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Mona Hidayet and I recently met with the executive committee of one of our largest publishing clients. The executives wanted to hear about new features in Advantage that might be leveraged to further expand their business. Their use of Advantage has grown several times over, as has the size of their publishing business. With each Advantage upgrade, information details contained in the hundreds of pages of software release notes offer links, although sometimes quite subtle ones, to new business opportunity through enhanced software. The links are easy to overlook, and the result can be missed opportunities to leverage Advantage for major business benefit.

We at ACS put great effort into ongoing software development in order to continually improve Advantage with new functionality. Did you know that over the last five years?

  • 15 new revisions of Advantage were released.
  • 125,000 hours of ACS development were invested in enhancing Advantage.
  • 807 new features were added to Advantage.
  • Release notes filled 1,500 pages.

Many continue to report that the Advantage software leads all competing software packages in application functionality. And that the pace of functionality enhancement is unsurpassed. While, I assume, this is good news for our clients, it raises the question: Is this pace of software evolution sustainable when it comes to leveraging Advantage for your business success? Are you taking full advantage of the 25,000 hours of development we put into the software every year?

It should be no surprise that publishers, as in many other fields, find it hard to harness the benefits of rapid technological change. New business strategies made possible through technology are developing so rapidly that it has become increasingly difficult to keep up. Among our clients, the trend appears to be that the companies experiencing growth have figured out how to master this challenge. In my visits to our clients, with increasing frequency I'm noticing the emergence of business/technology "mavens" (a word coming from Yiddish, and meaning one who accumulates knowledge. See Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point). These individuals show an uncanny knack for quickly making connections between evolving technology and opportunities for new business strategies. In the past, I would generally see this role relegated to the IT group?and in some cases, quite effectively so. More and more, I'm seeing the business tech mavens resident in the business units, voicing their thoughts among the executives.

As with the executive committee I mentioned above, many of our clients face the challenge of digesting the large volume of information necessary to evaluate the hundreds of new features in Advantage. I would like to make sure you are aware of the ACS services and methods offered to help you get maximum benefit from upgrading to new revisions of Advantage. Each of these has been designed to enable your organization to manage the rapid evolution of Advantage as a strategic business tool for your business.

  • Free one-hour webinars that present new Advantage features.
  • The Advantage Operations Review, a structured methodology for auditing your current operations on Advantage and identifying ways to get more benefit from your enterprise fulfillment software.
  • The Advantage Systems Analysis, a detailed review of how you're using Advantage from an IT perspective, with recommendations for ensuring best practices and leveraging common systems tools.
  • Release notes for each new Advantage revision, documenting all new capabilities and enhancements of the software.
  • Through Evelyn Acton as the designated member of the Advantage User Group steering committee, and participation by many at ACS, we actively support the annual user group meetings which offer new features presentations, client-led topical roundtables on using Advantage, user presentations on implementing key features of Advantage, and networking among our clients.
  • Disciplined use by our software development team of the latest technology for software configuration and release management, which makes possible three Advantage upgrades per year.
  • Automated upgrade scripts and a project methodology to enable efficient revision upgrades.

How well does your organization leverage the benefits of new revisions of Advantage? Do you have a business/technology maven watching for new business opportunities made possible through new Advantage features? Is the rapidly evolving Advantage software fully serving your business enterprise?

Please send email with your thoughts on how we can help you take better advantage of new releases of Advantage.

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