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Yeeha! AUG Takes San Antonio by Storm

Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but the group did make its presence felt. Sixty-four Advantage users from 21 different companies descended on the Holiday Inn San Antonio Riverwalk for more than two days of meetings, presentations and networking spread over the first three days of February.

Kicking off the conference on Wednesday afternoon was outgoing steering committee president Lesley Jones of Duke University Press who acted as emcee for the event, welcoming the attendees and outlining the schedule for the next 48 hours.

First up to the presentation podium was Dan Heffernan, VP and chief product manager, who reported to the group on the product advancements made over the last year and what we have planned for the upcoming 12-18 months on the product roadmap and some new developing partnerships. More on that later.

Next up was Waylon Butler from the American Institute of Physics who partnered with Edward Evans from Atypon to describe how AIP had implemented Atypon’s content management system at their organization.

Rounding out the afternoon was a panel discussion on the use of the digital subscription capabilities of Advantage by Mark Fung-a-fat of the Massachusetts Medical Society, Joe Wixted of the American Medical Association and Phil Montgomery, director of product planning at AdvantageCS.

The first day closed with a lovely meet-and-greet networking reception where old friends caught up on the past year’s events and new friendships were established.

Thursday was a jam-packed day, starting bright and early with a technology update from Dick Hile, VP of Product Engineering and Matt Varblow, VP of Engineering Services. Doesn’t everyone love to talk about technical matters at 8:30 in the morning? (Actually, most people did.)

Roundtables titled “Ask AdvantageCS” (anchored by Scott Ghormley and Phil Montgomery) and “Continuous Updates” (led by Joe Wixted and Suzanne Earley of Publishing Services (The Agora)) produced lively discussion and tons of excellent information.

Mona Hidayet, director of business development, presented the ever-popular new Advantage features and previews of upcoming functionality.

Panel discussions on “Reporting” (presented by Mark Fung-a-fat, Brandon Marsh of Penton Media and Phil Montgomery) and “Discounts and Promotions” (anchored by Dennis Biswell of Ogden Publications, Christy Westcott of Unity World Headquarters and the ultra-busy Phil Montgomery) convened after lunch. They were followed by breakout sessions on “UI and Data Entry” (with Dennis Biswell, Mindy Bricker of Wolters Kluwer Health and Doug Moore, manager of program management) and “Eventing” (presented by David Schweinfirth of Publishing Services (The Agora), Joe Wixted and Phil Montgomery). Thursday concluded with a demo of Members Advantage by John Sheehy, product manager.

Thursday evening was a time to unwind and enjoy the nightlife in San Antonio. Attendees could choose to join a group for a river cruise, reserve a seat at a dueling pianos venue, or explore on their own.

Friday began with a keynote address by Daryl Berver of The Agora, who shared some interesting mantras that have helped him in his career. Next, Dominc Toasland of CDS Global and Klas Persson from Egmont Publishing gave their perspectives on the publishing industry in the UK and Europe, respectively.

The morning carried on with roundtables on “Payment Handling” (spearheaded by April Startzman of Wolters Kluwer Health, Tim Swietek of Ogden Publications and Scott Ghormley) plus a breakout Cider Workshop session with John Sheehy. The final roundtables were “Selling at Conferences” (led by Dennis Kerlin of Our Sunday Visitor, Dennis Biswell and Scott Ghormley) and “Integrations” (hosted by Joe Wixted and John Sheehy).

Then it was time to pack up the boots and spurs and say goodbye.

Whew! Masses of knowledge and material were exchanged during this most recent meeting of Advantage users, interspersed with ample time to network and socialize. Plans are already being made for next year’s conference. Hope to see you there!

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