Data… data… data… no matter how much you have, it might not be presented exactly as you need. How can you present the necessary information from Advantage for your marketing team? How do you provide executive dashboard information from the Advantage database?
The new Advantage Business Intelligence module was developed as the answer to these questions. Sign up now for a FREE demo of BI later this month. Corey Mantel will be presenting a demonstration of the Business Intelligence module at no charge – first on November 11th and repeated November 19th.
Attention system administrators: do we have a webinar for you! On Nov 18th, Philippe Rowland will be giving a webinar on Advantage Config Management. This webinar will cover code rotation procedures, compiling from both the command line and GUI interfaces, the relationship between RPD's, capsules, includes, views and screens, what's in shared memory, and how to back out code that was compiled.
Although it's a rare occurrence, sometimes when you place an order, there will be a quantity in stock that is no longer there when the order finally posts via PRO205. In these cases, the shipped quantity on the order is set, but since the warehouse does not have enough stock to fulfill it, the PRO205 will not post the order. The PRO205.REPORT will give the error message "Not enough quantity available to fill this order." The steps below illustrate how to force these order lines into backorder.
Forcing an order line to backorder
- Route to MSTDAT/PRO.
- Search for the order.
- Use the CS function to change the order status from I to P.
- Highlight the line in error and use the CQ function to change the shipped qty to 0.
- Answer the popup box "
Do you want to backorder the remaining quantity?" as follows:
- If you wish to backorder the line, click YES
- If you wish to force the item into Lost Sales, click NO
- Use the CS function to change the order status back to I.
NOTE: Forcing a backorder is only to be done if the physical warehouse does not have stock on hand (in order for PRO205 to change the status to B and allow PRO360 to fill it when inventory is received in the warehouse). If the order did indeed ship from the physical warehouse and your quantities at INVDAT/WHS were just incorrect, you would need to do an Inventory Adjustment to correct the quantities to match what was in the physical warehouse and allow the order to post.
Here are some of the benefits you can experience by upgrading to new releases of Advantage regularly.
Regular upgrades bring new efficiencies to streamline workflow.
Some recent examples:
· New UI displays are more intuitive and easier to learn and train on.
· MSTDAT/FST and INVDAT/FST allow scripting to speed entry of new items and updates to existing items.
· The single Process Request Display is more intuitive and easier to use, allowing reports, processes, and jobstreams to be scheduled in one place at one time.
Revenue Opportunities Expanded
Regular upgrades provide enhancements to revenue generating modules.
Some recent examples:
· Enhanced package capabilities allow for components to combine digital, print, 1-off and time-based
· TEL module rewrite to Tele-Service – more focused call center customer service/ordering.
· AMB module to set up, maintain, and provide billing capabilities for content access.
Compliance with Industry Standards
Regular upgrades provide updates based on changes to industry standards.
Some recent examples:
· Credit Card compliance – masking and encryption
· Additional credit card interfaces – Direct Debit, updated payment processors, on-line versus batch mode.
· Item numbers expanded to 16 characters.
· Support of ONIX standard.
· Ringgold Institution ID's.
Integrations of new technologies
Regular upgrades bring integrations of new technologies in the Operating System, Database, and Web areas. ACS is always testing Advantage on new releases of Databases and Operating Systems.
Greater Options for Security
Regular upgrades bring enhanced user security and controls.
Some recent examples:
· Improved user and group security options.
· Optional login days and time by user.
ACS Training Opportunities
Regular upgrades mean end users will be using the revision of the software on which ACS conducts training classes. This increases the effectiveness of the training provided and allows more training opportunities: Webinars, User Group Meetings, Training Week, and on-site training.
Regular upgrades allow a publisher to be more agile. Having the latest revision of the software installed allows all new features to be implemented. As new opportunities surface, implementation times will be dramatically reduced with necessary feature sets already installed.
Contact your account manager or Paul DesRosiersif you are interested in planning your next upgrade.
MOTOR Information Systems is the world's premier supplier of automotive data. In business since 1903, MOTOR has compiled a vast knowledge base - most of which is categorized by year, make, model, engine, VIN and AAIA vehicle classification. The company provides millions of data points to its customers, which include software and/or interactive developers who need automotive data to drive their end user applications, business owners who need parts and labor data for accurate repair estimating and technicians who need the most current automotive reference materials to diagnose and repair any vehicle that comes into their shop.
It's no surprise that the methods of compiling and then distributing that data have changed drastically since the company's origins more than 100 years ago. What once involved laborious manual efforts and large amounts of printed and bound pages, is now updated continuously and distributed electronically in an instant.
MOTOR came to Advantage in 2001, looking for more extensive web capability, better analysis and reports and greater system integration. They went live on Advantage in 2002, and recently celebrated the successful launch of Crash Online—a database of information on specific car models, which is used by collision shops to estimate repair costs. Previously, the data had been provided via quarterly print directories, which were costly to print and mail. Housing it online is much more efficient, and that is just the sort of application for which the Access Management and Billing (AMB) module of Advantage was created.
MOTOR purchased the Advantage AMB module to handle the authentication of customers and manage billing and accounts receivable for its database customers. A large benefit of using AMB is its integration with the rest of the system. The previous method involved several disparate systems requiring manual updating.
Along with the CRASH database, MOTOR also converted many other print products to their e-Tech platform, including such things as wiring diagrams, heavy truck repair information and technical service bulletins.
"Since bringing Advantage on board, our operation has come a long way. Using Advantage has allowed MOTOR to integrate many parts of our business into a very interactive fulfillment system." says Todd Ladson, MOTOR's Director of Finance. "Our team and the ACS people work together extremely well and we are pleased with the partnership, especially the relationship we developed with our Account Manager, Ken Darnell."
