In This Issue:
We'd like to point out important information in this issue of the KeyOps Dispatch:
Mike Ferren, Premier Account Manager
celebrated his 20th anniversary with the company this year. Yes, he is related to one of the founders of Distributed Data Management Systems (DDMS); Dave Ferren was his uncle. Mike has served as an authority on networking and hardware support for many years. He took on a supervisory role for ECi Premier Account Managers in 2004.
Val Valadez, Team Alliance
Val joined the company in 1989. He has served as a leading authority on hardware and networking. Previously, he worked three years in electronics repair, and studied electronics at Tarrant County Junior College in Fort Worth, Texas.
Scott Eller, Team Pinnacle
Scott joined the company in 1995. He has specialized in hardware, networking, and report writer, and served as our leading authority on the UNIX platform. Previously, he worked as a CAD graphical designer for a nuclear power facility.
Jason Morris, Team Collective
Jason joined the company in 2000 with a Bachelor's degree in computer information systems from DeVry University. Jason has served as our leading authority on the ASP platform and the AutoComm fax and email application. "I'm ready and willing to help our customers out with any sort of issue."
Sean Siem, Team Synergy
Sean joined the company in April 2005 with more than ten years of experience supporting systems and servers. Previously, he worked for Gamestop's corporate offices, Microsoft's Premier Support, and served seven years in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
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ECi Brands Project Cozumel As ECinteractive® and Launches Demo
eCommerce Industries, Inc., announced ECinteractive® (pronounced e-c-Interactive) as the brand name for its next-generation Web storefront and Internet service application.
Code-named "Project Cozumel" during development, ECinteractive is in final testing at selected dealer sites.
A real-time demo of the end user site is available for you to test drive:
- Go to http://demo.ecinteractive.com/demo
- In the MyAccount login space, enter the user ID: demo
- Enter the password: yourdemo
The demo is a working site, not just a slide show. So you can try it out yourself:
- Note how fast search results display, now that search data is categorized and cached for all sites…
- See how QuickOrder interactively displays item details and pricing when you enter a SKU and a quantity, without having to refresh the page…
- Add MyFavorites list items from many points: MyOrders history, QuickOrder, product information pages, Other Products of Interest, and other MyFavorites Lists …
- Sort or group orders by column headers, and expand or collapse details on MyOrders history, Approvals, and more…
This demo is intended to allow you to try out the latest beta version of ECinteractive. At this time it is not set up to allow posting of comments or submission of enhancement requests.
Once beta site dealers indicate that the product is ready for general release, we will set up a controlled general release schedule, as we do for all ECi software general releases. Sites will be turned on in waves, a process that may take several weeks. The first waves will include beta sites and large investors, with consideration made for historical online order volume. ECi's controlled approach to general releases allows your training and support teams to provide the requisite attention to all dealers in a fair manner, and to properly assess server performance as consumer usage increases.
ECi is also preparing detailed instructions and marketing material to assist in migrating customers to the new site.
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Free Web Training in August: DDMS System Maintenance
ECi is offering a new free 90-minute Web-based training course in August to help you keep your DDMS system in top shape.
Learn how to optimize your system using preventative maintenance steps. For example, learn when and how to:
- Defragment your server's hard drive(s).
- Diagnose and solve file problems within DDMS.
- Delete temporary files and log files safely.
Learn how to maintain files related to your quarterly catalog item and pricing updates, for example:
- Clean up invalid or outdated records.
- Purge obsolete files you previously downloaded.
(For more information about related topics, see System Maintenance (pdf) and Utilities FAQs.)
Each Web session will welcome up to 50 concurrent connections on a first-come, first-served basis. You and your co-workers can join us from one office if you wish, and you can choose from these remaining dates:
- Corrected: Thursday Aug. 17, 10:00-11:30 am Central Time (PIN: 69587#)
- Friday Aug. 25, 1:00-2:30 pm (PIN: 56982#)
- Tuesday Aug. 29, 10:00-11:30am (PIN: 69587#)
No need to register. For connection instructions, see Free Web Based Training (www.DDMS.com/training/free/).
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Fort Worth Offers Hands-On Training for Furniture & Supplies
ECi is hosting special hands-on software training seminars at our Fort Worth, Texas facility. Each three-day seminar consists of two sessions with complementing topics:
2006 Seminar Schedule
(Details & Registration on ECiSolutions.com)
||Office Furniture System Training
||Office Products System Training
||Day-End & Loading O/PUS
||Office Products System Training
Attend a specific session, or join us for all three days at a discounted rate – whichever is more appropriate for your business. Each seminar offers hands-on training in the newly released Version 8 software. Participants will have the opportunity to learn by actually using the software to perform everyday tasks.
*The cost to attend includes lunches and training materials. For session outlines, registration forms, and details on lodging and transportation, see Training Seminars on ECiSolutions.com.
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USSCO to Migrate Dialup UniLink Users to InterLink in 2007
United Stationers (USSCO) has begun to phase out its dial-up connectivity to Unilink, for complete suspension in June 2007.
USSCO reduced the number of dial-up connections, and is encouraging as many dealers as possible to migrate by September of 2006 to another form of connectivity with United, such as the ECi Private Supply Network (PSN).
"The reason for this discontinuation is two-fold," said Curtis Bice, USSCO's eBusiness Marketing Program Coordinator. "First, with our corporate offices moving to Deerfield and the moving of our data center, we are trying to streamline operations. Second, the dial-up equipment and software will no longer be supported by our vendor, making it increasingly difficult for us to support, troubleshoot and repair."
In a related matter, United Stationers recently suspended modem access to its SCORE system as of June 30, 2006, in favor of its WebSCORE system, which allows multiple connections via the Internet from any location. For DDMS users, it meant no longer attempting to access SCORE from the (SR-F) Purchase Order Entry screen.
