Thursday, June 14, 2007

AMS360 The truth

I created this blog with the intention of letting you the consumer see the truth about what you’re paying for. I’ve realized that I’m not being true to myself or my intentions by cowering before legal pressures impending for my actions. I’ve taken extra steps to insure my identity remain secret and will continue with my original plan. First though lets look at why AMS/Vertafore has spent the time and money on silencing me. It’s not like I stand to gain anything, it’s not a lawsuit from me, revenge, posh the idea. What would I gain from this? The satisfaction of telling you the consumer the truth as I always did as a tech when I supported their products. Let’s look closer though.

Is AMS a profitable company? The answer is yes, they make money hand over fist. Quite a few of you are paying 78k dollars a year or more in support fees.
Why change support? The answer is simple, in 2005 and 2006 AMS did not meet the very lofty profit goals it had set. This is because of either poor management or the goals were not realistic. As a result for those 2 years the board of directors and Euan Menzies CEO of Vertafore did not get a yearly bonus, and so the decision was made to outsource support in the name of more profit. That’s the short definition of greed, one of the 7 deadly for those that believe in that.
Why pay retainer fees for an attorney? Well that’s simple, by telling you the truth there is the risk that some of you will take your business elsewhere. I wouldn’t blame you if you did. However, I would encourage all of you, yet again, get loud and noisy with this company first. Make them believe that you’ll do just that thing if they don’t carry a support that you deserve for those monthly fees they’re happy to charge you for. Make them hire that 880 years of experience back that they laid off in Texas alone. Don’t let them use outsourcing that doesn’t know how to properly support the product.
A quick word on outsourcing. I worked for an outsourcing company. I’ve known other people that have worked for outsourcing companies and the stories are all the same. There are no high standards of training held to. If Ed believes that he’s na├»ve and I’ll summarize on that later. The average rate of pay is between 8 and 9 dollars an hour, so even if the call center adequately trains these people do you really believe that the outsourced tech is going to care whether he does a good job or not versus the AMS employees that were making twice that who have been laid off or will be laid off? That’s an easy question to answer. Typically when an outsourcing center gets a contract to support a product they have standards to meet such as call time which is how much time is spent on the call. How many tickets to close each day. Customer satisfaction is low on this list as it is not a money maker in the eyes of these people. All of this falls under an SLA which is Service Level Agreement. As long as the outsourcing company is meeting its SLA’s what do they care if you’re satisfied or not. The answer is simple they don’t. Now about the people running AMS. They are Sycophants. What is a sycophant you say, let me define it for you here.
Sycophant: The term has come to mean one who seeks to please people in positions of authority or influence in order to gain power themselves, usually at the cost of pride, principles, and peer respect.

I think this is a perfect description for the powers at AMS taking your money each month. They may have pride or integrity, or even morals and values at home, but they do not have it in their business dealings. Please view the comments section as I will post company emails with commentary there.

36 comments:

Bohica said...

Getting down to our first email here, I want to first poit out that there is nothing in the email stating it is of a confidential nature. So by sending an email with an attached doc and not stating this I am guessing it is for everyone to see. Be sure and read my summary at the end.


From: Euan Menzies

To: All Vertafore Employees

Date: September 26th, 2006

Subject: AMS Services’ Organizational Announcement

I want to share with you a recent important announcement affecting the AMS360 service and support organizations. Earlier today, we communicated to the employees in College Station our plan to align complementary organizations – specifically, AMS 360 application support and professional services – with AMS360 product development, product management and quality assurance in our Bothell, WA location. This plan will be implemented in stages over the next twelve months to allow sufficient time to add capacity, provide cross-training and transition resources while minimising the disruption to our customers’ operations.

From a business perspective, we believe that the benefits of consolidation are significant and will be realized over the medium term by our customers as well as by the broad AMS organization. By co-locating cross-functional resources, we believe we can make a significant positive impact to our customers’ support experience, while at the same time improving our internal processes in terms of product innovation, information sharing, decision making, capacity and coverage.

Despite the advantages from a business perspective, decisions like these are made after long, careful deliberation and with consideration for the human impact to those people whose jobs are imminently affected. We have offered financial assistance to employees who may be interested in and able to relocate to Bothell, understanding that many will opt to pursue opportunities outside of AMS. For those employees who will depart over the next year, we are sincerely grateful for their superior service, loyalty and dedication to AMS and to our customers over many years.
As we move forward, we will continually evolve our organization in ways that achieve increased levels of client satisfaction and position our Company for future growth and viability.
If you have any questions or comments on this announcement, feel free to contact me directly.
Sincerely,
Euan

Summary: What Euan did not state in this email is that AFW and Prime tech support would be outsourced. He did not take into account that for the existing support the training plans usually cover a 6 to 9 month training plan for new techs. If you doubt me, next time you get a call on a ticket from an actual ams employee ask them how long it takes to train a tech or ask for a supervisor, they'll tell you. So again, the outsourced techs be they here or in Inia are not trained properly and never will be. You the consumer suffers for this and yes, with all this savings in outsourcing, you still got that price increase as of January 1 this year. Doubt me, look at your bilss from ams last year and compare them to this year. More to come.

Bohica said...

This was a post put her last week by a former employee from the Windsor, Ct. location. This person worked on Sagitta and had this to say;



Tarfu said...
This was an interesting read coming from the 360 side of the house. It sounds like a different message is being delivered on the West coast. Sagitta was told that outsourcing would result in roughly 50% of the support staff being outsourced starting with any open rec’s and then as folks voluntarily left, those open rec’s would be moved over as well. Also, it would apply to all lines of support, not just technical. Conversion is in the line of fire with this plan too, so it’s much more far reaching than just tech support.

I think what we’re seeing is a fundamental paradigm shift for the company moving from being heavily client focused to being extremely revenue focused. This in part is probably why you’ve seen the mass exodus of directors, managers and national account managers. You have a lot of folks that have been here for many years and have built some excellent professional relationships with clients who are now being told ‘guess what, your role just changed. You need to charge for every minute of time that you’re working with the client, and you’re going to do it with less people and more hours with no compensation.’ This coupled with a lack opportunity, lies, and borderline contempt for Windsor employees is driving morale lower and increasing attrition. Those are some of the main reasons that I left AMS. I could only have my morals stretched so far before it encroached on what I felt was wrong for me to “represent” to clients and employees. It was to the point where I couldn’t look people in the eye and believe in what I was telling them, so for me it was time to go. Judging by the high character of the employees left in Windsor, I’m sure there will be more leaving than Ed expects.

Ed’s going to be in Windsor this week so it will be interesting to see what he has to say.

June 10, 2007 8:55 AM

Bohica said...