Senior Account Manager Ken Darnell has worked with MOTOR since their original implementation. "The staff at MOTOR has made it a priority to get the best use they can out of every Advantage feature," says Ken. "Since their original implementation in 2001, they've added the Advertising Module in 2006, Royalty Module in 2008, and most recently, AMB in 2009. Each of these new modules went in smoothly and efficiently and filled a real need. It's been a pleasure working with Todd Ladson and his team. They learn the system well and become extremely knowledgeable users."
MOTOR's Troy, Michigan headquarters, in the automotive capital of the world, employs more than 100 people. MOTOR is owned by the Hearst Corporation.
The Boy Scouts of America will celebrate 100 years of Scouting in February 2010. This year has been a busy one for the Scouts as they have planned events all across the country to commemorate the upcoming milestone. They also recently went live on a new revision of Advantage, which involved a platform migration as well.
The upgrade project was an ambitious one, moving from Advantage 2003R1 to 2009R1 plus a migration from UNIX Oracle to Windows and SQL Server. It went smoothly and was heralded as a great success by both ACS and the Boy Scouts. The data port and upgrade scripts were completed in about 40 hours, which allowed the Boy Scouts to upgrade within a normal two-day weekend.
The benefits have been remarkable, including:
o Using multi-queues, their Cycle Ends went from 6 hours to 1 ½ hours.
o Much faster CIR210 postings
o Cycle Ends and Distribution went from 22 hours down to a total of 6
"The project was well organized and I was very impressed with how ACS handled the data migration from one database to another," said Judy Bramlett, Customer Relations Manager at the Boy Scouts. "The data migration and upgrade scripts were very efficient and allowed us to cutover with minimal down time."
Judy went on to describe her opinion of the new release: "I'm very impressed with the new revision of the software and from an end-user perspective, there are many benefits. These include:
o Better, more intuitive screens mean less end-user training. Our end-users love the new Process Request display and all the list views.
o Nightly posting runs much faster.
o Postings, and distribution processes all run much faster – allowing me to spend less time monitoring the running of processes and more time managing our business.
Paul DesRosiers, the Director of Upgrade Projects, says: "This project was a great example of ACS and BSA working together to plan a large scale project and deliver on every front. From planning to training, to setup, to execution, the project ran very well and achieved each and every objective. ACS invests hundreds of hours of development work into each revision of the software. This project immediately recognized the benefits of those efforts – from the new user interface, to the streamlined order entry, to the optimized posting and cycle end processes."
On the ACS side, many other people were involved. Mona Hidayet and Bob Thornton acted as account managers. Philippe Rowland was the project manager and Martha Krieg the lead engineer. Larry Kleber ran the upgrade scripts and Ray Zick worked on the data migration.
Congratulations, Boy Scouts, on a successful upgrade and Happy 100th Birthday!
ACS will be one of the exhibitors at Publishing Expo at Olympia 2 in London February 24th and 25th, 2010. Pub Expo is the key UK event dedicated to the publishing industry. It combines a showcase of suppliers demonstrating exciting new products with a free education program incorporating seminars, workshops and demonstrations, all offering the latest up-to-date information.
It attracts thousands of publishing professionals involved in producing magazines, newspapers, brochures, newsletters, directories and catalogs - covering print, digital, electronic and online. It offers the latest ideas, the contacts, the products, the services and solutions to enable publishing teams to compete effectively in their markets.
In 2010, Publishing Expo will again take place at Olympia February24th - 25th, and will feature more exhibitors, more seminars and workshops - and more visitors, all coming to do business at what is the UK's only dedicated exhibition for magazine publishing professionals.
If you attend Pub Expo, please stop in at the Advantage booth: Stand A30.
Advantage Users Group 2010
Please join us for the annual Advantage Users Group conference, which allows members the best opportunity for sharing ideas and networking with our peers from publishing companies around the globe.
This year's conference will focus on "Supporting the Marketer" and will feature topics that AUG members have identified as being of particular interest. We will once again welcome a guest speaker and vendor sponsors. See the enclosed agenda for all the details.
January 13 - 15, 2010
New Orleans, LA
See the attached PDF document for more information and registration form.
It's Access Management and Billing (AMB) month! We've packed October full of sessions geared to give you the latest information on the most popular module of late. Using the AMB functionality, Advantage manages orders and access for all types of digital media, from your online newsletter to content databases.
October 15th and 22nd, Corey Mantel and Phil Montgomery will be demonstrating the AMB module. These are FREE sessions… don't miss out!
Later this month, John Sheehy will be providing in-depth training; "Administering the AMB module" on October 27th and "AMB Data Entry and Customer Service" on October 29th.
The annual Advantage Training Week was held September 15-18, at the ACS office in Ann Arbor. Courses included key Advantage operations areas such as Maximizing Personnel Efficiency and Powerful Contact Management … as well as sessions on Marketing Analysis Reports and Financial Management within Advantage. In addition, a half-day User Forum addressed the concept of Product Families, Hierarchy, and Granularity. The User Forum topic was chosen in response to continued high interest among ACS clients in the Access Management and Billing and Business Intelligence Modules.
ACS remains committed to offering training sessions that address the topics that are of highest interest to our clients. While attendance this year was less than we hoped for, virtually all who were unable to attend cited as the primary reason their organization's travel restrictions due to current economic challenges. Hopefully, the economy will turn around soon and, once again, we will have Training Week with each class filled to capacity, exciting client networking and, of course, a return to Whirly Ball!
The forum produced a lot of thoughtful debate.
Discussion flourishes in the Product Families, Hierarchy, and Granularity forum.
Andy Wright is known for his sweet tooth, but this is ridiculous!
So, you ask: "What happened with all those great ideas generated at the Advertising Forum in May of 2008?" (Previously reported in the June 2008 eVantage) I'm glad you asked! Here is a summary by release.
- 2009r1 In this first release of the year, ADM's financial accounting feature was converted to use account mappings.
- 2009r2 This release provides a new ADMDAT workspace and simplifies the order database for reporting.
