Archive for August, 2013

Get ready for CRM 2013 with Synergy Software Systems

August 29th, 2013

Dynamics CRM 2011 was released in 2010 and, in line with Microsoft’s other products, has had a facelift to enable it to continue to be a market leader. With the range of new laptops, tablets and phones available to users, the Dynamics CRM user interface had evolved to support these devices more natively. The new release includes an always online with cached offline mode for Windows 8 and iPad devices. The mobile user interface is dynamically created based on the same forms non-mobile users utilise. This will provide a great tool for the mobile workforce to engage in CRM wherever they are. Integration with Bing Maps, Skype & Lync is also provided

The new user navigation is designed to free up screen space and will remove CRM pop-up windows enabling new records to be created in a single pane. The updated UI will automatically be applied once the CRM 2013 upgrade is applied. The only exception will be the CRM administration area which continues to use the traditional ribbon menu and navigation.

Existing CRM forms will be upgraded and displayed in the new interface enabling customers to first explore and test the new process oriented interface before choosing to apply this. The updated process interface features several improvements since the Polaris release: Process bars will work across all standard and custom CRM entities. Whereas Polaris only supported 1 process per entity CRM 2013 enables multiple processes and administrators can define additional sales, service and other processes as required. CRM users can switch to another process when best suited but individual processes can be made role specific to correctly apply defaults and control user access to individual processes. Processes can also now flow through multiple entitles.

CRM has always enabled leads to be converted to opportunities and now the new process extends this. For example, convert a lead to an opportunity and when the sale is won convert the opportunity to a custom entity such as a project in the same window.

The process bar supports stage-gating to prevent users progressing records to the next stage when one or more steps haven’t been completed e.g. when a sales timeline isn’t set, or when a budget isn’t confirmed, or when a case origin not selected.

The new UI includes a form auto-save function. Users will no longer need to manually click a button to save CRM field updates. This simplifies data input by automatically saving field entries but will require changes to automated CRM processes that currently rely on the legacy manual ‘on-save’ function. CRM workflow processes should be reviewed and amended if they are currently triggered by users clicking the ribbon save button because this process will no longer exist in CRM 2013. The auto-save can trigger plug-ins on save and with separate scripting CRM can identify between auto-save and on-save methods when required.

Contact us for guidance to ensure your ‘on-save’ processes work correctly after upgrading to CRM 2013

Early adopters of the Polaris UI encountered restrictions when attempting to migrate CRM form customisations that involved custom code. For CRM 2013, Microsoft has stated that all supported CRM 2011 scripting and customisations will be migrated and supported when moved to the new UI. However, no legacy CRM v4 API customisations will be supported in this process.

These changes will have an impact on the user experience and on your configuration . Because the new UI reflects a major shift from the traditional ribbon based forms it presents both challenges and opportunities for existing Dynamics CRM customers so careful planning is strongly recommended before CRM 2013 is rolled out to end users. Please contact us to help you to put in place a plan to manage this change.

A new, server side Exchange sync replaces the email router for CRM to improve the sync of activities, contacts & appointments with remote users.

New Business Rules enable more native controls to be applied that currently require custom javascript. These are client side enforced condition and action-based rules including options to hide fields and enforce field entry when a related field value is set. The rules work across the web, Outlook and new mobile apps and are managed in the form editor. Synchronous CRM Workflows can also be configured using native functions to reduce the need for custom code.

To be eligible to upgrade to Dynamics CRM 2013 on-premise users must be running either Dynamics CRM 2011 or Version 4 and hold active Microsoft Software Assurance.

Note the licensing prices are changed for CRM 2013.

Version 4 users will first need to upgrade to 2011 before installing Dynamics 2013.

Legacy systems that will not be supported after upgrade to Dynamics CRM 2013:

• NO Windows XP to run either Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook or the web application.
• NO Microsoft Office 2003
• NO Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 for email routing and tracking.
• NO Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 WebDAV protocol for email routing and tracking.
(Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Exchange Web Services (EWS) will still be supported)

Review any third party add-ons that you might have installed and check with vendor that they are supported on CRM 2013, if they will not be at time of upgrade then you best option may be to request a different upgrade date.

CRM 2013 Transition offerings:

System Health Check. We start with your server and database set up and maintenance. Then we will review the code in your environment to ensure that it meets the CRM 2013 standards to support a fully automated upgrade. The review will also identify opportunities to simplify code utilising some of the new features of CRM 2013 including synchronous workflows and entity business rules, which we believe will offer opportunities to remove customisation from the system.

Key User Training. Training to your key users on how the new user interface works and how users can navigate easily around the user interface.

Form Re-design – post the upgrade your CRM 2011 forms will continue to work within the new refreshed user interface as scrollable forms. With the redesign comes an opportunity to take advantage of the new layout options and to re-design your forms to be more user friendly.