I have set the blog to allow anonymous posts, so again I encourage anyone be it agencies or ams employees to post in the form of questions or comments. The only thing I ask is keep it clean, I have tried to be semi professional in my wording and would hope for the same from others. Thanks Bohica

P.S. Bohica is an acronym which meanc Bend Over Here It Comes Again. As I said, semi professional.

Anonymous said...

We already went through all of this BS in Coeur d'Alene, ID. We were enlisted to train College Station people and later realized we were training them to take our jobs! We were all laid-off and College Station was untouched. There is something very sinister and canaballistic in AMS' approach. The sad part was that most Coeur d'Alene employees were so fat, dumb, and happy working there that we were tied to the chopping block before we realized we were in trouble. My best advice to would-be victims - work until the last and take every piece of severance, training, insurance, etc, whatever but offer no help other than completing your 9-5!

Anonymous said...

Where's the email that says that Menzies is looking for his bonus? I see an email that's an announcement to an organization describing what's happening. Where's the smoking gun? I just don't see it.

Not meeting financial goals, regardless of their loftiness, is not your issue. Goals are met or not met all the time. Vertafore is responsible for making money to a group of capital venture organizations that expect return on investment. If those goals are not met, then actions are taken to meet those goals. People invested money in this company with the intention to make money. That's how capitalism works.

Does anyone LIKE the fact that some of support is outsourced, or that this route was taken to cut costs? I would imagine not. Is there anything that can be done about it? Sure, the customers should voice their concerns to management. That's where the complaints will ultimately wind up.

Are you bitter because you are the victim of a company that's doing what any other company tries to do on a daily basis, and may be failing? Yes, I believe you are bitter. You should direct all of this negative energy into a positive -- take your experience and go find another job. Go back to school and get more education. It seems to me that all the energy you expend battling legal issues and posting on this blog could be put to better use.

Yes, it's unfortunate. Yes, it may blow up in the faces of those responsible, and the colateral damage may be extensive. But at some point, it's how you choose to react to this event that defines you. Your reaction is negative and wasteful. Let the customer make changes at Vertafore. You are no longer employed by Vertafore, and frankly, I believe you may be fabricating a stake in the company.

Also, let's look at a few other facts. You admitted on this blog to fraudulently using an unsuspecting AMSUG web board user's account to get this tirade started. That's a security risk to the user's group, and MAY be illegal. It certainly could qualify as identity theft, but I'm no legal expert and will leave that to the professionals. However, I do understand ethics, and you have broken several codes of ethics, including the aforementioned user's group account fraud and propagating half-truths to make your points. Your credibility is also suspect; it's one thing to fight for the customer, but it's quite another to use fraudulent, and in some cases illogical, tactics to get your point across.

If the point of this exercise is to get your job back, I think that bridge is not only burnt, but demolished with no hope of reconstruction. This could easily be the worst case of career suicide I've ever seen.

Bohica said...

Let me address this in reverse order. First of all I gave every chance to AMS to let me keep my job and they laid me off anyway. I know there’s no chance of getting my job back and really don’t want it back. Bitter you say, of course I’m bitter. AMS is making plenty of profit yet they laid off 66 of us in Texas to make more profit. This is bad management because if you can’t generate enough profit with existing resources in place, you suck at management. Dave Shea did an excellent job of generating profit and he was replaced by Euan Menzies who had plummeted the profits with so many ridiculous changes and restructuring for 2 years now. I look forward to hearing that they haven’t renewed his contract. Now about ethics. That goes hand in hand with loyalty and respect. Respect is earned not bestowed and with the earning of respect you get loyalty. To date AMS and its management have generated nothing but contempt from me and many other people. So why would I care if the company gets called onto the carpet for its pure greed business practices. Identity theft, maybe, but I had to get the message out to people some how so I used a login of someone I had to get the link up there. My whole point once again in this is to make sure that AMS is held accountable for their actions. I don’t expect customers to leave AMS in a mass exodus, but this issue existed before I ever posted the link and if you had read the users groups and the number of threads on poor service you’d know that but you speak from your ass. Instead the customer needs to know that outsourcing is what’s being done and while it may be more profitable for AMS it’s not beneficial to the customer in the least, read back in my blog for details on outsourcing.
As far as fabricating information here, that’s just BS. I’m guessing you still work for AMS and remain loyal to the company and that’s fine, but your loyalties are misplaced. You should be loyal to yourself and your family first, it’s just a job that yes they will take away from you one day because you make too much money or they’ll outsource your job, don’t think it won’t happen. As far as being bitter, that’s irrelevant and an attempt at misdirection on your part. I have better things to do with my life and am doing them. I do however have an excess of free time on my hands while looking for a job and it only takes a few minutes out of my day to type or post company emails that aren’t marked confidential. As I close I would say to the AMS customer read the things here carefully and be your own judge. The service you receive for the rest of the year will tell you the whole story despite what I’ve posted here.

Bohica

Bohica said...

Now let’s get down to today’s business. AMS is yet again laying off more people by closing the office in Ohio that handles all the rating software. They will train people at other locations who will in turn train an outsourcing company to take over that support and leave you the customer in the inept hands of poorly trained outsourced techs on the phone. If you look back at the first email I posted it’s basically a copy and paste from September of last year. There is no careful deliberation of the human impact in these decisions, they sit at a table and say “ Will it make us more money? Ok let’s do it then. “, and there’s no more consideration given to it than that. Anyway enjoy the reading, I will post more.


From: Baldwin,Constance
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 11:54 AM
To: All - AMS Services Employees; ABK All Employees; PUL - All Employees; Omaha - All Employees; CLE - All Beachwood Employees
Cc: Acker,Dave
Subject: Organizational Announcement~ a message from Dave Acker, Senior Vice President, AMS Rating

I want to share with you a recent important announcement affecting the AMS-Rackley Beachwood organization. Earlier today, an announcement was made in Beachwood, Ohio to consolidate the jobs performed at that location into our Pulaski and Omaha locations. This plan will be implemented in stages over the next several months to allow sufficient time to add capacity, provide cross-training and transition resources while managing to a minimum the disruption to our customers’ operations. The personal lines customer service function is being transferred today to Omaha; the majority of support and development roles will transition by August 31, 2007. Billing operations will migrate to the Boulder, CO billing team over the next several months.

From a business perspective, we believe that the benefits of consolidation are significant and will better position the Rating business for future growth and viability. Additionally, we believe we can make a positive impact to our customers’ experience, while at the same time improving our internal processes, capacity and coverage.

Despite the advantages from a business perspective, decisions like these are made after long, careful deliberation and with consideration for the individuals whose jobs are imminently affected. We will be working with the employees in Beachwood to assist them through the transition with outplacement services through DBM over the next few weeks.

The Beachwood employee base is comprised of a great, dedicated team of professionals, who have demonstrated nothing less than passion and commitment to their work and their customers. Their service and contributions to AMS and the rating business has been greatly appreciated.