- 2009r3 ADM's Short-rate/Rebate feature is added to the ADMDAT workspace in this release.
Certainly the star of the show is the ADMDAT workspace, which replaces six screens that contained over 100 different functions one screen alone had 41 different functions. This "new-style" screen allows you to do all your Advertising work in one area. The A/R view from customer service (SVCDAT) was also included so that you can look up that information in the same workspace.
The Data Entry Script feature was incorporated so that you can control how you want to use the many data elements involved with an Advertising order. You can create as many scripts as you want each prompting for the data elements appropriate for the transactions you are working on. This is particularly helpful with the production data elements, which are numerous and used in different ways by each client.
Several new features were added along the way.
- Ad Rate As you enter an order, you can access the Ad Rates limited by what you know about the ad the customer wants to place enter ‘1/2' in the size field and then get a list of all the half-page ad rates, for example. Select one, and it pops in the applicable codes to identify that ad.
- Searches For Ad Orders and Ad Insertions a customer-search style search capability was added. Nine of the major look-up fields can be filled in and you get a list of transactions that satisfy your criteria. Click on one to "select" that advertiser/agency/contract.
- Tabbed views Like SVCDAT/PRO and SVCDAT/CIR, ADMDAT allows you to much more quickly access information about an Advertising order.
- Insertions Insertions are like order-lines for Product Order an advertising order can have multiple insertions. A new view was provided focusing on insertions. This view allows you to quickly get a list of the ads you want who is running covers for the rest of the year, for example. The list-frame approach allows you to quickly select those and paste them into a spreadsheet.
Many thanks to the clients that have been with us along the way. Your feedback on the design document, development schedule and WebEx views of ADMDAT as it began to take shape were invaluable. Special thanks to the folks at Kalmbach Publishing who are in the midst of an upgrade to 2009r2 as this is being written. The upgrade has been much more exciting for the Advertising team, to say the least.
Do you have Advertising transactions? Consider getting a demonstration of the new and improved Advertising module.
Oxford University Press (OUP), a department of the University of Oxford, is the world's largest and most international university press. Their mission is to fulfill the University's objective of excellence in education, scholarship, and research. They believe in bringing the highest quality educational resources to the widest possible audience.
Founded in 1478, OUP has become familiar to millions through a diverse publishing program that includes scholarly works in all academic disciplines, bibles, music, school and college textbooks, children's books, materials for teaching English as a foreign language, business books, dictionaries and reference books, and journals. Currently they publish more than 6,000 new publications a year.
OUP approached ACS in 2001 because they needed a more flexible and powerful journal subscription platform which would enable them to sell and market their products more effectively, and to take advantage of growing sales opportunities. The growth in online journals was leading to new ways of selling content. Consortia deals, involving multiple institutions negotiating for access to hundreds of titles, were being handled manually, since
OUP's current subscription platform couldn't handle the ever-changing sales models. After a thorough analysis and a design phase, OUP chose Advantage as their new journal subscription platform.
OUP now uses Advantage to manage other sources of revenue in addition to subscriptions. In the years since 2001, ACS has worked with OUP so that sales of advertising, consortia deals, miscellaneous invoicing, and reprints are now processed through Advantage. A project is currently underway to allow OUP to sell online books on Advantage as well as journals.
Dan Heffernan, then project manager for OUP's projects, says "OUP's discipline in carrying out projects is second to none. They control scope and risk and are completely committed from the top down to the success of every project they undertake. They are competent, calm and completely dedicated to success. On top of that, it is a pleasure to work with them."
Andy Wright, System Manager for Advantage at OUP: "Our business models are changing fast with the academic publishing sector moving ever more rapidly to online as their preferred method of communication, and the purchase and delivery of content. Having a system as flexible and versatile as Advantage means I can be confident in delivering system solutions that work in the time-frame asked of me. The people at ACS understand what we are wanting to do, often anticipate our needs before they become apparent to us, and respond quickly, adapting and developing the software as required."
Some people are natural problem solvers and Ray Zick is definitely one of them, although he prefers to call it solving puzzles. As the manager of the upgrades and IT department, he is exposed to plenty of puzzles that need to be solved. Ray can be counted on to do what needs to be done, whatever it may be, and he does so cheerfully and with an unflappable demeanor.
"I've known Ray for a long time," says Joe Wixted of Our Sunday Visitor. "He taught me how to program in RepDef in the early '90s. Ray's one of those guys that, if you ask him a question and he doesn't know the answer (which I've found to be a rare occasion!), he'll work tirelessly to get the answer. His "If you can repeat it, we can defeat it!" phrase is legendary!"
And, indeed, that phrase has proven to be true, as there has never been a bug that Ray couldn't figure out. "There's always something else to try" is another of his familiar sayings. And he doesn't give up.
Upgrades Project Director Paul DesRosiers frequently works with Ray on upgrades. "Ray is great about investigating client issues, even if they don't clearly fall into his realm of expertise," says Paul. "He either works the issue through to completion or points us to the person who can. This is true for support tasks, upgrade questions, and even Emergency Support calls in the middle of the night."
Paul continues: "I appreciate working with Ray because he always keeps a cool and level head. He clearly understands the technical issues as well as the business ramifications for the client."
"Ray is a great boss," says Linda Ridley. "He provides assistance when I need it, but doesn't micro-manage. Ray knows the software extremely well and can usually tell me which source file to look at when I need to figure something out. He's also available to help other people in the company. And he can do all of this with both eyes tied behind his back!" (Another famous Ray-phrase. He is well-known for his one-liners and groan-worthy puns.)
A native of Durand, Michigan, Ray is the 12th of 13 children, or the penultimate child, as he likes to say. (Ray tells his siblings that it's because their parents found that they stopped getting better with him.) Ray attended the University of Michigan, the 11th in his family to do so, and earned a BBA degree with a specialty in computers from there. Ray joined ACS in 1983, right after graduating from college. The last job he held while in college was as a bagel baker, where the ovens were set at 550 degrees. Ray proved then that he could stand the heat in the kitchen; perhaps good training for problem-solving.
