Archive for January, 2013

Microsft Dynamcs CRM Connector for Microsoft Dynamics V2 RU3 (2.3.1225.1) is released

January 30th, 2013

Connector for Microsoft Dynamics V2 RU3 (2.3.1225.1) enables integration with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, and also resolves some of the key issues that you might be facing with your RU 2 deployments.

 Note: that if you are using Microsoft Dynamics Online or are planning on up-grading your on-premises deployment to the upcoming UR 12 update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, continue to use the classic forms for the Account, Contact, and Sales Order entities and ensure that the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics solution you have loaded in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is at least version 1.0.1603.3.

To download this release for your Microsoft Dynamics ERP system, go to Customer Source:

  • Connector for Microsoft Dynamics AX
  • The XPO that is required to enable support within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 requiresthat at least  Cumulative Update 1 for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is installed.
  • The XPO that is required to enable support within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is different than the XPO for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and is listed as a new download.

Read the provided documentation to avoid the common mistakes and save yourself the support call.

Here is an overview of the feature list:

  • Features across ERPs
  • Entity References in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 are no longer fully validated, meaning that is you have been getting error related to an instance of an entity “not having a value for its dynamics_integrationkey” attribute then you should no longer see these errors after upgrading
  • The Microsoft Dynamics CRM configuration utilities now list all of the entities available by default rather than having to expand the list
  • Filtering now supports converting from a nullable type to its base type, so you can base a filter on a nullable Boolean and compare it to a standard Boolean without have to add extra functions to the filter
  • Custom entities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM that have the same display name as the standard entities are now supported
  • Custom entities and their attributes are now in the administrator’s language when running the configuration utility for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and when viewing the map
  • Features for Microsoft Dynamics AX
    • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is now supported
    • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 adapter now supports converting its DAX Integration keys from attributes that are of a .NET primitive type rather than just from a GUID
    • Socket Connection was aborted” errors when integrating into AX 2012 are now handled properly

Management reporter RU4 now released

January 30th, 2013

Management Reporter 2012 RU4 is ready download for customers installing an English version. Additional languages will be available today (Jan 30, 2013) .

Management Reporter RU4 includes these new features:

  • Ability to include Dynamics AX Budget Planning data in Management Reporter reports
  • Quick Links in Management Reporter Web Viewer, allowing report viewers to easily jump to key areas of a report
  • Performance improvements in Dynamics AX and Dynamics GP data mart integrations

Significant impacts on product quality and performance, including resolving more than 50 bugs.

When generating a report in Management Reporter, quick links are dynamically created to let you jump to key areas of a report in the web viewer. This allows users to do a quick scan of the report to see if any jumps out at them before drilling into details. See you tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-X1foQ2NGk&feature=youtube_gdata

Microsoft SharePoint is mobile.

January 29th, 2013

Microsoft SharePoint has gone mobile and Harmon.ie created this video called “Don’t SharePoint While Walking” to try and get the word out. Its aimed to be pretty funny(…well as funny as it gets when you’re talking about SharePoint).

Check it out here. http://harmon.ie/dontsharepointwhilewalking/

Office 2013 imminent from a buoyant Microsoft.

January 29th, 2013

Ther eis high anticipation that  the new Microsoft Office products will become broadly available to the general public by the end of this month which I guess means this week.

Microsoft is also reporting record revenue for the second quarter of its financial year. Performances were strong all around, with the Windows Division up 24 percent year on year. Signs that the pc maybe has a longer life than predicted by the ultra/sllek books, notepads, and tablet fans and that the growth in mobile devices has not yet reduced the need for pcs for heavy duty work.

Microsoft has been using the phrase, “Office Next,” to describe the newest version of its productivity suite, but it will probably go on sale as office 2013 at least for the on premise option.  There is talk of an, as-yet-undescribed, “Office 365 Midsize Business” product.

Microsoft Surface Pro release announced

January 27th, 2013

Microsoft has announced  you can buy one: Feb. 9. It uses an Intel x86 chip rather than an ARM chip,and  the Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro, so unlike the Surface RT tablet that debuted in October 2012, it can run standard Windows 7 applications in addition to the full-screen “Metro” apps that Windows 8 and RT debuted. The Surface RT can run only Metro apps, plus special versions of some included Microsoft Office 2013 apps.

Azure Media Services release

January 27th, 2013

Microsoft continues to expand its cloud offerings with the general availability of Windows Azure Media Services,  released Tuesday, which lets enterprises skip building their own infrastructure for streaming on-demand video.