Personally, it’s been an honor and a privilege to work with team in Ohio. I can’t thank them enough for their work ethic, commitment and friendship over the years.

If you have any questions or comments on this announcement, feel free to contact me directly.

Dave Acker

Anonymous said...

I agree that the management of resources may be mishandled. But I go back to my previous statement about making money. If the company sets a goal, they should try to make that goal. Capital investors invested money in this company to make a return on investment. Sometimes that means making decisions that leads to laying off employees. AT&T did it when they merged with SBC again. Compaw laid off when they merged with HP. It happens all the time.

Ethics is NOT dependant on respect and loyalty. Ethics is right and wrong. Nowhere in the definition of ethics does it mention respect or loyalty. Your ethics in reporting this issue is suspect because of your previous actions. A definition of ethics can be found at:

Ethics - Definition

Can these definitions be applied elsewere? Certainly, but my point here is that your actions on this blog and on the user's group are ethically questionable. I studied ethics, and I can tell you that your ethical fortitude is lacking.

I am fully aware of what outsourcing does and does not do. I'm aware of the pros and cons. In the end, the change will speak for itself. I agree with your statement that "The service you receive for the rest of the year will tell you the whole story despite what I’ve posted here." That's exactly the point I am trying to make.

You speak of loyalties to a company. This is not a subject of loyalty. Your argument on respect and loyalty is called redirection -- this means you are trying to make a point by associating it with another, to redirect my focus to something else, just like a magician uses slight of hand. And you speak of my attempt at misdirection? I pointed out a human trait on which you are basing your tirade. That's not misdirection; it's an attempt at identifying the root cause of your crusade. My point is that you will not dictate how AMS is held accountable for its actions -- the customer will determine that. Customers would have found out that outsourcing offshore was being used to handle support cases. Your tirade only escalated that issue, but it did not change it.

One more fact you fail to mention in your posts thus far. Employees were given months of lead time before being terminated. Additionally, staff was let go in increments to minimize the affect of the layoff on customers and customer support. When others that were slated to remain employed procured other employment, some of those that were scheduled to leave were asked to stay. Also, you fail to mention the criteria by which employees were let go. It was based strictly on employee reviews. You know this because you were told this. I'm sure you'll have evidence that your review was perhaps doctored or unfair, but even if that were rectified, it seems that your review was still low enough to warrant dismissal.

Texas and Washington, by the way, are At Will employment states. This means that you can be hired or fired, or you can quit a job, with little notice or no notice, at any time, for ANY reason.

And finally, this is the difference between you and me. If I were to be laid off tomorrow, I would be out looking for a job. Family is important to me, and because I would need to provide for my family, I would be working diligently to procure new employement. I've done it before, and I'd to it again.

Bohica said...

Well this leads me to ask the question what are your motives behind posting adverse commentary to mine? I’m backing up my statements with company emails at risk. Are you embittered by my words or perhaps showing loyalty to a company that has done nothing to earn it. I can see you’re empassioned by this blog and for some reason feel the need to speak your mind. My application of ethics is only valid to those people who have earned my respect and again, no one at AMS has done so. So right or wrong I will give out the company emals I have so that AMS cannot mislead the customer by saying things like ”we are working hard to improve your customer experience” when they just slagged the best resource of customer experience they had going for them. You’re right about companies and their re-structuring. AMS is notorious for hiring and firing a CEO every 2 to 3 years and the viscious cycle starts again. As far as right to work state, I am aware of this, thank you captain obvious. This is yet another example of how laws are in place to protect the company and not the employee at all. An employee has the right to expect company loyalty for the job they’ve performed. AMS could have put a pay freeze in place if they were that concerned about profit. Instead they made the choice of greed and everyone from the tech on the floor to the customer gets to reap the benefits of that. About my review, who cares about the perceptions of a supervisor that spends 10 minutes a week on each employees performance, I maintained a 100% customer satisfaction rating for 3 years at AMS on every customer survey. That’s the only review score I need worry about. As far as capital investors trying to get profit for money spent, there is no get rich quick techniques to this business. The goals for profit are to high and need to be spread out over a longer time track. It hasn’t been but the last 5 years that AMS came out of the red and into the black on the books and if you’ve worked for very long at AMS you should know this. So with a company finally coming out of debt, it looks like they will be going back into debt if they don’t change their approach. The customer wants the truth, not generalized statements that don’t tell the whole truth. I have asked Ed or Euan to respond here and obviously they won’t. All they have to do is say “hey, we’re experimenting with outsourcing to reduce overhead cost and need your input valued AMS customer”. Now if they would just say that many customers would not be quite so put out by the service and wouldn’t be sitting their in as much frustration wondering when they’re going to get a callback. I have received dozens of email from agencies requesting info and discussing how much business they lose each day because AFW is down again, or no one will call for 2 weeks for a problem with ams360. I still get requests daily asking about outsourcing from AMS at the email addy I had posted here. Aside from those experiences, what else can you contribute here for us upstanding AMS employee?

Bohica

Anonymous said...

You continue to miss the point of my posts, specifically on the point of ethics. Ethics are not a function of loyalty or respect. Ethics are a function of right and wrong. I already agreed that ethics is an issue overall, but your ethics violations that you freely admitted to on this blog, make it difficult for me, or anyone else that thinks the issue through, to lend credibility to your words.

Customer care is only part of your employee review. You know this, too. Since you failed to mention employee reviews in your previous comments, I thought it was necessary to make that fact clear.

I still get the impression your crusade is not so much for the customer's benefit, but for a self-perceived benefit. Do what you want; I can't stop you. But ask yourself these questions:

How is this going to benefit me in the long term, or even the short term?

What benefits do I achieve by continuing this crusade of information, misinformation, and ethical missteps?

What is the overall goal of my actions?

But the type of behavior you are displaying (by using terms like "Captain Obvious" and other personal attacks, in addition to your crusade against AMS) only leads to self destruction. Your energies should be directed toward the positive.

Like I said previously, how you react to this event defines you. You are not defining yourself in a very positive light.

I think I've made my point several times. Those that have read my responses have understood my position clearly. I won't be posting any more responses to this thread. I'm sure you'll have something to say about my departure, but that's OK. My energies need to be focused on areas that are far more productive.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous (may that be Ed or whichever Ed-like clone that may have written these completely condescending responses),

Glad to read that you're done posting here. The last thing the employee base needs from you (or your clones) is yet another dose of your arrogance. Despite the fact that you believe that 95% of the Vertafore employee base is idiotic, most of us actually got the fact that the original blogger is bitter. Look around you...you've got the highest levels of employee dissatisfaction ever seen in the company and talented people are leaving by the droves. It's not that they can't stand the pressure or the raising of the bar, it's because you've lost the employees’ faith in, and loyalty towards, the management team.



