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  • All About Standing Order

    Say you have a line of products that focus on strength training.  Some of your customers are fanatics on this subject, and they want whatever you publish – "just send me all your new stuff on strength training," they say.  What do you do?  Well, you can tell them to watch your web-site for new products.  You could put them on a product update LST list.  Or you could make a note about it and put it in a folder.   (Hmmmm, where did I put that folder??) We've got the answer:  use Advantage's Standing Order module.  The Standing Order module allows you to track these types of requests and generate orders as soon as a new product becomes available. Standing Order also supports a customer's involvement with a content stream that is updated periodically.  It allows them to pay …



  • Daryl Vautour: Keep Calm and Carry On

      Not much ruffles Daryl Vautour.  His easy-going nature and sense of humor help him to be successful in the highly dynamic world of client support.  Support center manager EvActon describes him this way:  "Daryl is an incredible ‘can do, will do' guy!  He helps everyone everywhere whenever he can.  You don't even have to ask him. He's just the best." In his five years at ACS, Daryl has worked on documentation, served in the support center, performed on-site support and in his current assignment on the project team, helped manage upgrade and implementation projects. Although he enjoyed working in support, Daryl likes the experience of working with clients face-to-face.  And they like working with him as well. After some months of providing telephone support to …



  • Boys' Life Celebrates 100 Years

    Congratulations to the Boy Scouts of America on the 100th anniversary of Boys' Life magazine.  The magazine hit the centennial mark on March 1st and a year-long centenary celebration began.  The March issue is a special commemorative one full of highlights from the past 100 years of Boys' Life publications. In 1912, a copy of Boys' Life sold for 5 cents and a full page of advertising could be had for $35.  The first of many Norman Rockwell covers was published in 1913. Today,annual readership of Boys' Life is more than 8.2 million and over 6 billion people have read the magazine over the past 100 years.  The brand has kept up with the times as well, with 19,000 Facebook fans and a Twitter feed with several thousand followers. The Boy Scouts of …



  • Annual AUG Meeting a Success on The Strip

    The New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada was the site of the 2011 Advantage User Group conference and it was a hit!  Attendance was up this year, with 53 people (8 from overseas) representing 26 different clients.  In traditional AUG style, there were major travel woes on the east coast that caused delays, but most everyone made it safe and sound. The two hot topics were AMB (access management and billing) and BI (business intelligence).  Most clients are either on AMB, implementing AMB, or planning to implement it.  There were ACS presentations by Phil Montgomery and  me (Mona Hidayet) regarding the new AMB features coming in 2011, as well as two break-out round table discussions on implementing AMB and reporting on AMB.  The popularity of the topics was evident, …



  • Keeping Pace with Technology

    Last evening, I had the opportunity to observe my 13-year-old daughter handle a technical challenge that my wife was experiencing.  As my daughter took the laptop and started in to solve the problem, my wife looked at me with that now-familiar frown which says something like "Why can she do this when she's never taken a computer course in her life, and I, who have used computers for years, can't figure out how to begin?"  I smiled and told her not to take it personally.  Based on conversations I've had with friends, I believe most parents have experienced this phenomenon. Perhaps it's perspective.  Perhaps it's age.  After all, we observe children picking up a language without even thinking about it.  They just start talking, make lots of mistakes, get …



  • Highlights of 2011R1

    Here are some of the exciting new features in 2011R1, now available.  Contact your account manager for more information.  The promotion code maintenance user interface (formerly CPNPMO and its views) has been rewritten using the Advantage list frame and scripting features.  The new view, CPNDAT/PMO, allows the setup and maintenance of promotion codes and their related records (e.g., promotion items, regular premiums) from a central data entry point…instead of requiring you to route to multiple views.  The Advantage scripting feature allows you to construct different entry/maintenance scripts using a subset of fields: for example, perhaps you will have one script for entering e-marketing offers, and another for traditional mail offers. …



  • Analysis of Select Sets

    Advantage batch processes that use select criteria produce statistics that reflect the number of database records that were a) evaluated and b) selected (or deselected) at each level of the select logic.  The location of the directory that contains the statistics is environmentally defined by SELECTSTATLOC=<directory>.  Statistics reports are written to that directory if the environment variable is defined and the directory exists.  The default location is a subdirectory of the ProcLogs directory called Select_Stats.   This may be changed by the user. The process log file contains a message similar to "Selection analysis statistics in <pathname>", so that you may move from a particular log file to its statistics.  Similarly, the actual statistics …



  • ACS Welcomes Sunil Chawla

      Sunil Chawla has joined the ACS team and will be providing services to CDS Global-UK.  Sunil was the Advantage system administrator, DBA and IT manager at Maney Publications, but had to resign from this position in order to move to London. The timing worked perfectly for him to join the ACS team currently traveling regularly to Market Harborough to support CDS. A UK native, Sunil holds a degree in computer science from Manchester University and is also a certified Microsoft Database Administrator.  He lives in Bromley, near London, and in his leisure time, enjoys playing badminton and tennis and traveling to tropical destinations—anywhere with clear blue water where he can scuba dive and snorkel, although the Maldives is his …



  • Are You Taking Advantage of Customer Communication in Advantage?

    As the arena of customer communication becomes more and more personalized, you need the flexibility to create and send relevant communications as quickly and automatically as possible.  Advantage offers you this capability. Many of you have been using the customer letter functionality for years (note: for purposes of this article, the word "letter" refers to either email or a hard-copy snail-mail letter).  This is where you create a set of letter templates and via a Customer Note, Action Code, and MS-Word, Advantage sends the appropriate customized personal letter to a customer when  certain conditions are true , filling in such information as customer name and address, order number, subscription details, product order details, and order data.  This format is simple to set …



  • John Moore; Engineer and Fire Fighter

    In his five years at ACS, John Moore has made his mark on the software and in client support.  He was part of a team that rewrote MSTDAT/FAST and also worked on converting INVDAT into the new user interface style, which included implementing scripts there.  Although John has always been a member of the software development team led by Howie Brooks, he was tapped three years ago to enter the upgrade and support world in engineering.  John is a key member of the team that works with Agora, Inc. He describes his role as alternating between fire fighter putting out fires, superhero solving issues, and whipping boy (although that happens very rarely). Agora's Daryl Berver has this to say about working with John: "John is great. He has been able to not …



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