ABC

FAQ

What are the licensing options?

There are only two licensing options: single-user or multi-user.
Multi-user means an unlimited number of users at no extra per-user cost.

There are no seat licenses, and no hidden costs when it comes time to expand. Facilities maintenance wants to view your schedule? Just add them in. Want to give vendors or outside salespeople access? No extra charge. Give access to the front desk, reservations, banquet staff, management, concierge, restaurant -- just install the client software on as many workstations as you like.

Note: Licensing is per-site and per-database. This means that your license permits an unlimited number of clients at one property. If you have multiple hotels, you'll need a license for each one. Multi-site discounts are available.

Is Event Manager compatible with Windows XP Service Pack 2?

Short answer is "yes". For a more detailed explanation, check here.

What about Windows Vista?

Event Manager runs on all 32-bit Windows versions, from Windows 95 to Vista.

Will Event Manager run under Terminal Services?

Yes. With the right server, Terminal Services can provide excellent performance and remote access. Event Manager is TS-aware, meaning that it automatically knows when it's running under Terminal Services and adjusts it behavior accordingly.

What are the minimum client workstation requirements?

Client requirements are modest: a Pentium-class PC, 300 Mhz or better, with at least 128 Mb of RAM. A 17" or larger monitor is strongly recommended. You will need a video adaptor capable of displaying at least 800x600 resolution with 16-bit color depth.

Must I have a database server to run Event Manager?

Not necessarily. If you have a small workgroup (five workstations or less) you may get adequate performance from a simple peer-to-peer network, using one of the workstations to host the database. However, performance will be much better with a dedicated database server. Inexpensive dedicated file servers such as Quantum's Snap Server work well for hosting Access databases. For medium-sized installations (5-10 users), we recommend a dedicated server. For large installations (more than 10 users) we recommend upgrading to the SQL Server version with a dedicated server for best performance.

Which versions of MS SQL Server are supported?

SQL 7, SQL 2000 and SQL 2005, all editions including MSDE and 2005 Express.

Is Event Manager compatible with MSDE?

Yes. Although Microsoft recommends a maximum of 5 users with MSDE, our experience has shown that typical usage patterns with Event Manager allow as many as 10 or 15 users. This is because a typical Sales and Catering office has five or fewer individuals performing intense reporting and data entry, while other users (e.g. management, front desk, kitchen, banquet staff, maintenance) represent a much lighter load on the server. We recommend SQL 2005 Express over MSDE, as noted below.

What about SQL 2005 Express?

Event Manager works great with SQL 2005 Express! Released in November 2005, this version of SQL Server replaced the previous free offering, MSDE. It removes or lessens many of MSDE's built-in limitations, such as the maximum number of concurrent threads and the maximum database size. We highly recommend this platform for sites that don't want to pay for a full SQL Server package.

Are there any special network requirements?

Not really. You can set up a multi-user environment with or without a dedicated server, using any of the widely-used protocols (TCP/IP, NetBEUI, IPX/SPX). If you want to use the optional proxy server, or if you go with the SQL Server version, you will need to have TCP/IP installed.

Is security built into Event Manager?

Yes. Extensive user-specific permissions allow the administrator to restrict access to the program and to specific features within the program. An auditing trail is maintained that tracks changes to both customer data and Event Manager administrative settings.

What else do I have to buy to make Event Manager work?

If you already have a network installed at your site, nothing else is required for the Access version. Whether or not you add an additional server to host the database depends on whether you already have a server, what the load on it is, and how many users will be actively updating the database. There are only two optional features available for Event Manager: the Group Sales module and the Visio drawing application. All other features are included in the base product.

The Group Sales module is necessary only if you want to integrate sleeping room block sales with banquet events.lar Visio drawing application is an inexpensive add-on which lets you create scaled drawings of your meeting rooms to illustrate how the rooms are going to be set up. We create the drawing templates for you as part of the database preconfiguration, and then teach you how to use Visio during the training session.