You're not building world-class here, you're destroying years of expertise from a group of individuals that has a passion for the customer.



Most of us are bitter...get a clue.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, when did I say anyone was idiotic?

I stated the facts as they are. I never said the outsourcing issue was favored. I don't favor it. I think it's a bad idea. I think it will ultimately fail. But that's not the point.

The point is that ethics must prevail here, and on all sides. I agreed with bohica that the ethics all around the company are suspect. But bohica lends no further credibility than those he is attempting to debunk. He's touting half truths as total fact. He's posting internal Vertafore emails -- that last one is only a few days old, and bohica got hold of it; how did THAT happen? Who else is behaving unethically to aid his tirade? What other actions is bohica executing that are unethical?

My remarks are not condescending. I'm sorry you feel that way, but if speaking the truth, in this case, in condescending, then your definition of condescending is much different than mine. Here's the dictionary definition:

CONDESCEND - Definition

At no time in my comments did I descend to a less formal or dignified level, nor did I assume an air of superiority. To do that, I would have to say something like this, as an example:

bohica is an unintelligent, childlike farse that feels his voice needs to be heard by banging his rattle on the crib so Mommy can tend to his every need, want, and gripe.

But I never said that, or anything like it; nor will you ever hear me say that. That's making an assumption I can't support.

I am simply pointing out flaws in the argument, as he's written it here, in this blog. What matters is that bohica posts all of the facts concisely, coherently, and factually, and he does so in an ethically sound manner. He has not done that.

bohica's tirade has nothing to do with helping the customer, I believe. Nothing at all. I just don't see evidence to support that. It's a vendetta for being released. That doesn't help anyone at all, especially not him. Would he have done this if he still worked for Vertafore?

I am by no means a so-called "Ed Clone". I have presented arguments with Ed on several issues and on several occasions; I've pointed out discrepancies and made no bones to him about what I think. I didn't like his explanation of the outsourcing issue. I don't like the direction this company is taking. I think it will ultimately hurt the customer.

The customer must take the lead on this, and we should support the customer. And not by posting blogs here, but by pushing the points customers make to us to management. Play by management's rules and beat them THAT way. It works better that way.

I also have a job to do regardless, and at the end of the day, that job gets done to the highest standards and customer satisfaction.

I also plan to look for other opportunities outside of the company. It's because of my feelings toward the direction of the company and how my job falls into that direction.

Bohica said...

While this is all very entertaining for all to see I will state this. I opened this blog up to anonymous comments because I knew there would be people at AMS wanting to take me to task for my words. The point of this blog is not as ethics focused as it is towards showing the customer what there increased support fees are buying them. My words are of little importance in the grand scheme of things as the customers experience will ultimately determine future dealings with AMS for them. I’m sure there are flaws in the argument and had I kept my job, you’re right I would not be posting these emails. I would still be doing my job helping the customer resolve their issues with both ams360 and AFW. I don’t know who you are but I’m guessing you’re someone in higher management so you can afford to hold onto ethics, however some of us just need a job to live. In Texas, the job availability in this area is an outsourcing center paying around $9 an hour, so we have to change professions or take a serious cut in pay. That may mean nothing to you, but it means plenty to us. This is not a vendetta on AMS, I really do have better things to do with my time. The emails I’ve posted here, have you seen them? Do you really understand what they mean for the people they affect or care? I realize by doing this I am causing strife for some people, but the facts remain, I get several requests a day from agencies on this issue. For agencies wanting more info or that would like to make comments the email address is dragonsidheblade@yahoo.com

I will copy and paste customer emails here as well without their email address or names so you can see for yourself. Mister anonymous it’s good you are looking for another job, I’m sure at some point they will be eliminating your job for cost overhead reasons. If you are truly arguing for ethics then that’s fine, but somehow I get the impression you are advocating for AMS as if the company were a victim. Really though, what does it matter, you still have a job and can obviously find one whenever you want, so you can afford to advocate for them. Please feel free to make all the commentary you want, from the emails I’ve been getting from agencies today, they don’t buy into your argument anymore than mine, they are understandably curious and want to know what the future holds for them. You make a point that we should take the arguments for customers to management. I have news for you, managements hands are tied or they don’t care and even so, the execs at AMS aren’t listening. They have dollar bill symbols for eyes. $_$

Bohica

Bohica said...

The following are copy and pastes from some emails I have received. Obviously I cannot post them all, that would take up too much space, but see for yourself what agencies are saying. The names are removed for obvious reasons.


My wife works at AMS and she has mentioned there are several changes taking place right now, a complete culture change. As you probably already know, AMS has had a change in upper leadership (vice-president) in the last few weeks and many of the employees are uncertain of their future with AMS. Personally, I don’t see how they can afford to lose anyone else in development without it starting to affect the quality of the product. I would like to take you up on your offer of getting the supporting documents you mentioned. Much appreciated

Hello,
I saw the link to your post on the webboard. Thanks for giving us the inside story. Can you send along those documents you mentioned in your post? We've just about had it with AMS. We pay them $78k each year for the online service which is so bad we're probably losing $50k in production each year. It's sad but I can't even answer the phone when these techs call me back. I have to let it go to voicemail where I can rewind it over and over just to understand what Ashmir is saying.

Any inside word on what the hell is going on in their data center? This whole year has been awful.

We also are very frustrated with support from AMS (we recently migrated from AFW online to 360 online). The response time we are getting is unacceptable. I would love to see some of the info you noted to below.

Could you please send me a copy of the documentation you mentioned in
your blog. We are an AFW agent.

Hi,



Thanks for your outspoken and well said words. This of course is a touchy subject but we all pay a lot of money and I for one will expect nothing but the best in return.



I would love to see your information and make additional comment


I would appreciate a copy of your documentation… it’s frightening if service levels were to be sacrificed for pure profit motives… we have no manufacturing in the US any more, now the service industry is headed overseas… next, we’ll have to outsource our welfare recipients somehow…

You mentioned on your dismantled blog (how sad) that you had some emails from the ceo and the customer support director...could you share those ? Seems the customer is not a valued entity anymore.....

Thanks,



Fortunately, we are on the InStar system and that support remains in Kennewick Washington (about 4 hours from Bothel)… nonetheless, some of our agents picked up on your blog via ***** ******** QuantumClub website and it raised some concern… no doubt you’ve read the reply to the expression of concern on webboard – I’ve pasted a copy of it for your information if you’ve not seen it. It would appear from my general reading on webboard for the ‘360’ platform that there are not widespread expressions of dissatisfaction with support or the recent changes, but that will clearly come out in time… it is refreshing to have a webboard that doesn’t generally censure expressions by the membership and the dialogue that inevitably ensues.


Now, Mister anonymous, can you advocate for AMS against these emails without stating that I have created this whole affair. These customers wanted to know before I ever made this blog and since the leadership at AMS is not telling them, I am. :-)

Anonymous said...