The service,, can be used to deliver training videos to employees; stream video content from a website; or build video-on-demand service similar to Hulu or Netflix

XP user? For how much longer?

January 27th, 2013

Windows XP is still hugely popular -estmates are that  1 in 4 PCs are still running it

However.  if you ar eone of those suers then be aware thatWindows XP will not allow IE 9 or 10 to run. The root cause is  a very close knit integration between OS and browser meaning that the architecture behind newer browsers built for the Windows 7 and 8 era don;t work with the older architecture of Windows XP.

The current version of Chrome runs just fine in XP as does the latest version of Firefox and Safari or Opera are O.K.! But – none of these are considered “standard”. Organisations that have invested  heavily around Microsoft’s products, so IE is obviously the natural choice.( Decisions for many orga

Apps get built are designed to meet the ‘standard’ – mnay institutions are very strongly tied to IE  as their portal to the web and if they’re tied to XP then they’re tied to IE 8. This means a few pain poitns for developers:

 few of the pain points introduced by the IE 8 dependency:

  1. CSS media queries used in responsive design will need an “old IE” set of styles which locks it into a single resolution (ors ome clever JavaScript).
  2. SVGs are very popular in modern browsers due to their ability to scale and render smoothly in high pixel density screens such as on Retina devices  but not in IE 8   or you’re manually add degradation for non-supporting browsers.
  3. Flash is out for iOS video and HTML 5 is out for IE 8 video so you need both and also to  degrade (or enhance, depending on your perspective), between devices.
  4. Many aesthetic effects are out; no border radius, no box shadows and certainly no CSS transitions etc
  5. CSS 3 canvas is out which  means dropping back to Flash or deprecating the feature from IE 8 altogether.
  6. Web sockets are out so real-time style notifications to hacks like long-polling.

IE 8 support will soon drop off the edge of the cliff  very suddenly, certainly far faster than what we saw it happen with IE 6:

  1. The rate of browser version revisions has increased significantly. It took more than 5 years to get from IE 6 to IE 7. It took just 19 months to go from IE 9 to IE 10. In the same 19 month period, Chrome made 11 major releases of their browser. The rate of change is increasing and by extension,and that also affects  the rate at which that browsers are  superceded.
  2. There are significant features, that IE 8 does not support, that are rapidly becoming ubiquitous, in  HTML 5 and CSS 3. IE 6 was painful, but the compatibility problems it presented compared to IE 7 pale in comparison to the IE 8 to IE 9 gaps.
  3. the IE market share is significantly less than what it was three years ago when the big shift away from IE 6 was happening. It was easier for sites to  drop IE 6 support when the majority of their users were on it than  it will be when it’s a minority browser that’s still declining.

Another significant reason why support for IE 8 is going to fade very quickly this year is  jQuery.which is estimated to be used in s around half of all sites on the web. This is significant and  of itself is  no threat to IE 8, -, jQuery has been a great enabler of cross browser compatibility for a number of years but there is the imminent arrival of jQuery 2. This version will support the same APIs as jQuery 1.9 does, but removes support for IE 6/7/8 oddities such as borked event model, IE7 “attroperties”, HTML5 shims, etc.

It’s not just the IE 8 dependency that’s killing XP and burdening its users, it’s the simple fact that an increasingly large number of apps simply won’t run on it. Let’s look at Microsoft’s own development platform as an example:

To begin with, there’s no Visual Studio 2012 support andthere’s no more XP support for the modern day Office suite, the specs are pretty clear about that: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012

Next year, after April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. This is significant: there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.Anyone still running XP will become extremely vulnerable.

2013 will see the culmination of these issues; support for IE 8 will drop off rapidly, users of XP will find an increasingly broken web, the cost of building software in XP organisations will increase. If your comapny is still using XP thdn consider:

What will it cost us if we have to keep building IE 8 compatible websites?”

“What opportunities are we missing if we can’t use the language features in .NET 4.5?” (assuming a Microsoft-centric environment)

“What’s the impact on our workforce if they can no longer access an increasingly large number of websites that don’t support IE 8?”

“What will it mean to not be able to run an increasingly large number of new software products that are incompatible with XP?”

And most importantly: “What is the risk cost of running an operating system that is no longer supported?”

(please see http://www.troyhunt.com/2013/01/the-impending-crisis-that-is-windows-xp.html for mcuh more detail and analysis - I have precised the main points).

