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    European User Group Meeting a Success

    Aller Media hosted the annual meeting of the European Advantage Users Group in mid-April at their office in Copenhagen.  Thirty-five users from eight companies and seven countries gathered for two days to get updates on the Advantage product roadmap, to attend feature workshops, and, of course, to meet and network with other clients.

    After a warm welcome from Aller’s IT Director for Business Solutions, Svend Erik Hansen, AdvantageCS VP of Sales and Marketing Dan Heffernan kicked off the meeting with a presentation on Advantage News and Strategic Direction. Dan reviewed our current projects and how they address the challenges our clients face in a rapidly changing industry. He also pointed out the many channels through which our clients can keep up with AdvantageCS news: our blog, …



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    Dan's Blog: Important vs Urgent: Finding the Balance

    I will assume that a good number of the readers of this blog are parents, and that you will be painfully familiar with the “work/parenting” balance we strive for in life, which at times seems so elusive.  I guess such a balance would be easily attained if both work and parenting would only require part of our energy, the sum of which would equal less than 100%.  But it so often feels otherwise.  Being a parent of toddlers, teenagers, or twenty-somethings is terribly demanding, though in vastly different ways.

    Being a manager in your company is not dissimilar.  It is demanding, and if you are doing your job well, it can be terribly demanding.  You have many plates to keep spinning, and some of these are urgent and others are not urgent but certainly important.  It’s difficult to balance …



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    Euroconsumers Live on Advantage

    Congratulations to Deco Proteste, a member of the Euroconsumers group, who recently went live on Advantage with their first set of customers. The project involves consumer advocacy organizations in five different countries---Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Spain and Italy -- that all produce consumer report publications, but have plenty of differences.

    The goal of the project was not only to replace the existing fulfillment system with Advantage, but also to revamp and update the supporting infrastructure that integrates with Advantage. As part of the project, AdvantageCS developed a Contact Center solution with new scripting and workflow features that were specifically designed to work for the large contact center operation at Deco Proteste. Euroconsumers made a significant investment in …



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    Aller Finland Goes Live on Advantage

    Congratulations to Aller Finland, who recently joined Sweden and Denmark running their operations on Advantage. The combined Aller/AdvantageCS team put in many months of hard work, and overcame the many challenges that arise when three different countries consolidate their businesses onto a single fulfillment system. Every step had to be looked at in the context of each country to ensure there were no hiccups in ongoing production operations. Coordinating resources, project plans and priorities, and processing schedules made this project more complex than the average.

    So many people worked on the project that it would be impossible to name them all. However, Levi Hyssong (project manager), Karl Davis (lead engineer), and Sunil Chawla (data conversion lead) merit recognition as the main …



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    What Happens in Vegas…Is Put to Good Use Back at the Office

    The Advantage Users Group meeting hit a couple of highs this year. Las Vegas reached a record high of 74 degrees in February and the networking between Advantage users set an all-time high as well.

    Exciting Advantage Product News

    The meeting began with Chief-of-all-things-marketing-and product-planning-related, (aka Dan Heffernan), summarizing the last 365 days of activity at AdvantageCS. Dan’s presentation covered product news, strategy initiatives and the future direction of Advantage. He had plenty to report, starting with the launch of Continuous Updates and Cider in 2015---two key initiatives offering significant efficiency and streamlining capabilities to clients on the 2015 base revision. Dan went on to talk about Contact Center, which also debuted this past year, plus Project …



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    Should You Centralize or Distribute Operations?

    Here's a Third Alternative to Consider

    Guest post by Daryl Berver, COO of Agora Inc.

     

    Throughout my career heading operations for Agora, I’ve always struggled with the question of centralized versus decentralized applications, and never more-so than in the past year. Which is preferable? More efficient? Traditional knowledge says you centralize for efficiency and decentralize for innovation.

    Makes sense.

    Centralized applications are cheaper for the business if you have different operational units in the company. Most publishing companies are smaller groups within a larger business, and this type of application structure is rather common. Looking at things from a high level economic view, it’s easy to see why. Centralization reduces needless redundancies between applications, saving …



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    EAUG to Meet in Copenhagen April 13-14

    The annual get-together of the European Advantage User Group is slated for April 13-14 at the headquarters of Aller Media in Copenhagen. Kicking off on Wednesday afternoon, the first day will include a presentation of Advantage News and Strategic Direction and a demo of the new Contact Center functionality. In between, attendees will be taken on a tour of the magnificent Aller building, which is something not to be missed.

    Thursday’s topics include concurrent workshops on Automated Testing and Marketing in the morning, followed by a Technology Update. Rounding out the conference will be updates on other major Advantage development initiatives such as Project Central, Cider Phase II, and Membership.

    As always, there will be many opportunities for participants to network with other …



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    The Best of “Both-and” Worlds

    How the AdvantageCS Development Team Optimizes Contrasting Styles

    I am, by temperament, indecisive.  Wishy-washy. Equivocating. I embrace both-and-ism rather than either-or-ism. It gets me in trouble at times. 

    My wife is similarly afflicted. She and I joke that our family motto is, “Indecision: the key to flexibility.” It’s impossible to plan vacations.  “Scotland would be fun,” but so would Tuscany. Or France. Or Spain. We end up enjoying the tried and true cottage-on-a-lake-with-friends we have been visiting for 30 years.

    At times, though, both-and-ism is exactly what is called for.  Here are three examples from my role leading on the software development teams.

    Openers AND Closers

    Some software developers love to start new projects, even when it’s unclear how big the project …



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    QA Q & A

    New Initiatives in Advantage Quality Assurance

    Eva Weissman recently became the QA Team Leader here at AdvantageCS and brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Her expertise is not limited to quality assurance---she is adept at analyzing processes and workflows and instituting efficiency measures at many levels. Through a series of questions from eVantage, Eva describes her approach, the initiatives she has put in place and her future plans for QA.

    How do you describe your new role at AdvantageCS in quality assurance testing?

    I lead a team of analysts that is responsible for quality assurance. We focus on three main areas: software modifications, regression testing, and process improvements. With regard to software modifications, we develop test plans, do the actual …



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    New Features Coming 1st Quarter 2016

    These Advantage features are either available now or will be soon. Contact your Advantage account manager for more information.

    MST210 - Consolidated Processes, Plus Additional Process Changes: In a major enhancement to Advantage, five separate processes (CIR210, PRO205, AMB210, CEM210, RPS205) have been eliminated and replaced by a single across-module process, MST210. This centralized financial posting process strategy not only consolidates module order processing, but also allows the A/R associated with orders to be posted within the same process. You will need to continue to run ARP210 and ARP230 for standalone debits and credits, but the debits and credits associated with orders now flow through the centralized posting step. Besides MST210, Advantage offers other new posting …



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