On The Horizon | September 2020

September 04th, 2020 Daisy Smith

We’re quickly approaching the final quarter of 2020. I know we’re all ready for this year to be over – for other reasons – but WesTech is committed to ending this year strong. As we dig into projects, complete tasks, and focus on the future of our systems, we’re dedicated to providing that strong support your businesses need to close out 2020 with confidence.

There are many people behind the scenes of projects and support who you don’t get to see or hear from every day, but I can honestly say they are a group that’s passionate to see you succeed. It’s important for us to understand every business in order to go well beyond “keeping the lights on.” I think the best way to continue our stronger ties is to keep learning from you. It may be because we had such an incredible Affiliate Spotlight presentation from Aaron DeHoog last month, but I want to keep learning about your businesses, your goals, your wins, and lessons.

So far, we have had invaluable sessions from Karen Reddel, Nate Hurd, Danni O’Dell, Karen Melchor, Aaron DeHoog. I’m happy to say APSI has continued this with their International clients.

Let me know if you’d like to be next.

For now, let’s dig into the latest at WesTech.



  • PUMA Update
  • OPIUM Downtime
  • Free Trial Mandate
  • Intelligent Automation on Evolve
  • StatusPage
  • Lytics Huddle

– Daryl




The Westech Marketing Cloud (WMC) app is making progress!  Watch this quick and informative WMC App Video to learn more about it.

LEAD GEN | The Lead Gen product is available to use, with several affiliates already getting comfortable creating Efforts, Creatives, and Journeys.  If you have any questions or would like access, please reach out to mwilliams@14west.us and he can get you set up.

ECOMM | The eCommerce components are in development and will be available in the 4th quarter.   If you are interested in being an early adopter for eCommerce, please reach out to jvirothaisakun@14west.us.

– Judy Bluhm,Platform for User-Centric Marketing Applications Product Manager




You may have already received an email from Sarah Smiley this week, but we wanted to inform you that the PUMA team will be performing necessary maintenance to the OPIUM application and database on Saturday, September 26 at 3:00 AM ET. The scheduled downtime will last approximately two hours, during which time both the OPIUM application and order forms will be inaccessible. There will be no impact to any of our other applications or reporting during this time.

PLANNED WORK | This maintenance includes critical security patches to both the OPIUM application and database for increased performance, security and stability. This maintenance is necessary to ensure we are able to serve the best possible experience to our users, andcontinue to meet the security standards that are expected of our system applications at WesTech.

The entire PUMA team will be monitoring OPIUM and all of our other applications very closely during this timeframe to ensure orders are taken and processed once the system is back up.  Please report any issues to Support so our teams can investigate.




Intelligent automation has been an ultimate goal for Michael Bresler and the Strategic Solutions and Automation team. With its help, we can catch mistakes earlier  and better strategize for the future.

If you’d like to know more about intelligent automation or robotic processes, there is now an Intelligent Automation workspace on Evolve where you can learn anything from the basics, how to spot opportunities for bots in your workflow, and much more. If you have any questions on bots and automation, reach out to Michael here.




Last month, I sent a message regarding how the 14 West Support team is handling incident response and let you know what you can expect from us when you-know-what hits the fan with one of our systems.

Whether it’s Advantage, IRIS, OPIUM, FunnelCake, Blueshift, Signup App, Message Central, Middleware, Spine, Data & Analytics (formerly BI), and IT, you will get a communication from “noreply@statuspage.io” which is sent through our incident management application, StatusPage. What’s really great about StatusPage is that you can get a quick glimpse of our systems health dashboard that shows the current and historic health of the applications. If you haven’t done so already, please check it out here and subscribe to updates if needed.

If you have any questions regarding Support or StatusPage, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.

– Tony Browne, Director of Support




In our latest Lytics Huddle, Dillon Paul, Senior Product Manager, and Mark Hayden, VP of Product Management, from Lytics shared their Product Roadmap for the remainder of 2020.

In this huddle, they offered a sneak peek into the major product updates and design changes that are scheduled to be released later this year and early next year. If you’re interested in their vision for the future of Lytics, improvements to the workflow of the application, and more, please watch the recording here.

As always, if you have any questions about Lytics or would like to check the application out for yourself, please reach out to the Customer Intelligence team!