For DDMS, the alternative to the dial-up Unilink is to access InterLink via the PSN (See related article below.)
For more information about WebScore and Unilink, contact your USSCO representative or Customer Technical Support (CTS) group at 800-733-5555.
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New! Get United Stationers Electronic Invoices Via PSN
ECi has enhanced its Private Supply Network (PSN) services so that you can receive United Stationers electronic invoices via PSN.
In the coming weeks, ECi will release the DDMS Version 8.10.40 software update. With this maintenance release, two new PSN fields have been added to the (L6F) United Communications parameters.
The first new PSN field replaces the United Direct field for PSN purchase order transmissions. When you load Version 8.10.40 and higher, the software update will translate your United Direct setting to this PSN field. If your (L6F) screen had United Direct set to Y to transmit P/Os, this first new PSN field will likewise be set to Y.
The other new PSN field is located to the right of the Elec Inv# field. If you currently transmit P/Os via PSN, but receive United Stationers electronic invoices via modem, set this PSN field to Y so that you can use the PSN for electronic invoices as well.
Receiving United Stationers electronic invoices via PSN requires a software update. If you wish to use this new feature, please email a request for Version 8.10.40 or higher to email@example.com. Please include your name, company name, account number, phone number, and shipping address for verification purposes.
For complete setup instructions, see:
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FAQ: How Do I Set Up
Furniture P/O Communications?
If you’re a furniture dealer, you can look forward to new electronic purchasing services from the ECi Private Supply Network from Global Industries (to be released with DDMS Version 8.10.40, pending final testing).
But did you know that you can already communicate P/Os to Allsteel via the PSN? Of course, last issue, we discussed communicating with Steelcase Hedberg and Herman Miller Kiosk systems. For detailed instructions, see Furniture FAQs (www.DDMS.com/support/faq/furn.htm).
Also coming soon: new PSN services for Haworth, Kimball International and Knoll.
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FAQ: Should I Purge Machine
Tech Recap and Totals?
If you’re a machine dealer, you may have opted in the past to purge your tech recap and tech totals during month-end procedures.
However, we actually recommend that you do NOT purge your tech recap and tech totals monthly.
Purging tech recap and totals diminishes the utility of the Machine Tech tabs and related reports, because it removes historical data for all techs.
So instead, we recommend that you keep the default setting as N for the Purge Tech Recap and Purge Tech Totals options in the (EZ+P) Period End Procedure screen at month end in most cases. In DDMS, access the screen by double-clicking the Serialized icon, typing +P, and selecting the [M] End of Month action code. You may have to enter the password from the (EZ1S) screen.
For detailed instructions, see Chapter 145: Performing Month End Procedures of the Serialized Reference Manual or the online help topic, Understanding Serialized Month-End Procedures.
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Spotlight: ECi Support Managers
Let us introduce you to the ECi Technical Support managers:
For Team Alliance and Team Synergy, the immediate manager is Susan Hunt. Susan joined the company in 2002 as a support technician, and was promoted in 2005 to Support Manager. Previously, she has several years of experience as a DDMS key operator, and 23 total years of experience in the office products industry, having worked for three different office products dealers.
"It's not just the software that matters," Susan said. "It's important that our technicians understand the flow of the business and what the dealer is trying to accomplish. And that comes across in the feedback from the dealers. Dealers are not just a number to the technicians. They really care about the customer."
Managing Team Collective and Team Pinnacle is Richard Meager. Richard joined the company in 1990. He was in charge of Acuma, our first e-commerce Web shopping cart product, when it first started. He also managed several Windows add-on applications before DDMS moved to the Windows platform. Previously, he was a warehouse manager for Office Depot.
"I'm hearing customers say they are very pleased with the team structure, because it's more personal, and their techs are able to get to know their business," Richard said. "Of course, Susan and I are available to address any escalated issues. If a customer indicates that something is not resolved, we are immediately notified so we can take appropriate action."
The support department's Technology Manager is Andrew Koebbe. Andrew joined the company in 2003 as a support technician, specializing in e-commerce and mobile products. He was promoted in 2005 to implement tools that help the support department manage personnel, time, call data, performance levels, and related projects. Previously, he had five years of experience in computer support and network administration.
"We're continually working to improve service levels and make support more convenient, responsive, and knowledgeable," Andrew said. "In addition to automated surveys, we've added internal tools to exchange troubleshooting tips and track development. In the near future, we'll launch a new CRM package to help us manage our accounts more efficiently. Shortly after that we will extend a self-service module so that customers can get better help through the Web site, at their convenience."
Paul Lewis heads up the entire Support department. Paul joined the company in 1992 as a support technician, specializing in wholesaler communications and quarterly catalog updates. A team manager since the mid-1990s, he became Operations Manager in 2001, and took on the role of Associate Vice President over ECi Technical Support in 2002. Previously, he worked four years for an office products and engineering supplies dealer.
"We have some of the most committed and experienced customer service people in the software industry," Paul said. "Half of us have over 12 years of service here. It's not just a job to our people. It's a way to reach out and help our customers on a daily basis. And the adjustments we make in our department are all about giving you more options and convenient ways to get the support you need to take your business to the next level."
Our support team structure is designed to ensure that we have the most responsive, knowledgeable technical staff in the industry. Of course, if you have a serious concern that requires escalation beyond your support team:
- While on the ECi Technical Support line (800-366-4778) with a technician, ask to speak with a manager. If one is not immediately available, you may expect a return call as soon as possible.
- Consider describing your concern in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to notify the entire support management team. Please include your name, company name, and account number or call number.
We will continue to analyze customer satisfaction surveys, service metrics, and other feedback from both employees and customers. We appreciate your thoughtful feedback and your business.
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