The SQL Server version does require the purchase of Microsoft SQL Server Standard Edition. Smaller installations with 10 or fewer users can run with SQL Server Express, a free version of SQL Server.

I already have Microsoft SQL Server installed. Will I be able to use it to host my Event Manager database?

Probably. Event Manager is compatible with MS SQL Server versions 7, 2000, amd 2005 as long as the server is configured for case-insensitive sorts. Consult your database administrator.

What is the proxy server?

The proxy server is a program that runs on your Windows database server and executes Access database queries on behalf of client workstations, thereby providing client/server type protection to the database.The proxy server is included in the standard package at no extra charge, but using it is optional. If you have a fast and lightly-loaded network, you'll get better performance without the proxy server. However, if your network is already overloaded, the proxy server can improve performance by reducing network traffic. This feature is only used with the Access version, as SQL Server already employs a true client-server design.

I already have the Access version of Event Manager. Can I upgrade to SQL Server without losing any data?

Yes. We can transfer all of your data and preferences over to the SQL Server database. This service is provided with the upgrade, at no additional cost. To the end-user, the SQL Server version looks almost exactly like the Access version. No end-user retraining is required after the conversion.

How do I decide between Access and SQL Server?

First of all, if you want to use a Novell, Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows ME machine as your Event Manager database server, you must use the Access version. If you have a Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows 2003 server, you actually have several choices:

  • Microsoft Access
    This is the least expensive and simplest route, with modest administrative requirements. Compatible with all operating systems. Good for 1-10 users.
  • Miscrosoft SQL Server Desktop Edition (MSDE)
    Also inexpensive, but lacking most SQL Server administrative tools (this is the free version, remember) and limited to about 5-10 users.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express
    This FREE version of SQL Server replaces MSDE.
  • Miscrosoft SQL Server Version 7
    An excellent, high-performance database server, suitable for large numbers of users but not compatible with Windows 9x or Netware. Microsoft no longer sells this product, so it's only an option if you already own a copy.
  • Miscrosoft SQL Server 2000
    SQL 2000 offers all the power of SQL 7 but with easier administration. Superceded by SQL Server 2005.
  • Miscrosoft SQL Server 2005
    Our current favorite, but if you already own SQL 2000, stick with it.

From an end-user perspective, any of the above will work fine, and the front end is nearly identical for all database servers. Reasons for preferring MS SQL Server are mostly technical considerations:

  • Presents a lighter load on your network
  • Will usually offer better performance
  • Less prone to file corruption
  • Better suited for remote access

Note: If you need to connect a remote user (e.g. off-site sales office or affiliate), we recommend Windows Terminal Server, which works equally well with both Access and SQL Server versions.

Will Event Manager run on a Mac? Under OS/2? Windows 3.1? Linux?

Event Manager was written specifically for 32-bit Microsoft Windows, in order to fully exploit Windows features and services. It is compatible with all 32-bit flavors of Windows (95, 98, Me, 2000, XP and 2003). Windows 2000 or Windows XP are the preferred platforms. If you are using Microsoft SQL Server or MSDE as the back end, the database server must run Windows 2000/2003 or Windows XP. It is not necessary to run the more expensive "Server" editions of Windows, e.g. Windows 2003 Server.

Is Event Manager compatible with Netware?

A qualified "Yes" for the Access version, but a definite "No" for the SQL Server version, which only runs on Windows.

Windows 2000/XP/2003 are our recommended platforms, but it is possible to site an Access database on a Novell server. However, some features will not be available, such as the proxy server described below. Also, our experience has been that databases hosted on Netware volumes are more prone to file corruption.

Your network administrator may need to make a few minor tweaks to clients and server, and the latest Netware client must be installed on all workstations.

How many users will Event Manager support?

As many as you need.

We offer a variety of database backends to support every size of enterprise, from a single user to hundreds of users.

A typical Event Manager installation has between 1 and 5 heavy-duty Event Manager users, and 5 to 20 occassional users, which can be accomodated with modest hardware. Larger installations will require a larger investment in infrastructure.

