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Software

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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’ 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 key …



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    ‘Tis the season to give online gift certificates

    The Cider web platform provides a robust environment for customer self-service and order placement.  Now, just in time for the holidays, the platform also supports payments made through gift certificates.

    Gift certificates are already a native payment method in the Advantage software package, but now the Cider platform will also support payments made via Advantage gift certificates. You can choose whether or not a certificate is usable for web orders. 

    This feature also permits the ability to use a partial amount of the gift certificate, with the remaining amount available for future orders.  Online customers can enter a gift certificate number directly, if they choose. If a customer has a partially redeemed gift certificate on file, they can select it and use it for payment.

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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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    Customer Relationships Are Moving On

     Starting with release 17.5 of Advantage, you can work with customers in an Accounts and Contacts mode (which parallels how Salesforce.com structures customers).  You can move your customer maintenance view into this mode, search for Account customers and then view the contacts at an Account, displayed in a lower pane.

    This replaces---and substantially improves---the Location Customer feature.  In that feature, Advantage automatically created a “location” customer, where now it creates an “Account” customer.  A “location” customer was identified by a special address code; now an Account customer is identified by the customer Account? field set to Y.

    The Consolidated Overview by Location customer (which was difficult to access and did not include Access Management & Billing agreements) …



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    Customer Permissions (the GDPR way)

    What’s the state of your email junk folder?  Mine is pretty active with various promotions for IT related products and services.  Occasionally, I’ve given out my contact information in order to download a white paper or view a demonstration, and although I haven’t been asked if it was okay to forward my email address to other parties for their use, that certainly happened.

    Such permissions---and lack of them---are addressed by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.  GDPR goes into effect in May 2018, and if you have any European customers, it does involve your operation.

    One of GDPR’s main principles is that even though you maintain personal information for your customers, they retain ownership of it.  Since the data isn’t yours, you can only use it for purposes the …



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    Promotion Bundles

    A new feature, promotion bundles, is available at 2017.5 and allows you to sell a group of items together under a promotion without setting up a package for them. The feature works with the combination of a promotion and promotion choices. When an item that is part of the bundle is ordered under the promotion and non-blank choice, all items on the promotion with the same choice value are automatically added to the order. Likewise, deleting one item from the order also deletes the other items with the same promotion choice.

    To enable this feature, at the offer level in the setup dialog of the Promotion Items tab, set the Promotion Item Handling control to “Promotion Bundle.” This will then activate the feature across all items of the promotion. Turning this feature on will disallow …



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    PayPal in Advantage

    When was the last time you purchased something on a website that didn’t offer PayPal as a checkout payment option? OK, not every website does, but that number gets fewer every day. Customers love the convenience of storing their payment details in one centralized place, along with the “non-proliferation of information” security that this affords.

    Did you know that you can set up your Advantage-driven website to offer the PayPal payment option? Both the Advantage application and the Cider platform support the display, use, and storage of the elements of a PayPal transaction.

    Here’s how it works.

    In Advantage, a “Digital Wallet” payment type represents these various online payment options. PayPal is the first provider added under the Digital Wallet umbrella, and we will be adding …



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    Paywalls and Advantage

    I often get questions from prospects or clients---especially daily or weekly publishers---about how a paywall could be managed in Advantage. These questions are more complicated than they may first appear, since Advantage is a customer-centric platform used mainly to manage paid subscriptions.  I recently met with a French startup company – Poool – which has developed a structured design, and a potential paywall solution for publishers using Advantage.

    The rise of paywalls

    A "paywall" is the term used for policies restricting access to content---partially or fully---by requiring a paid subscription at some point. It has been around since the early days of publisher websites, with the first paywall introduced in 1997 by the Wall Street Journal. The practice has expanded since then, …



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