Mike Gilbert of Crain Communications appreciates Ray's tenacity. "During/after our 2005 upgrade, we had some serious system performance issues due to the size of our database," says Mike. "Ray came on-site to visit with our users and take notes. Back at ACS, he stuck with the issue, and followed it through to its resolution."
And Nikki Lorenz of Kalmbach Publishing has this to say about him: "I've always enjoyed working with Ray. If an issue gets to his level, it's going to be very technical in nature yet Ray can always explain what's going on in a way that I can understand – and does so without making me feel ignorant! That's a greatly appreciated skill you don't often find in "techies". I've learned a lot from Ray over the years and it's always been obvious that he truly enjoys helping the client."
Originally hired as a configurations analyst, Ray quickly moved into the systems area as a programmer and he has been involved there in some capacity ever since. In addition to debugging and problem solving, he enjoys making things work better. He also has the goal of dealing with issues so that his boss, Dick Hile, VP of Product Engineering, doesn't have to.
"The great thing about Ray is that he knows something about everything and everything about some things that some others know nothing about," says Dick. "He got that way through equal parts natural ability and a good-natured willingness to dive in and help customers and co-workers who are in distress."
Ray lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Suzan, and their 3 children. Daughter Mary, 21, and son Tony, 20, are in college, while daughter Theresa, 15, attends high school in Ann Arbor. Ray has always spent most of his leisure time in kid-centered activities, although there are fewer of them as his children grow up. But as the designated tech support for his extended family, the manager of the family website and email list (with 65 members), plus the manager of the choir and band email lists, he is far from bored.
He also likes to bike, walk, read and sing in his local choir. He serves as a cantor in his church because, as he says: "I like to chant every chance I get." In any leftover time, he likes to "mess around with web stuff."
Ray received the Advantage Ace Achiever award earlier this year in recognition of his outstanding efforts in serving both clients and co-workers.
About 200 people gathered in Minneapolis in September for the first Niche Digital Conference. As one of the event sponsors, ACS attended the conference which was chock-full of the latest in the world of digital publishing. The conference offered tracks for CEO/Publishers, Advertising Directors/Sales and Content and Audience Development and covered topics such as "Turning Clicks to Cash," "How the Heck Do You Sell Digital?" and "Get Your SEO Groove On."
It's important to us as a vendor to support the industry and conferences like this one serve double duty because they help us to keep current with the changes and developments in the publishing world, which is another important goal. Meeting and talking with publishers helps us to decide what enhancements and new features to develop in upcoming releases.
If you couldn't attend, we hope to see you there next year!
There may be times when you have an item that cannot be purchased separately, but must be included with another item, for instance personalization services, shrink-wrapping, or logos. Advantage uses the related items feature to handle cases like this, and prohibits the entry of a related item. It must be added with another item.
Set-up of related item
Related items are set up at INVDAT like any other item. However, the related item check box must be checked. You must also set up a warehouse record for the item. Depending on the nature of the related item, it can either be stocked in inventory or set up as a non-stocked item.
Adding Related Item to Order
After adding the primary item to the order, you can right-click in the line section at MSTFST to add the related item.
Selecting Add Related Order Line… will bring up a dialog box to enter the related item and optionally override the descriptions. Using the drop-down on the Related Item Number field will show only items at INVDAT that have the related item box checked.
The related item will be related to the order line that was entered before it. If you later delete that line from the order, it will automatically delete the related order line.
Fall is here in Michigan. The carefree lazy days of summer have faded away. For some of us, it's time to adjust to new schedules, figure out how to juggle kids' school, and make that difficult transition to a season of much shorter and colder days. For me, the fun part about fall is shopping for new clothes. Of course, before I cram my closets with new outfits, I need to get rid of the old stuff. A clean closet holding only the essentials keeps me organized and moving efficiently every morning – important when you have two kids who ask for more sugar on top of their Count Chocula! I've found that those same principles of cutting clutter in order to operate more efficiently at home also apply to Advantage. And, it's with that thought that I hope to inspire you to also tune-up your Advantage system by removing all the extraneous data that you no longer need.
Over time, your Advantage system can get disorderly with all sorts of files and extra data that can slow down operations and make it difficult to locate important files. If you haven't purged any of your data since the original implementation project, perhaps it's time to think about removing data that no longer has any value.
Improving Performance Let's look at some of the main reasons for purging data:
- Faster Advantage processing time
- Decreased backups and restore periods
- Reduced disk space
- Speedier Advantage lookups
After removing your old data, you'll notice that Advantage processes run faster, because there are fewer records to process. Smaller datasets also yields quicker lookups in Advantage views and workspaces. Additionally, a smaller database can help reduce the necessary backup time and conserve valuable disk space.
If you are interested in realizing these benefits, there are 3 key steps you should follow for getting your Advantage system in order:
- Ensure system options are set to retain the appropriate amounts of data
- Run an initial set of Advantage purge processes
- Establish an ongoing purge schedule
Setting System Options The first step is also one of the simplest tasks in cleaning up your Advantage area. Here are some system options that you can use to limit the amount of transactional data, user reports, logs, and other temporary files that you may no longer need.
*To view images in a larger format, right click and select 'view image.'
Running an Initial Purge Once your files are organized, you're ready to perform an initial purge of old Advantage data using standard purge processes. There are numerous purge programs available across several modules. And, each purge process produces a sequential file of the records removed from the database; very helpful should it ever be necessary to load this data back into Advantage for viewing, analysis, or reporting. Note that these sequential files are immediately removed from the production server and transferred to offline storage.
The purges are split out by module. The principle areas where significant disk space and performance improvements can be achieved are described in the table below.
