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eVantage Newsletter Masthead
Advantage Card Vault Rolls Out 

by Bryan Varblow

After a monumental effort to lift all payment card processing functionality out of Advantage, shift it into an independent application, and further enhance its security features, the new Advantage Card Vault is now rolling out to AdvantageCS clients. (See the article announcing this new application  here.) This massive project involved planning, development, quality assurance, deployment, communication, and project management efforts across the company. After thousands of hours of effort, the result is an application that provides continued PA-DSS certification and robust payment card security, while allowing Advantage to appear virtually unchanged to  the end user.

AdvantageCS clients receiving Advantage Card Vault with their 2018.0 (or higher) updates are reporting that end-user testing is going smoothly and virtually no user training is required. The only change visible to users is a new payment box that appears during entry of payment cards, which contains the same fields and general layout as they would have seen previously. This is due to a change we made where Advantage now calls the independent Advantage Card Vault application for the entry of any payment card data, which ensures that no payment card data is handled by Advantage directly.

The Advantage Support Center: Always at Your Service

by Cindy Twiss

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Advantage Support Center as it exists today. Prior to 1998, support was handled by the analyst teams, who also managed implementation projects and software upgrades, plus account management and training. With that model, however, team members often found themselves juggling conflicting priorities between their various roles. The solution was to form a team of analysts and engineers entirely devoted to support.
The center now has a full-time staff of four, plus a manager, and analysts from other teams help on occasion. Depending on the client and the issue, any one of half-a-dozen engineering teams provides technical assistance. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, the Advantage Support Center is available and its staff is eager to help. Clients can email and call anytime, or even stop by in person during US local business hours.
Check out our new Members Advantage video:
Congratulations to Karl Davis: Soon-to-Be Retiree

by Cindy Twiss

Karl Davis  starte d at AdvantageCS nearly 34 years ago, as a programmer/analyst assigned to what was then called the CIR development team. He spent 20 years on that team, 15 or so as its leader, until he was named to head up the newly-formed Engineering Consulting and Implementations team. That has been Karl's home for the past 14 years.
Dan Heffernan  knew Karl before he joined AdvantageCS. "I was a housemate of Karl's in 1983. Karl has always been meticulous, as well as precise, neat and tidy. So, when another housemate changed his oil in Karl's garage and then proceeded to spill some on the floor and back the car out leaving dark, oily tire marks down the driveway---well, it was all Karl could do to keep from destroying the driveway and re-paving it! Only the cost stopped him. Our housemate was allowed to continue living there, though I believe his rent was tripled, allowing Karl to save for the day when he COULD re-pave the driveway. (That last sentence isn't true, fortunately. If you know Karl, you know he'd never be unjust!)"
Congratulations to Bob Gray: Soon-to-Be Retiree

by Cindy Twiss

Bob Gray has the distinction of having more years of seniority at AdvantageCS than the company has been in business. That's because Bob was working at one of the firms that merged to become T & B Computing (the original name of AdvantageCS) and was able to count his years of service there when T & B Computing was formed.

In his 40+ years here, Bob has witnessed remarkable changes in operating systems, programming languages and software technology. When he first began his career in computing, he programmed in Fortran for a mainframe computer, even using card decks on occasion, and had to debug using core dumps (or hex dumps). Access to the computer was through shared terminals in a terminal room, where they were connected via phone modems running 300 baud. Reports and data were printed out on green-bar paper.
Fun Fact: It's only fitting that Karl and Bob are retiring on the same day---they started kindergarten on the same day at the same school!
Conversations with Clients: Jo Samyn, Mediahuis
  1. What is your name and current title?
My name is Jo Samyn, I am Application Manager Media services Readers Market.
  1. Where in the world do you call home?
I live in Haacht, a tiny village near Louvain, Belgium, at about 30 kilometers from the capital.
  1. What led you to your current position at Mediahuis?
I started as a temporary employee to work on a large sales campaign. Over the years, I learned everything there is to know about subscriptions and single copy sales.  The last years,  I have been increasingly focusing on software applications of the readers' market.
Check out our blog for the most up-to-date news and information about Advantage. New posts weekly!

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Themes from Digital Innovator's Summit in Berlin
by Dan Heffernan

Philippe van Mastrigt  and I recently attended Digital Innovator's Summit, the 2-day event run by FIPP and VDZ in Berlin each March. AdvantageCS exhibited at and sponsored this event.

The audience at this conference is strongly German and Nordic, with a number of AdvantageCS clients attending and speaking (A-Lehdet, Aller Media, Bonnier, and Egmont).

Trends that were mentioned in 2017, such as a shift from social network and ad models to subscription and reader revenue, were confirmed by a number of the speakers. "We are at the end of the beginning of a new age" was mentioned in the introductory remarks.

One City Per Postal Code? Not Always

by Paul DesRosiers

When looking at postal codes around the world, there are cases where two different cities are served by the same postal code.  For example, the zip code 94608 in California is used for both Emeryville and parts of Oakland.  One postal code, two cities.
Additionally, there are cases where the name of the city varies, depending on the language.  Brussels is a great example.  In Dutch, it's Brussels.  In French, it's Bruxelles.  Both are official languages of Belgium.
Within AdvantageCS, cities can be set up to handle both of these cases, thereby making address self-service more targeted to the customer and label generation more specific.  Both are subtle ways to improve customer service and provide a more personalized product to your customers.
Editor: Cindy Mikol Twiss

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