ACS is pleased to announce that Leadership Directories began live operations in May 2009. Based in New York City, Leadership Directories joins Advantage's East Coast line-up.
As a leading provider of contact and biographical information, Leadership Directories maintains a rich database of over 400,000 government, corporate, legal, and nonprofit professionals. Leadership Directories content is available to subscribers through innovative online directories, customized lists and data-feeds, and quarterly and semiannual print directories.
Leadership Directories began looking for a new fulfillment system over 4 years ago to replace an outdated system. Their primary objective was to find a system capable of supporting their existing print business and flexible enough to handle their expanding online presence. Additional objectives included advanced order functionally, enhanced reporting capabilities, and data analysis tools.
"We looked at other fulfillment systems and knew early on that Advantage was the one," says Jim Gee, Leadership Directories' Vice President, Administration and Treasurer. "We value personal interaction with our own customers, especially during training and set-up, and it was nice to see the ACS team take the same approach. They worked with us on every step of the process."
The ACS team on the project included Tim Zapawa as project director, John Sheehy as project manager, and Karl Davis as lead engineer. Congratulations to Leadership Directories and the entire team!
Later this month, Corey Mantel will be presenting a no-cost demo on the new Customer Service Notes Management enhancements. This feature provides an alternative means of "working" customer service notes through a new note activity workspace. A supervisor workspace has also been made available to allow organization of customer notes into folders, which allow for folder-specific rules to be defined. Registration will be opening soon.
The second "multi-session webinar" of the year is already under way. Daryl Vautour is presenting the second of a two-part webinar on "Data Entry Scripting: Setup and Order Entry" May 15th. The first session was on May 13th. These multi-session webinars offer a more in-depth training avenue. We're also including a quiz and/or exercises to refine the skills learned in the multi-session webinars.
To see the latest listing of available webinars, and to register, visit the Advantage Webinar page.
Here are just some of the new features available in Advantage 2009R2.
- Access Management & Billing (AMB) - The AMB module now incorporates renewal statistics tracking, similar to functionality in the CIR module. The AMB340 process (regular renewals) and AMB350 process (auto-renews) will now auto-assign renewal promotion codes. Also, renewal responses to AMB promotions are reflected on the CPNPMO-M promotions statistics table, at the agreement level. A new promotion table, AMBPMO-M, reflects response statistics at the level of the access point.
- The Customer Overview display now incorporates the same routing functionality that is available in the Customer Portrait. From the Overview, you can access a number of different Advantage informational views for the customer---including, for example, A/R and subscriptions---as well as route immediately to MSTDAT/FST for the purpose of entering orders.
- Advertising Management (ADM) - Order entry and maintenance for the Advertising Management module has been consolidated into a single tabbed workspace, ADMDAT. From ADMDAT, you can enter and maintain advertiser contracts, as well as perform standard functions related to insertion orders. The ADMDAT workspace uses Advantage scripting functionality, meaning that you can tailor your contract and order entry fields according to the needs of the contract or order, or by user.
- Inventory Management (INV) - Advantage has added "price point" functionality to the Inventory management module. With this feature, you associate an item to a separate price point inventory item for the sole purpose of assigning and maintaining prices. For example, if you have a line of 100 items with identical pricing, and wish to increase the price incrementally each year, you can assign all the items to the same "price point" item. This means that ongoing price maintenance need only be performed on the price point item; the other items would inherit the pricing structure assigned to the latter.
- Conference and Event Management (CEM) - You can now offer Conference registrations as items under a promotion (along with PRO items, CIR subscriptions, MBR subscriptions, and AMB access points). As with the latter, you can set up multiple Conference offers under the same promotion, using different pricing, or a different mix of sessions. Finally, as with PRO, CIR, MBR, and AMB, you can set up reusable Conference "choices" at the CPNTBL workspace, so that you can assign the same offer to different promotions.
For more information, contact your ACS account manager.
Have you ever been affected by this condition in Advantage: "System may hang after applying new security"?
If so, did you know there's an easy workaround you can do to avoid it? It can be found here.
This workaround is just one of dozens of Advantage Alerts, which form a knowledge-base of software conditions that may affect your business. Critical alerts (those that are high frequency or severe in nature) are emailed directly to your inbox using Advantage's communication templates. We also use the Alert system to send general customer service announcements or reminders to you, such as holiday office hours and the like.
If you are not currently receiving email alerts, but would like to, simply send a request to supportatadvantagecs.com asking to be added as a system administrator for your company. Then you will receive all alerts that may affect your operation.
You can also view or search for alerts that affect your Advantage revision by logging in to the ACS support website and using the Knowledge Base links at the left.
For more information about alerts, please contact Angie Markel.
I'm buying crickets for my daughter's lizard, and the clerk asks me if I want to donate to a pet shelter by rounding up my purchase. On a flight, I'm promoted to donate to the airlines' charity of the month. With my American Express bill, I get another opportunity to donate.
Donations are no longer the exclusive domain of charitable organizations, they have gone mainstream. And if you choose to institute a donation program at your company, Advantage offers support in managing it.