As a random point, if you are again forced to remove this, it would be the height of irony if you moved the hosting away from blogger (a US company) to an Indian host (outside the reach of US courts)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately what this amounts to is a lack of viable options for clients, especially for the Sagitta user base. Looking at the large accounts there, realistically where are they going to go? They are pretty much at the mercy of AMS because it would cost the agency hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions to move to another platform just in infrastructure and licensing alone. That’s not counting the business interruptions and learning curves that are inherent with migrations of that scale. So what do you do with that user base? Wring the $$$ out of them while cutting expenses. It’s the nasty side of economics. Look at what has gone on with support fees with clients over the past 3 years…double digit increases. Why do you think a lot of large accounts have non-disclosure agreements associated with the support fee increases? Do you really believe it’s for “special” discounts? If you’re a wolf, you go for the fattest lamb in the flock, end of story. Again, what other option is there? You can pay a 13% increase on your $500k/yr support bill or start the process of looking for another potential vendor and review your business which is a 1.5yr+ process, not to mention the investment.

Take a look at the caliber of people that have left since a certain someone has taken over last year. There’s more than a coincidence there. He’s a salesman, and a VERY good one….but once you sit back and weave through the web of BS from the initial rah rah session, you’ll see that it’s nothing but smoke, mirrors, and empty promises. I had the same wool pulled over my eyes for a while, but got out while I could still look at myself in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

In regards to "Anonymous" comment on June 21, 2007 9:56 AM...that states "Also, you fail to mention the criteria by which employees were let go. It was based strictly on employee reviews"...this is not accurate, I know very well employees were not let go "strictly" based on reviews.

Bohica said...

Well, to the former co worker from June 27th, I’m not hiding behind a keyboard. If you really know me and want to meet face to face give me a call, we can meet and talk at length and see who wants to hide behind a keyboard. As for why I’m doing this, it’s irrelevant. It’s here in black and white emails and just to irritate you for a while longer, let me post some more of those emails.

Bohica said...

Here in an email from Euan on Dec 18th last year showing how AMS hit a bump or two in the road of outsourcing. I’m sure all the customers remember how long it took to get a callback on a case at that time, almost as long as it does now. It’s interesting to note that the poster from June 27th is one of a silent few at AMS that doesn’t appreciate my postings. I continue to get emails from customers daily. Anyway, here’s Euan’s email showing a bit of trouble.


In September, we announced our plan to align AMS360 application support and professional services organizations with the AMS360 product teams in Bothell, WA. The implementation plan was staged over twelve months, and we believed that this phasing would allow sufficient time to add capacity and provide cross training while minimizing potential customer disruption.

In reviewing our progress to date on this initiative, we have determined that it is prudent to take more time to move the AMS360 responsibilities to Bothell. Although everyone involved has been doing a terrific job, we underestimated the complexity of the transition. We need to allow additional time for training of new team members as well as ensuring we maintain delivery capacity and continuity for our customers. To that end, we have recently decided to push back the transition timeline and have offered extensions to several critical members of the College Station team. We believe that by investing additional time, we will ensure the on-going success of the support and professional services organizations.

In parallel, Lloyd Howlett, President of Operations, will now assume responsibility for the existing professional services teams based in College Station. Bruce Parker (Sr. Project Manager), Melvin Weber (Manager, Conversion Services) and Marie Spittler (Supervisor, Implementations) will report directly to Lloyd. Ken Ross, Director of Professional Services, will focus his efforts on the recruitment and training of the Bothell professional services teams.

With the dovetailing of product and service teams, the timing is also appropriate to more closely align the AMS client facing organizations, i.e., Sales, Professional Services, and Support. Our customers increasingly view the boundaries between these organizations as confusing and artificial, and difficult to navigate. With this context, I am pleased to announce that Ed Roshitsh will now assume full responsibility for all AMS Services’ Support and Professional Services’ operations. Lloyd Howlett and Ken Ross will report directly to Ed.

Please let me know if you have any questions on these changes, and also join me in supporting Ed as he assumes these additional responsibilities. Ed has made tremendous progress in the sales arena since joining AMS earlier this year, and I am sure he will have a similar positive impact on overall customer satisfaction as he works more closely with the Support and Professional Services’ teams.



In closing, I would like to thank the members of the transition teams in College Station for your recent efforts and for your continued support. Your dedication to our customers and their success is exceptional and very much appreciated.



Best regards,

Euan


This is proving a previous poster correct when he says Euan is a good salesman and sucks at leadership. Also, coworker of mine, I hadn't posted since June 21, thank you for renewing my interest in posting again. Be sure and call me now.

Bohica said...

Well, here’s an email from September 29th announcing the acquisition of another company by Vertafore, just 3 days after they announced our layoff. Hmm, they’re laying us off because they aren’t making enough profit, yet here they are buying a company, does this make sense?


I am pleased to announce that earlier today AMS Services acquired Priority Data Systems, a provider of personal lines, multiple-carrier rating software solutions. Priority was owned by ChoicePoint and, in addition to the acquisition, we have now established a strategic alliance with ChoicePoint. This is a terrific coup since ChoicePoint is the leading provider of insurance-related quoting and underwriting data for independent insurance agents.



This acquisition and alliance is a part of our continued effort to provide industry-leading solutions for our customers. The Priority Data Systems acquisition positions AMS Services as the clear market leader in the multiple-carrier rating automation market while the ChoicePoint alliance gives our customers a competitive advantage with direct access to accurate and concise quoting and underwriting information.



The Priority Data products will continue to be supported and enhanced in areas that bring value to our business and customers. As we evaluate synergies, features and opportunities across both organizations, be assured that with your help, we will deliver the best combined multiple-carrier rating product in the market that maximizes operational efficiencies.



The AMS Services and ChoicePoint alliance will allow customers to take advantage of a simplified workflow through ChoicePoint's Solutions at Quote product which enables interactive reporting of comprehensive drivers and vehicles information associated with a specific address. This unique capability allows customers to decrease data entry and increase productivity.



I am excited about the opportunities that the Priority Data Systems acquisition and the ChoicePoint strategic alliance provide AMS Services. These are exciting times as we continue to seek ways to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by delivering solutions that our customers can use to grow and support their insurance business.



Attached is an FAQ that provides more information about the acquisition and strategic alliance. Feel free to use this information as you talk with customers.



Please join me in welcoming Priority Data Systems to the AMS Services' family. As we begin working together, I encourage all of you to get to know each other. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact me directly.



Best regards,



Euan

Bohica said...

Here we see Ed sending out a company memo updating employees on their wonderful leadership. He says he will send these once a month, but the one in January is the only one he sent while I was there. Kudos Ed for sticking with your game plan. Here it is.