There are also numerous purge programs that are available in other modules, such as Campaign, Royalty, and Book Club. Review Appendix B, the online help, or your associated module user guides for more information about these processes.
Implementing Ongoing Purges Many improvements result from the initial purge. However, without an ongoing program, the database will eventually grow to its previous size and possibly even larger (see Figure 1 below). Rather than performing a huge purge every so many years requiring careful planning and coordination, you might consider establishing an ongoing program where data is removed more frequently in smaller increments.
Figure 1: An ongoing purge can help ensure that the database does not grow back to its original size or larger.
The ongoing purge program is usually developed after the initial purge is completed, because the organization develops a better understanding of how long processes take to run, how much disk space is saved, and how lookups are improved. This enables your organization to easily determine a suitable purge plan and frequency. I provided some general recommendations and an outline in Appendix C that you might find helpful toward establishing your own ongoing purge program.
Getting Your Purge Underway Advantage provides comprehensive and automated data management tools that help you limit the size of your database and the number of files, reports, and logs that are maintained. There have also been several recent enhancements made to Advantage purge processes that enable you to run purges during operational hours and also in smaller increments that can be customized through select sets.
With the start of a new season, I encourage you to look at your Advantage areas to determine whether some additional cleanup could be helpful. Be sure to run purges in a test area if you're inexperienced with these programs or it's been a long time since a purge process has been run. Your ACS representative can assist you with planning an initial purge, establishing an ongoing purge program, or better understanding how a purge could optimize your Advantage system.
Appendix A – OPR/ARCHV system options used by CDSCLN
Appendix B - Advantage Purge Processes
*Remember to always verify a purge process in a test environment before running in Production
*Note that customers can only be removed if there is no activity for them in other modules. Therefore, start with purging those modules first. CDS819 creates a customer purge work file (CDSCPG-R) that CDS820 uses.
Appendix C - Ongoing Purge Process Schedule
*Remember to always verify a purge process in a test environment before running in Production
*To view images in a larger format, right click and select 'view image.'
With the 2008R1 release (and later), you can set up an item to be valid for only those promotions under which it has been specifically defined as a promotion item at CPNPMO/ITM.
When this setting is used, the item cannot be added under a different promotion, even when the promotion is set up to allow additional items. This would allow you, for example, to protect an item from being sold under the wrong promotion---one intended for another owning organization, for example.
Defining the item at INVDAT
Order Entry The order entry edit that prohibits addition of promotion-exclusive items to "non-participating" promotions is in place at the following places:
- Order entry views (e.g., MSTDAT/FST, /CIR)
- Uploads (e.g., CIR125, PRO301)
- Web orders
If you try to add a "promotion exclusive" item to an order under a promotion that it is not defined on, you will receive a message alerting you that the item is exclusive to specific promotion codes, and cannot be ordered under that promotion.
Paul DesRosiers is a man of many talents and he has put them to good use in his 12 years at ACS. After earning a degree in computer engineering, his first job was as a programmer for a company that developed accounting software. During his time there, he enrolled in night school at Eastern Michigan University, where he earned an MBA with a concentration in Strategic Quality Management. Paul still retains his membership in the American Society for Quality.
Although he enjoyed programming, Paul wanted to use his business skills as well. He joined ACS in 1997 as an analyst in the implementation area, and began learning Advantage and the project methodology. Paul has great memories of working with Caryn Bair on his first implementation, at what was then called Intertec.
Caryn remembers that time also: "We tortured Paul so thoroughly, that I am surprised he is still with Advantage, let alone that he still speaks to us. He was brand new and assigned to our first implementation. He took the heat from both sides, yet managed to present a positive attitude to his customer every time. But with the trial by fire beginning, we do take credit for how thoroughly he learned the product and the project needs of clients! He put tremendous effort into keeping us satisfied and moving forward. I always ask if Paul can be on my projects because of the confidence I have in him."
During the 1999 Y2K compliance push, many clients scheduled upgrades and Paul was asked to help with resource planning and scheduling in that area. He has worked in the upgrade realm ever since and today, as a Project Director, is the acknowledged Upgrade Guru. Under his leadership, the section has grown from an average of five upgrade projects a year to 20 or more. Since taking over responsibility for the area, more than 100 upgrade projects have been completed.
Steve Miller, of Wolters Kluwer Health, has high regard for Paul: "I've had the pleasure of working with Paul on several upgrade projects here at WKH over the years, and I can say that each of those projects was very successful because of Paul's project management skills, communication abilities and attention to detail at every level. I look forward to working with Paul again on our next upgrade or whatever project Paul may be leading."
Paul earned his Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute and called upon this training to help him implement a methodology for Advantage upgrade projects. Since earning his certification, Paul has helped to develop training materials for other candidates looking to earn their PMP. Helping to create the foundation, plus metrics and standards, was an enjoyable exercise for Paul, as he relishes challenges which enable him to learn new things.
Evelyn Acton worked with Paul at their previous workplace as well as here at ACS. She has this to say about him: "As a programmer, Paul was always top notch. He was VERY dedicated to figuring out solutions and serving the clients well……..that's a quality that has stayed with him throughout the years. I truly enjoy working with Paul. He has an open-door policy and is always willing to help on tasks or let you bounce ideas off of him."
Greg Stout, Paul's supervisor, describes him this way: "In essence, Paul is a guy who gets things done. He is always on top of his various projects and responsibilities, and gets the work done while continually looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction and operating procedures. He is great at working with all kinds of people and offering solutions that work for everyone. When a new initiative presents itself at ACS, I can always depend on Paul to take on the challenge and be an enthusiastic member of the team. And he appears to do all this with the easy stride of an accomplished long distance runner (which he is)."
Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of his job, Paul says, is that he gets to interact with so many clients and departments at ACS. Upgrades have an impact on--and are important to--nearly every area of the company. Paul works with the support center staff, the account managers, the QA folks, the engineers and the documentation team, all of whom are involved in an upgrade project in its various stages.
Larry Kleber works with Paul on the "nuts and bolts" of most upgrades. "Paul always knows what's going on in all the projects in his area, but never micro-manages. If you can't get a hold of the project manager, chances are that a quick call to Paul will get you the answer you need," says Larry. He goes on to say: "Paul is constantly asking the question ‘How could we do this better?' Even if the process is working well, he is constantly looking for ways to optimize and streamline the process."
Paul and his wife, Lisa—his high school sweetheart—live in Dexter with their three children: Cadey, 12, Blake, 10, and Tommy, 5. Paul and Lisa enjoy camping with the kids and are both Sunday school teachers at their church. Paul's hobbies also include biking, hitting garage sales, exercise and running. He likes both trail and road running, and ran in 12 races in 2008, ranging from 5K's to half-marathons. Paul has brought this outside interest in to the workplace, as he was responsible for arranging a professional trainer to come to ACS twice weekly and lead core exercise classes for ACS staff.
Whatever he does, Paul goes at it with enthusiasm and determination, and you can count on him to keep at it until he achieves his goal. Your upgrade is safe in his hands.
Both September webinars are multi-session. Each webinar will consist of two different sessions, with an exercise or quiz to be completed after the first session in preparation for the second.
Reserve your spot at the webinar registration page.
September 21st and 23rd Setting Up Customer Service Responses (via email and mail merge) Instructor: Mike McCarren This was a popular topic last year. Don't miss out! September 30th and October 2nd In-depth Process Log Review Instructor: Daryl Vautour He'll also cover some techniques used to better review and handle nightly processing.
All of us here at ACS are looking forward to seeing those of you that are planning to attend this year's Training Week. In addition to the useful information in all the class sessions, the networking with other Advantage users and ACS staff is always valuable to attendees.
Tuesday, September 15
- Maximizing Personnel Efficiency: Optimizing Data Entry and Customer Service Instructor: Mona Hidayet
- User Forum: Product Families, Hierarchy, and Granularity Instructor: Dan Heffernan
Wednesday, September 16
- Marketing Analysis Reports and Business Intelligence in Advantage Instructors: Dick Hile and Corey Mantel
Thursday-Friday, September 17-18
- Advantage Financial Management: Reconciliation, Auditing, and Reporting Instructors: Bob Thornton and Corey Mantel
Friday, September 18
- Enhancing the Customer Service Experience: Powerful Contact Management Instructors: Angie Markel and Doug Moore
For more information about 2009 Training Week, contact Ken Nemerovski at (734) 327-2345 or NEMOatAdvantageCS.com.
ACS is thrilled to announce that Egmont Magasiner of Denmark is the newest addition to the Advantage client list. Located in Hellerup, a suburb of Copenhagen, Egmont Magasiner publishes 17 consumer magazines in the areas of house and home, car and boat, parenting, computing, sports, leisure, travel and hobby, plus general men's and women's titles. Egmont Magasiner is one of about 20 companies in Europe which are part of the Egmont Foundation.
Egmont Magasiner chose Advantage after a thorough search and evaluation process lasting almost two years. The implementation project is underway with go-live planned for mid 2010.
Welcome, Egmont Magasiner, to the Advantage family!
The next release of Advantage--available in the second half of Octoberis jam-packed with new features and functionality. Here are just some of the new things contained in the release.
- Customer Hierarchy: The Customer Relationships feature has been expanded to offer a more robust use of relationships---the Customer Hierarchy, which makes use of the concept of relationship trees. Previously, customer relationships were usually reciprocal (employer/employee), or nested in a two-deep hierarchy (such as with the Master Customer Relationships feature). Now, relationship trees allow you to set up structures with multiple, theoretically unlimited, nesting levels (for example, employees within branch office within company within parent company). In addition, you can view the aggregate purchase history, activity summary, subscription summary, and notes for a single relationship tree in one display.
- Customer Relationships in a Household: The Customer Relationships feature has also been expanded to allow the setup of Household Relationships. This is similar to the Location customer feature, but is geared more toward private households. When two or more customers are joined in a household, the system can auto-create a separate customer record to represent the household, and order entry edits can be applied to require the system to use this household record. You could use the latter feature to ensure, for example, that a single address receives only one subscription, regardless of the number of separate customers living there.
- AMB included in SVCDAT List and Directory Views: The List and Directory views at SVCDAT now support the display of all the AMB access points on which the selected customer is a participant. This is similar to the current list of the customer's publications at SVCDAT. As with the latter, the system capitalizes the access point name if it is on an active agreement, and uses lower case if the agreement is inactive.
- Specific Payment Types in Promotions: Previously in Advantage, you could set up promotions to accept only specified payment codes for credit cards. For example, you could create a promotion that would accept Visa, but not AMEX. With this release, the following full validation setup is offered for promotions: you can specify the payment types accepted for each promotion (for example, you could define a promotion that accepts direct debit, but not credit cards); and within each valid payment type, you can specify the payment codes accepted (for example, could define a promotion that accepts checks and cash, but not wire transfer payments).
- Auto Control Groups: You can now configure the system to automatically create, open, balance, and close control groups for customer reps, without the reps needing to route to MSTDAT views that manage these control group features. Thus, you can move the required flow of control group handling into a background, invisible series of tasks as far as the rep is concerned.
For more information, contact your Account Manager.
We are pleased to announce the latest Advantage module: Business Intelligence. You've told us that people in your organization need to be able to get at the vast amount of data in Advantage; that they want meaningful reports, easily accessed and not requiring detailed technical knowledge or deep familiarity with Advantage. We listened and the BI module is our response. BI offers you 3 main benefits:
- Meaningful Reports Rather than selecting reports and then running them, you simply go to a website to access reports which will include graphs, pivot tables you can modify and standard "canned" reports. You can configure your home page to display specific reports of your choice at the time interval of your choice. Reports include the analysis types you need—snapshot, historical and comparison; the subjects relevant to your business—marketing, financial and operational; and are geared for each user type you have—key performance indicators for strategic decision makers, summarized data for tactical decision makers, and access to detail for front-line decision makers.
