ACS is pleased to announce that Ouest France is the latest publisher to choose Advantage. Ouest France is a large regional newspaper company based in Rennes in Brittany. They publish 4 daily papers and their flagship--called Ouest France--is the largest daily newspaper in France, with 800,000 copies and 44 editions a day. Implementation has already begun and the ACS project team includes Levi Hyssong (project manager), Philippe van Mastrigt (project director), and Karl Davis (lead engineer). For Ouest France, the team includes Antoine Péculier (project manager), Jean-Dominique Hardy (project director), Anne-Yvonne Surel, (IT project manager) and Laurence Cuchard (system administrator). We welcome Ouest France to the Advantage community.
On May 18, ACS hosted a meeting of the Advantage clients in the European region in London. The purpose of the meeting was to update the EU-region clients on ACS activities and strategy, future software direction, new features in our latest release of the software, and to provide an opportunity for networking with other ACS clients. 18 attendees representing 10 clients were present.
Dan Heffernan hosted the meeting and gave a presentation on news, strategy and software futures. This was followed by a presentation on direct debit progress by Chris Elson (Saga) and Bob Thornton (ACS). Philippe Van Mastrigt presented and discussed new features in the 2010r1 release of Advantage, with an eye to those features which are of unique interest to Advantage users in the EU region.
A networking lunch provided ample opportunity for visiting, exchanging ideas and making new contacts with the many new clients represented at the meeting this year.
Attendees at the Advantage European User Meeting. Front row, from left: Catherine Barker (Traplet Publications), Penny Evans (Wolters Kluwer Health), Ben Cartwright and Chris Elson (Saga), Megan Ruddock, Graham Ryder, Mark Smith and Anurag Jalota (Oxford University Press).
Back row, from left: Tara Rebak (Agora), Iain Cunningham (MoneyWeek), Denise Feeley & Sunil Chawla (Maney Publications).
Chris Elson from Saga presents to the group.
Not previously idenitifed: Ivan Kure from Egmont, Andy Wright from Oxford University Press.
Bob Thornton addresses the user group meeting.
Philippe van Mastrigt presents to the user group.
Not previously identified: Nicolas Martelliere from Vidal, Sebastien Fournier from Agora France and Anthony Marsden from Saga.
ACS is pleased to welcome Virginie Motte as a new employee. She is working with Philippe van Mastrigt, Director of European Operations, and is based in Paris. Currently, Virginie is providing operational support to Bayard Presse, assisting them with campaign and renewal set-up. In addition, she is in charge of setting up and maintaining the French Translation of Advantage User Manuals.
Virginie has worked at Bayard for the past two years, and handled fulfillment. She also worked on the VPC project, converting to Advantage. Prior to that, she worked in the supply chain, helping to implement sales forecast software, and also worked as a customer service manager for a subsidiary of company TOTAL, French main oil company.
In joining ACS, Virginie says she is renewing the international link she had in her youth. As a child, she lived in several countries (Denmark & Morocco) and as a young adult, studied abroad including some time in the United States. She has a degree in business, and speaks English, Spanish and Danish, plus a little Portuguese and Japanese.
Virginie lives in a suburb of Paris, with her husband and three children. In her leisure time, she likes to go to South Britany, and enjoys sailing, playing sports and spending time with friends and family there. She hopes to get more time to play tennis and her goal is to achieve a rating some day.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) website store launched successfully on Advantage in mid-April. GASB establishes standards of financial accounting and reporting for state and local governmental entities. The project lasted a little over a month and a half.
On FAF's side, the team included Jim Lapinski and FAF website consultants. Work on the ACS side was done by Molly Mathe and Greg Sharp. Congratulations on a successful go-live!
Dan Heffernan at the Advantage booth.
With the 2010r1 release of Advantage, it is now easier to manage multiple Advantage configurations from a single location, including a new mechanism for users to launch the Advantage application. This enhancement follows an industry-standard approach, and is called the Advantage Launch Pad.
