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    Welcome New Employee: Andrea Carter

     

    We are pleased to welcome Andrea Carter as the newest member of the Program Services team led by Doug Moore. Andrea comes to AdvantageCS from Florida, her home state, where she worked most recently as a business analyst/developer at a home builder company.

    Andrea grew up in north Florida, near St. Augustine, and attended the University of Florida, where she majored in sports management. She then moved to Michigan to be near her boyfriend who was attending the University of Michigan. Andrea decided to pursue her interest in business and earned an MBA in finance from Wayne State University, while also working at the U of M credit union. After graduation, she worked for Citibank and then Sterling Bank and Trust in the mortgage area, for a total of six years.

    A family issue took Andrea …



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    Advantage Instructional Videos

    Did you know Advantage has instructional videos? Most of these 10- to 13-minute videos demonstrate a specific feature or explain how to perform a task in Advantage but, starting with 2019.0, a video showing highlights of the latest annual release will be included.

    The five completed instructional videos currently available are shown below. Another one is in production.

    Planned future topics include Working with Select Sets, Synchronized Agreement Basics and Working with Packages.

    The videos are produced by Adam Martin of the documentation team. He sends out an email announcement with the release of each video, with links to the most recent video, all past videos, and the videos playlist. If you would like to be included on that list, email Adam. He also welcomes comments and …



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    Advantage in the Wake of Wayfair

    It’s been a little over a year since the groundbreaking decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Wayfair vs. South Dakota court case. In short, the decision expanded the taxable landscape across the United States. States are no longer bound by the physical presence requirement set by the 1992 Quill court case. Effectively, this means that states can start requiring sales and use tax for everyone that meets an economic nexus.

    There are a lot of one-year-later posts by experts that provide great overviews. Try Accounting Today , Wolters Kluwer (my favorite) or Digital Commerce 360. This Bloomberg (PDF) survey is also interesting.

    This decision affects nearly all Advantage clients; even our non-USA based clients that sell into the USA are subject to the new rules. (We do …



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    The IET Goes Live on Advantage

    Congratulations to The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) who went live on Advantage this past week. This go-live completes the second phase of the IET's program called Know Your Customer (KYC). This phase involved the implementation of Advantage as the IET’s new sales order processing system, with integrations to other applications in the IET’s ecosystem.

    The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions, with over 168,000 members worldwide in 150 countries. Their products and services include more than two dozen journals, E&T Magazine, books, guides, webinars, regulations, job boards, videos and a vast digital library. They also provide services to the industry such as expert advice to the UK’s Parliament, Government and other agencies on engineering-related …



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    Welcome New Employee: Nicole Mehmedovich

    We are pleased to welcome Nicole Mehmedovich to AdvantageCS. She comes to us with an exceptionally wide range of skills and experience.

    Nicole spent 11 years at Computer Technologies Consultants, a provider of information technology services to commercial and Federal clients. Nicole worked for 7 years at the Department of State, Office of International Visitors in Washington, D.C. where she had a pivotal leadership role in developing the Student and Exchange Visitors Information Systems operation as a new division of the Bureau of International Affairs. She also worked with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor.

    From there, she followed a friend to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) where she worked as a senior systems analyst for 7 …



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    European Advantage Users Meeting Set for September 26-27 in Lisbon

    Meet with Advantage users from all over to share best practices and hear what’s new and what’s in the works at AdvantageCS. Register now for the 2019 European Advantage Users Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, Thursday, September 26th and Friday, September 27th, 2019. The meeting will be hosted by Deco Proteste and will take place in their offices. Check out the agenda so far; it’s still in progress.

    The keynote address will be given by Xavier van Leeuwe, of Telegraaf Media Groep in Amsterdam, and co-author of the book "How to Succeed in the Relationship Economy." 

    The registration deadline is August 25th. Note that we are now offering a special Early Bird price (before August 1st) as well as Group Pricing (groups of 4 or more) this year, so register today and bring your colleagues! …



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    Let's Talk About Payments

    Recently, I participated in a lively discussion with a prospective client around customer payment options. I listed dozens of Advantage features (more on this later) and I was struck by the client’s uncertainty about which features they wanted to support. The discussion changed from what-can-Advantage-do? to what-should-our-business-be-doing? The marketing director wanted to test all options, the customer experience manager wanted frictionless payments, the finance director wanted to reduce fees and cash liability and the operations manager wanted simplified processing. The client realized they had not fully appreciated the complexity and impact of payment options.

