January/February 2021
Have You Seen Our User Interface Lately?
The Advantage user interface---we call the latest version Sky---continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of Advantage users and the technological landscape. The Sky UI offers increased efficiency, reduced complexity and added flexibility to the user experience for your team. It also comes with robust architectural underpinnings for the modern application.

Full Web Experience
Since Sky runs entirely in the browser, there are no more application installations. Users simply open their browser and start using the powerful features they are used to. Oh, and the transition to Sky happens seamlessly as part of our guaranteed upgrade path.
Ray Zick: Persistent Problem Solver and People Person
by Cindy Twiss

Ray Zick has his head in the clouds. No, he isn’t absent-minded or unaware, and he’s certainly not illogical. Quite the opposite, in fact. But as the manager of the Cloud Services team at AdvantageCS, he spends a lot of time with his head---as well as the rest of him---in the clouds. He and his team provide hosting services for Advantage clients in the cloud and are constantly working to enhance what services they can offer to cloud clients, such as continuing improvements to onboarding procedures.

But that’s not all Ray’s team does. They manage our internal systems and network and provide user support to everyone in the company. When the lockdown in Michigan began last March, the team scrambled to get dozens of employees, who had always worked in the office, set up to work remotely. Which they did in record time. During that period, at least one of them was always in the office while the others worked remotely. With restrictions eased, team members can most often be found in the office. Ray explains that they all missed being in the same area where---even with distancing---they could hear what the others were working on and be able to jump in to help.
2020: A Retrospective
by Dan Heffernan

Could it have been a more challenging year?

There were moments, especially in the last few months, when it seemed as if everything I encountered was negative and I really wondered if we would ever return to our “normal” life.

Then I watched a Band of Brothers episode and realized that life isn’t as bad as it could be. We are not in the middle of a world war, though some fellow humans are experiencing war.

So, the answer to my opening question is a resounding “yes!” It could have been much more challenging.

This is not meant to minimize the difficulties that many have experienced, nor the sorrow in the face of loved ones dying and others suffering from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, either physically, emotionally or financially. It has been tough for most, but it has been awful for many.

Air Business Wins Industry Partner of the Year

Congratulations to Advantage client Air Business, which was recently awarded the ‘Industry Partner of the Year’ in the 2020 PPA Independent Publishers Awards in the UK.

“We loved Air Business’ commitment to helping Independent Publishers meet the challenges they face while embodying an ethical approach to business. In particular, their approach to Covid-19 challenges showed a willingness to go the extra mile to help their customers,” explained judge Sally Hampton of DC Thomson.

The judges’ comments included: “They show strong communication and a nimble approach, switching transportation to get the most reliable service and good deals. The growth figures are a testament to strong performance in more 'normal' times.”
HAPPY 2021!
Publishing Trends in 2020
This article is a write-up of a presentation by Philippe van Mastrigt, Director of European Operations at AdvantageCS at the 2020 European Users meeting.

The Covid Disruption
A year ago, who would have predicted the COVID crisis? This worldwide pandemic and the consequences of the first world-wide lockdown have impacted many industries, including publishing. For publishers, the impact has produced new challenges but has also had some positive effects.

First the good news: the pandemic has generated a huge demand for reliable news. This is a significant shift from the previous trend of decreased interest in information according to several polls done last year (for example, the one done by French daily La Croix in January 2020).
Data-Driver Decisions vs. the Movies
by Dan Heffernan

Movies, TV shows and novels are riddled with uninformed decisions made by characters who don’t know the full story. This lack of accurate information provides tension and suspense as things go awry until another character, who knows the truth, reveals it.

Unfortunately, uninformed decisions are also made by real people who don’t have all the data they need to make informed decisions. And some such decisions are important, high-impact ones that have repercussions for years to come.

Why do humans do this?
  • Is it because our emotions get in the way of critical thinking? 
  • Is it because we’re too lazy to do our due diligence?
  • Is it because we believe we have a good “gut feel” for such decisions, so we don’t worry about the facts?

Editor: Cindy Mikol Twiss
3850 Ranchero Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108 USA
Phone: +1 734 327 3600
Fax: +1 734 327 3620