsoft Windows Compatibility and Certification program defines a set of compatibility test cases that must be completed successfully-covering areas of Compatibility & Resiliency, Adhere to Windows Security Best Practices, Support Windows Security Features, Adhere to System Restart Manager Messages and perform a Clean, Reversible Installation. The testing is performed using Microsoft’s automated Application Certification framework and tools.

    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is now listed among the products that have been certified on the Microsoft Windows compatibility center site.

    Given all the mixed press reveiws of Windows 8 its interesting to note that it has nonetheless outsold the Windows 7 launch.

    The Safari browser is now supported natively on Dynamics AX 2012 R2 as well as being supported on Dynamics AX RTM with a hotfix. Taken from the updated System Requirements document from Microsoft for Dynamics AX 2012:

    In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, the Safari browser is supported by default for end-user tasks in Enterprise Portal. To use the Safari browser with an earlier version of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, you must install Microsoft Dynamics AX hotfix 268124 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2686124). Enterprise Portal supports Safari only for enduser tasks in the portal. Enterprise Portal does not support Safari for developer or system administrator tasks.

    The version supported according to the requirements document is Safar 5.1.5 – on the KB article page, the version supported is 5.1.2.

    Have fun surfing Enterprise Portal on your iPad.

    Erp Success or failure

    December 1st, 2012

    Studies show that 60-70% of ERP implementations fail. What??

    We have  worked with a lot of customers who  approached us  to reduce their stress around ERP, and to help pull in the right resources to get  situations back on track after trying the wrong partners.

    Partners play a critical role in ensuring their customers understand the key factors and best practices that make the other 30-40% successful. ·

    The #1 factor—Trust: Customers need to trust that the people on the team implementing the solution understand the business and have the ability to execute. Base  decisions on the reputation of the companybut also meet the project manager and the individuals that will be doing the work. Trust works two ways the partner also has to trust the client not to misrepresent the scope, and the challenges e.g ‘dirty data’, shortages or resources, unusual critical needs and interfaces etc

     · Data migration strategy: Customers always want their data migrated. It’s the partner’s job to help them determine at what level. Migrating data introduces risk and higher costs. Does your customer really need 10 years of data, or is it better to migrate master records, bring in beginning balances, and leave historical data in the legacy system?  Is the effort of ocnversion and reconciliation really understood, is the need real or just a comfort blanket? What can be migrated at summary elvel, or be held in the legacy system and be accessed via a BI tool that merges data from old and new systems, this can be especially useful when upgrading e.g from Ax 2009 to Ax 2012 

    Customization: Excessive customization is a major cause of failed ERP implementations. Differentiate customizations you want from what you need. Maintenance and cost increase (and ROI decreases) with the level of customization. If a high level of customization is required, then customize in smaller chunks through a phased approach. Customisation is most worthwhile where it gives you a vertical competitive edge  not in standarrd back office functions.

     Is there a proven solution or tool already available? Report wrting is the hidden part of the customisation iceberg.  You have to: define precisely, desgin and develop, create test data and transactions and run processes, then test layout, content, printing, and distribution and security.  For example Lasernet for report writing can save days of  consulting time and reduce risk. This is especially true when ugrading to Ax 2012  and SSRS let lasernet capture the SSRS output and thenn easily modify the report design in a favoruite tool like MS word. Often without any need for coding. Similalry, some BI tools such as BI4Dynamics provide you a core set of reports that deal with most requirements.

    Complexity: Companies often implement new ssytems because they outgrew the old oine and this  leads to a restructure of their organisation and charts of accounts when they change ERP systems. ensure they’re not making the redesign is not too complex. Dynamics Ax is an example of  a very flexible orgnaisation framework and powerful and flexible  COA  for multi-company operations and consolidation that has many features to make users life eaiser. Management Rpeorter which is free for Dyamics Ax users supports multi level aggregation and  powerful drilldown features that leverage the dimensional and organisational frameworks.

    Dig past the pretty charts: Today’s ERP systems have a lot to offer and demos are full of shiny objects. Cut to the chase and understand which features are most important to make the needed business change. Consider how deployment options and specific features tangibly impact your specific business processes.

    Work with a partner that has a formal project methodology and a track record of delivery and local support. Project management that comes free or part time is unlikely to ensure success. 

    If you are bogged down and all of this advice is too late for your project then let us help you to get it back on track-we have audited and turned around many projects.  Let us help you be successful.