Wednesday
January 10th, 2007




AMS Sales, Support and Services Team,

January is a usually a flurry of new activity as we start the executing around the new year’s strategy. New targets, new initiatives, new people, new positions…you get the picture.

As we have now united the AMS Sales, Support and Services (hereafter referred to the “3S” Team to save space) I thought it would be a good idea to kick off a monthly update memo to keep everyone advised of new initiatives, strategy thoughts and reports on the previous months efforts across the board. These monthly memos will not take the place of team and face to face meetings. However, since we are in disparate locations with disparate jobs and disparate interests, I thought that these monthly missives would be a good way to keep everyone apprised of some common themes. You may hear some of the same information in meetings. However, like advertising, it sometimes it takes multiple touches and vehicles to ensure everyone gets the same messages. I will try to limit these letters to the team to three pages…anything more than that and your brain hurts and my fingers get cramped. This first one is a little long as I wanted to kick the idea off with more info than normal.
So, that said, lets start the year with a few thoughts and some information…

So, why combine sales, services and support from all of the AMS branded products?

Our customers think of the contact with AMS as one long life cycle. It starts with how we interface with them during the “courting” process. Sales sets expectations for how the customer is going to be treated, it’s problems handled, the quality of subsequent actions and pricing. The next phase of the life cycle is how we implement them and live up to the expectations that the sales team sets. This is a critical hand off. If the sales team over promises the rest of the life cycle suffers. Once we implement the customer the life cycle is extended through the support process. Often, with many accounts we are in constant stages of this life cycle. It makes total sense to align the life cycle parts of our business into one continuous group. Likewise, we are doing the same thing with the “factory side” of the business. Bill Bunker linking Product Management, Product Development and Product Marketing has similar overtones. We listen to the variety of constituents and build the “rough plan” through product management. Product Management delivers the plan to product development who builds to the plan. Marketing then trumpets the solution benefits. The cycle, like the 3S cycle then continues.




What are our goals for 2007?

As goals flow down, I thought I would summarize the goals Euan has laid out as strategic goals in the context of the 3S team in the following next few paragraphs. Obviously, as these goals hit sales people, services folks or support people, they manifest themselves in somewhat specific and tactical ways. So, backing up to the big picture may help you make sense of all the things you see and hear about.

There are four main goals for AMS and the 3S team in 2007, with some sub goals.

• Establish Clear Market Leadership
– Improve Customer Satisfaction levels
– Introduce new solutions
– Grow through better execution
– Build and expand our presence in existing account base

• Achieve financial goals
– Grow Revenue
– Improve our operating margins
– Establish internal benchmarks and lead to exceed industry standard business metrics

• Increase Operational efficiencies
– Continue to align complimentary operations
– Empower people to drive efficiency improvements
– Hold everyone accountable for meeting constantly increasing expectations
– Encourage smart experimentation…and not dump on people who do and make mistakes

• Enhance Organizational Effectiveness
– Spread knowledge company wide
– Build and improve upon divisional best practices and pollinate the organization with them i.e. share!
– Build a performance oriented talent management process
– Accountability

Of course, these may seem simultaneously obvious and nebulous. Grow revenue for example. Duh! Seems like the right thing to do strategically! However, it is a nebulous statement until it hits the street level. The devil is in the details and each of our groups including sales, services and support can figure out ways to do that.

How these strategic goals get translated to you in your roles is key. I, your direct managers and others need to look at every thing we do in the context of these goals.

What are some of the 3S specific things we are going to tackle in 2007?

More than a few things!

In sales, we continue to align the sales teams and streamlining the customer touch point to fewer reps that would touch a client. We have heard from AMSUG, other customers, the sales force and others that in our old model we had too many people touching prospects and clients. Our new structure will reduce these touch points to a few. In sales, we are relentless focusing on selling for sure. However, we are building a culture of data driven decisions, forecasting accuracy, building a replicable sales model and improving our talent pool. Already, these initiatives have paid off with a strong second half of the year in 2006.

In Sagitta services, we have embraced the concept of a new consulting model built on a common industry approach called APDIO (The customer should see us Assess, Plan, Design, Implement and Operate as part of our service life cycle.) In addition, we are focusing on building complete scopes of work that set and reinforce expectations that the customers should have for us in the delivery process. Finally, gone are the days of under pricing or giving away our time. Our people’s brains and efforts are resources that we want to harness in a profitable fashion. Your intellect is not a freebie. To that end, we are resisting fixed price engagements and attempting to position time and materials engagements.

In Sagitta Support, we have lit up a few new initiatives. We have experimented with some new queing approaches to taking customer calls with some modest success. This experimentation will continue as we look for ways to improve response times. In addition, for National accounts, we implemented a rather clever “PowerHour” once a day for our biggest customers. During PowerHours, we put a number of people on just one account’s call queue to knock down the number of calls that were open. This has been well received. We will continue to experiment here.

In AMS Support, we have been building out AMS360 support muscle in Bothell. This has been a huge amount of work and I would like to compliment the Bothell team as well as our team members in College Station who have been lending a hand to make this tough transition work. We are making good progress here.

In AMS Services, we are focusing on building out the team, getting folks trained, examining existing processes to look for efficiency gains and building a “Big Account” team that can help implement our bigger 360 customers as we get them on board. Again, my appreciation is genuine for team members new and veteran that are working through this complex endeavor.

There are too many micro initiatives going on to detail. Each of the teams has a laundry list of projects and deliverables we are working on.



Last page thoughts…

The company has been through a lot of change in the past few years. Change is good for the health of the company. I could list you 200 companies that died because they failed to change. These relics died ugly deaths because they refused to evolve or recognize that you have to cannibalize and rebuild yourself constantly to stay competitive.

Because these changes have led to the creation of the sales, services and support team, I wanted to detail thoughts about a few of my loftier goals for how the sales, services and support team will conduct our business within the greater whole of AMS.

I want our team to set a high standard for professionalism. Internally. Externally. This means simple seemingly non important symbolic things like dressing, speaking and acting like professionals in the work place. It means going the extra mile to communicate and interact on a higher level as team members and with the customers who pay our salaries. All of us should be putting in a smart and honest day’s work. Our customers will pick up on a higher/different tone of professionalism.

I want our team members to feel empowered to raise ideas for improvements to the status quo. I suspect that with about 250-275 people on the team that there are at least 1,000 ideas a week…some good, some bad and probably some GREAT ones that should get examined and executed. Twenty great ideas, well executed, can change the AMS world.

I want our team to be customer focused. They pay our salaries by buying our products and services…we should do everything possible (ethically, legally and yes, profitably) to make them happy. Let us never forget that we are here by the grace of people that see value in what we do.

I want our team focused on developing talent and leaders of the future. Self development, taking advantage of internal training opportunities and leveraging the tuition assistance program to elevate your game intellectually. Additionally, I am encouraging the management team to work with emerging leaders on the team to put them into positions that will stretch them. My goal is that the next crop of managers is internally grown for the most part. It is good for AMS people and for our customers if we build a development focused organization that mostly promotes from within.

