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The Future for Advantage

When I joined ACS as Director of Product Development in the early 80's, we were entering the in-house fulfillment systems marketplace with the unique opportunity to develop software simultaneously for a magazine publisher and a book publisher. From the very beginning, ACS has been able to offer a fully integrated subscription and book fulfillment software solution. We made our mark in the years that followed by rapidly establishing and expanding Publisher's Advantage as a fully integrated system that enabled circulation print publishers to rapidly expand their business through marketing and selling of one-off products to their subscribers.

The Internet was coming into its own as a viable business medium when I became President of ACS in 1992. In response, we developed the Advantage WEB module to support these new forms of commerce. Army Times was our first client to implement the WEB module for transacting with the U.S. armed services world-wide. This enabled Army Times to process transactions for print publications online at their convenience, even on ships at sea! Many of our clients have since similarly implemented this module to expand their business opportunities.

The last decade has seen the further emergence of technology on the web enabling publishers to deliver content online in digital format. For many of our clients, this has ushered in a whole new set of challenges, forcing the revolutionary transformation of the traditional print subscription paradigm. ACS introduced the Access Management and Billing module (AMB) in 2004 to address these needs. We are helping several of our clients with major AMB initiatives and this month we convened an AMB roundtable to get your input regarding this key module. Our new clients now routinely purchase the AMB module in addition to the Circulation module. We expect that the first new Advantage client purchasing AMB and not Circulation is not far off?Advantage supporting a fully online publishing business, with no print circulation.

Our next frontier involves the development of real-time business intelligence and marketing tools. Many of you are using Advantage reports, SQL queries, data warehouse extracts, and PivotTable reports to extract and analyze data to make important business decisions. Now, we are investing significant ACS resources to develop a Business Intelligence module that will enable you to retrieve data more easily and analyze it more deeply than ever before. We expect that this new module will help you to rapidly identify and capitalize on new opportunities.

While many publishing organizations are experiencing declines in their circulation, many ACS clients are increasing their overall income by adjusting their business model using our new Advantage modules, such as AMB. A number of our clients are also taking advantage of enhanced marketing, customer service, and fulfillment tools delivered in new Advantage releases. At the same time, we're also continuing to make Advantage a more turnkey solution that requires fewer resources and less management. We're even offering Application Solution Provider (ASP) solutions for clients and prospects who want to focus their resources on marketing, customer service, and fulfillment, rather than on IT. In addition, we have continued to expand the services that we provide to assist clients in converting new publications into Advantage, upgrading software and servers, and helping clients to ensure they are taking full advantage of the many features of Advantage. Our highly trained and experienced business analysts and software engineers are available to assist you.

It's important to ACS, and personally to me, that Advantage fully meet your business requirements and respond to shifts in the industry. I extend my warmest invitation for you to attend our annual Training Week in October, where we'll also be hosting a Business Intelligence module roundtable.

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