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March/April 2013
A-lehdet Goes Live on Advantage 
by Cindy Mikol

A-lehdet, Finland's third-largest publisher, recently went live on Advantage after an exciting and complex implementation project. Based in Helsinki, A-lehdet publishes 18 consumer magazines, many in the women's and home style categories.


The extensive project had many complex technical requirements, which were managed by a phenomenal project team spread across 6,000 miles from Helsinki to Ann Arbor, and involved numerous cooold days and looong nights in Helsinki.

As a publisher of high-circulation consumer magazines, A-lehdet relies primarily on the Advantage subscription functionality, making heavy use of the new OrderStream upload powerhouse - to the tune of nearly 10,000 orders each day.


Agora Paves the Way on .NET Advantage
by Cindy Mikol



Someone had to be the first.  Advantage 2012r2--the first Advantage release totally in the .NET environment--became available last July, and although ACS went live on it immediately, Agora Publishing stepped up to the plate as the first client to implement it. 


Agora is on an annual upgrade schedule.  Even though this upgrade was a bit more involved-with not only new features, but also such improvements as a new user interface and the use of C# programming language for select sets-it took just 20% more time than a typical upgrade.  And with NO adjustments to the original target date.


Suzanne Earley, manager of Advantage projects at Agora, gave a presentation at the recent Advantage User Group meeting describing how the upgrade went.  She was assisted by Doug Moore, the Advantage project manager. 


Their presentation pointed out that while retaining the functionality of prior Advantage releases and adding many new application features, the new .NET Advantage provides many system-wide enhancements.  The major system-wide changes involve the way you navigate through Advantage, the introduction of the "ribbon," and the replacement of the Advantage tools with C# programming language for select sets.  Code deployment is also quite a bit more organized and streamlined.

Agora is very pleased with the release.  As the guinea pig, they uncovered numerous issues that have now been resolved, making the upgrade process even easier for the second, third and subsequent clients.



In Memoriam: Kathie Porter
by Cindy Mikol & Tom Burbeck

Kathie Porter  

 The worldwide Advantage community was deeply saddened by the sudden death of our friend and coworker Kathie Porter in January. 


Kathie was an employee of ACS for 13 years, and was a member of the Advantage user community at Wolters Kluwer Health and J. B. Lippincott for 11 years prior to that. During her years with ACS, our clients and staff greatly appreciated Kathie's deep product knowledge and hard work.  She had a special knack for leveraging her knowledge to address the practical business needs of clients. Over the years, many clients have expressed gratitude for Kathie's exceptional skills in trouble-shooting and analysis.  Kathie also became a close friend of many here at ACS, and was a fantastic team player-always willing to drop what she was doing to help someone else.


She was the recipient of many ACS kudos, accolades and other awards and commendations over the years.  Here are selections from some of them (client names have been removed).

  • "Kathie continues to go to extraordinary lengths to help [Client] over the remaining hurdles.  They recently sent an email thanking Kathie for her dedication and exceptional effort in staying up past 1:30 a.m. to finish fixes to a crucial item on their list.  This is just one example of the late nights and early mornings that Kathie has given to this project."


New Employee Stephen Whitney
by Cindy Mikol


Stephen Whitney recently joined ACS as a member of the product development team led by Howie Brooks


Stephen is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan and earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the engineering school there.  With a father who is a programmer at the university, Stephen was exposed to programming at an early age and was always interested in computers.  He got his start in high school, when he and a friend wrote a program using a TI-83 calculator.  He likes the idea of "telling a computer what to do" and then seeing the result.

Raised in Dexter, Michigan, Stephen had a rather unusual high school experience.  He attended Dexter High School for his first two years but then went to Washtenaw Technical Middle College, a charter high school that is really a community college.  Stephen spent three years there, but graduated with an Associate's degree and 52 credits that transferred to the University of Michigan.  This meant he was able to graduate after 2.5 years at U of M.




New Employee Drew Pompa

 by Cindy Mikol 


 Drew Pompa is a new member of the product development team led by Howie Brooks. He joined ACS after graduating from the University of Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the engineering school. 

Although he had no programming experience before college, Drew has always been a fan of technology in general.  Drew likes creating computer programs and being able to see what is behind them.  He explains that, in programming, you really have to balance logic and creativity.  You work with limited types of constructs but within them, you can create many different things.  He has a particular interest in developing functional user interfaces and in the overall usability of the software.

Remember the Alamo!
AUG Conference Report
by Ken Darnell



After several years of bad weather in January, the Advantage User Group Steering Committee decided to move the annual user conference  to February.   This seems to have done the trick because, for the second year in a row, the weather-this year in San Antonio--was incredibly beautiful, with temperatures in the mid-70's and sunny.  By all accounts, the conference was a tremendous success, and not simply because of the weather. 

