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    Congratulations to Karl Davis: Soon-to-Be Retiree

    Karl Davis started at AdvantageCS nearly 34 years ago, as a programmer/analyst assigned to what was then called the CIR development team. He spent 20 years on that team, 15 or so as its leader, until he was named to head up the newly-formed Engineering Consulting and Implementations team. That has been Karl’s home for the past 14 years.

    Dan Heffernan knew Karl before he joined AdvantageCS. “I was a housemate of Karl’s in 1983. Karl has always been meticulous, as well as precise, neat and tidy. So, when another housemate changed his oil in Karl’s garage and then proceeded to spill some on the floor and back the car out leaving dark, oily tire marks down the driveway--- well, it was all Karl could do to keep from destroying the driveway and re-paving it! Only the cost kept him from …



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    The Advantage Support Center: Always At Your Service

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Advantage Support Center as it exists today. Prior to 1998, support was handled by the analyst teams, who also managed implementation projects and software upgrades, plus account management and training. With that model, however, team members often found themselves juggling conflicting priorities between their various roles. The solution was to form a team of analysts and engineers entirely devoted to support.

    The center now has a full-time staff of four, plus a manager, and analysts from other teams help on occasion. Depending on the client and the issue, any one of half-a-dozen engineering teams provides technical assistance. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, the Advantage Support Center is available and its staff is eager to help. …



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    Some Themes from Digital Innovator’s Summit in Berlin

    Philippe van Mastrigt and I recently attended Digital Innovator’s Summit, the 2-day event run by FIPP and VDZ in Berlin each March. AdvantageCS exhibited at and sponsored this event.

    The audience at this conference is strongly German and Nordic, with a number of AdvantageCS clients attending and speaking (A-Lehdet, Aller Media, Bonnier, and Egmont).

    Trends that were mentioned in 2017, such as a shift from social network and ad models to subscription and reader revenue, were confirmed by a number of the speakers. “We are at the end of the beginning of a new age” was mentioned in the introductory remarks.

    Facebook was dragged through the mud a number of times in the wake of their data scandal with Cambridge Analytica. It is clear that Facebook will not save media companies, but work …



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    Mike Hasey Named Manager of Engineering Services/Implementations

    Congratulations to Mike Hasey on his promotion to Manager, Engineering Services/Implementations. This group of six engineers is primarily responsible for supporting the engineering aspects of client onboarding. The team works with new clients unfamiliar with Advantage as well as current clients that are implementing major additional functionality.

    Their work involves integrations, eCommerce (Cider) and complex conversions, in addition to general technical support. They do custom development, provide training, and help design solutions in these (and other) areas.

    For many of these tasks, engineering and analyst roles overlap one another. Several members of Mike’s team have served as business analysts and all the team enjoy onsite client visits. Mike is getting the group more involved …



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    Keeping Busy in Orlando

    Report on 2018 Advantage Users Group Conference

    More than 70 Advantage clients from 17 companies met in Orlando for the 2018 Advantage Users Group (AUG) Conference. As always, the Steering Committee, led by Christy Wescott of Unity World Headquarters, did an outstanding job preparing the agenda and arranging for the speakers and session hosts. Denise Spickler of Wolters Kluwer Health handled her responsibilities as the liaison with the host hotel with outstanding attention to detail, resulting in a conference that was successful in every way.

    Dan Heffernan, AdvantageCS Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Product Planning, kicked off the meeting with his annual presentation of AdvantageCS news, strategy, and product direction. Dan was joined in his presentation by Tony Pytlak, …



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    Welcome New Client Mediahuis

    We are extremely pleased to welcome Mediahuis to the Advantage family.

    Mediahuis was founded in 2013 as a joint venture of two Flemish media corporations, Corelio and Concentra. Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Mediahuis publishes four Belgian newspapers---two national and two regional---and two Dutch newspapers---one regional and one national. It also recently acquired 95% of the Dutch Telegraaf Media Groep, which doubled its circulation size and added a large group of daily and weekly publications.  The company’s history dates back to 1879, when their first newspaper, a weekly, was published.

    In the 139 years since, there have been numerous launches and acquisitions of media companies, with properties including radio stations, television stations, classified platforms and websites. The …



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    GDPR Summit in Copenhagen Highly Productive

    Initiated by Carsten Weber from Bonnier Magazine Data, Nordic Advantage clients and AdvantageCS participated in a GDPR roundtable on January 22nd, at the Bonnier office in Copenhagen. What was initially a meeting of two publishers expanded to include four Nordic Advantage clients: Bonnier Magazine Data, Egmont Publishing, Aller Media and Alma Talent. Air Business Subscriptions from the UK also joined this gathering, as did AdvantageCS.

    Participants included John Osborn (Air Business Subscriptions), Bjarne Christensen (Aller Media), Christel Heegaard (Aller Media), Martin Paluszewski (Aller Media), Mari Aalto (Alma Media), Hanna Kaivo-oja (Alma Media), Farhoud Fazeli (consultant, representing Bonnier Magazines and Brands), Rune Spanggaard (Bonnier Magazine Data), Carsten Weber (Bonnier …



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    Five Lessons from 2017

    2017 was a year.

    I know…that seems obvious. But 2017 was loaded with the good, the bad, and some lessons learned from it all. Here are 5 that jumped out at me as we finish up 2017:

    1. Publishers are moving into membership modelsSome years ago, we had a publishing client who published books and magazines around various special interests. But you couldn’t “subscribe” to the products; you had to be a “member” to get them. Their belief was that a “member” was more loyal than a “subscriber.” Given the interest areas they served (hunting and fishing and the like) I suspect that their low attrition rates were also due to the passion of their readers, rather than exclusively due to a clever marketing ploy around the word “member.” But lo and behold, Meredith (who is in the process of buying …



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    Amos Media Final Phase Now Live on Advantage

    Congratulations to the Amos Media Company (AMC), which recently completed the second and final phase of their Advantage implementation project.

    AMC has four flagship publications geared toward coin and stamp hobby enthusiasts. Their product order business offers supplies and collectibles---more than 12,000 products---targeted to a similar audience. During this project, AMC was able to streamline their business by consolidating their four legacy systems into Advantage for all print subscription and product order fulfillment.

    In the first phase of the project, AMC implemented subscription management for digital and print publications. They have now added products and inventory, accounts payable and other functionality to their mix, and moved their eCommerce platform to Cider.

    The AMC …



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    Extensibility Services in Advantage

    Advantage offers many integration options within a technical ecosystem. One of those is done through Advantage’s Extensibility Services framework. This framework allows our clients to create custom implementations of standard interfaces (e.g., address hygiene). This approach is an integral part of AdvantageCS’s open system strategy.

    The mechanics of the framework are straightforward: Advantage provides the extensibility service contract and interface files while the developer provides the implementation of the service. The service itself could be local to the Advantage software, distributed on a network, or web-based. In contrast, Advantage also supports many out-of-the-box point-to-point integrations to specific vendor packages (e.g., CyberSource for credit card transactions).

    The …



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