- Organized & Accessible Data Your data is already organized for you for easy analysis, stored in a separate data mart. The data is structured around the measures and dimensions you need and summarized data is efficiently presented. There's no need for users to know field names or codes. You can access reports on demand via a SharePoint website, or they can be delivered via email. Reports are also interactive so that users can explore combinations of dimensions, drill down to deep detail or jump to related reports.
- Industry-Standard Solid Foundation The module uses advanced tools with broad acceptance. These include Microsoft SQL Server, Integration Services, Analysis Services and Reporting Services, plus Excel. These tools have been used to provide a suite of core reports with customization options involving web layout, custom data elements and new report development.
The BI module is in beta testing at both Kalmbach and Oakstone.
Philippe van Mastrigt has been appointed the ACS Director for European Operations. In this role, Philippe provides a permanent ACS presence in Europe and the UK, working closely with current and prospective Advantage clients. Philippe's move to ACS was made possible through his work with Bayard Presse, ACS' first major client in France. Philippe led a successful implementation of Advantage in 2007, and he now continues to provide services for this major French publisher as an ACS consultant.
"Philippe provides for ACS a new level of competency in serving our clients in the publishing marketplace in Europe," explains Tom Burbeck, ACS Executive Vice President. "His 11 years' experience at one of the top five publishers in France, combined with his competency in publishing fulfillment, marketing, and project management, and his many contacts in the publishing industry, make Philippe the perfect ACS executive for ACS/Europe. With Philippe's lead, ACS will carry on the mission already well underway to bring the Advantage software to a European marketplace hungry for 21st century technology leveraged to address the radical new demands faced by the publishing world."
Philippe's responsibilities will include supporting ACS marketing and sales, serving as project director for implementation projects and building partnerships. He will offer ACS teams from Ann Arbor a local presence to support business activity and will work closely with them. His appointment demonstrates the company's commitment to further develop its presence in Europe, and allows it to offer existing—and future—UK and French clients enhanced support, as well as to strengthen the European focus in product and business orientations.
"Building ACS's structure for Europe is an exciting challenge after my 15+ years in the fulfillment business and in the publishing world," says Philippe. "The quality of the software and the caliber of ACS staff give me confidence to take this new step. European publishers need innovation and professional expertise to face the large challenge of reworking their business model around brand extension, digital content and multi-channel marketing. I'm happy to represent an American company with strong business values; one that will provide viable solutions in an area of great importance to the European economy. I consider my task as creating a link between the two market places; helping ACS expand internationally, and bringing innovation from the European marketplace to benefit ACS clients in the United States and Australia."
Prior to 2008, Philippe served as the Director for Projects and Client Marketing at Bayard Presse. Philippe's many responsibilities over the past 10 years at Bayard Presse included project management for major corporate initiatives, direct marketing, data mining, customer relationship management, database marketing, business reporting and analytics, and controller functions. Philippe started his career at France's leading cosmetic mail order company Yves Rocher. He is a 1994 graduate of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (H.E.C.), Paris. Philippe speaks French, English, and Dutch.
Philippe, his wife, Simone, and their two daughters reside in Paris. In his leisure hours, Philippe enjoys history books and films and genealogical research and writing about his family roots. The van Mastrigt family enjoys regular visits to Corsica to relax with their extended family and leave behind the hectic Parisian life.
On July 7, 2009, an historic meeting took place in London. The ACS clients in the European region came together to meet one another, talk about their participation in the Advantage Users Group, view presentations on product direction at ACS, hear about some of our latest features and spend plenty of time networking. Five clients were represented at this first meeting, with a total of 20 attendees.
The day began with an introduction and news update from me (VP and Chief Product Manager at ACS), followed by a presentation about AUG from Andy Wright, Advantage Administrator at Oxford University Press.
Andy's presentation was the catalyst for a lively discussion about meeting together regularly in the EU region as well as participating in the AUG meetings each year in the US. Many of the ACS clients at this meeting share similar challenges, and plans were made to address these via future meetings. The EU ACS clients are a diverse group of publishers, from consumer to special interest to academic/scholarly. Nevertheless, they found many things in common, such as what resources and skills are needed to effectively manage the system.
It was an excellent morning, followed by a networking lunch and then the software direction presentation which I had given at the AUG meeting in January. This was followed by a presentation of new features by Philippe van Mastrigt, Director of European Operations for ACS.
Andy—who is the current chairman of the AUG Steering Committee-- had this to say about the day: "I'm very encouraged by both the turnout and the positive attitude of those who gave up their time to attend. I believe we have the beginnings of a group who are prepared to make the effort to share their knowledge to help each other in their day-to-day work. There are areas of specific interest to European businesses and we now have a group that can jointly work on these with ACS."
All in all, the feedback we received was that the day was a tremendous success and well worth the trip for those able to attend. We will keep you posted on further developments for meetings of this group.
|Chris Elson and Ben Cartwright of Saga Magazine|
|Sam Hinkley, Claire Kearney & Megan Ruddock of Oxford University Press|
|Kirsten Woolley & Denise Feeley of Maney Publishing, Andy Wright of Oxford University Press, Tom Burbeck of ACS|
|Andy Wright discusses future meetings of the EU User Group|
|Emmanuel Chevalier & Jean-Philippe Martin of Bayard Presse listen to Sam Hinkley of Oxford University Press|
|Dan Heffernan talks about what's new at ACS|
|Iain Cunningham, Jeff Sturgess & Sebastien Fournier from Agora|
|Tony Stephenson & Cat Barker from Traplet|
|Philippe van Mastrigt presents new Advantage features|
Bayard's Product Order (PRO) activity--called VPC (Vente par Correspondance) in French--went live on Advantage in early January 2009. Establishing a multi-product, multi-channel approach around its customers was a key component of Bayard's decision to move the VPC business onto Advantage. Bayard chose Advantage initially in large part because of the multi-product capabilities and with PRO running on Advantage, they are able to perform total e-commerce integration.