In prior releases, the configuration settings for individual areas were located in client and server-side configuration text files (Advantag.ini). These plain-text files, located on each and every workstation as well as the application server, were prone to users or processes inadvertently deleting or compromising them. These configuration files could also have problems if they become out of synch with global INI file or other application settings.
The new Launch Pad feature is implemented through a central database called the AdvConfig database. It's a single, centrally located database (a master database) that provides a single, unified location for viewing and configuring all installed Advantage areas across multiple locations, such as multiple instances on a server. This database replaces the client- and server-side INI files and benefits from the configuration being located within a formalized database. This database allows for easy tailoring, updates, and configuration of all Advantage application areas and eliminates the need for client-site reinstalls due to those configuration changes. It also provides system administrators with a reliable method for centralizing administration, backup, and user settings.
This introduction of the AdvConfig database and Launch Pad user interface is a first step into a larger initiative preparing the application for future enhancements. It represents an advancement in technology and is part of the continual evolution of the software. For example, this approach will allow for a multi-server implementation of the software. In prior releases of Advantage, each client was tied at installation time to a particular Advantage server by way of shortcuts that pointed to program files on the given server. With the LaunchPad, the client-side shortcuts point to the locally installed LaunchPad program. In a future release that supports running Advantage on multiple servers (clustered), the LaunchPad will quickly interrogate the AdvConfig database for the available server with the lightest load and initiate a session with that server.
As with all production configurations, we needed to address availability and securityboth important concerns. There are two major components of this implementation that ACS will address the AdvConfig database itself and the web service that allows for the communication between Launch Pad and the Advantage applications. Availability of the AdvConfig database can be achieved through SQL clustering or through SQL replication of the database on another SQL server. If replicated on another SQL server, the web service connection string would be altered to designate that redundancy.
The web service is the second component. Redundancy here can be accomplished through the use of an NLB cluster where the second occurrence of the web service is installed on another server and both are used to access the AdvConfig database via a cluster configuration. The load on the server to support the AdvConfig web service is modest, so the nodes in the NLB cluster could safely be deployed as virtual machines. To maximize availability, the virtual machines should not reside on the same physical hardware.
In summary, here is what the Launch Pad can do for you:
· It consolidates all Advantage shortcuts into one application
· It eliminates the need to reinstall user shortcuts
· It replaces the Advantag.ini files
· It provides an applications that shows you all the available areas between test and production
Note: For a detailed description of the Advantage Configuration System, click here: http://support.advantagecs.com/tools/download.aspx?id=3932. You will need your Advantage log-in and password to access this document. If you don't know it, contact your system administrator or the Advantage Support Center.
Advantage gives you the ability to create "jobstreams" -- sequences of processes or reports that you run on a regular basis and in a specific order. To simplify scheduling of jobstreams, you can enter reschedule information when requesting your jobstream.
If the processes within your rescheduled jobstream use an accounting period set by environment variables, then you may run into issues with subsequent runs using an incorrect accounting period. You can find more information about this issue by reading Alert 261305 relating to rescheduled jobstreams.
You can review other alerts that affect your Advantage revision by logging into the ACS support website and using the Knowledge Base links at the left. Note that critical alerts are emailed directly to your inbox.
If you are not currently receiving email alerts, but would like to, simply send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org asking to be added as an Advantage System Administrator for your company. For more information about alerts, please contact Angie Markel.
Don't miss these FREE webinar presentations being put on by the Advantage Sales Team in July and August.
Corey Mantel will be doing a demo of recent updates to the Business Intelligence Module on July 29th. Then on August 4th, Mona Hidayet will be showing 2010R2 New Feature Highlights.
Scott Ghormley's history with Advantage starts before there even was an Advantage Computing Systems. In 1978, when he was 15 years old, he was hired by Infomatics--one of the precursor companies to ACS--to work in their computer room "flopping tapes and delivering output." He has come a long way since then. Scott returned to the company as an intern twice between his first stint and 1986 when he was hired as a full-time employee. That lasted until 1988. During his time away, Scott spent four years in the IT department at Domino's Pizza, and also worked as a consultant and network engineer at a variety of Detroit-area based companies (including Lotus Notes Development).
