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    Should You Centralize or Distribute Operations?

    Here's a Third Alternative to Consider

    Guest post by Daryl Berver, COO of Agora Inc.

     

    Throughout my career heading operations for Agora, I’ve always struggled with the question of centralized versus decentralized applications, and never more-so than in the past year. Which is preferable? More efficient? Traditional knowledge says you centralize for efficiency and decentralize for innovation.

    Makes sense.

    Centralized applications are cheaper for the business if you have different operational units in the company. Most publishing companies are smaller groups within a larger business, and this type of application structure is rather common. Looking at things from a high level economic view, it’s easy to see why. Centralization reduces needless redundancies between applications, saving …



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    EAUG to Meet in Copenhagen April 13-14

    The annual get-together of the European Advantage User Group is slated for April 13-14 at the headquarters of Aller Media in Copenhagen. Kicking off on Wednesday afternoon, the first day will include a presentation of Advantage News and Strategic Direction and a demo of the new Contact Center functionality. In between, attendees will be taken on a tour of the magnificent Aller building, which is something not to be missed.

    Thursday’s topics include concurrent workshops on Automated Testing and Marketing in the morning, followed by a Technology Update. Rounding out the conference will be updates on other major Advantage development initiatives such as Project Central, Cider Phase II, and Membership.

    As always, there will be many opportunities for participants to network with other …



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    The Best of “Both-and” Worlds

    How the AdvantageCS Development Team Optimizes Contrasting Styles

    I am, by temperament, indecisive.  Wishy-washy. Equivocating. I embrace both-and-ism rather than either-or-ism. It gets me in trouble at times. 

    My wife is similarly afflicted. She and I joke that our family motto is, “Indecision: the key to flexibility.” It’s impossible to plan vacations.  “Scotland would be fun,” but so would Tuscany. Or France. Or Spain. We end up enjoying the tried and true cottage-on-a-lake-with-friends we have been visiting for 30 years.

    At times, though, both-and-ism is exactly what is called for.  Here are three examples from my role leading on the software development teams.

    Openers AND Closers

    Some software developers love to start new projects, even when it’s unclear how big the project …



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    QA Q & A

    New Initiatives in Advantage Quality Assurance

    Eva Weissman recently became the QA Team Leader here at AdvantageCS and brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Her expertise is not limited to quality assurance---she is adept at analyzing processes and workflows and instituting efficiency measures at many levels. Through a series of questions from eVantage, Eva describes her approach, the initiatives she has put in place and her future plans for QA.

    How do you describe your new role at AdvantageCS in quality assurance testing?

    I lead a team of analysts that is responsible for quality assurance. We focus on three main areas: software modifications, regression testing, and process improvements. With regard to software modifications, we develop test plans, do the actual …



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    Here’s To a Successful and Productive 2016!

    How AdvantageCS Can Help Make That Happen For You

    All of us at AdvantageCS would like to wish you a happy and prosperous new year. For many people, the start of a new year is a good time to assess their current situation and also to look ahead to set new goals. At AdvantageCS, we're doing that on a regular basis as it relates to many aspects of our company and in particular to the software and services that we offer. 

    To ensure that we continue to offer you the industry-leading software solution to meet all your needs in the ever-changing digital fulfillment marketplace, we make substantial investments in our software every year. One of our goals is to deliver more innovative solutions and services to Advantage clients that help you to grow revenue, reduce cost, and increase customer …



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    AdvantageCS Welcomes New Client Bonnier Magazine Data

    AdvantageCS is pleased to announce our newest client: Bonnier Magazine Data (“BMD”).  Located in the Østerbro borough of Copenhagen, Denmark, BMD is an internal provider of subscription management systems, CRM system functionality and related services to Bonnier companies. BMD specializes in subscription management within the field of weekly and monthly magazines, publications and other media products.

    BMD is wholly owned by Bonnier Publications (“BP”) and Bonnier Tidskrifter (“BT”) which are also two major customers. Whereas BP is represented in Copenhagen, Helsinki (Finland), Oslo (Norway) and Stockholm (Sweden), BT is represented solely in Stockholm. Between the two publishing companies, BMD systems manage around 2 million subscriptions. These companies are part of the holding …



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    2016 AUG Conference in Sunny Las Vegas

    Wednesday February 10 – Friday February 12, 2016

    Users picked Las Vegas as their destination of choice and so the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas will be the site of the 2016 Advantage Users Group Conference. A great location and an exciting program make this a can’t-miss conference.

    Growing numbers of Advantage clients have made the leap to continuous updates, and many more are looking to make it in 2016. If you are considering it or are wondering what the benefits are to you, the conference is a great place to get answers from users that have been there and done that.

    The conference will cover a variety of topics, most of them suggested by users at last year’s conference. The agenda is below.  There’s still time to register---Click here for registration information.

    Wednesday, …



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    Congratulations to Soon-to-Be Retiree Jim Austin

    In his nearly 35 years here at ACS, Jim Austin has worked on numerous projects with too many clients to count. Through it all, his sense of humor, patience and dedication to client satisfaction have remained intact.

    Jose Garcia, VP of Technology at Health Communications, has worked with Jim for more than 20 years. “When I learned that Jim was finally going to hang up his ACS code skills, mouse and keyboard after almost 35 years, my first thought was ‘wait’---I thought he’d retired once before and ACS brought him back because they just couldn’t let him get away.  Thank goodness he came back, because in the 20+ years I’ve known Jim, he’s gotten me out of more than one Advantage royalty problem. As a matter of fact, at HCI, Jim came to be known as ‘King James’ because of the many times he …



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    Welcome New Employee Geoff Bunce

    Geoff Bunce is the newest member of the support center staff, reporting to Scott Ghormley. Geoff joined ACS in August, and has been working diligently to learn Advantage and Support Center procedures. He finds it “challenging, but fun,” and thinks it’s interesting to see how various clients use Advantage in different ways.

    Technical support, however, is not new to Geoff, as he joins ACS after three years providing client tech support for an accounting software company. There he honed his problem-solving skills and learned the finer points of troubleshooting technical issues, including the art of asking the right questions to get at the root of an issue.

    Geoff’s educational background is rich and varied. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Northern Michigan …



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    Harmony, Stability and R & D

    Earlier this month we hosted several people from our most recent European client. During dinner, I got to talking with the senior executive about the company culture at AdvantageCS. He commented that we were quite unusual for a software company in the way that HARMONY seemed to permeate the interactions he observed among our people during an extended tour of our facilities. And he noted that same harmony spilling over into the many meetings of their visit. He was also struck by the long length of stay of our people (14 years average), and that the mission of the company requires the owners to be employees, which means we never entertain the frequent offers of outside investors.

    He was applauding our commitment to stability for our clients and employees as a very good business growth …



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