Infor SunSystems financial software from Synergy Software Systems Dubai

January 24th, 2013

In today’s economic climate, organisations  continually face an ever  greater need to ananlyse fiancial date todrive down cost and improve efficiencies, and to provide compliance to intenratioanl financial standards. To meet these challenges, a flexible, robust finance system that is easily configured and adaptable to change is required to control operations. Sounds obvious but many organisations do not get  value out of their existing financial management system and feed it with data and have little information in return.  Significant improvements can be made with the right technology and support.

 Infor SunSystems is an integrated approach to improved corporate performance. The solution is delivered with our proven  methodology within 3-4 weeks of commencing the project and  much less for a rollout to new sites with the same build. This implementation approach drives down the cost of deployment by up to 50% without cutting corners, reduces both project risk and minimises disruption to the business.

At the heart of the solution is a single, integrated finance ledger that combines the functionality of the nominal ledger, receivables and payables ledgers, project ledger, cashbook, and user-defined ledgers.

Equipping you with a powerful, real-time financial transaction processing engine, Infor SunSystems lets you see the immediate impact of any financial posting.

Infor SunSystems has the following unique features:

  • unified ledger that combines the functions of a general ledger, sales and purchase ledger, project ledger, cashbook, and user-defined ledgers-showing the immediate impact of any financial posting
  • smart transactions that deliver not just information, but detailed user-defined context
  • global functionality that includes multi-language, exceptional multi currency features and multi-calendar, giving companies a solid international foundation that supports fast operational efficiency in new markets
  • open architecture that supports integration with other enterprise and financial systems, offering unparalleled interoperability
  • in addition to an easy to use SSRS report builder an outstanding Excel based reporting tool for Query and Analysis

Synergy Software Systems has implemented Sunsystems across the Middle East region since the 90s.

Infor confirmed last quarter the support and compliance of the following Infor SunSystems versions with Microsoft SQL Server 2012. This enables customers to migrate to the latest release of Microsoft SQL Server, the default available version from hardware suppliers.

  • Infor SunSystems version 6.1 (Patch Set 11)
  • Infor SunSystems 4 version 4.4. (Patch Set 6)

Infor SunSystems 6.1 (Patch Set 11) and Infor SunSystems 4 version 4.4 (Patch Set 6) are  both available.Please refer to the Patch Set Installation Note for version 6.1 (Patch Set 11) because a new installation mechanism is deployed from this patch set onwards.

(For Infor SunSystems 6.1, any database installation, upgrade, or utility processes carried out on SQL 2012 should be done using the recut DVD or ISO image. Please refer to the Upgrade Guide, ReadMe, and Installation Guide in the “Documentation” directory of the DVD or ISO image for a complete list of items included in the release or for more detailed information about the contents.)

Infor has become the leading provider of business software for mid-market companies by rewriting the rules, using a more open, authentic, transparent way of doing business. Infor’s no-nonsense software solutions on-premise, in the cloud, or both, give customers the ability to deploy faster with less disruption, act faster with more flexibility, and grow faster with better insight.
• Approximately 8,000 employees.
• Direct offices in 36 countries.
• Over 70,000 customers worldwide.
• Implementation and support capabilities in 100+ countries.
• Global coverage: Americas, EMEA, APAC.

Management Reporter 2012 RU4

January 23rd, 2013

Management Reporter 2012 RU4,is expected to be released this  quarter.

Expected new features in Management Reporter RU4 include:

  • Ability to include Dynamics AX Budget Planning data in Management Reporter reports
  • Quick Links in Management Reporter Web Viewer, to allow report viewers to easily jump to key areas of a report
  • Performance improvements in Dynamics AX and Dynamics GP data mart integrations
  •  Fixing several bugs. (35 fixes are already identified) 

It is likely there will be You Tube videos on the new features as with the other recent updates.

Dynamics CRM 2011 Update 12 – Polaris

January 21st, 2013

Microsoft officially released the long-awaited Update Rollup 12 (UR12),  known as “Polaris” on January 9th with  40+ fixes. The most important additions are:

