Tag Archive: Axys v3.8.5

This article is a follow-up to two previous articles: one that addresses the future of Axys and another that helps Axys users figure out whether they are on the right version of Axys for their firm.

Almost two years ago, I speculated on what would begood-bad-uglycome of Axys and whether Advent Software would answer to a growing demand among the Axys user base for major product enhancements after several years of minimal but consistent maintenance updates.

Among other things, my blog detailed an expectation for the same old thing as we have seen in the past – a maintenance release – but I also hoped that we would see a major release.  Since the current version was 3.8.5, it made some sense that version 4.0 might be the next release.

At their conference in 2013, Advent formally announced a major release that would include a user interface (UI) overhaul and the addition of permissions.  Advent also indicated that Axys 14.1 would be released in Q2 of 2014.  This was good news to many Axys clients.  I was off by 10 versions, but happy nonetheless that a major new release was in the works!

While I commend the UI overhaul and see those changes as a necessity given today’s technology standards, permissions have never been that big a deal to me or the clients I work with.  As the go-to technical resource for many firms that use Axys, I found we could almost always work around this issue.  The announcement of a major release no doubt made users hopeful that Axys would get the long-awaited attention it required.


Understanding Advent’s new versions…

Advent has embraced a versioning system that makes 14.1 the next release after 3.8.5.  From 2014 forward, there are two scheduled point releases one in Q2 and another in Q4. Advent’s other products also share a similar versioning and release schedule.



As April 2014 went by I needed to remind myself that there were three months in Q2, and the release could just as easily come out in June.  Like many users I waited and listened, but heard no great news about 14.1.  As it turned out, 14.1 was a beta with no more than a handful of users outside of Advent partner firms participating in testing.   14.2 was released on a limited basis.  Thanks to the new version numbers, some Axys 3.8.5 users were thinking, “Wow! The latest release is 14; we really have fallen behind.”

Relatively speaking, a very small group of users had begun using Axys v14.x.


Axys 15.1 was also released on a limited basis.  Those Axys users that want to try out the latest Axys version now need to fill out a questionnaire detailing information that helps Advent determine whether the software in its current iteration will work satisfactorily enough for them to allow or discourage testing of the Axys in each particular user’s environment.

Ten Things You Should Know About Axys 15.x

  1. The UI is a ribbon bar similar in style to more recent versions of Office.
  2. Though the software and data still resides locally, Axys 14.x and beyond require an internet connection to authenticate users via Advent Direct.
  3. The file formats are the same as Axys 3.8.5; that is one piece of good news for integrators.
  4. The ancillary products that work with Axys remain the same for now. Report Writer Pro, DTCC, Dataport and Data Exchange. There has been no change to those products yet.
  5. Reports can now be produced from the Axys program rather than the reports program (rep32.exe) alone.
  6. The function of specifying lots when positions are sold off has changed. It is no longer a pop-up.  Now users must specify the close method in a comment line that immediately follows the transaction.
  7. An additional server running SQL CE is recommended for the parallel testing phase.
  8. Scheduled scripts need to be amended to include authentication credentials.
  9. It is not available to Axys users running the single user version, but support for single user installs is planned for v15.2.
  10. Advent recommends running Axys 15.1 in a test environment for at least a quarter.

Axys users should understand the need to do a phased and methodical release.  This need is predicated on how long Axys has been around and how many programs and interfaces connect with it.  As it was designed and marketed to be, Axys is still the hub of operations for many firms.  By and large, Axys users have had the product for several years and many have built and or purchased additional tools that integrate with Axys.

Advent wants users to start using 15.x, but only after they have thoroughly tested all of their processes.  The easiest way to accomplish that, as Advent recommends, may be running Axys 15.x in parallel with Axys 3.x for an entire quarter.  One of the best things Axys has going for it is the fact that it works so reliably.  With that in mind, the last thing Advent would want to do is destabilize the platform and call their clients’ favorite thing about Axys into question.  However, a greater sense of urgency with respect to facilitating Axys 15.x implementations and bringing more substantive enhancements to Axys would be refreshing to see.

In 2013, Advent made an informal and perhaps unspoken promise to continue to make substantial improvements to the Axys platform through announcing their upgrade plans and committing additional resources to make enhancements to Axys.  Though Axys users can clearly see the signs that Advent has made a significant additional technology investment in Axys, the majority of Axys users have not been able to take advantage of those improvements yet.

Future improvements aside, the primary reasons to stay the course with Axys remain the same as they have for quite some time:

  1. it is an established standard
  2. function over form
  3. simple to host and maintain
  4. relatively low-cost versus most emerging alternatives
  5. a platform you can build on

Firms that want to adopt the latest version of Axys in 2015 will need to work to make it happen.  I suspect that the best-case scenario for many firms would be for them to start testing with 15.x in 2015 and eventually go live in 2016 after year end processing has been completed.  Given the competitive nature of today’s portfolio management systems, the slow motion release of major Axys updates could lead to more firms leaving Axys (and possibly Advent) to pursue alternative solutions with enticing features they may be able to take advantage of on a more predictable timetable.

