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    Matt Varblow Named Vice President

    Matt Varblow has been promoted to vice president, engineering services. He reports to Dick Hile, vice president, product engineering, who states: "Matt's leadership -- both technical and organizational -- has been a key contributor to our progress in improving our product and our engineering services." In addition to managing the engineering services teams, Matt is still one of the chief software architects at AdvantageCS, helping to steer the application architecture as our software continues to evolve.

    In his sixteen+ years at ACS, Matt has filled multiple key roles. Before joining AdvantageCS permanently, Matt began working here during the summers when he was 14, helping out with configuration control.  Even at that time, Matt was an old hand at computer programming, having taught …



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    Dan's Blog: Smartphones Outsmart Us

    Is it just me, or is everyone experiencing more use of their smartphones? These "mobile moments" are becoming more frequent in my life, at least. A year ago I hadn't installed my bank's app and did all my banking on my laptop. Now I do all my deposits using my smartphone and find myself checking balances there more and more. A couple of years ago I thought I'd never use Facebook on my smartphone...but I almost never use it on my laptop now. Recently my wife was writing a long email on her smartphone and I asked why she doesn't use the desktop so she can edit more efficiently? Her answer was that the desktop was upstairs.  

    I guess that's what the word "mobile" means, after all: able to move. Our mobile phones can be with us all the time. I see more participants in meetings looking at …



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    Product Bundling – A Key Marketing Strategy

    Many Advantage features are born from the minds of marketers---not only from our clients, but also from our internal experts. One simple reason is the need for publishers to stay competitive in today’s market by implementing increasingly sophisticated marketing campaigns. One area guided by marketers that has seen quite a bit of development in the last several years is product bundling (known in the Advantage software context as packages). Advantage has supported bundling for 15+ years, but today there are about 10 different flavors available. You might be thinking: isn’t a bundle just a bunch of products? What could distinguish one from the other? Consider the following three use cases:

    The customer can choose from the print version of a magazine, the digital version, or a bundle …



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    Advantage Software: Improving the Flow of Streams of Orders

    Advantage’s OrderStream Framework Breaks the Log Jam of Order Upload

    While Advantage is a customer-centric system, order transactions are a central component of the customer profile. Getting orders processed quickly and efficiently is paramount, and the flexibility to accept order transactions from a variety of sources is a critical component of the system. Our clients take orders from sources such as eCommerce sites, trade shows, phone calls, postcards, mobile applications, agents, lockboxes, SMS, and other third-parties. To accommodate these sources, Advantage offers three basic types of input---through the application’s user interface, through the use of the Software Development Kit (SDK), and through file uploads. Over its history, Advantage has consistently been the market leader …



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    Preview of Some Advantage Features Coming This Fall

    These are just some of the new Advantage features that will be available in the fall of 2015. Contact your Advantage account manager for more information.

    Autocomplete Feature: An optional autocomplete feature is available (triggered at the user level), whereby Advantage will suggest values for validated fields based on what the user has typed in to that point.  Under this feature, the more the user types, the narrower the list of possible matches (the user can arrow up and down to see the possible matches). At any time, the user can stop and select one of the suggested values.

    Separate “Promote by Phone” Flags: You can now expose and use separate “promote by” flags on each of the three telephone numbers on the customer address record. (The fourth telephone number field is dedicated …



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    Dan's Blog: Why do businesses "flock" to trendy technology, even when it doesn't meet their needs?

     On a recent trip to England, a group of us took a hike up a hill past a flock of sheep.  Sheep are so charming:  pleasant to see on the side of a hill, not terribly wild or boisterous, and very compliant when it is time to get their wool sheared.  At one point, the farmer pulled up to a corner of the very large field the sheep were occupying and they started bleating and running toward the truck.  They clearly were trained that this was feeding time, and responded with the enthusiasm of my 19-year-old son under similar circumstances.  This was, without meaning to sound too trite...so stick with me here...an example of when it's a good idea to follow the flock.  However, we all know that sheep are, in fact, too compliant for their own good, and can walk willingly to be slaughtered.  That' …



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    European Advantage Users Group meets in London

     

    The 2015 European Advantage User Group meeting was held 15 April at the conveniently located London Paddington Hilton.  Attending were 33 clients representing 12 companies from England, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium and Portugal.  AdvantageCS was itself “multi-national,” with staff from England and France as well as the United States.

    Dan Heffernan, VP of Sales and Product Direction, led the day and kicked it off with an overview presentation of AdvantageCS news and the roadmap looking ahead.  He highlighted our three newest clients, including Talentum from Finland, who had three representatives at the conference.

    One (of many) entertaining images that Dan showed in his Prezi presentation was a pair of blue jeans, indicating a recent dress code change at the AdvantageCS …



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    Preview of Advantage Features Coming This Summer

    There are some exciting new features coming your way this summer in Advantage. Here are just a few--contact your Advantage account manager for more information.

    Streamlined Customer Information Maintenance: Customer and address maintenance via the SVCCTM view and Customer Lookup dialog has been significantly enhanced. Replacing the static, tabbed entry dialog is an approach using Advantage scripts. You can reduce the entry fields to just those required for your business---as well as take advantage of other script entry features such as open/close/require, user-definable field captions, and customizable presentation.

    ARPCAR Reorganization: The ARPCAR view has been changed from a list frame of credits and debits that satisfy your search criteria to top-pane list frame and bottom-pane …



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    Dan's Blog: The Gift of Criticism

    Recently, my wife needed to go back to a doctor's office where she'd had some minor surgery done some months earlier.  She was in pain and was concerned about infection.  She called the office to find out when they could see her but was met with the proverbial "please leave a message" announcement, rather than being answered by a human.  Instead of leaving a message and sitting by the phone for the rest of the morning, she decided to drive to the office and see them face-to-face and ask in person for a last-minute appointment.  I decided to join her so we could chat on the way.

    When we walked into the office, I knew we were going to have a less-than-pleasant customer service experience.  It was written all over the face of the receptionist.  She was cool, aloof, and lacking in compassion. …



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    Continuity Programs in Advantage

    Did you know that Advantage offers continuity programs for your books and products? A continuity series allows customers to purchase a set of related products that are released to them sequentially over a period of time.  Continuity programs give you the opportunity to periodically remind customers of your brand; the customer gets more exposure to your content and they get to “belong” to a club.  Throw in some premiums and it’s a recipe for happy, loyal customers.

    You can set up a continuity program using the Book Club functionality or the Standing Order program.

    Here’s how Book Club works. Customers join a club (they become members) by responding to your offers to join, or you can select people and automatically add them.  Alternatively, you directly add them as part of an order (for …



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