eVantage            from AdvantageCS
November/December 2013
Advantage Welcomes Test Achats 
by Cindy Mikol

Advantage is pleased to announce our newest client: Test-Achats.  Test-Achats is also known by its Flemish name of Test Aankoop and was founded in Belgium in 1957 as a consumer organization.   It independently tests all manner of consumer products and then reports the results.  Through collaboration with other organizations-in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Brazil-it is a growing influence in Europe and beyond. 


In 1960, Test-Achats became one of the founding members of the European Consumers' Organization.  Over time the group has expanded into consumer rights and lobbying. 

Test-Achats and Test-Aankoop are the French and Dutch names of the monthly magazine offering evaluations and ratings of various consumer products, and the organization also publishes Budget & Droits - Budget & Recht (Budget & Rights), a bi-monthly magazine dealing with personal finance, and Sante - Gezondheid (Health) a monthly magazine on health.


Pacific Magazines Goes Live on Advantage


Following a six-month migration project, Pacific Magazines is now live on Advantage at CDS Global. Pacific Magazines is managed from the Australian division of CDS Global, based in Sydney, Australia


CDS Global led the migration with a dedicated project team located both in the UK and Australia and were supported by ACS staff.


The CDS Global project team included staff with lead roles from across the business: Kim Reid, Agi Scott, Anne Sentence, Bhavya Nagaraja, Sharon Foxon, Dom Toasland, Maz Khan and Shelton Masuku, with many others providing support and guidance. 


The extraordinary efforts and contributions from the staff in each of those areas were fundamental in ensuring the migration was delivered successfully and met the go-live date. 


The ACS support team included: Bryan Varblow, project director; Paul DesRosiers, who made customizations and provided engineering support; Sunil Chawla, who spent time onsite to assist with issues; Philippe Rowland, who assisted in payment processing implementation; Ryan Powers, who delivered key modifications and Al Grunas, who handled the rotation of code between areas.


Congratulations to both teams for all their hard work, commitment and determination and thanks also to everyone who contributed.  


AdvantageCS Partners with Scribe

 Advantage Scribe Connector


AdvantageCS has joined the Scribe partner program and developed the Advantage Scribe Connector.  Scribe is an integration tool which allows you to define an integration workflow, including the mapping of data elements, between any two systems that Scribe supports.  You can now integrate Advantage with any other system that has a Scribe Connector available, such as Salesforce.com.  A list of available systems may be found on the Scribe website: http://www.scribesoft.com/connectivity

The Advantage Scribe Connector brings Advantage support to Scribe.  This new module provides integration between Advantage and other systems for customer adds, updates and orders.  ACS plans to expand the Scribe connector to support additional data elements in the future.
ACS developed the Connector module using Salesforce.com as the integrating system, and it is used as the example throughout this article.  In addition to the Advantage Scribe Connector, ACS will provide clients looking to integrate with Salesforce.com a complete sample package that contains Salesforce customizations and Scribe maps to sync between Salesforce and Advantage.  The Salesforce customizations include a mash-up to display live customer transaction history in Salesforce.  (A mash-up, in web development, is a web page or web application that uses content from multiple sources to create a single new service displayed in a single graphical interface.)  This package gives clients a jump start integrating Advantage with Salesforce.com. 


The Marketer's Voice
Advantage Marketing Forum 
by Phil Montgomery


There was a decision at the February 2013 user group meeting that we needed input from marketers on how Advantage's marketing features could be improved to address current and future requirements.  The Marketers Voice Program was the result.


Twelve marketers from 8 Advantage clients attended the forum held in Ann Arbor on October 1st and 2nd. (Thank you, MVPs-you guys are the best!)

We had excellent discussions about promotions, social media, customer interests, marketing channels (email in particular) and analysis, led by myself, Dan Heffernan, Mona Hidayet, Corey Mantel and Karl Davis.  Several software engineers and business analysts sat in to hear firsthand the challenges a marketer faces in today's business environment.


Congratulations to Dianne Killebrew--Soon-to-be-Retiree
by Cindy Mikol


Dianne Killebrew, senior support analyst, is retiring from ACS at the end of December.  She was hired by Support Center Manager Ev Acton in March of 2000, but the two of them had worked together previously at another company. Dianne has always truly enjoyed providing support, both because she likes helping people and also because you never know what the day is going to bring.  You have to juggle and prioritize, explains Dianne, and try to work out deadlines that are acceptable to everyone.

In her years of support experience, Dianne has found that the most important thing is to work with the client to identify the real problem or the true goal of what they want to accomplish.  It isn't always obvious, she says, but when you have that, it's 50% of the solution.  She also tries to state each issue in two sentences or less, which helps ensure that she is working on the right problem.




New Options for Your Advantage Updates


new starburst

As part of the change to the Microsoft .NET framework (at 2012r2), we've updated the configuration and deployment of software changes to be more in line with industry standards.  Source code to the base software is no longer stored onsite and software updates are now delivered via "deployment packages."  Source code for custom processes, reports, and views will continue to be stored and compiled at client sites.


You now have two options for base tracks software updates.  In addition to these base tracks, keeping in the tradition of the customizable nature of an Advantage installation, clients will have the option of maintaining a private track that will be customized to their needs.  The two base update tracks are:

  • Maintenance Only:  This track will offer deployment packages that only include bug fixes and basic maintenance items.
  • Maintenance and Features:  This track will offer deployment packages that include bug fixes, basic maintenance items, and small retrofitted features.  When these small retrofitted features are available, they will be incorporated into the track once monthly.

Emailing Advantage Reports
by Angie Markel


You probably have a list of reports that you review weekly or even daily. Did you know that you can easily have those reports sent to your email Inbox? Using the Advantage Report Distribution feature is a snap and can deliver your reports automatically without you having to remember to go and look for them!


1. The first thing to do is be sure you have an email address specified on your Advantage user code.




Upgrade Activity Continues Strong Through the Fall

Congratulations to the following clients who went live on new releases of Advantage since the last newsletter.  Live on 2013R1 are:  Bauer Media Group, Franciscan Media, National Automotive Research, Ogden Publishing, Penton Media, and Wolters Kluwer Health, while Agora Publishing is live on 2013R2.  Hats off to all the upgrade teams who worked on these projects. 



Memorial to Kathie Porter
 by Cindy Mikol  



On a cool but clear and sunny day in mid-October, the ACS staff got together to officially dedicate the outdoor memorial to Kathie Porter.  The memorial area in front of the ACS building includes a picnic table (the people in the back are standing on it), a newly-planted tree (seen in the right of the picture) and a rock inscribed "In memory of Kathie Porter."  The rock is significant because, according to Kathie's sisters, she loved rocks and collected them for her yard from all over.


We miss you, Kathie.



New Logo for AdvantageCS
by Cindy Mikol


Advantage is pleased to unveil our new logo - a more distinct, clean and contemporary visual representation of our global brand.  The symbol is based on the concept of sailing and denotes being propelled forward - mobility and agility.  It better represents the Advantage product and the culture of the company behind it: responsive, agile, innovative, and determined.  Harnessing the latest technology is one of the ways we participate in our clients' success.  Our recent migration to the .NET platform and the re-design of the user interface are great examples of this.


 "We're delighted with the new logo, but more importantly we're thrilled about the new platform and being better positioned to help our clients across the globe achieve their goals," says Dan Heffernan, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Product Planning.  "Advantage is a global company and this new logo better represents our world-wide brand."





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Cindy Mikol

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AdvantageCS. All rights reserved