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  • Closing Out A Software Bug

    Waging war against software bugs can take a toll. This Advantage engineer depicts the aftermath of one such battle.

     

    … I hobbled into my office. One leg dragging slightly like a long breath on a bitter cold winter day; every moment hurts just a little more than the last. I had been in brawls before, it’s part of the job, but this time was different. This time one of us didn’t walk away.

    I continued to push my body into the room. I was only a few feet from my desk now. “Perhaps I’ll make it,” I allowed myself to think.

    Nope.

    The floor came up to greet me like an old friend who had had too much to drink. Too fast, too firm, and unwelcome. I lay there for a few minutes to let the floor think it had won. Once I felt it was sufficiently distracted, I dragged my chair over. Climbing the …



  • Life Cycle of an Advantage Modification

    Let’s say you need a feature that’s not available at your version of Advantage. For example, your marketers want to be able to delay charging a customer’s credit card for a period of time after the order ships. (Order today and pay tomorrow!) Maybe you want to receive payment in a different currency than the one billed. Or you want to be able to grace issues based on the subscription term.  All of these needs---which were actual requests in the past---can be addressed by working with AdvantageCS to perform a modification to the software.

    Getting Started

    The first step in the modification “life cycle” is to describe the business need and then submit is a request to AdvantageCS for a rough estimate. Then it goes to the AdvantageCS modification team, which meets twice a week to discuss …



  • What Floats Your Boat?

    Good project managers are a breed apart. And good project management is crucial to our business success, obviously for our own software development, but even more importantly for supporting our new clients implementing Advantage. We've found through our many years of experience, despite the level of intelligence and experience of our engineers and business analysts, some got the gene, and others, well, just didn't. Rather than keep trying to train the ones who ain't got it, we find it's much better to become good at spotting the natural PMs; the ones just born that way. Give them some free rein to ply the skills that come naturally, step back, and enjoy the show. Like the test pilots in the movie The Right Stuff, these folks have what it takes and are a pleasure to watch in action. …



  • Yesterday's Needs Today

    In preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece built over 20 new facilities to host the various events.  The cost to construct these facilities climbed into the billions of Euros.  Only twelve years after the close of those games, a large number of them are rarely used or totally neglected. 

    Putting aside the question of whether those now-obsolete venues were a worthwhile investment, at least they were completed in time to reap some amount of return.  The host city of the upcoming Summer Games, Rio de Janeiro, is at risk of not completing all venues on time.  Imagine such an investment not even being completed in time for the short period in which it is needed.

    On a more personal level, we can all recall times when we’ve spent a significant amount on something that …



  • European User Group Meeting a Success

    Aller Media hosted the annual meeting of the European Advantage Users Group in mid-April at their office in Copenhagen.  Thirty-five users from eight companies and seven countries gathered for two days to get updates on the Advantage product roadmap, to attend feature workshops, and, of course, to meet and network with other clients.

    After a warm welcome from Aller’s IT Director for Business Solutions, Svend Erik Hansen, AdvantageCS VP of Sales and Marketing Dan Heffernan kicked off the meeting with a presentation on Advantage News and Strategic Direction. Dan reviewed our current projects and how they address the challenges our clients face in a rapidly changing industry. He also pointed out the many channels through which our clients can keep up with AdvantageCS news: our blog, …



  • Dan's Blog: Important vs Urgent: Finding the Balance

    I will assume that a good number of the readers of this blog are parents, and that you will be painfully familiar with the “work/parenting” balance we strive for in life, which at times seems so elusive.  I guess such a balance would be easily attained if both work and parenting would only require part of our energy, the sum of which would equal less than 100%.  But it so often feels otherwise.  Being a parent of toddlers, teenagers, or twenty-somethings is terribly demanding, though in vastly different ways.

    Being a manager in your company is not dissimilar.  It is demanding, and if you are doing your job well, it can be terribly demanding.  You have many plates to keep spinning, and some of these are urgent and others are not urgent but certainly important.  It’s difficult to balance …



  • Euroconsumers Live on Advantage

    Congratulations to Deco Proteste, a member of the Euroconsumers group, who recently went live on Advantage with their first set of customers. The project involves consumer advocacy organizations in five different countries---Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Spain and Italy -- that all produce consumer report publications, but have plenty of differences.

    The goal of the project was not only to replace the existing fulfillment system with Advantage, but also to revamp and update the supporting infrastructure that integrates with Advantage. As part of the project, AdvantageCS developed a Contact Center solution with new scripting and workflow features that were specifically designed to work for the large contact center operation at Deco Proteste. Euroconsumers made a significant investment in …



  • Aller Finland Goes Live on Advantage

    Congratulations to Aller Finland, who recently joined Sweden and Denmark running their operations on Advantage. The combined Aller/AdvantageCS team put in many months of hard work, and overcame the many challenges that arise when three different countries consolidate their businesses onto a single fulfillment system. Every step had to be looked at in the context of each country to ensure there were no hiccups in ongoing production operations. Coordinating resources, project plans and priorities, and processing schedules made this project more complex than the average.

    So many people worked on the project that it would be impossible to name them all. However, Levi Hyssong (project manager), Karl Davis (lead engineer), and Sunil Chawla (data conversion lead) merit recognition as the main …



  • Can AdvantageCS Be Your Sixth Man?

    Recently our contact at a major client organization called to announce that they’d been sold to a new parent, and, oh by the way, their internal Advantage support team had all been let go, so could we please keep the Advantage operation running while the new owners sorted out the whole thing?

    Fortunately, we had a longstanding relationship with the new CEO, and by that evening, we’d jumped into the driver’s seat, taking control of their Advantage production operations, and internal user helpdesk. They experienced uninterrupted Advantage service, running all commercial transactions for their publishing operation without a hitch. And it looks like we’ll have a six-month managed services program in place tomorrow for continuing this service while the new organization determines how they …



  • Advantage Software: Focused Searches in the Online Documentation

    If you’re running a version of Advantage that is 2014r1 or later, the online help you see was built using the Orchard platform (the same tool that is used to power Cider in Advantage). One of the strengths of Orchard is the ability to perform focused searches…provided you know the format and syntax that Orchard wants us to use.

    Suppose we’re trying to recall an element of functionality related to trial terms. If we enter the literal string trial term (without quote marks) into the 2016 online help, we get back a discouragingly high number of hits…516, to be exact. That’s because the search query we’ve entered is looking for all occurrences of either the word “trial” or “term.” Not surprisingly, Advantage has a lot of references to one or the other of these words.

    We can do better. Let’ …



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