About the Author: Kevin Shea is the Founder and Principal Kevin Shea Impact 2010Consultant of Quartare; Quartare provides a wide variety of technology solutions to investment advisors nationwide.

For details, please visit Quartare.com, contact Kevin Shea via phone at 617-720-3400 x202 or e-mail at kshea@quartare.com.

In this article, we will take a look at the Axys versions in use today.  Later this month, I will summarize Advent’s other portfolio management products and offer some insight into their value and target market.  Advent offers at least three different portfolio management software products; however, the vast majority of Advent’s portfolio management clients still use Axys.  With Advent’s recent release of Axys version 3.8.5 in mind, it’s time once again to revisit the version of Axys in use at your firm and evaluate the benefits of upgrading to the latest version.

In our day-to-day work with Advent’s Axys clients, we frequently see versions 3.5.1 – 3.8 in use at sites.  Advent historically supports current and previous releases of each of their products, and will likely make an announcement this fall regarding the sunset of Axys 3.5.1 and 3.6.  Though some sources indicate support for these products ended December 31, 2010, Advent’s website does not confirm this.

Below is a summary of the various Axys versions we see in use, as well as our recommendations regarding these releases:


Axys v3.5.1 (released June 2004) and Axys v3.6 (released August 2005)

If you are still using either of these versions today, you may have reviewed the list of updates in later versions and failed to find sufficient reason to switch.  Maybe you simply haven’t made the time to upgrade.  Perhaps you are worried about the potential headaches of upgrading, or about compatibility with reporting enhancements.  No matter how your system has been customized, moving to Axys v3.7 shouldn’t be that big a deal, so don’t put it off any longer.


Axys v3.7 (released November 2008)

Axys users should be using v3.7 at a minimum.  Axys v3.7 adds compatibility for Acrobat 8, Office 2007 and Vista.  Nearly all versions of Axys, including v3.7, contain a significant number of report updates that are important to many Axys users.  Report updates made after an Axys release are individually downloadable from the Advent Connection website.  A large number of reports were updated after the 3.7 release.  Firms that choose not to upgrade to v3.8 or higher at this time should download these reports.


Axys v3.8 (released January 2010)

For many users, the benefits of Axys v3.8 versus Axys v3.7 are relatively small.  Axys version 3.8 is a compatibility update that primarily addresses the Options Symbology Initiative (OSI).  Axys 3.8 also includes support for Acrobat 9 and Internet Explorer 8.

Axys v3.8 is the first release in years that actually requires data conversion, but in our experience, the process of converting is simple, fast and problem-free.  Unfortunately, changing the underlying data format can affect automation and data integration with other products.  If your firm makes use of custom enhancements to Axys or third-party products, you will want to test these items after upgrading and update as necessary.  For firms without these concerns, upgrading should be seamless.  Similarly to v3.7, a considerable number of reports were updated after the release of v3.8.  Firms that decide not to upgrade to v3.8.5 should download the updated reports from the Advent Connection.


Axys v3.8.5 (released July – August 2011)

Axys v3.8.5 provides long-awaited support for the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 r2.  It also offers support for Microsoft Office 2010 and Adobe Acrobat 10.  Advent’s Axys v3.8.5 installation package includes all the catalog reports and standard reports that were updated after v3.8 was released.  Though many have already started using Axys on the latest operating systems, we have strongly discouraged users from doing this prior to the compatibility release.  We do our best to support those users that have upgraded their operating systems without waiting for compatibility releases, but believe that waiting for the appropriate Advent software release is a best practice.

Once again, firms with almost no customization or third-party programs are unlikely to experience issues as a result of upgrading to v3.8.5, but firms with custom enhancements and third-party programs that make program calls to Axys should be realistic, anticipate some initial difficulties, and allocate resources to test and refit integration if necessary.  At this point, many of our clients will likely hold off on this upgrade until November 2011 or later.  Please note that, according to Advent, no releases of Qube and OpenGL are compatible with Axys 3.8.5.

The most compelling reason to upgrade your version of Axys is to be sure that you have the most current reports and error-free systems available from Advent.  Sooner or later you will want or need to upgrade to Axys 3.8 or Axys 3.8.5, but you may want to put it off until a need for OSI or system infrastructure at your firm demands it.  Axys v3.7 is still widely used by Advent Software clients.  Most firms should plan on moving to Axys 3.8 or later by the end of 2011.

About the Author:
Kevin Shea is President of InfoSystems Integrated, Inc. (ISI); ISI provides a wide variety of outsourced IT solutions to investment advisors nationwide. For details, please visit isitc.com or contact Kevin Shea via phone at 617-720-3400 x202 or e-mail at kshea@isitc.com.