  • Extended Browser Support – Microsoft Dynamics CRM will now run in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari!
  • Quick Find Search Optimization – UR12 will create a number of new indexes which will make your Quick Finds even quicker. .
  • Faster Bulk Data Loading – A new message request (ExecuteMultipleRequest)  to improve performance for bulk data loads in Microsoft CRM.
  • Retrieving/Changing Metadata – UR12 improves performance and efficiency with respect to metadata.
  • Other additions include Skype and Yammer integration, Office 2013 compatibility, and CRM for iPad (for sales functionality).
  •  The “Flow UI” is included for on-line clients, but will not be available for on-premises environments until the next release (code named “Orion”) which is expected in Q2 2013.*** Bob Stutz at Microsoft reported that there was a potential issue with the UR12 Server bits. If you downloaded this while it was available, then please do not install it. Microsoft will be reposting it this week.
  • , CRM Online will have features that will not be available for CRM OnPremise until Q1 or Q2 of 2013 (Orion release) like new process flow forms for Lead, Account, Contact, Opportunity and Case, etc.
  • . UR 12 has a few performance enhancements to include new indexes for several entities:
    • Cases
    • Opportunities
    • Competitors
    • Contact (the Phone Number fields)
    • Business Unit
    • Connection
    • Connection Role
    • KB Article
    • Lead
    • Product
    • Sales Literature

    The new process forms load appear to load more quickly and when you open forms in ‘Read Only’ mode those will  load faster.

    Although Update Rollup 12 does not include new features for CRM OnPremise deployments, there are a number of items fixed in the release socheck out the list to see if it includes a resolution for any issues you are experiencing.

    Check out What’s New for Developers for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

    As with all updates, Ito fully test UR 12 in a development environment before deploying to production. The good news about UR 12 is that you can uninstall it should you run into unexpected issues  but  ensure you have a database backup and server snapshot (if running in a virtual environment) before deploying

    .

Mobile device management

January 19th, 2013

Mobile operations via mobile devices provide faster reaction and easier management of activities. However, a mobile device increases the work for IT for support and maintenance, and also introduces more challenges of supervision and security e.g. risk of loss or theft, or misuse.  A mobile management solution is required to address 5 key aspects of device management.

We offer the award winnin , proven, affordable and feature rich Mobi Connect solution.

The adoption of mobile devices in business is growing exponentiall . BYOD or ‘bring your own device’ is now the norm for many industries i.e. work across platforms and devices.

Reduce IT’s workload and increase their effectiveness remote management, deployment of patches and isntalls etc.

 Ensure compliance to corporate policies – security lockdown, geofence tracking, disable and wipe rmeotely, alerts, detailed log

Easily synchronise  files with mobile workers

Track who and who is not logged on, and their location.

Track stolen or mislaid devices

Manage shared devices

Ask us about how to better manage your mobile devices, and also about our solutions for extending applications for mobile use e.g.:  mobile CRM or filed service management, mobile inventory and asset counting, mobile alert notifications and workflow approvals,  mobile BI etc

Salik charges extended

January 17th, 2013

Gulf News  reported that the Roads and Transport (RTA) said taxis in Dubai is  charging a Dhs4 toll from yesterday when passing through Salik toll gates installed across four different locations in the emirate,

 The meters of all 8,000 taxis, including  franchise cabs, have been upgraded and will begin to charge tolls while passing through any of the four toll gates on Al Maktoum Bridge, Al Safa, Al Garhoud Bridge and Al Barsha, said Adel Mohammad Shakeri, Director of the Transportation System Department, at the RTA’s Public Transport Agency. “Customers will have an option to choose an alternative route and cabbies will have to ask them if they are willing to take a Salik route or an alternative route,” said Shakeri.

Khaleej Times reported that Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has  announced plans to set up two more road tollgates in the emirate . One Salik tollgate is to be installed at Al Ittihad Road near the Dubai Police headquarters, and the second gate will go up near the Dubai Airport tunnel. This will bring the total number of Salik gates to six, once operational.

Exchange server – SQL, Dynamics Ax, etc – reviews and audits

January 16th, 2013

A system cannot be better than its core components. We are frequently tasked with audits or support for failed projects and usually the first line of inquiry is to check the install configurations and set up and there are always issues discovered with basic set ups

Why? :

The ownership of the tasks is unclear – the application consultant may feel he has only to install the application – next, next next  etc.

Did the RAID and database come preinstalled by the hardware vendor ? Did he have any idea how it was going to be used?

The client does not want to pay also for a DBA or WIndows engineer to be involved in that install, especially where travel and hotel costs are involved

The implementation partner does not want to overquote and the small print says that the server, operating system and database installs and set ups are the client’s responsibility.

 In a smaller company there may be no specific DBA or Windows Engineer- it maybe a duty of a functional user to look after multiple systems  and administration and also the emails, fax and pritners and end user hardware and the phones and part time development and report writing, and consumables mangement etc , with either no formal, or in-depth training, or very out of date skills.

Consultants are also often undertrained or misused – a finance product certification does not make you an installer- completing an install that works does not mean that back ups are set up, that memory, or page sizes  and temporary files are correctly sized, etc.

