The Importance of Data Security
In late summer of this year, news broke that Equifax had been the victim of a massive data breach, likely one of the largest thefts of consumer data ever---see article here. As one of three primary agencies charged with tracking consumer credit in the US, Equifax fully understood the consequences of what it means for a consumer to have sensitive financial data stolen. While it appears that a sophisticated hack was involved, the case highlights the importance of data security and the risk that a company takes on in handling sensitive data.
The theft of one’s Social Security number, credit card data, or other personal data can cause many problems in today’s world. It also costs businesses billions of dollars (maybe it’s trillions of dollars by now) a …
On the heels of the Advantage integration with Salesforce.com comes the Advantage integration with Microsoft Dynamics. Dynamics is a line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software applications which can be cloud-based or onsite. Our integration is for the CRM application, as many of our clients use it for their customer and prospect relationship management.
The integration to Advantage provides a host of additional tools, including the capability of handling subscription-based products, membership, one-off products, and conferences and events. Advantage allows the different departments inside the organization to efficiently manage any or all of these actions.
While orders can be sent from Dynamics to Advantage, at this …
Take advantage of this special offer now before it ends
Were you at one of the Advantage User Group meetings earlier this year in San Antonio or Brussels? If so, you remember that Dan Heffernan (our Vice President and Chief Product Manager) announced a special promotion on the Advantage eCommerce platform, Cider. But if you missed it, this offer is still good and here it is:
FREE Cider license for clients with a license to the Web module who begin an implementation of our eCommerce platform (Cider) by December 31, 2017. (Clients who begin Cider implementations after December 31, 2017, will need to purchase a Cider module license.)
Plus, for Cider implementations that begin by December 31, 2017, AdvantageCS will provide 60 FREE hours for theming, branding, customizing, or training, …
Starting with release 17.5 of Advantage, you can work with customers in an Accounts and Contacts mode (which parallels how Salesforce.com structures customers). You can move your customer maintenance view into this mode, search for Account customers and then view the contacts at an Account, displayed in a lower pane.
This replaces---and substantially improves---the Location Customer feature. In that feature, Advantage automatically created a “location” customer, where now it creates an “Account” customer. A “location” customer was identified by a special address code; now an Account customer is identified by the customer Account? field set to Y.
The Consolidated Overview by Location customer (which was difficult to access and did not include Access Management & Billing agreements) …
What’s the state of your email junk folder? Mine is pretty active with various promotions for IT related products and services. Occasionally, I’ve given out my contact information in order to download a white paper or view a demonstration, and although I haven’t been asked if it was okay to forward my email address to other parties for their use, that certainly happened.
Such permissions---and lack of them---are addressed by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR goes into effect in May 2018, and if you have any European customers, it does involve your operation.
One of GDPR’s main principles is that even though you maintain personal information for your customers, they retain ownership of it. Since the data isn’t yours, you can only use it for purposes the …
A new feature, promotion bundles, is available at 2017.5 and allows you to sell a group of items together under a promotion without setting up a package for them. The feature works with the combination of a promotion and promotion choices. When an item that is part of the bundle is ordered under the promotion and non-blank choice, all items on the promotion with the same choice value are automatically added to the order. Likewise, deleting one item from the order also deletes the other items with the same promotion choice.
To enable this feature, at the offer level in the setup dialog of the Promotion Items tab, set the Promotion Item Handling control to “Promotion Bundle.” This will then activate the feature across all items of the promotion. Turning this feature on will disallow …
When was the last time you purchased something on a website that didn’t offer PayPal as a checkout payment option? OK, not every website does, but that number gets fewer every day. Customers love the convenience of storing their payment details in one centralized place, along with the “non-proliferation of information” security that this affords.
Did you know that you can set up your Advantage-driven website to offer the PayPal payment option? Both the Advantage application and the Cider platform support the display, use, and storage of the elements of a PayPal transaction.
Here’s how it works.
In Advantage, a “Digital Wallet” payment type represents these various online payment options. PayPal is the first provider added under the Digital Wallet umbrella, and we will be adding …
I often get questions from prospects or clients---especially daily or weekly publishers---about how a paywall could be managed in Advantage. These questions are more complicated than they may first appear, since Advantage is a customer-centric platform used mainly to manage paid subscriptions. I recently met with a French startup company – Poool – which has developed a structured design, and a potential paywall solution for publishers using Advantage.
The rise of paywalls
A "paywall" is the term used for policies restricting access to content---partially or fully---by requiring a paid subscription at some point. It has been around since the early days of publisher websites, with the first paywall introduced in 1997 by the Wall Street Journal. The practice has expanded since then, …
At any given time, we at AdvantageCS are working on at least one, usually more, large development projects, be it in collaboration with clients or as AdvantageCS-funded research and development. Recent examples include our eCommerce platform Cider, a Single Sign-On solution and Members Advantage, our membership project. From a QA standpoint, the challenge is to ensure that hundreds or even thousands of hours of development work get tested and that the resulting product is robust and easy to use.
The role of testing in Agile methodologies
Our software development projects are organized in an agile framework called Scrum. Unlike "waterfall" projects, agile projects don't have successive analysis, design, development, testing and rollout phases. These activities are executed …
All of the data that you are used to seeing in Advantage is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server database. If you are involved in creating or modifying Advantage reports, then familiarity with Transact-SQL (or T-SQL for short) can help you. T-SQL is the language you use to query a SQL database and is used by most common reporting tools (Excel, Crystal, SSRS, etc.). The better you know T-SQL, the quicker and better you can respond to reporting requests from your customers.
I've found these three things to be most helpful in expanding my T-SQL knowledge and expertise.
working on my MCSA certification
reading SQL blogs regularly, such as these: http://www.cathrinewilhelmsen.net/ , https://spaghettidba.com/
Attending a user group meeting
For Advantage users involved with …