Dan Heffernan

A Look Back at 40 Years of Success

This year marks our 40th anniversary as a company. A milestone to celebrate!

We have experienced many highlights and transitions over the course of those 40 years, including product advances, shifts in our business model, moving to new office locations, recessions and now, a pandemic. Our software and services are renowned for their functional breadth, reliability, richness and flexibility. We continue to expand our software and services to align with the never-ending advances in technology and business.

Advantage Employees

Let’s look at a brief history:

  • 1980: T and B Computing was formed as a fully-owned subsidiary of Townsend and Bottum, a power plant construction company, using the talents of their IT staff to “go, make some money” using their programming skills. Our first two clients were a book distributor and a newspaper publisher, which is how we ended up in the publishing industry. Within two years, we had consumer and B2B magazine publishers, a scholarly publisher, a non-profit organization and a religious publisher on our client list. We still serve clients in those segments today.
  • 1981 – 1984: Recruited a team of software engineers, industry experts and business system analysts to design and develop a new generation of application software for all types of publishers using a customer-centric design.
  • 1988: Acquired by Thomas S. Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza, who was looking to acquire some promising high-tech companies. This accelerated the expansion of our software to other operating systems and databases.
  • 1989: Successfully migrated our software to run on DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) and IBM minicomputers.
AdvantageCS Headquarters

  • 1992: Acquired by 3 of the management team members who helped transition us from a start-up high tech company onto a strong path of product and financial success and stability.
  • 1995: Migration to Client/Server.
  • 1996: Advantage on Windows/NT.
  • 1997: Released integrated eCommerce and self-service solution. (Back in 1997, people would ask “what would we need a website for?” How times have changed.)
    Changed our company name to Advantage Computing Systems, later refined to be AdvantageCS. Our publishing management software solution, called “Publishers Advantage Computing System” or “Advantage” for short, was by then a recognized brand in the publishing industry. The company name was changed to incorporate the Advantage brand.
  • 1998: Database underneath Advantage was transitioned to be either Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.
  • 2001: Expansion outside US began with contract signing by Oxford University Press in the United Kingdom.
  • 2002: Developed capability to handle time-based subscriptions to digital products.
  • 2006: Software sale to first French client, Bayard Presse, put us on the European continent. (Expansion continues to this day, with 40% of our business now in 14 countries in Europe and the British Isles.)
  • 2007: A multi-lingual user interface was implemented into Advantage.
  • 2012: Advantage migrated to .NET, leaving behind our proprietary tools.
  • 2013: Workflow events developed for establishing rules-based actions when defined events occur.
  • 2015: Integrated eCommerce & self-service platform---“Cider”---is released.
  • 2016: Members Advantage---a robust upgrade to our solution for membership associations---was released.
  • 2017: Formed Advantage cloud team and began offering cloud services on Azure.
  • 2018: Integrated with Apple App Store. Developed Single Sign-on.
  • 2019: Began project to complete move of the entire Advantage suite to Web UI.
  • 2020: Advantage fully migrated to Web UI.
AdvantageCS Sign

“Since our formation 40 years ago, we have driven to expand our business solutions and services to meet the needs of many businesses and other organizations,” said Roger Varblow, AdvantageCS president. “We strive to provide leading-edge full-featured software and services to assist our clients in meeting their objectives. Reliability, integrity and stability are some of our key core values. We also endeavor to hire and retain highly educated, top-of-their-class professionals to allow us to provide the best available solutions and services to our clients. As in the past 40 years, the decades ahead will see many more changes and technological advances, and we will continue to meet those changes head-on with software and services that will help our clients thrive.”

Traditionally, milestones like this have been marked by some sort of summer picnic for all employees and their families. This year, however, we hope to have an event in September, with proper social distancing, of course.

A huge thank you to all of our wonderful clients and partners, past and present, who have helped us achieve this milestone. You are the greatest!

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