Angie Markel

Highlights from St. Petersburg; Advantage Users Group 2022

Day 1

The Advantage Users Group (AUG) recently met in sunny St. Petersburg, FL with a turn-out that represented about a dozen companies, including three overseas attendees from Mediahuis Belgium and Mediahuis Netherlands. After a warm welcome to our approximately forty attendees, Kevin Gervais from Massachusetts Medical Society, introduced the members of the AUG committee. Then he graciously handed things over to our own beloved Dan Heffernan who presented ACS News, Strategy, and Direction. In contrast to most, if not all our clients, Dan noted that ACS has been operating in-person for about a year and conveyed how our collaborative workplace continues to be a key ingredient to our company culture. He also talked about recent new sales and projects.

AdvantageCS continues to do about 60,000 hours of development each year on the Advantage platform, and over the coming months, we’ll be continuing to add new payment methods, expanding to run on Linux in addition to the Microsoft stack, continually improving the UX of the product, and re-architecting our reporting solution, among other things.

Next, the Integrations Panel Discussion was tag teamed by Informa representatives Carver Bonine, Business Systems Engineer and Brandon Marsh, Business Analyst and Agora WesTech representatives Suzanne Earley, Enterprise Architect and Getty Sarno, Chief Enterprise Architect. The two companies engaged nicely with each other captivating the audience with tips, tricks, and lessons learned about integrating outside data and applications with Advantage. The panel invoked stimulating audience interaction as they shared how they each manage their integrations.

Dan Heffernan AUG delivered the final presentation for the day, the Vendor Presentation. They demonstrated how to understand and influence customer behavior and how they use their analytics to acquire, engage, retain, and manage your customers. David Restrepo, Vice President of Partnerships, declared “If you’re looking to grow your digital business, we can help.”  Jonas Rideout, Global Head of Business Development, accompanied David; and the duo certainly showed how they can bring the keys to success to your digital audience.

Day 2

Day 2 commenced with John Sheehy, Chief Solutions Architect at AdvantageCS, as he provided an overview of Advantage new features, a breakdown of ACS development time, an overview of modification activities, and highlights of integrations.

Coming soon to your instance of Advantage:

  • Client-specific changes in the online help
  • Business Time system setting
  • Book Club enhances including:
  • different advancement models
  • a pre-paid model
  • an inclusion of Book Clubs in the Customer Activity view (SVCCTA)
  • Product Order Chains

John Sheehy & Howard Brooks

Next was the COVID-19 Response Panel Discussion that included powerhouse representatives Karen Adams-Taylor, VP of Publishing Operations from the American Medical AssociationCaryn Bair, Director of Media Services Operations from Informa, Suzanne Earley, Enterprise Architect from Agora WesTech, and Christine Plasterer, Portfolio Manager of Business Operations from Wolters Kluwer Health. The group revealed how their operations have changed since the pandemic.

John Sheehy and Paul Sauter

The Data Quality Controls Panel followed and Vince Yesenosky, Subscription Fulfillment and Retention Manager from Mary Ann Liebert and Joe Wixted, Manager of Fulfillment Systems from the American Medical Association, led the discussion. They shared their commonly-used data quality tests in Advantage that help them to identify various data conditions needing attention. Doug Moore, Director of Client Services at AdvantageCS, shared some tips surrounding system tests and how ACS uses them in our QA.

The day’s agenda also included breakout Roundtable discussions relating to Customer Service Retention in the New World and Data Retention Policies.

Concluding day two, John Sheehy once again delighted the audience with a training session about New Extended Demographics and Questionnaires that included an impromptu video chat with some AdvantageCS engineers back in Ann Arbor. Thank you, Howard Brooks and Paul Sauter, for your ad lib participation!

Day 3

The final day of the Advantage Users Group began with an AdvantageCS Technology Update presented by Matt Varblow, Vice President of Engineering at AdvantageCS. His update centered around three main ideas:  security, performance, and the cloud. Topics to note are that REST APIs are replacing web capsules to provide more security. “Project Goliath” will incorporate load testing into our batch process regression testing; and various database schema changes also have a goal of improving performance.

Day 3’s breakout Roundtable discussions included Supporting a Remote Workforce and A/I Intelligent Marketing/Machine Learning.

Lastly, Joe Wixted from the American Medical Association, Tricia Koning, IT Director from InterVarsity Press, and Mike Gilbert, Engineer from Crain Communications Inc. did an overview of Omnistream uploads, providing excellent examples for attendees to reference.

With another year of AUG in the books, attendees continue to express that the biggest benefit to the conference is the networking and the camaraderie with others that results from attending regularly.

We hope to see you next year!

Matt Varblow Technology Update
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