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  • Welcome New Employee Thomas Paquin

    Thomas Paquin is the newest member of the Client Service Division at AdvantageCS. He is currently working in the support center, reporting to Scott Ghormley, but is slated to join the implementations team at some point.

    A mathematics major at Eastern Michigan University, Thomas was planning to be a math teacher. During his last semester at college, however, he began working part-time at ParishSOFT, a developer of church management software. After an 18-month stint in the support center, he switched to the data services department. There, he became interested in databases, including data conversion, data integrity and other aspects of data management. He worked his way up to become the manager of the 7-member staff, and brings valuable experience to his position at AdvantageCS. …



  • Friday Five for September 9 - The revenge of legacy publishers, the changing role of publishers, and more

    The number of articles, opinion pieces and blog posts shared on the web every day can be overwhelming, but keeping up with industry trends helps us stay ahead of the curve. Here are 5 topics that captured our attention this week:

    "The share of American adults who read books in any format has remained largely unchanged over the last four years," find the Pew Research Center in a recent study.

    College newspapers are cutting print schedules to focus on digital first. Is there a lesson to be learned for traditional publishers?

    FIPP interviewed five publishers on how they define their changing role. A common denominator? The focus on change management as brands, audiences and platforms evolve.

    Are "legacy publishers" getting their revenge? That may be true for The New York Times and …



  • Peeking Behind the Curtain of Advantage QA

    At any given time, we at AdvantageCS are working on at least one, usually more, large development projects, be it in collaboration with clients or as AdvantageCS-funded research and development. Recent examples include our eCommerce platform Cider, a Single Sign-On solution and Members Advantage, our membership project. From a QA standpoint, the challenge is to ensure that hundreds or even thousands of hours of development work get tested and that the resulting product is robust and easy to use.

    The role of testing in Agile methodologies

    Our software development projects are organized in an agile framework called Scrum. Unlike "waterfall" projects, agile projects don't have successive analysis, design, development, testing and rollout phases. These activities are executed …



  • Friday Five for September 2 - Multi-platform consumers, Facebook Live and more

    The number of articles, opinion pieces and blog posts shared on the web every day can be overwhelming, but keeping up with industry trends helps us stay ahead of the curve. Here are 5 topics that captured our attention this week:

    The American Magazine Reader Study & Handbook finds that the number of  multi-platform consumers is growing.

    Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed an algorithm that optimizes subscription and advertising plans for subscribed models. Can publishers maximize profits without losing readers based on a simple survey?

    Folio surveyed 68 news media CEO's and the results might surprise you, with strong expectations of growth both in the print and digital sector.

    Freeport Press published 7 insights into media consumption in 2016 (make sure to …



  • How Many Groups Are You a Member Of?

    With apologies for the ending preposition, let’s think about this question for a moment. I’m personally a member of:

    Amazon Prime

    Delta SkyMiles (and about 7 other airline frequent flyer programs)

    My church

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

    The Society for Scholarly Publishing

    Hilton HHonors (and about 5 other hotel loyalty clubs)

    Costco

    My local public library

    Consumer Reports

    National Car Rental’s Emerald Club

    Best Buy Reward Zone (and many other stores)

    My homeowners association

    Conservatively, I’m a member of roughly 30 organizations/clubs—not to mention my “membership” in my family, my community, the management team of my company and the human race! If you take the time to list your memberships, it’s likely you’ll find a similar amount.

    Why do we join so many …



  • Friday Five for August 26 - focus on user experience, "best mistakes", putting the consumer first, and more

    The number of articles, opinion pieces and blog posts shared on the web every day can be overwhelming, but keeping up with industry trends helps us stay ahead of the curve. Here are 5 topics that captured our attention this week:

    Both business and editorial benefit from continuous efforts to improve the user experience at publishers like Slate and The Atlantic.

    Magazine publishers share their best mistakes with Folio and describe the lessons they learned from them.

    In a surprising throwback to the early days of the internet, email newsletters are making a comeback and are proving to be successful publishing strategy with teens and millennial women.

    Speaking of teens, Refinery29 interviewed 15 industry experts on the state of teen magazines in 2016.

    "Print-first" or "digital-first" …



  • Conferences and Events: A Growing and Stable Revenue Stream

    Traditionally, conferences and events were the domain of B2B publishing, where revenue from events has been surpassing print and ad revenue for some time now. However, consumer publishers are discovering that events are an important diversification strategy in their market as well.

    Getting creative with events

    From pop culture festivals organized by the likes of New York Magazine and Entertainment Weekly, to kid expos and bridal shows set up by local news publishers, events allow publishers to get creative. In the UK, Time Inc. is branching out into cycling events to complement its titles Cycle Sport and Cycling Active while in the US, The Atlantic presents the Aspen Ideas Festival. Near our AdvantageCS headquarters, the Detroit Free Press even sponsors the Detroit Marathon. As …



  • Friday Five for August 19 - PwC Global Media Outlook, atomized content and more

    The number of articles, opinion pieces and blog posts shared on the web every day can be overwhelming, but keeping up with industry trends helps us stay ahead of the curve. Here are 5 topics that captured our attention this week:

    ABC releases its latest figures for the UK and Ireland, but is there a story the numbers don't tell?

    'Diversification' is a buzzword in magazine publishing these days. Jen Wong, Time Inc.'s new Digital Chief, explains the right and wrong ways to integrate eCommerce with editorial content

    With diversification comes atomization---creating bite-sized content that can be shared on a number of different platforms. FIPP investigates the reasons behind this trend and finds that atomization allows publishers to engage their audience with targeted content that is …



  • 3 Ways to Increase Your SQL Smarts

    All of the data that you are used to seeing in Advantage is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server database.  If you are involved in creating or modifying Advantage reports, then familiarity with Transact-SQL (or T-SQL for short) can help you.  T-SQL is the language you use to query a SQL database and is used by most common reporting tools (Excel, Crystal, SSRS, etc.).  The better you know T-SQL, the quicker and better you can respond to reporting requests from your customers.

    I've found these three things to be most helpful in expanding my T-SQL knowledge and expertise. 

    working on my MCSA certification

    reading SQL blogs regularly, such as these: http://www.cathrinewilhelmsen.net/  , https://spaghettidba.com/  

    Attending a user group meeting

    For Advantage users involved with …



  • Friday Five for August 12 - PwC outlook for the UK media industry, digital shift at Forbes and more

    The number of articles, opinion pieces and blog posts shared on the web every day can be overwhelming, but keeping up with industry trends helps us stay ahead of the curve. Here are 5 topics that captured our attention this week:

    Are you making the most of your transactional emails? Turn them into marketing tools by adding personalization, asking for reviews or by including a special offer

    Video may be the single biggest trend in publishing right now, but how do you create a video that people want to share? NewsWhip analyzed over a million videos to determine what makes a top performer

    PricewaterhouseCoopers publishes its 5-year outlook for the UK media industry

    "Despite rapid shifts in audience habits and publisher strategies, a strong brand is paramount", says Lewis Dvorkin, …



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