Bayard's implementation strategy called for moving the product order business onto Advantage in a second phase, after the initial implementation of subscriptions was successfully completed in July 2007. This strategy enabled Bayard to gain significant expertise with the Advantage Inventory and Product Order modules through its sophisticated handling and fulfillment of premiums linked to subscriptions. Thus, when the VPC project started, Bayard staff already had considerable training and expertise with the inventory and product order handling in Advantage. This allowed Bayard to rapidly move the 150k+ annual VPC orders onto Advantage.
Prior to running VPC on Advantage, Bayard's product order activity was fully outsourced and separated from its subscription business. Now, with both subscriptions and VPC running on Advantage, opportunities for integrated customer service and marketing have been greatly increased. Bayard has since gone live on the 2009r1 revision and is looking forward to completing their web integration project, planned for go live soon.
The VPC project was run by a core team around Emmanuel Chevalier, including Alexis Berniot (administration), Naura Talbi (set up), Catherine Galland and Virginie Motte (fulfillment), Astrid Neujahr (customer service) and Alain Dubois (distribution). It was supported by Philippe van Mastrigt and Timothy Zapawa at ACS.
At SVCDAT/ARP, the customer service A/R view in Advantage, you can quickly add a payment to an invoice on a customer's account using the Add Payment button or right-click action. Unless you have received Alert 254096, however, adding payment to a partially paid order may create a payment for the full order amount instead of the remaining amount due.
If this alert applies to your revision of Advantage, you may read about it here.
If you are within the affected revisions for this alert, please contact the Support Center or your ACS representative. We can quickly adjust the Add Payment action so that it performs correctly for partially paid invoices. In the meantime, please note the workaround of using ARPCSH instead to enter payment for a partially paid invoice.
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 the Support Center 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.
ACS is pleased to welcome Derek Johnson as a new employee. Derek is joining the eCommerce and Enterprise Integration team headed by Matt Varblow, and comes to ACS with experience in software development in a .NET environment.
Derek attended Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, which is about as far north as you can go without falling into Lake Superior. (The college is 570 miles from Detroit, for example.)
Derek studied electrical engineering and after graduation, accepted a job in Ann Arbor for a defense contractor firm where he worked on inertial navigation systems. He moved from there to an automotive supplier, where he wrote control software for large machines that tested engines and transmissions. Before coming to ACS, his previous position was at a company that developed consulting-ware for companies that did not have an IT department of their own. Derek was responsible for both writing software and maintaining it. He describes this previous experience as "two years of hard-core .NET boot-camp."
A native of Dexter, Michigan, Derek married his high school sweetheart, Eva. She also attended Michigan Tech, but after marriage and graduation, they went back to their hometown area. Derek and Eva have two sons, Collin, 5, and Josh, 3, and they currently live in Ypsilanti. Derek greatly enjoys spending time with his family and their friends, and his hobbies include gardening and home-brewing his own beer.
Welcome, Derek, to the ACS family!
Postscript to story:
Several ACS employees knew Derek from high school and decided to make his first day memorable. They dug through the ACS archives and the business equivalent of an attic and managed to furnish Derek's work area as it might have been a number of years ago. On his desk was a word processing machine circa mid-1980's, a bottle of Wite-Out, a phone modem, and a"Cobol for Dummies" book. Windows 95--and older--manuals populated his bookshelf, along with several magnetic tapes, floppy disks and even some reports printed on green-bar paper. All it needed was Madonna playing on the radio for you to think you had stepped back in time.
ACS is offering two multi-session webinars in late September. Each webinar will consist of two different sessions, with an exercise or quiz to be completed after the first session in preparation for the second.
On September 21st and 23rd, Mike McCarren will provide information about setting up and maintaining Customer Service responses; both via E-mail and Mail Merge. This was a popular topic last year. Don't miss out!
On the heels of this training session, Daryl Vautour will provide some in-depth training on reviewing process logs (proclogs). He'll also cover some techniques used to better review and handle nightly processing. These sessions will be presented on September 30th and October 2nd. Reserve your spot at the webinar registration page.
The 2009 Advantage Training Week will take place in Ann Arbor September 15-18. We have an outstanding program of popular training courses led by experienced ACS trainers. The courses offered are in response to surveys taken a few months ago from you … the Advantage user community. To encourage participation even further, we have reduced the course fees from last year and have increased the discount for those registering for three full class days.
The due date for Training Week registrations is August 17. After reviewing the brochure, feel free to contact your Account Manager or me if you have any questions. I look forward to receiving your registration and seeing you in September.
The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF), organized in 1972, is the independent, private-sector organization with responsibility for the oversight, administration, and finances of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). The FASB was established by the FAF in 1973, and has been delegated the authority to establish standards of financial accounting and reporting for private-sector entities, including business and not-for-profit organizations. The GASB, organized by the FAF in 1984, has been delegated the authority to establish standards of financial accounting and reporting for state and local governmental entities. The pronouncements of both the FASB and GASB are recognized as generally accepted and authoritative.
Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, FAF provides online, CD-ROM, print, and subscription services comprising the accounting standards promulgated by the FASB and GASB. A major restructuring of the FASB pronouncements into a topically organized structure required the development of an online research system, the FASB Accounting Standards Codification. In support of this change, along with a redesign of their web store, they implemented the AMB and WEB modules, which went into live production on July 1st.
Eric Burbeck served as the ACS project manager for this endeavor.