    In the past five years, there has been an explosion of studies on consumer payments and technological preferences. The …



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    Advantage fullService

    For nearly 40 years, AdvantageCS has offered the most powerful subscription management solution on the market, ideal for medium to large publishers and membership organizations. From print and digital subscriptions to book sales, from products to services, plus training, conferences, events, membership and donations, Advantage manages everything a company might offer. Plus, it’s constantly evolving to meet the latest needs of the rapidly changing business environment.

    Now you can harness the power of Advantage without the need to manage it yourself, with Advantage fullService.

    Hosted in the cloud on MS Azure, Advantage fullService is implemented and managed by our staff. System administration, cycle-ends, invoicing, reminders, setup, selects---we handle it all.

    Along with our fully …



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    Oui, Cider Now Speaks French

    Congratulations to Martin Media, whose five web ecommerce boutiques recently went live on Cider, our eCommerce platform, all entirely in French:

    • Boutique La Classe

    • Boutique L’Assmat

    • Boutique Journal de l’Animation

    • Boutique Journal des Psychologues

    • Boutique Bois

    As our first non-English Cider implementation, the project involved some unique challenges. These included adjustments for rate-includes-tax, handling accent marks and currency display, plus translating Cider itself. The Cider implementation was closely linked with an upgrade of the core Advantage application.

    The Martin Media project team included Julien Krier, Philippe Canus, Jérémie Boisselier and Stéphane Sorin, and involved the entire organization for testing the new release.

    On the AdvantageCS side, John …



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    AdvantageCS Attains Microsoft Gold Level Partner Status in Cloud Platform Competency

    AdvantageCS is proud to announce that we have achieved Microsoft Gold Level Partner Status in the Cloud Platform Competency. The requirements for such a status are stringent, and only the top Microsoft partners achieve Gold.

    The Microsoft Gold competency process requires that a number of partner employees successfully complete technical exams to become Microsoft Certified Professionals on Azure technologies, and the company must meet certain performance levels. In addition, the partner must provide comprehensive customer references from successful cloud projects. Becoming a Gold Level Partner reinforces to our clients that AdvantageCS is committed to a high standard of excellence and professionalism.

    “The AdvantageCS Cloud Services team is committed to providing top-notch solutions …



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    Sharing and Showing in New Orleans

    The Advantage Users Group (AUG) chose New Orleans, Louisiana for its 2019 gathering. The conference was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel, in the middle of the French Quarter. More than 50 participants from 16 companies attended the event for three days of sharing and showing. As usual, the AUG steering committee did a great job making the event run smoothly.

    Dan Heffernan kicked off the meeting with his annual presentation of publishing trends and AdvantageCS news. Among the trends, the pivot to subscription revenue (advertising revenue has dropped significantly over the 10 last years) wasn’t new to the audience but factors such as paywalls, retention strategies, and AI technology are definitely changing the landscape. Relationships with social media are also adapting quickly, as Google and …



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    AdvantageCS Management Roundtable – Sharing and Listening for New Ideas

    This month, AdvantageCS hosted its annual management roundtable for its clients just prior to the Advantage Users Group conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. A group of executives representing a broad spectrum of publishing concerns ranging from data-only to print, from academic and B2B to B2C, from subscriptions to books, and from rapidly growing businesses to more declining markets. Participants also differed in their positions, from CEOs to CTOs to CMOs:

    Jeff Baker, American Master ProductsAllison Belan, Duke University PressJeff Crosby, InterVarsity PressPaul Gee, American Medical AssociationReid McLaughlin, Agora/14WestLaird Popkin, Hearst Transportation Group/BlackbookTara Rebak, Newsmax MediaBonnie Roche, Crain CommunicationsTim Swietek, Ogden Publications

    As usual, we wonder …



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    Welcome New Employee: Rachel Lipa

     

    We are pleased to welcome Rachel Lipa as the newest member of the Product Development group led by Paul Sauter. Rachel joined AdvantageCS full-time in January, although she is not completely new to the company, as she was an intern here for the last two summers.

    Rachel graduated with High Honors from the University of Michigan, with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, and a minor in statistics. Her elective coursework focused on web systems, computer security, artificial intelligence, database management systems, and accessible software design. She was named an EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) Scholar, meaning that she achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or greater.