I want to build an environment that is helpful in causing people to enjoy working for AMS. Despite all of the change, this is a great place to build a career. Will we work hard? Yes. Will there be problems? Yes. Will we win some and lose some? Yes. However, keep the big picture in mind. As we please customers, increase revenues and profits and do our jobs, lets not forget to have fun and enjoy the ride.



I want to build a culture of constant and never ending improvement. What was good enough last year will not be good enough this year. We should always strive to figure out how to do it better, faster, cheaper with higher levels of customer satisfaction to the point of diminishing returns. I do not want to build a toxic environment that does not tolerate mistakes…however, I do want us to make mistakes of action versus being a division full of people making the mistake at gaping at the world.

Enough said.

I hope you found this first memo of 12 for the year interesting and helpful. If I can be of service to you drop me a line at 425-354-6183 or eroshitsh@vertafore.com

Regards,

Ed Roshitsh

Anonymous said...

To “Anonymous” of June 27, 2007, 9:18 pm, in your choice of language “moronic rantings.. idiotic attempts.. you clown..you moron..you dumbass… Who the hell… load of crap…-bit poor excuse of a man… feeble mind?....your choice of words are none the less repulsive and very unprofessional. You have stooped lower than the context of this blog and what it is about. We can agree to disagree but to go the level of un-professionalism as you have; it’s un-imaginably anyone would listen to or agree with you. We probably can assume you have decided to move on just as you have suggest to Mr. Bohica.

Bohica said...

Some closing words for now. My intentions motivating me to start this blog were not petty revenge; I would never waste my time on something that trivial. It’s always been to give customers evidence of why their support has become so very poor since January. This whole blog is only relevant if you have noticed that total lack of support since January to go with your increased support fees that were implemented in January. The most important part is the service you get and you the customer are the only ones that can change that, not me with a blog. At least with the details provided here you have a direction to go in and know what to put AMS on the spot with. I’ve said since the beginning it’s the customers that will make the difference here, not me. I will leave the post from June 27th from the childish individual here on the blog. I asked that things be kept semi-professional and as you can see even certain AMS techs can’t do that, so maybe its good they laid off some people, they just didn’t get that one. As the admin of the blog I will repeat my request that it be kept semi-professional. As of now, any disparaging remarks such as that from June 27th will be deleted from the blog. Now if people really want me to quit posting on this topic, be sure you don’t give me any more encouragement. BTW former co worker, I hope you enjoy the new non disclosure agreement and policies AMS is implementing because of this blog and the new voice recording system being implemented at all locations so that they can listen to all your phone calls with customers.

Pardon the verbage to a fellow coworker, but I had to say something. To all the AMS customers I wish you the best of luck with this and let the next few weeks and months determine whether you’re happy with AMS or not. Be sure to start looking at other options for your agency now though in case you don’t. I hear that Applied Systems is a very beneficial alternative to agencies looking for better support and software.

Thank you for reading this,
The Que Nazi.

Bohica said...

As there have been people who cannot be civilized enough to comment here and remain semi-professional as I’ve asked, I have turned off anonymous comments to the blog. The blog can still be commented on by registered users of blogger and if you’d like to feel free. I will admin the comments and if there are gross vulgarities in the comments it will be removed. Enjoy the info here, keep in mind that AFW and prime have had 6 months to suffer through outsourcing, ams360 s just now being geared up for outsourcing as that was just announced on May 31st. I’m going to keep enjoying my time away from AMS while I look for other work and feel sorry for all of you left with AMS be you customer or employee. Until the ownership and leadership at AMS changes or improves it will never be a pleasant company to deal with. Good luck.

BackInMissouri said...

bohica, whoever you are, I am proud of you! Beachwood lastet about 6 months longer than I thought it would. Is anyone going to mention the shut-down of the Bolivar, MO office in 2004? I'm wishing all of you good people in Beachwood, OH the best of luck. It can only get better for you from here! Regards!

Bohica said...

The following are links with statistical and imperical knowledge on outsourcing and offshoring support from various companies and the harm to not just AMS customers but to everyone. This is further evidence that supports my claims of AMS doing the customers wrong with outsourcing and offshoring, enjoy the articles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outsourcing
http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguide_offshoring
http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/bp155

If you'd like a listing of potential outsourcing overseas, I'll even provide a link for that.

http://www.outsourcing.org/

Bohica said...

Laughing and laughing here. I found out that AMS for AFW, Prime and Sagitta are using Convergys for their outsourcing on those products, I really do feel sorry for the customers now, I know convergys company very well. This is laughable, you'll never get the support you're paying for from that company.

Bohica said...

As I figured this blog is dead and no one that is a customer of ams truly cares how their money is spent, or the unethical behaviour of ams/vertafore towards it's employees and former employees. My true goal was to created a moment of panic and chaos within the hierarchy at ams and that was accomplished. After all they did hire an attorney to make dire threats of legal action. I am happily out of that circle for some time now and enjoying my life again. I'm a person that believes in accountability though and however trivial it is, I held Euan Menzies accountable with fear and chaos for a solid month. The end result of that is that ams is replacing it's oldest servers on the afw product and moving to the latest version of citirx, that's money they don't want to spend. Why? Because afw does not make money for them like ams360 does, and they lie to you and tell you afw is going away...........I got news for all of you, there's still nearly 3000 agencies on afw, it's not going anywhere for at least 5 years. I really don't care if you think I'm right or wrong for what I did here, I need no one's acceptance or approval but my own. As you can see though there are comments posted of people that used to work for ams agreeing with me from their own experiences of lay off and re-sizing. I received emails from over 30 agencies thanking me for telling the truth and agreeing with my stand against ams. You see I say it doesn't matter what people think of me because I knew before I ever made the blog that you can put black and white documentation out there for everyone to see and they will still believe what they want to believe. Now, I wanted to tell you all the truth and I did as best I could with the information I still have, but the main goal was to make them sweat bullets up in washington state.......and I did. I knew this would just be alot of talk and nothing would really come of it. I was surprised to hear they had changed their plans for afw. You see, by letting servers physically die and not replacing them, the product becomes slower, disconnects more often, becomes intolerable to use, and then a salesman sweeps in and hooks you on the logical solution, AMS360. Now, that plan has had to change miraculously in part because of this blog and mainly because of 3000 pissed off afw agencies that are tired of the shit, pardon my language. Everything I posted here is the truth, if you doubt me, call an ams employee you've known for a long time or log a ticket requesting them and ask ask ask. Not to be a bible thumper, but it does say in the new testament that money is the root of all evil, it does not say money is evil. Therefore it must mean that what people do with it is evil. Now many of you will contend that ams is in the business of making money. I agree. That they're just trying to make a profit. Most companies do. However when you sacrifice morals, integrity, values, ethics, and loyalty to your employees that work so hard for you..........what is that called. Greed, and oh my isn't that one of the 7 deadly from the old testament. There are too many religions and beliefs that say the same thing about one thing though. You reap the seeds you sow, that's the bible. Karma, that's East Indian I think. What you put in the circle comes back and finds you, that's wicca. There are many other belief systems that say the same thing. My only regret is that I won't be able to actually see the circle come full tilt on the investors at vertafore. On Euan Menzies, and all the people at ams that support this behaviour either actively or through fear of job loss. I fought the last months I was at ams, I made nothing easy on any of them, and I made this blog, so I am not a rollover or a collaborator. I don't accept or approve of mistreatment of people in the name of greed or any other reason. And I certainly will never be quiet about it. There was a person that left a nasty post on this blog telling to just shutup I'd said enough. I invited that person to call me and meet me anywhere they wanted to so we could discuss our differences. However this person proved to be a coward behind a keyboard and never did call or contact me in any way. That's what you get to deal with though, the cowards that won't stand up for themselves or anyone else. The pass the buck people that won't support you because you're on xp home instead of xp pro. Jesus christ they work the same way, I made 360 work on xp mecia center edition just as well as pro or home. Anyway I am done with ams and everyone there. You all deserve what you get for staying with or supporting a company and a staff that operates this way. Look for Euan Menzies to be replaced sometime in 2008, that's the way it always works and the cycle of building this up while tearing this down will start again. I got $50 on Euan being banished this next year for anyone foolish enough to take that bet. You all have fun and goodbye.