Guided Business Processes Enablement – CRM 2013 introduced business process flows created via the process configuration area of Dynamics CRM. Synergy Software Systems consultants can give you aguidance on the best way to utilise this new feature to increase user adoption, to drive consistency and to reduce on-going training costs.

See surface touch in action

August 29th, 2013

http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/benriga/Using-Touch-in-Line-of-Business-Apps

Thsi comes from Convergence 2009 and is still worth a look

Synergy Software Systems, Dubai – 2013 mid-year review

August 27th, 2013

Duba like the rest of the world has faced a lot of economic uncertainty over recent years.

This week has seen a lot of conflicting news – oil prices remain volatile, the political situation in Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan, iran, Libya… is at best uncertain – talks in Israel, and even unrest in Turkey and rumours of another Greek bail out, all undermine confidence. The economic data from Europe, USA and China is micro analysed daily and stock markets react nervously. Dubai’s DFM while still comfortably more than 50% ahead ths year hit its higheest level this week and then had the biggest 1 day drop since 2009. Other regional markets were similarly impacted.

India’s rapdily deteriorating exchange rate is also a cause for uncertainty, while gold prices have been extra volatile.

The recent chamber of Commerce feedback survey from business leaders contained some mixed signals

Expectation for positive business conditions for the 3rd quarter of 2013 have dropped by 23% from the previous quarter (Q2-2013)but continue to be positive at 22% optimistic, and higher than the 9% for
the same quarter in the previous year (Q3-2012).

Business confidence for the 3rd quarter of 2013 likewise continued to be positive at
28%, down from 45% for the previous quarter (Q2-2013) but higher than the 15% for the same quarter in the previous year (Q3-2012).

So its better than last year but not as good as we expected last quarter.

The UAE reportedly saw a 30 per cent decline in the number of job vacancies posted online in the last twelve months based on the Monster Employment Index.

Across the region, there was a nine percent drop in total listings, with the UAE showing the steepest decline and a 30 percent slump in jobs on offer.the overlal numebrs were better than they might otherwise have been because they were boosted by suprisingly high increases in job advertisements in Egypt

Hospitality sector surprisingly saw a 16% drop in vacancies.

Globally the IT sector where we operate is showing similar reductions in vacancies and salaries little changed since 2009 much as Dubai. U.K suveys for example show Dynamics Ax vancies dropping from 200 two years go, to 100 last year and 80 over the last 12 months- which perhaps reflects less job hopping and job insecurity as much as reduced growth.

Synergy continues to take the rough with the smooth -and sticks to its risk averse approach, and balanced growth. As the local market matures and start up companies grow, and technologies change, so we fine tune our offerings. For example we see increasing demand for dashboards and BI, for Corporate performance management, for audits and correction of failed projects, and a slow increase in interest in cloud based applications, and mobility and asset management. After the WPS surge demand for payroll has eased back. CRM seems to be the must have solution this year and we have completed successful projects for several major clients. Dynamics Ax erp continues to grow with the significant enhancements included in recent releases and we have 6 projects running. This includes buidling a complete Admission system for a major UK Public school in this region.

Infor Sunsystems, for which perhaps Synergy is best known in the region, is stil the number one choice of many clients for an easy to use, powerful multi company finance system, enhanced by the power of Vision (Q@A) reporting.

New solutions include : Financial audit software for auditors, Banking complience reporting software. mobile device management.

Some major product advances imminent include Dynamics CRM 2013, Prophix 11, BI4Dynamics Ax.

It is gratifying to receive so many wonderful testimonials from satisfied customers across all our solutions for successful projects and outstanding customer support..

In September we will be holding some seminars at Microsoft offices (Banking compliance reporting ) and BI4 Dynamics (NAV and Ax) – watch this blog for more details on both. we are also preparing for Gitex- this year with two stands. We look forward to meeting you.

Is your business really unsupported?

August 26th, 2013

I am constantly surprised that senior executives head in the sand approach to the software systems that underpin their business. I once read a statistic that a pretty hgih % of companies that lose their system for a week go out of business within 18 months. Its dificult not be aware of the threats from hacking and virus and phishing and malware ….

Frequently we find sysrems with no proper back up, no test of back ups, no defragmentation, no reindexing, no service packs or cumulative updates. SO I suppsoe In should not have been suprriosed to read the results of a mini poll by SQL MVP Paul Randall that indicated that 53% of SQL databases surveyed were out of support and 51%

To quote Paul: “I urge you all to check your SQL Server instances to make sure they’re running as close to the latest build as possible, so you have the most bug fixes and are supported if you do have a problem.”.