Here’s a term you probably haven’t heard about yet:  spear-phishing.  They’re targeted attacks that are typically more advanced and can be personalized in an effort to dupe the users into believing that they are reading legitimate messages.

Spear-phishing attempts come through every day into our environment, and many of you have also seen them.  The most common – and most dangerous – are impersonation attempts, where an attacker will use a random email address (i.e. a name with random numbers @gmail.com or @outlook.com), change their display name (friendly from) to someone in the organization, and send a standard email with a greeting and small request.  Some could ask for a cell number, changing direct deposit information in Ulti-Pro, or requesting gift cards to be purchased for co-workers or clients.  Since most us only notice the name of the sender, it’s easy to miss that the email address.  Here’s an example with the display name highlighted (note the email address to the right of it):


As we can see in this message, there’s a number of things that lead us to believe this is not a legit request:

  1. The email address “quickresponse119@gmail.com” does not match the email address for Steve Graziano, a 14 West employee, which should be “sgraziano@14west.us.”
  2. The subject line in all caps as well as other formatting and grammatical errors within the body of the message.
  3. Our company branded signature is not at the bottom of the email. The signatures are appended at the end of every email as they leave our email servers.  Not everyone has one, but it’s something to look for.  Alternatively, even with a company branded signature in an email, we still have to be on the lookout for these errors since signatures can be spoofed as well.

As with all emails you receive, always be aware that there’s a possibility it may not be from who it says it’s from.  Spend an extra minute or two to investigate the email, using the above as an example, to determine if the communication is safe.  If you notice that it is, in fact, a malicious attempt, then do not click anything in the email and do not reply.  Immediately report the message using the Phish Alert button in your email client or forward the email to security@14west.us so we can investigate the origin and assign blocks through Mimecast.

If you have any questions regarding this information or would like you or your team to have a formal training on these possible attacks, please let us know and we will be happy to set it up!

– Steve Graziano, Sr. InfoSec Engineer




In an effort to reduce chargebacks for subscription-related charges originating from free and limited trials, Visa and MasterCard released a mandate that provides more clear information to consumers and helps merchants fight against chargebacks that occur.

TYPES OF OFFERS AFFECTED | These are introductory offers and free trials which include bundle offers, offering premiums of components in packages, and book offers.

WHY CHANGE IS NEEDED | It is important for each business to adopt this mandate and make changes not only to be compliant with the card brands, but to lessen the chargeback rate and help with friendly fraud. This helps our ability to represent and win chargebacks, avoid class action lawsuits, and also provides optimal customer service by helping customers understand what they are signing up for from the start with ample communication on how to cancel.

EPP (Electronic Payment Processing team) is working closely with the affiliates and internal 14 West teams to ensure all needed changes are made. The majority of the changes required for this mandate is revolve around communication.

After working with Vantiv and Visa, we were able to get an extension to be compliant by mid- October, 2020. Vantiv also approved the notion that we don’t have to make changes to any of our e-comm systems that are sunsetting at the end of 2020. Everyone involved has been working diligently to meet our mid-October deadline and we look forward to implementing this mandate across the organization! If you have any questions about this mandate, please reach out to me directly.

– Elizabeth Cammack, Business Operations Analyst, FinTech


Daisy Smith

Assistant Director, Communications

"Don’t take yourself too seriously.”

I found myself at 14 West after 18 months of traveling and teaching in Bali, Thailand, and Australia. And now 5 years later, I’ve learned and grown with my team in extraordinary ways. I think that’s due in large part to the fact that I’ve been encouraged to approach my work and explore my potential in the same ways I’ve explored other parts of the world. I’m constantly asking questions, seeing and doing new things. And learning A LOT. I didn’t expect to find an experience like this in “an office back home.”

I love my position at 14 West because I’m invited to take on a diverse range of responsibilities. From running our Wellness Program to brand development and brand marketing to writing, I have a broad range of interests. And my role allows me to develop my skills through work that truly excites me. I have a hard time saying no to new projects, even when I already have a full plate. But when I take on too much, the leaders here are there with the support I need to get the job done. At the same time, I’m given the creative freedom to feel real ownership over my projects, which only motivates me more.

What is one thing you have to do every day in the office? Gotta have my essential oil diffuser going. Five of us share an office and we’re all hooked on the diffuser now, but it’s my job to create the perfect oil cocktail each morning to set the tone for the day. I’m obsessed.