Sonja S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bloghead said...

Well, I am so happy I found this blog, thanks to God. Just today I was on the phone with AMS sales about upgrading from Prime to AMS360. It was an incredible experience. First, he went through the entire spiel on AMS360 and I asked as we went along for pricing indications. Afterall, this is his product, he should be able to give me a idea of the cost. Well, when finished, the total cost for me, a 3 person agency, was close to $20,000. This is a big investment for us and I want to make sure it will meet our needs. Right before hanging up. I thought to ask, don't you ever have specials for anyone? He was hesitant, then quiet, then mumbered, Alliance of Agents..I interrupted him right then and said "I belong to the Alliance". You would not believe what happened next.

Overall the pricing dropped by 50% and even more if you want to do your own conversion. On the Alliance "deal" 35 hours of training is thrown in (worth $3,000) So much for ethical sales. If I were selling something to a small business, just 2 employees, and put $20,000 out there as a cost, when I also knew Alliance Members could get it for $6,300. I would have definitely told them about it.

The way he handled by waiting to the end of our conversation and I had to bring it up, I doubt he would have ever mentioned it.

Now I read here about the support issues, how grateful I am that someone took the time to share this. I am already familiar with support from other countries. It should be against the law. We need jobs in this country.
Anyway thanks for posting it helped me.

Alan said...

I'm glad I stumbled onto this blog. I am a former Vertafore customer that was on a good Mgt system(IRS-AIMS/MARS) that was bought by Vertafore a few years back. The last two years they refused to update our systems basically trying to force us into one of their high end products. They had no problem increasing our support costs even though we rarely needed any service and they never provided any. How could they justify an increase in rates when they didn't provide anything in return. After reading this it all makes sense. I am in the market now for a replacement system. Vertafore is out. I had already decided this prior to reading this blog, this blog just guarantees I will not buy Vertafore.

Alan said...

I am glad I stumbled on to this site. Two reasons. First, I am a former Vertafore customer that was with a good agency management system(IRS-Aims/Mars) that was purchased by Vertafore a few years ago. There main purpose is to try and convert you to one of their high price products. They try and accomplish this by not upgrading your existing software to force you to move on. Also, they charge outrageous maintenance fees for pretty much NO service as the system rarely needs any service. The fees should include keeping the system updated. I experienced first hand everything that was explained in the blog. After reading the blog it all made sense. They are money hungry and don’t care one thing about their own clients. The 2nd reason I am glad I found this blog is that I got mentally weak while searching for a new management system and a rating system when I decided to check out the AMS 360 info. It all looked really good and I decided to Google review on AMS 360 when I got this blog. Thanks for the info as it brings back the memory of how they have screwed us. Bohica is right….Don’t do business with Vertafore…all they want is your money

Alan said...

I am glad I stumbled on to this site. Two reasons. First, I am a former Vertafore customer that was with a good agency management system(IRS-Aims/Mars) that was purchased by Vertafore a few years ago. There main purpose is to try and convert you to one of their high price products. They try and accomplish this by not upgrading your existing software to force you to move on. Also, they charge outrageous maintenance fees for pretty much NO service as the system rarely needs any service. The fees should include keeping the system updated. I experienced first hand everything that was explained in the blog. After reading the blog it all made sense. They are money hungry and don’t care one thing about their own clients. The 2nd reason I am glad I found this blog is that I got mentally weak while searching for a new management system and a rating system when I decided to check out the AMS 360 info. It all looked really good and I decided to Google review on AMS 360 when I got this blog. Thanks for the info as it brings back the memory of how they have screwed us. Bohica is right….Don’t do business with Vertafore…all they want is your money

amy_kester said...

As a former employee of Vertafore I had to comment. I worked with them for 9 plus years and was fired for some ridiculous thing. Since then they have laid off others from my team and then a month later were posting that they were hiring that position. They have closed the Kennewick office and many others since Bohica started this blog. They then proceed to get ri of most all of the seasoned trainers. Then they expect the current team to do the work they normally do then do the work of all the offices that are closed. I have nightmares that I still work there and the day they fired me was a my fourth of July. Like Bohica I was loved by the customers and believed very strongly that they come first.

amy_kester said...

I think it was my comment to Brian Berg that our training was 'cookie cutter" and did not meet the needs of our customers put a huge target on my back. I just do not know how reading from an AMS manual the customer already has constitutes training.

AMS BLOWS said...

We were happy using Q&A (DOS and for Windows) - total of 5 offices.. all connecting to the main office here for d.b., accounts, brokers, documents/merge docs. etc. Should NEVER have let AMS360/Vertafore - Norma Fields - (and who, in fact never returns calls/emails) sell us this p.o.s. And the very first day when we told them it needs to be customizable - specific for what we do - NOT cookie-cutter commercial agency.. "No Problem" it can do ALL the things you want it do do.."

Come to find out 6 months or year later; and if they HAD told us what I later heard from an AMS tech, .." you CANNOT and there isw NO way to change the core product" we never would have spent over $350,000.00 now to date..for computers/servers, AMS360 product as well as the ongoing forever 'support' fees of $1,400.00 month not to mention the 'Customs Dept.' to be raped even more..