All SQL Server 7.0 builds are unsupported
All SQL Server 2000 builds are unsupported as of April 9th, 2013
All SQL Server 2005 builds are out of mainstream support - extended support is an option until April 12th, 2016 (You should be at least on 2005 SP4)
Any SQL Server 2008 build before SP3 is unsupported. Mainstream support ends on July 8th, 2014, with extended support available until July 9th, 2019
SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM builds are unsupported, and support for SP1 builds ends on October 10th, 2013. Mainstream support of SP2 builds ends on July 8th, 2014, with extended support available until July 9th, 2019
All builds of SQL Server 2012 are currently supported, but support for RTM builds will end on November 7th, 2013 as that will be one year from the SP1 release

Death of XP getting closer

August 26th, 2013

Microsoft is getting increasingly louder about the end-of-support for XP. Earlier this summer, Microsoft This week, Microsoft echoed that warning, adding a new twist, via an August 15 post on the Microsoft Security Blog.

After April 8, 2014, users running Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3 — the last service pack delivered for the 11-year-old operating system — won’t get any more updates. That includes both security and “non-security” hot fixes, free or paid support options and online technical content updates.

Some customers won’t migrate off XP until the hardware it is on fails, but Tim Rains, Microsoft’s Director of Trustworthy Computing cautions about ignoring the April 8 XP support cut-off date. The mitigations Microsoft developed for XP SP3 were “state of the art” when they were published years ago, but are no longer enough to block the kinds of attacks Microsoft is currently seeing, After April 8, “attackers will likely have more information about vulnerabilities in Windows XP than defenders…. Organizations that continue to run Windows XP won’t have this advantage over attackers any longer. The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares those vulnerabilities. If it does, then attackers will attempt to develop exploit code that can take advantage of those vulnerabilities on Windows XP.”

“Windows XP will essentially have a ‘zero day’ vulnerability forever,” Rains said.

Between July 2012 and July 2013 Windows XP was an affected product in 45 Microsoft security bulletins, of which 30 also affected Windows 7 and Windows 8. Windows XP still had more than 37 percent desktop OS share as of June 2013, according to NetMarketshare.com. Despite that fact, Microsoft officials have said they have no plans to extend yet again the cut-off date for support for XP.

Be warned!

SQL 2012 CU9

August 26th, 2013

Cumulative Update 9 contains all the SQL Server 2012 hotfixes made available since the initial release of SQL Server 2012.

To learn more about the release or servicing model, please visit:
•CU#9 KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2867319
•Understanding IncrementalServicingModel for SQL Server
•SQL Server Support Information: http://support.microsoft.com/ph/2855
•Previous SQL Server 2012 Service Releases: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2692828

Temporary Service disruption tomorrow

August 26th, 2013

This is to inform you that there will be a planned maintenance on electrical line by DEWA tomorrow morning (Tuesday) 6.45 to 10.45 affecting the Synergy Software System offices. It will be difficult for us to respond to support. During the time period because all our servers, telephone system, printers, internet etc. will be switched off.

For urgent contact call your account manager on his mobile.

Manage your financial operations, with Microsoft Dynamics™ AX,

August 22nd, 2013

Manage your financial operations, with Microsoft Dynamics™ AX, in real time while maintaining a comprehensive view of your financial data across your organization. Here are four financial management myths that do not apply in Microsoft Dynamics AX:

Myth 1: You must wait until the month’s end to run a consolidated financial report.
Fact: In Microsoft Dynamics AX you can run a consolidated report anytime you want, as often as you want, in real-time.

Myth 2: Reconciliation can only take place at the end of the month.
Fact: In Microsoft Dynamics AX the subledger and general ledger are always in sync.

Myth 3: You must wait on the Financial Department to create financial statements.
Fact: In Microsoft Dynamics AX you can create and schedule financial statements that are delivered to you in real-time.

Myth 4: Multi-company financial consolidation must happen outside the ERP solution.
Fact: You can consolidate a multi-company organization structure inside Microsoft Dynamics AX.

With access to real-time information across your organization, easy-to-use tools, and powerful analysis and reporting capabilities, Financial Management in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 can help you work efficiently and make confident and informed decisions.This is further enhanced by Management reporter.

Sql CU updates July 2013

August 16th, 2013

A belated note due to my annual holiday.

On July 15, Microsoft released SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 5. This is Build 11.0.3373, there are 30 fixes in the public fix list.

If you are running SQL Server 2012, then you ought to be on Service Pack 1 by now. If you are on SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1, make an effort to stay on the latest Cumulative Update, even more so than for older versions of SQL Server, because of the large numbers of significant fixes that are included in each Cumulative Update. (The RTM release of SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 was released back on June 18, 2012)

On July 15, Microsoft also released SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update 12, which is Build 10.0.5844. There are six fixes in the public fix list.

I know many companies arestill running SQL Server 2008- you should be aware that only Service Pack 3 is still a supported Service Pack. SQL Server 2008 will fall out of Mainstream Support from Microsoft on July 8, 2014, i.e.next year.

Management Reporter -Report groups

August 2nd, 2013

Using report groups in Management Reporter will streamline the report generation process.
In Management Reporter 2012 CU6, report groups are updated to reduce maintenance of report distribution maintenance. Company, date and detail information along with distribution locations can all be modified within the report .