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Mediahuis Completes Migration to Advantage with 3rd Go-Live

by Cindy Twiss
Congratulations to Mediahuis, whose Belgium office (MHB) recently completed its second of two go-lives on Advantage. This large implementation project began in November 2017 and was planned with three go-lives across two offices. The first phase was completed in October 2018 when Mediahuis Limburg (MHL) successfully converted off their legacy P5 system and began fulfilling their daily Dutch newspaper,  De Limburger , through Advantage after an 11-month project.

The MHB team that was involved from the start, assisting with the MHL project while also working on their implementation in parallel, was able to celebrate their first go-live in early November 2019. The most recent go-live, in December 2019, marked the last of three fulfillment systems at Mediahuis that were planned to migrate to Advantage.

"The go-live of a new subscription management system is a 'once-in-career' event. As such, one can't acquire a lot of experience in it," explains  Koen Maes , Director Media Services. "On top of that, the complexity is very high with a lot of interfaces between systems and dependencies between business units: the system is a bridge between the editors, sales and the reader. All this means that, on the one hand, there is no room for improvisation, while on the other, we need to have the flexibility to manage future growth and improvements that are not yet known. I admire and recognize the resilience and team spirit of the project team that searched for and implemented such a solid solution."
AdvantageCS Continuity Plan in Place

by Bryan Varblow 
updated March 17, 2020

Service to clients will be uninterrupted in case of office closure

First of all, I'd like to express the deep concern that all of us at AdvantageCS have for all those around the world affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are dealing with circumstances as a direct consequence, as well as the many other people experiencing anxiety and uncertainty at this time.

With the epidemic that has affected so many people around the world, several of our clients have asked about how we're handling the situation, including the effects of employees having restricted access to our Ann Arbor offices.

AdvantageCS has a continuity plan for handling the support of our clients, should our Ann Arbor office need to be partially or fully closed during normal business hours. This is a plan that we have needed to implement to some extent for short periods of time in the past, primarily due to snowstorms. The plan would apply to any case where a significant number of AdvantageCS employees could not be in our offices, including the case of recommended quarantines.

As part of our continuity planning, AdvantageCS has ensured that physical access to our offices is not required to support our clients in their production operations, on projects, or with on-going software development. 


Tales from Texas; 2020 Advantage Users Group in Austin

by Cindy Twiss
Fifty attendees from 17 Advantage client companies gathered recently at the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas for the 2020 Advantage Users Group conference. The weather cooperated nicely, with no rain and several warm and sunny days.

Kevin Gervais   (Massachusetts Medical Society), current Steering Committee Chair, welcomed everyone to the conference on Wednesday afternoon and set a positive tone for the meeting.

Dan Heffernan   (Vice President & Chief Product Manager at AdvantageCS) kicked off the presentation parade with his customary AdvantageCS News, Strategy, and Direction presentation. To recognize the 40th anniversary of AdvantageCS this year, he took a look back at 1980, including showing photos from that period of each of the 10 AdvantageCS people in attendance. He followed that with overviews of AdvantageCS product and innovation milestones over the years and then a report of client and project activity over the past year. As usual, he wrapped up with a look at what is planned for the next year and few years to come, both on the business and technology sides of the software.
5 Reasons Not to Interrupt When Your Client is Talking

by Dan Heffernan

I have recently been practicing not 
Interrupting. In the process of practicing this, it has come to my attention that I am not the only person who does it. Amazingly, many people interrupt when their customer is talking. Do you want to know the top five reasons not to interrupt when your client is talking? Read on.

1. Your customer is handing you a gift when they talk to you, especially if they are complaining. They are telling you what you can do to improve your business. If we can just keep silent long enough, we'll learn what it is that we can do to enhance our product or service, delight our customers instead of upsetting them, and turn them into excellent references, which will increase sales. So, help me out here, but why on earth would we not want all that? One reason might be that we aren't very humble. See no. 2 below.

2. It shows humility. Swallowing our pride is difficult, but if we can do it, readily admitting our faults (and our organization's), we can realize the above benefits. Most people are attracted to humility. But most of us don't display it. We're too busy letting everyone know how wonderful we are!
This Is Customer Service?!?!

by Ken Nemerovski

An example of how NOT to treat your best customers---or any customers

I have always considered myself to be a customer service "warrior." When receiving really good customer service, I'll agree to buy just about anything. I'll even make a point of sending an e-mail or completing an online survey to make sure the rep's performance is acknowledged as being "truly exceptional."

On the other hand, there are times when customer service is bad ... really bad. When things don't go well, it is both convenient and easy to blame "the messenger." However, it is often the case that the rep has been neither trained nor empowered to solve a customer's problem. Consider this recent scenario.

I have been a faithful subscriber to a certain popular magazine since the mid-1960s. Until a couple of years ago, the magazine was published on a weekly basis, and my copy was delivered with unfailing reliability every Thursday in the US Mail. In early 2018, the frequency and format changed drastically, and it was simply not the same product I had looked forward to reading every week.

The change in frequency---from weekly to biweekly---was bad enough, but the change in format was even more extreme. Instead of delivering true sports news and photographs at the highest level, the magazine content was reduced to one feature story after another. The edict from the corner office must have been ... If our readers want real sports news, they can find it at our website.
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Trends in the Publishing Industry - 2019  (Part 2 of 3)

by Philippe van Mastrigt

Part 2:  Subscription fatigue?

Digital subscription acceleration has also brought up the issue of subscription fatigue. The proponents of the concept claim that, due to the proliferation of non-publishing subscription services (Netflix, Spotify etc.), people will reach their subscription saturation point, at publishers' expense. Evidence of this is lacking, however. Perhaps it is the reason behind the low number of paying subscribers, and the limited number of publications subscribed per individual. But is this much different from the heyday of print? How many different press publications did most people subscribe to then?

Behind the concept of fatigue are the suppliers promoting other models. Some still advocate selling items on a one-off basis. But this practice continues to decline, as demonstrated by the   discontinuation of this offer in 2019 by the title "The European" and more importantly,   the end of this model for Dutch platform Blendle in 2019, the latter permanently pivoting towards a subscription model. It is these offers seeking to imitate Netflix or Spotify that triggered a lively debate in the publishing world last spring. The concept of multi-title platforms is not new. There are many international and local players, such as   Inkl in Australia,   Readly in Sweden,   Pressreader (Canadian) or  Le Kiosk. They never really broke through, but Apple's entry may have suggested that the scale was changing. However, the   Apple News + offer instills distrust, particularly by its 50% commission, and several major dailies have refused to join it (the New York Times and the Washington Post). As for others, they publish a reduced version of their content offering on the platform (Wall Street Journal). For the time being, the results show limited success and it is not certain that   the arrival in Europe of Apple News + in September will reverse the trend.
Editor: Cindy Mikol Twiss

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