Scott returned to ACS in 1997, this time as a lead engineer in the group led by Karl Davis. He worked on a number of implementation projects for clients including Boy Scouts,SRDS, Farm Progress, Horizon Publishing, Ogden, Oakstone, Penton, American Medical Association, Bayard Presse, and ACP.
Peter Loftus of SRDS has this to say about working with Scott: "Although I have not had the pleasure of working with Scott for several years, he has always been there for SRDS in the past. His knowledge, patience, good humor, and excellent problem-solving skills have gotten us through quite a few situations. His attention to detail and keen understanding was a great assistance to me and ultimately benefitted our SRDS Clients."
Peter continues: "I would eagerly welcome the chance to work with Scott on any future initiatives. We share fond memories of Scott, from the time he got deathly ill from eating fish at a local hotel, to crazy whirly-ball matches, to him solving a label problem with my assistant, who was in labor with her first child and heading for the delivery room."
Several years ago, Scott moved to the Client Services Division at ACS, where his technical abilities and people skills are put to good use. There, he has served in project manager and account manager roles, working with clients such as Agora Publishing and Our Sunday Visitor. He enjoys working onsite with clients and problem-solving. Scott has also helped out in the sales area, performing software presentations and representing ACS at trade shows.
Scott's supervisor, Greg Stout, sings his praises: "Scott is one competent guy. The combination of his Advantage product knowledge, industry expertise, and communication skills make him the perfect fit for serving our clients. Scott takes personal responsibility for everything that comes his way and his level of commitment to the well-being of his clients is second to none."
Born in Tampa, Florida, Scott has lived the vast majority of his life in the Ann Arbor area. He decided to make a break from his hometown and went to college at Miami of Ohio. He finished up at Eastern Michigan University, however, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in operations research information systems (now called MIS).
Another link between Scott and ACS is the fact his father, Ron, was president of the company from 1980 to 1981.
Scott lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Tammy, a nurse practitioner, their four children, and Molly the dog. Mike, 19, just finished his freshman year at Carnegie Mellon, where he also plays football. Elena, 16, will be a junior in high school this next year and is a competitive diver. Peter, 9, is going into the 4th grade and Derek, 6, will be a first-grader in the fall. Kids activities keep Scott busy in his non-working hours. He coaches several of the teams the younger boys are in, which is not too much of a sacrifice, as Scott describes himself as a "sports junkie." University of Michigan football is his favorite, but he is interested in just about anything sports-related. Family vacations are usually spent camping and they enjoy visiting state parks throughout the Midwest. In his rare free time, Scott likes fly-fishing and doing projects such as building decks.
We are very happy to welcome Laurin Publishing to the family of Advantage publishers.
Laurin Publishing specializes in the photonics industry. Photonics is a term encompassing the fields of optics, lasers, imaging, fiber optics, electro-optics and photonics component manufacturing. Founded in 1954 by a retired Eastman Kodak physicist, the company was purchased by current president Tom Laurin's parents in 1967 and became Laurin Publishing.
Laurin Publishing has 80 employees and is headquartered in Pittsfield, Mass., with several editorial and sales branch offices. They publish 3 magazines (Photonics Spectra, BioPhotonics and EuroPhotonics), an annual directory (the Photonics Directory) and several e-newsletters.
We welcome Laurin Publishing as an Advantage client.
We are extremely pleased to welcome Value Line as a new Advantage client. Value Line is a New York corporation founded in 1931 by Arnold Bernhard. The company serves both individual and professional investors with investment research and data, and it is best known for publishing The Value Line Investment Survey, one of the most highly regarded and widely used independent investment newsletters. Its well-known Timeliness Ranking System ranks stocks on a scale of 1 to 5 for probable market performance over the next 6 to 12 months. The company also produces numerous specialized print and online investment publications and information services covering mutual funds, convertible securities, options, special situations and more.
We welcome Value Line to the family of Advantage publishers!