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  • Introducing Advantage Feature Updates

    If you’ve been with Advantage since the early 2000’s, you recall when the release naming convention had two or three—sometimes more—numbers, such as 7.2.3, for example, and the numbers incremented with each release. In 2003, we switched to a year/revision naming convention starting with 2003R1. Now we’re making another change, primarily because we’ve updated our method of delivering software to clients.

    Starting with 2013R1, we deliver software updates through deployment packages. These packages allow you to review the latest patches and download them on an automatic schedule, or at a time of your choosing. The installation of a deployment package is done simply by running a process. It’s really easy!

    We thought this was such a good idea that we used it as a stepping-stone to more …



  • American Institute of Physics Goes Live on Advantage

    American Institute of Physics Publishing is now live on Advantage, after a comprehensive implementation project. This migration marks a major milestone for AIP Publishing. One of the world’s largest publishers of scientific information in physics and the related sciences, AIP Publishing offers publishing services for the American Institute of Physics and AIP Member Society publishing partners. AIP Publishing’s suite of publications includes 17 journals, three of which are published in partnership with other organizations; magazines, including AIP’s flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series.

    The AIP Publishing’s publishing partners include:

    Acoustical Society of America

    American Association of Physicists in Medicine

    American Association of …



  • Agora Implements Advantage's Call Center

     Congratulations to Agora Publishing who recently went live on the 2014r1 release of Advantage.  This release includes Call Center, a major new feature (see related story in this newsletter).

    More than 200 users were in the system and going strong within 24 hours of cutover, and both groups are to be commended for their hard work.

    The Agora Publishing team was led by Suzanne Earley for both the upgrade and Call Center Development. Tim Dodge and Nikki Miller helped lead the Call Center integration. Several others helped to see both projects through.

    On the ACS side, many people were involved over the course of the project, but key players included Stephanie Widrig, project manager, John Moore, lead engineer, Stephen Whitney, supporting engineer, and Larry Kleber, upgrade script …



  • New Feature Highlight: Call Center

    Would you be surprised to know that 62% of organizations consider the customer experience provided through call centers as a key differentiator from their competition (Deloitte - 2013 Global Contact Center Survey)? Or that nearly 80% of survey respondents feel the call center is the single largest factor involved in defining the customer service experience (Executive Report on Customer Experience)?

    There are many call center statistics pointing to a common conclusion: an organization's call center is critical to its success. Sounds simple, right? Well, if it was that easy, then you wouldn't have 86% of people willing to pay for better service and yet only 1% saying that organizations are meeting their expectations (Forbes). A good call center provides quick, expert service to …



  • Update on eCommerce Initiative: Cider

    On this blog back in February, I introduced our eCommerce platform initiative: Cider. I then presented on Cider at the annual user group conferences in New Orleans (March) and Copenhagen (April). For those needing a refresher, Cider is a feature-rich eCommerce platform that offers powerful shopping cart and self-service capabilities, a marketing portal for marketers to create and assign promotions, a flexible administration panel for customizing the look and feel of your site, and built-in support for third-party plug-ins. The platform integrates directly with the Advantage engine via a new REST API.

    So, six months later, how are things coming along? I'm happy to report that Cider is looking fantastic! We knew we were taking on a big challenge, but Team Cider is firing on all …



  • Preview of Advantage Features Coming This Summer (To a Theater Near You)

    These Advantage features will be available in the summer of 2014. Contact your Advantage account manager for more information.

    Back Up and Change Previous Phase in MSTFST: Previously, during MSTFST order entry you could not “revisit” a closed and committed entry phase (you were required instead to execute a Change Line once the order line was complete). This limitation has been relaxed, and you are now permitted to back up to earlier phases and make corrections. You thus have the freedom to jump ahead to future phases and/or return to previous phases, as needed. This is available only within certain parameters--for example, it is available only in Add mode, and your data entry layout must be using vertical/horizontal tabs or the expanding/collapsing sections.  

    Earn AMB Income at …



  • Ogden Publishing Completes Upgrade

     

    Congratulations to Ogden Publishing who recently completed a successful upgrade of Advantage.  Project manager Eric Burbeck reports that it was an incredibly smooth and uneventful cutover.  The ACS team included Philippe Rowland, Eva Weissman, Martha Krieg and Larry Kleber.

    Tim Swietek, Ogden’s Director of IT, said it was the smoothest cutover ever.

    Good work, upgrade teams! 



  • Welcome New Employee Ben Sha

    The ACS Product Development department—specifically, the team led by Toby Hartman—recently welcomed Ben Sha as its newest member.  Ben is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he earned a degree in computer science. 

    Ben always knew he would pursue some sort of engineering but didn’t choose his major until he attended his first computer programming class in college. Then he was hooked. He likes computer science because—as he puts it—“you can literally create something out of nothing.” In mechanical or other engineering branches, he explains, you start with an existing product and then work to improve it or add to it. In computer science, however, “it’s all ideas.”

    A native of New Jersey, Ben looked at a number of engineering schools and chose to attend the University in …



  • Welcome New Employee Aaron Ridenour

    Aaron Ridenour has joined the engineering team led by John Moore.  Aaron is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned a degree in computer engineering.

    Since he was eleven years old, Aaron has known he wanted to do something with computers, but it wasn’t until his first programming class in his freshman year of college that he knew that “something” was programming.

    A native of Pleasant Ridge, Michigan, Aaron now lives in Ann Arbor, near the university campus.  When he isn’t working, Aaron enjoys watching hockey and football.  He plays some football as well and looks forward to his weekly poker night with friends.  He is also an enthusiastic “gamer”—with Watch Dogs his current game of choice on his new PlayStation 4.

    We welcome Aaron to the Advantage family!



  • Seeking Gainful Deployment

    PRESENT CHALLENGES (Self-Pity):

    In the public sector, employment statistics loom large.  Among the AdvantageCS software development team, deployment statistics are a far bigger concern.  Throughout all the years I’ve worked with Advantage, tools and techniques for installing and upgrading the software have been a constant, if unheralded, focus.  Ever since the cutover to .NET, though, there has been a distinct upward trend in the attention we pay to smoothly and successfully installing our software on clients' servers and integrating it with their customizations.

    In this post I will recap recent developments and describe coming attractions.Before getting into that, though, permit me to indulge in just a bit of self-pity about what a challenge we face.  When I think about the behemoths …



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