    In addition to interning here at AdvantageCS, Rachel spent a summer as an intern at the …



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    Advantage Integrates with Apple App Store for the AMA

    From discussions with our clients during account management sessions or through our user group conferences, they (or the organizations they serve) are looking to develop new products to compensate for the shrinking content subscription market. One part of that product development strategy is branching out to exist where their customers already are. And where are they? If they are among the 99.9% of users, then that would be on platforms by Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

    This can be a controversial decision as it is well-documented how much publishers give up when “partnering” with these platforms—in revenue and in customer data. Why give up so much?

    Brand recognition. Customers are likely on these platforms and already familiar with them and there are no complicated on-boarding …



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    7 Steps to Guaranteed Failure When Shopping for a Major Software Application

    Over the decades, we have heard horror stories of organizations who have chosen the wrong system or application to accomplish some major task (sales order processing, subscription management, CRM, membership management, etc.), so we’ve honed a list of the steps, which, when strung together, can guarantee failure. That is, the wrong system will be chosen, which will cost your organization lots of money and years of wasted time. Now, it is possible that failure will occur by simply executing any of the 7 failure steps! So, if it’s failure you’re chasing after, you could be closer to it than you think.

    1. Make sure you are unclear about your requirements, so you can’t communicate them to the software vendor. After all, if you’re clear, you might slip in your communications and let the …



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    Mediahuis Live on Advantage

       

    Congratulations to Mediahuis on their recent go-live on Advantage. In late October, Mediahuis Limburg completed an 11-month conversion off their legacy P5 system and began fulfilling their daily Dutch newspaper, De Limburger, through Advantage. This is the first of three fulfillment systems at Mediahuis that will migrate to Advantage.

    “After more than a year of hard work, we finally went live with our project---the launch of a new subscription system. I was very happy to feel so much positive energy and to see so many happy faces!” said Steve Conard, Project Manager, Mediahuis. “A big thanks to the entire project team and our partner AdvantageCS who made this possible!”

    After determining that developing an in-house solution to replace their separate fulfillment systems was not …



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    Congratulations to Soon-to-Be Retiree Tom Burbeck

     

    In his 31 years at AdvantageCS, Tom Burbeck has left his mark on nearly every area of the company.

    Tom began his career at AdvantageCS in 1982 when he was hired into the Product Services division of (then) T and B Computing. Although his title was product analyst, Tom actually developed side systems for clients, writing the specs, programming the software in INFO, and doing the documentation, the client training and support. This wide-ranging experience served him well throughout his career. A few years later, Tom left T and B and took a position at EDS as a Project /Account Manager for the GM Corporate Information Group.

    With new business leadership and organizational skills acquired from his stint at EDS, he returned to TSM Computing Group in January of 1990 as Director of …



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    Evolving Marketing Landscape Discussed at CMO Roundtable

    Last month, AdvantageCS hosted a gathering of marketing executives from our European clients at the offices of Bayard Presse in Paris. The event provided attendees with lively discussions of the various markets in which they operate across Europe and how they’ve been able to succeed amidst a continually evolving landscape of consumers, content, technology, and marketing strategies.

    Each attendee presented their view of the marketplace, the challenges being faced, and how they’re working to increase their subscriber base. While attendees represented a diverse group of newspapers, magazines, digital content publishers, membership organizations, and service organizations across western Europe, the Nordics, and the United Kingdom, similarities were found, and ideas that could be …



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    New Visa Authorization Requirement

    It seems as if everywhere you look, you see new cyber-security practices being implemented. For example, Visa recently introduced new requirements for businesses that store cardholder payment information for use in future transactions, such as recurring payments and installments. These requirements restrict card use for anything other than a specific authorized use.

    How it works

    The first time the information is used in a “future use” transaction, Visa passes back a new Transaction ID element (Visa’s term) on authorization requests. The business must retain this ID and send it with subsequent transactions in the “future use stream” for this card/Transaction ID. But only for this specific card and Transaction ID.

    That’s not all

    Visa also requires that the merchant obtain and store …



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    Creating Custom Report Output---the Easy Way

    With the 2018.7 release of Advantage comes an improved way to create custom report output, based on your select criteria. This functionality is available at the browser. It’s easy, it’s robust, and it’s a great way for end users to create custom reports and outputs.

    One of the best features of the browser-based approach is the ability to see real-time results. You can both see the results and export them to a CSV or PDF file. In addition, you can run this from within Advantage, incorporating the report into a jobstream or scheduling it to run on a regular basis.

    When you add a new select set in the browser, you are prompted for the Select Set Type and Data Source. These are validated drop-down fields; each also has a “quick search” tool to allow you to find values based on words or …



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