Collecting donations is a way for an organization to demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and involve their customers in doing some good. The cause is benefited and the customers feel increased loyalty to the organization. It's a win win mostly.
There is a bit of administrative cost involved. You have to handle the transactions, the tax deduction notifications (if any), the money . . . and no doubt provide some customer service. Some organizations go even further and offer discounts, points or premiums to contributors.
In evaluating whether this makes sense for your organization, know that Advantage offers assistance in managing donations. You can define donation items for each cause. (See Setup for Donations later in this article for more specifics.) Entering the donation item ID in order entry, you are prompted for the amount of the donation. You can even activate a feature that allows you to apply overpayments to a donation item.
Include a donation solicitation with your normal promotions and enter those that do contribute with the order an extra order-line every now and then. (They can also be loaded - PRO301 - or captured at your web-site using Advantage capsules). Include a thank you with your order acknowledgement or maybe have a special LST selection to send thank you notices.
Advantage also supports automatic donations that a customer agrees to make on a schedule of their choosing, for a defined or indefinite time period. The customer provides their credit card, or bank account information and Advantage generates the appropriate donation "orders" on the customer's schedule. Premiums can be linked into the program so that the customer receives a premium with each donation or when the total donated reaches a threshold. (See Recurring Donations later in this article for more specifics.)
Is it worth the effort? That is your call. Just know that Advantage has support for donations. (The feature came into the base product in 2007). Wouldn't it be interesting to know how your customers participated with donation efforts? Makes you wonder what some data mining would reveal on that. Then again, maybe the answer is staring us in the face every time we buy crickets.
Setup for Donations: Donations in Advantage are identified by an inventory item with the system name DNT. This allows you to separate out the customer's donations from their other business---for example, within the customer purchase history file. Donation items are set up as non-taxable and non-discountable. They are also set up with a zero price (the amount of the donation is either specified during order entry, or defined on the recurring donations setup).
Recurring Donations: Recurring donation information is maintained at the SVCRDN workspace. Create a record for each cause (donation item) that the customer wants to contribute to containing
- the amount of each donation
- the credit card or bank account to collect the money from
- how often and for how long they want to contribute
- how any premium is earned and who should receive it
Donations are created according to customer instructions by the SVC250 process, which you would want to run on a regular basis.
More Details: You can get more details from the Advantage documentation. Just do a search on "donation".
Penton Media, formerly known as Intertec, just completed a comprehensive seven-month project that included an upgrade that took them from Advantage 7.0-0 to Advantage 2008r3. In addition to making an eight-year jump in Advantage revisions, the company consolidated the Penton Media Loveland, Colorado into the upgraded Overland Park, Kansas operation. The two business units now co-exist in one happily united installation of Advantage at the Kansas location.
To make things even more exciting, the project also involved implementing two new modules, Conference and Event (CEM) and Access Management and Billing (AMB). This involved several CIR to AMB conversions, some software modifications, and a complete rewrite of their web interface. Additionally, Overland Park moved their cash applications to their Cleveland location.
Evelyn Acton, Penton's Account Manager at ACS has this to say; "This was truly a team effort between all parties involved. The complexity of the project and the sheer number of components coming together under one project displayed the effectiveness of the true working partnership between ACS and Penton Media."
The ACS team on the project included Angie Markel as Project Manager, Tim Zapawa as Project Director, Karl Davis as Lead Engineer, Dan Sneed as Conversion Engineer, Larry Kleber and Martha Krieg as Upgrade Engineers, and Matt Varblow as Manager of eCommerce. The Penton team was led by Carver Bonine as Technical Project Manager, Caryn Bair and Mary Salvia as business unit leads, Kathy Cone as Project Manager, and Jay Swift as Director of Business Integration.
Jay Swift, Director of Business Integration at Penton Media, shared his thoughts. "I am very proud of the results that Kathy, Caryn, Mary and Carver were able to deliver, particularly in light of the tremendous effort required in such a short timeframe. Their efforts, along with the exceptional focus and turnaround time for requests to Angie, Karl, Dan, Larry, Martha, and Matt at ACS made this project extremely successful. Congratulations to the entire team!"
Be sure and check out the new Advantage website at advantagecs.com. It's updated with a bright, new look and packed with all sorts of information such as an interactive world map showing the locations of Advantage users around the globe. (Please help us keep it up to date and let us know if we missed any!)
The new site more accurately reflects what ACS and Advantage are all about. Digital, global, flexible, innovative--yet with a long track record of reliability and support--plus the most comprehensive functionality in the world.
On the site, you can always read the latest eVantage newsletter, in case you missed it, and you can access all previous issues in the archive. Plus, all the past newsletter articles have been compiled in a keyword-searchable blog format.
The "public" portion of the site was the first to be re-designed and the client-only side redesign will follow. Let us know if there is something you would like us to include in the new version. Email ideas and suggestions to your account manager or Cindy Morphew.
