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And what department could that be except for the Sales, Marketing, Product Direction, and Documentation department? Nowhere else in ACS can you find such a diverse mix of skills, experience, and responsibilities.

Since taking over the department a year ago, Dan Heffernan has put his own stamp on the group without sacrificing the existing collaborative relationships.

The largest contingent in the department is the Sales team. Early on in his tenure, Dan invested time in training several others to be able to conduct software presentations (aka "demos"). Mona Hidayet and Corey Mantel share with Dan ? as well as Phil Montgomery ? the task of demonstrating Advantage to prospects via the web or onsite. The team also demonstrates specific modules that current clients are interested in purchasing. The demo team members all do quite a bit of traveling, although the ability to conduct web demos has helped cut down a bit on the number of trips required. Still, members of the team may often be seen traversing airport concourses and riding in taxi cabs.

Other members working with the sales team are Philippe van Mastrigt, director of European Operations, who works on obtaining leads and assisting in the sales process for prospects in Europe and the UK, and Cindy Morphew, who is the first point of contact for prospective clients; fielding phone calls, e-mail inquiries, and staffing the Advantage booth at trade shows. She also manages the process and coordinates ACS's proposal for RFPs (Request for Proposal) and manages the contract negotiation process with new clients.

Phil Montgomery directs the Doco team and is also responsible for Product Planning. That means he is the one who oversees, at a high level, what is being added to each release of Advantage. He gets input from AUG (Advantage User Group), client forums, and from talking to prospective clients about their needs. Industry trends and technology changes are also taken into account when deciding where to focus R & D resources.
Doco is in the capable hands of Tim Martin, assisted by Ellen Davis. Tim writes a large percentage of the modification specifications, and then is responsible for producing the release notes for every release. Once a year, he and Ellen tackle the task of updating all the manuals to reflect the enhancements that have been made to the software.

Finally, this department, in the person of Cindy Morphew, is responsible for all the advertising and marketing done for Advantage. This includes writing and managing all advertisements in trade magazines and websites; brochures and other informational materials; press releases and the ACS website; coordinating trade show exhibits; purchasing imprinted items; and editing eVantage, the monthly electronic newsletter.

According to Dan, this department is the "nerve center" of the entire company, and who am I to argue with a vice president?

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