There are limited-user versions of Event Manager which limit database access to one or more users at a time. Most installations have the full multi-user version, which does not limit the number of users. With the full multi-user version, there are no seat licenses, nothing extra to buy when you want to add another user. (Compare to other products that surprise you with an added charge to increase the number of users!)

Can Event Manager create room layout drawings?

Event Manager interfaces with the popular industry-standard Visio software for rendering professional-looking room layout and setup diagrams. In keeping with our turnkey works-out-of-the-box policy, your database preconfiguration includes template drawings of all your meeting rooms.

Note: the Visio drawing package is optional and not included in the base price.

Is onsite training available?

All training is conducted onsite. A typical installation is accompanied by 3 to 5 days of user training, depending on the number of users and whether or not the optional Group Sales module has been purchased.

Additional follow-up training and advanced or specialized training for technical support staff are also available for an additional charge.

How much of the initial setup and installation will be done for me?

ABC Event Manager is a turnkey solution, which means that you have a fully-functional, completely configured and customized system on Day One. We preconfigure your database in advance of the installation date, so that all your staff, menu, room and resource data is ready to go the first day of training. However, we also show you how to configure the system yourself so you can tweak the system to your liking.

What about reporting?

Event Manager comes with over 200 standard reports, plus custom form letters you can create yourself. All reports can be exported to Excel, 1-2-3, Word, Wordperfect, HTML, RTF, or generic CSV files for importing into other databases. Some financial reports are specifically designed for export to Excel.

The Custom Query feature provides the most flexible way of all to mine information from your database and display them in an Excel spreadsheet.

Some competing products require you to install MS Word or MS Excel in order to generate reports. Most of our reports are printed directly from Event Manager and require no external software. They can be previewed onscreen, e-mailed, or placed into a deferred print queue for batch printing after hours.

You can designate sensitive reports as being restricted to users with special permission to print or preview them.

Reports can be printed from lists of selected clients or events, making it easy to send out thank-you letters or promotional materials based on any selection criteria you like.

Version 5.2 introduced built-in support for external Word documents, which allow you to create Word documents with embedded fields representing event data. Complete itineraries and BEOs can be easily included in a Word document and printed as easily as any other report.

What about after-sale support?

The standard maintenance contract entitles you to unlimited telephone support and free product updates. (Compare to competing products which charge 2 or 3 times as much for support and still charge extra for product updates!)

We strongly recommend that you have high-speed Internet access (DSL, cable or T1). This allows us to provide better end-user support via remote-control software.

Note: we configure and utilize the remote-control software in such a way that it absolutely cannot introduce a security risk to your network.

Do you offer leasing options?

Yes. In many organizations, leasing can be a simpler and more convenient process than budgeting for a capital expense.

Lease plans can be customized to your specifications. In most cases, you will only be required to pay in advance for the cost of installation and training. After that, you can have a manageable monthy, quarterly or annual expense that won't strain your operating budget.

Leases normally specify a minimum lease period of at least two years. However, if you are unhappy with the software you can have it uninstalled free of charge any time during the first 30 days and you will not be liable for any additional payments or cancellation penalties.

How can I get a demonstration?

Call Ray McCann at (425) 743-0457 to request a demonstration CD or live demonstration via PCAnywhere or NetMeeting. Onsite in-person demonstrations can also be arranged.

And of course if you're fortunate enough to attend the annual HITEC show, be sure to stop by our booth!

Tech-heads: want to talk technical stuff with our resident technogeek? Call Dave Townsend at (425) 513-9521 or email him at davet@abcevent.com. There are, after all, 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those you don't.

Can you provide me with references?

Absolutely. Our satisfied customers are our best advertisement, and many of them have agreed to be included on our list of reference contacts. They are all experienced hospitality professionals like yourself, who love our product so much that they will take time out of their day to tell you about it. None are compensated in any way for their endorsements.

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