Smart Searches allow users to restrict the display of table entries to those of most interest to the user. Using the "Search For" field, you can enter a search string that would limit the display to only those entries that satisfy the string.
Using the "Search For" field
There are different ways you can enter your search string, which will then result in different entries appearing:
- Entry of a string returns matches on the exact string (e.g., ZA will return all matches on that string).
- Entry of strings separated by spaces returns matches that satisfy all strings (e.g., Z(space) A will return all matches that contain both a Z and an A).
- Use of double quotes will perform an exact (literal) search on the string (e.g., "Z(space)A" will return all matches that contain that exact string---a Z and an A separated by a space).
Using Multiple Criteria in a Smart Search
Some Smart Searches allow you to filter on multiple types of criteria. For example, the Smart Search at MSTDAT/CTG allows you to search on Control Group Date, Control Group ID, Description, and Owner. However, what if you wanted to search by Control Group Date and Control Group ID? Instead of using the Green filter button, you can enter both "search for's" in the field.
In the screenshot above, in order to bring up the 3/23/09 ZUPL00 control group and not the 3/23/09 MMATH control group, you could type 3/23/09 ZUPL00 in the Search for field and it would limit the search where 3/23/09 is in any of the fields and ZUPL00 is in any of the fields. Keep in mind that what you enter in the field can be in any of the available columns.
Select Detail Searches
The Select Set Maintenance dialog at Advantage select views includes search capabilities to allow you to quickly access a particular level within the select; this may be of use if you are performing maintenance on a very large select, and you know the exact level you need to access.
You can enter the level number(s) you are searching for, separated by spaces (that is, you need not supply the periods between numbers). A search on "10 20" and "10.20" would yield the same results.
The search returns all levels that include the criteria, regardless of their order within the select levels. A search on "10 30" would return all levels that include those numbers---both those where 10 occurs first (e.g., 001.10.30) and those where 30 occurs first (e.g., 001.30.10).
Although Advantage assigns leading zeroes where necessary in level numbers, these need not be entered as part of the search criteria. To find level 010, you need only enter "10".
Levi started his career at ACS as an intern in the customer service division (CSD). He was working on his degree in computer science from the University of Michigan at that time, and although he enjoyed programming, he did not want to do that full-time. He thought that the job in CSD might be better suited to his skills and abilities than an engineering position, and he was right.
As an intern, Levi worked in the Advantage Support Center, led by Ev Acton. There, he began learning the software and becoming familiar with Advantage clients. Upon graduation in the spring of 2007, he joined ACS full-time and moved to the Major Projects division under Tim Zapawa.
Levi's primary job in Major Projects is managing implementations of Advantage for new clients. Since Levi speaks French, he is working as the project manager for Vidal, ACS' second French client, and also on mini-projects for Bayard Presse.
Claire Baldeyrou, Vidal project manager, says that working with Levi is a pleasure. "He is always in a good mood, very professional, and flexible. He knows the product very well and is comforting as a project manager." She goes on to say: "Levi makes great efforts to speak French with the team members who are not fluent in English, and the team really likes working with him."
Levi enjoys the travel and meeting new people aspects of his job. Perhaps his favorite task is training new users on Advantage, because he finds it interesting to learn all the ways new clients use the software in their business. He also looks forward to the data conversion facet of the job. In his words, it's "nitty-gritty" work, with a nice sense of accomplishment when it's done.
"Levi learns incredibly fast, and surprises you with unsuspected skills, such as performing a full week of training in French," says Philippe van Mastrigt, ACS Director of European Operations. Philippe goes on to say: "Whatever you send him, he always responds in a short time and just gets it done."
The days leading up to a project go-live are busy and stressful, but Levi relishes the excitement of a new client going live on Advantage. It's a tremendous feeling of accomplishment that makes all the hard work worthwhile, he says.
Supervisor Tim Zapawa has nothing but praise for Levi: "Levi deftly handles a wide array of projects and assignments. In his short tenure at ACS, he's managed an upgrade, web, and implementation project, developed conversion programs and successfully converted a client from a legacy system to Advantage, and led several webinar and ACS training week sessions. Levi has established himself to be a strong leader who really knows the Advantage application and the supporting database and reporting technologies. I can always count on Levi to deliver high quality results even on the most challenging of assignments.
John Sheehy has this to say about his team coworker: "Levi's wide range of technical and Advantage knowledge, willingness to help, and easygoing attitude make him a tremendous asset on the Projects Team. He's easily in my Top 5 for Advantage go-to resources."
Born in Ann Arbor, Levi actually grew up in the neighboring small town of Chelsea, Michigan. He and his family also lived for two years in upstate New York during Levi's high school years, but they were homesick for Michigan and so moved back. Levi currently lives in Ann Arbor and in his spare time enjoys running, cars, movies, and cooking.
Although he has always had an interest in computers and programming, Levi's first love was music. He earned a degree in viola performance from U of M, in conjunction with the BS In computer science. However, since professional musician jobs are hard to come by, Levi decided to earn his living using the computer science degree. We at ACS—plus many of our clients—are glad he did.