Systems prerequistes are not considered or referred to and  the configuration  is often not documented.

No use is made of monitoring tools or  scripts.

Often the requisite information comes from many sources beyond most client adminstrators no matter how competent – white papers, knowledge base articles, obscure blog site, tech net, Books on line, Customer source and partner source, implementation manuals but which one the Application, SQL?SSRS? SSAS? Windows? or dependent systems such as Outlook or Office toolsor knowledge of ports or firewalls or anti-virus systems  and which was the last update for the application, operating system and database and are these supported together? and how is this affected by virtualisation or use of Ciitrix or Kerbros and just how many times will an internal IT staff in a medium size company do such an install? Who will provide the guidance or  checklist and review it? Do they have a suitable test environment for testing patches before deployment.

There is often no process for testing patches and keeping security  updated or for  testing recovery of back ups, or system performance or security or…

Many companies spend more on their company cars than they do on their key business systems. They invest in high end motors, use licensed driver,s formally trained and tested,  and undertake regular servicing at registered dealers, but  expect to use tier 3 business solutions and cut price untrained freelance consultants,  uncertified staff, with inappropriate tools and training, no support agreement etc and then blame the system. Sometimes its not the car, its sometimes the driver.

It does not make sense to buy an expensive car and only drive it in first gear due to lack of training. Nor will it look good if it is never cleaned, nor will it run well on with old oil and skimped services, tyres set to the wrong pressure,   etc.

Business systems are an asset, not an expense – like any other asset you should consider how to get the most value out of it and how to extend its life and performance  and that also takes investment and management. the right way is usually the cheapest in the long run and delivers the most value.

Microsoft Exchange Server is the leading messaging platform in the world today, and can be found in SMBs, large enterprises and also behind cloud services of unimaginable scale. Exchange has been with us since its release in April 1996 and from that first version, it has evolved to offer businesses and consumers outstanding features that they have come to heavily rely upon.This is fantastic! Until something happens…. That is, something bad happens, or something really bad happens.

When people are unable to access the services that they have become dependent upon, then there are multiple preventative steps that we can take to help ensure that bad things don’t happen.

Are you are an IT or business professional who needs to ensure:

  • that your organisation’s Exchange environment meets the needs of its user base
  • that Exchange is available
  • and (if that’s not enough) that Exchange performance is also excellent?

What about SQL  issues?:

  •  Security Updates not applied
  • SQL is running under an administrative account
  • Database integrity checks not scheduled
  • SQL Server has not been updated to the current service pack
  • The usage of NOLOCK
  • Large growth values (1GB+) for data / log files
  • Weak and blank passwords for SQL logins
  • Disaster Recovery Plan is not documented or does not exist
  • Clustered MSDTC configuration issues
  • Transaction log on the same drive as the database
  • No monitoring of databse growth
  • No back up of master database
  • Incorrect collation
  • No reidnexing or other maintenance tasks
  • No tests of back up restore

etc

Do you need help?  Ask us about audits and reviews and training,  we can involve Microsoft premier support engineers for complex sites if needed. Does your IT administrator need an introduction to some key system mangement tasks? What about Power Shell skills this has become a must have skill formanageent of  SQL, Windows and Exchange Server. Let us train you.

There are many utilities to make your life easier –  many are free or low cost. 

If you are changing systems, or  have system perfomance or security issues or  compliance worries for ITI,  SOX, ITAM, Basel accord, ISO 14000 etc then we may be able to help. You don’t need to be a qualified motor mechanic to drive a car –  but it helps to know the highway code and to have the right licence to drive. A HGV1 needs a little more skills than a  bicycle. and as your business and system grows and technology changes it may be necessary for a fresh look at your system set up and support. A small investment at install and an annual review will usually have lasting benefits.

Top 15 Most Influential Executives of 2012

January 14th, 2013

Charles Phillips has been named one of the Top 15 Most Influential Executives of 2012 by CRN. Nominees were selected by solutions providers for their channel influence, effectiveness, and visibility. They were also chosen for their business and sales impact. Phillips, who ranked in the #12 spot in the CRN poll, took the reigns as Infor’s CEO in 2010. Read more about this prestigious award here: http://www.crntop100showcase.com/

Dubai parking meters to accept new coins by February

January 10th, 2013

If you hadn’t already realised a new AED 1 coin is in circulation with a different weight and alloy content which means you can expect some issues with vending machines and parking meters so we advise  either ensure you have a stock of old coins, or get a parking card, or make sure you know how to pay by sms till the meters are all updated.