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    Welcome New Employee: Joshua Pendleton

    We are pleased to welcome Joshua Pendleton, the newest member of the Product Development group led by Toby Hartman. Josh is not exactly a newcomer to AdvantageCS, however, as he was a summer intern in 2016 on the team led by John Moore.

    Josh recently graduated from the University of Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science (with a minor in physics) from the school of engineering. Josh followed a family tradition, as both his parents attended the U of M. Younger brother Luke is currently a junior there, studying—guess what?—computer science and was also an intern at AdvantageCS this past summer.

    Josh’s extracurricular activities included running track with a club team at the university and intramural soccer. He was also involved in CRU, a campus …



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    R & D Review

    R & D activity in 2018 has been lively, to say the least. Here is an update.

    Integration with Salesforce and Dynamics: We recently tightened the integration between Advantage and these applications. Many of our prospects and clients use one of these CRM applications to manage sales leads and want a seamless integration between said package and Advantage.

    For example, a user in Salesforce or Dynamics might want to enter a quote and have that result in a quote in Advantage. At the same time, they may wish to view information in Salesforce or Dynamics about orders taken or payments made in Advantage. They may also wish to view information managed in Advantage which is not in the CRM application, such as information about an existing subscription agreement.

    Current technology allows a …



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    Welcome New Client: Keesing Media Group

     

    We are extremely pleased to welcome Keesing Media Group as an Advantage client. Keesing is the largest publisher of puzzle magazines in Europe, with an annual print run of 96 million magazines. Based in Amsterdam, Keesing offers a wide range of puzzle magazines in many languages and countries including the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Hungary and the United Kingdom.

    Founded in 1911 by the Amsterdam-based journalist Isaäc Keesing, it remained a family-owned business until 2006, when it was purchased by TMG (Telegraaf Media Groep), a large Dutch media group. In 2017, Keesing was acquired by Ergon Capital Partners III, although TMG retains a 30% stake in the new partnership.

    Keesing’s 761 titles include crossword, arroword, cryptics, …



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    Welcome New Client: The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery

    We are delighted to welcome The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery to the community of Advantage users. The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (JBJS) has been the most valued source of information for orthopaedic surgeons and researchers for over 125 years and is the gold standard in peer-reviewed scientific information in the field.

    JBJS, based in Needham, Massachusetts, publishes 6 journals and also offers CME opportunities, online coursework, videos, and webinars.

    We welcome JBJS to the Advantage family.



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    European User Group to Meet in Paris October 11-12

    Here’s your chance to network with Advantage users from all over, share best practices and hear what’s new and what’s in the works at AdvantageCS. Register now for the 2018 Advantage user group meeting in Paris, Thursday October 11 - Friday October 12.

    The keynote address will be given by Philippe Colombet, Group Chief Digital Officer at Bayard, where the meeting will be held. Check out the agenda so far; it’s still in progress.

    Registration is open online, where you’ll also find information about previous user meetings.

    Contact your account manager or John Hughes with any questions regarding the event or registration. 

    Hope to see you there!



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    Advantage Card Vault Rolls Out

    After a monumental effort to lift all payment card processing functionality out of Advantage, shift it into an independent application, and further enhance its security features, the new Advantage Card Vault is now rolling out to AdvantageCS clients. (See the article announcing this new application here.) This massive project involved planning, development, quality assurance, deployment, communication, and project management efforts across the company. After thousands of hours of effort, the result is an application that provides continued PA-DSS certification and robust payment card security, while allowing Advantage to appear virtually unchanged to the end user.

    AdvantageCS clients receiving Advantage Card Vault with their 2018.0 (or higher) updates are reporting that end-user …



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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-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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    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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    An annual tradition in publishing: the Frankfurt Book Fair

    Every year, for the past 14, we have attended the Frankfurt Book Fair, which takes place in October in Frankfurt, Germany. If you’ve never attended the “Frankfurter Buchmesse,” it is difficult to paint a picture of just how gigantic this event is. This is the largest trade fair for books in the world. http://www.book-fair.com/en/

    It has been an annual event going back over 500 years to 1454, soon after Gutenberg invented the printing press, when the first book fair was held by local booksellers. It has evolved into the event for negotiating international publishing rights and license fees, and is surrounded by technology companies and other vendors to the industry who are able to do business with many publishers, authors, librarians, and agents in a short span of time.

    AdvantageCS …



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    Card Vault Coming Soon to Advantage

    The Importance of Data Security

    In late summer of this year, news broke that Equifax had been the victim of a massive data breach, likely one of the largest thefts of consumer data ever---see article here.  As one of three primary agencies charged with tracking consumer credit in the US, Equifax fully understood the consequences of what it means for a consumer to have sensitive financial data stolen.  While it appears that a sophisticated hack was involved, the case highlights the importance of data security and the risk that a company takes on in handling sensitive data.

    The theft of one’s Social Security number, credit card data, or other personal data can cause many problems in today’s world.  It also costs businesses billions of dollars (maybe it’s trillions of dollars by now) a …



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    Advantage Integration with Microsoft Dynamics

    Along with the development of the Advantage integration with Salesforce.com, the same integration points were worked out with Microsoft Dynamics. Dynamics is a line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software applications that can be cloud-based or on-premise. We plan to have integration for the CRM application, as many of our clients use it for their customer and prospect relationship management. We’ve completed an initial prototype-level for this integration.

    The integration with Advantage will provide a host of additional tools, including the capability of handling subscription-based products, membership, one-off products, and conferences and events. Advantage allows the different departments inside the organization to efficiently manage …



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    Spectacular Savings on Cider

    Take advantage of this special offer now before it ends

    Were you at one of the Advantage User Group meetings earlier this year in San Antonio or Brussels? If so, you remember that Dan Heffernan (our Vice President and Chief Product Manager) announced a special promotion on the Advantage eCommerce platform, Cider. But if you missed it, this offer is still good and here it is:

    FREE Cider license for clients with a license to the Web module who begin an implementation of our eCommerce platform (Cider) by December 31, 2017. (Clients who begin Cider implementations after December 31, 2017, will need to purchase a Cider module license.)

    Plus, for Cider implementations that begin by December 31, 2017, AdvantageCS will provide 60 FREE hours for theming, branding, customizing, or training, …



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    SFG – AdvantageCS Partnership – Who Wants to Outsource?

    In May, we announced a new partnership between AdvantageCS and SFG (see press release here).  SFG is a service and technology company located in Big Sandy, Texas, with decades of experience serving organizations in such areas as order processing, fulfillment, call center, payment processing, and lettershop services.  We at AdvantageCS have been seeing a growing trend over the last 10 years: publishers want to outsource some or all of these functions.  Many prospects have already outsourced them and come to a software supplier like us expecting that we will provide the software platform and we have partners that will handle the rest. 

    Prior to this partnership, publishers had few choices if they wanted to outsource these functions but stay on Advantage.  There are a number of service …



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    Welcome to IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology)

    We are highly pleased to welcome the IET to the Advantage family. The IET is a registered charity that is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing its members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers. It aims to inspire the next generation of engineers, and to promote engineering and the work of engineers to society. The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 168,000 members in 150 countries.

    IET products include journals, E&T Magazine, books, publications, webinars, 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 policy issues. The …



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