 Advantage User Group

There were 64 attendees representing 24 client companies.  The general atmosphere was one of a warm family reunion, as clients from all over the country came together to catch up with each other, renew acquaintances and meet new friends, share some laughs, and exchange thoughts and experiences regarding Advantage.

After a welcome by Eric Fishman of APA, the conference opened with a keynote presentation by Cal Franklin, President of TN Marketing.  Cal has many years of experience in direct marketing and delivered a fascinating presentation on his business and how it has adapted to changing conditions over the years.  He also provided some keen insights on the meteoric explosion of social media and what it might mean for all of us.



Searching for the Customer
by Molly Mathe

molly minute logog  There are several system options related to customer look-ups that can optimize how you search for your customer. All under the CDS Option Class, these options can make it easier for customer service representatives to find the correct customer:

CTMLKUCP (available starting at 2010r1)

This option controls the position of the cursor in the search box when doing customer look-ups.  Entering the "C" option will place the cursor in the country type field.  This is useful if you often look up international addresses as you avoid having to back tab to the country type field.  If most of the addresses you deal with are within a single country, the "Z" option is a better choice and will put the cursor in the postal code field.  The "N" option will place the cursor in the customer number field. If, in the majority of cases, you know the customer number, that may be the best default position for the cursor on a customer search.

DFADONLY (available starting at 2010r3)

By default, an SVCDAT search returns all addresses that satisfy the search criteria...this could be the default address, plus several others for the same customer. You may wish to have the system display only the default address in situations such as this.  You can use the new CDS option DFADONLY (Default Address Only) to turn this behavior on.  The option affects the search behavior in one of two places: SVCDAT and the Customer Lookup dialog.

When the DFADONLY option is enabled, the search result will always be the default address (and only the default address) for any matching customers---regardless of which address the criteria actually matched on.  



Highlights of 2013r1
 by Tim Martin  


Here are some of the new features found in 2013r1.  Contact your account manager to schedule your upgrade.

  •  A workflow events feature has been added. This feature provides a background service that continuously monitors events...such as payment entry or postings...against configurable rules, and allows you to set up actions based on those events and rules. For example, you could configure Advantage to send an email acknowledging a payment received or a change of address, or inform an external system of a subscription adjustment.
  • An AMB agreement can now contain CIR subscriptions and PRO order lines (along with traditional AMB access points, these are referred to as the agreement's "components"). This permits you to carry a set of subscribed items for a customer under a single number (the agreement ID). The components can be entered on the agreement singly, or as part of a package. In either case, renewing the AMB agreement will automatically renew the CIR subscriptions, and also cause a reorder of the PRO components.
  • Pricing setup for CIR, AMB, and PRO has been consolidated under the data element of an Advantage "price code" (the price code approach replaces CIR and AMB rate codes). This can simplify and standardize your pricing setup and usage. All price setup now occurs under the item at INVDAT. Price codes do contain module-specific elements (for example, a CIR price code allows you to define valid donor types, set up block pricing or term-based pricing, etc.), but otherwise the concept spans the CIR, AMB, and PRO modules. 


Customer Service Tip
by Mike Miklosovic


Tech Tip logo The Customer Search view optionally displays all current publications of the selected customer in a second lower list frame.  This behavior is based on a system option added at revision 2010R3:

Option Class: CDS

Option Name:  SUBLIST

When the option is set, the customer look-up dialog box includes a list of subscriptions under the customer search results.  This list shows subscriptions belonging to the customer selected in the search results.


Subscriptions for Selected Customer

1) Click the Find ribbon control to open the Customer Search view.




SEPA Standard To Take Effect
 by Philippe van Mastrigt 


In February 2014, the SEPA standard for Direct Debit will become compulsory for the full Euro zone. All European countries outside of this Euro zone will have until 2016 to comply.


SEPA (Single European Payment Area) is a project carried out by all European countries to develop a common standard on all payment methods. This standard will replace current standards that vary widely country by country, especially for Direct Debit.

Among major changes introduced by SEPA are:

  • the BIC/IBAN format will be the standard for bank accounts
  • authorizations will be handled through a mandate that the vendor  will manage instead of the bank
  • a new XML exchange file will be established between banks and companies for all of Europe
ACS anticipated and prepared for the new standard.  The BIC/IBAN format can be set up beginning with the 2012R3 release and the XML file format is available in release 2013R1. Advantage already provides other features that enable handling of other aspects of SEPA, such as mandates.


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Advantage Computing

Cindy Mikol

Visit Advantage at These Exhibitions & Conferences


(United Kingdom Serials Group) 

April 8 - 10 

Bournemouth UK


SSP (Society of Scholarly Publications)

June 5 - 7 

San Francisco


Publishing Business Expo September 23 - 25 

New York


Media Next (FOLIO:) 

October 28 - 30 

New York

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