TMW Systems Buys Innovative Computing, Including 300 i OS Customers
December 8, 2009 Alex Woodie
TMW Systems surprised the trucking industry last week when it announced the acquisition of Innovative Computing Corp., a rival developer of i OS-based applications for the trucking industry. The deal puts TMW firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to enterprise trucking applications for the i OS computing platform.
The unexpected sale of Innovative Computing to its larger competitor marks a subdued end to the company’s yearlong celebration of its 40th year in business. Ever since Innovative launched what it claims was the trucking industry’s first enterprise platform way back in 1969, the company has targeted IBM platforms–first the mainframe, and then the S/34 in the late 1970s. Today, its flagship product, Innovative Enterprise Software (IES), runs exclusively under IBM i (i5/OS, OS/400), as both licensed software and outsourced services.
2009 was supposed to mark the release of IES version 9. The company has been talking about IES version 9–which was to be re-written in ILE and free-form RPG–since this time last year. However, the Nashville, Tennessee, company never got it to market.. It is unclear why the product has not yet been released. Employees with the company expect IES R9 to be released under TMW sometime soon.
Innovative Computing will continue to operate as a branch of TMW, which is based in Cleveland, Ohio. TMW has committed to supporting Innovative Computing’s customers and its products indefinitely. “We will continue to sell, support, and develop the ICC product line to protect our customers’ technology and platform investments,” David Wangler, president and CEO of TMW, said in a statement.
The acquisition made sense in part due to the extensive customer overlap. TMW says that many IES customers were also users of its software, including TMT Fleet Maintenance (an i OS application) and IDSC ExpertFuel, IDSC MatchAdvice, and IDSC Netwise, which run on other platforms.
“Many Innovative customers have already found TMW Systems to be a strong industry technology partner where they have added TMW point solutions to their Innovative enterprise software,” Ernie Betancourt, president of ICC, said in a written statement. “Our customers now have the opportunity to see their technology investment grow in value with TMW support and industry leadership.”
Innovative Computing had approximately 300 customers, including some of the country’s biggest fleets, as recorded in the TT100 list of the biggest trucking outfits, according to TMW, which also had its fair share of TT100 customers using TruckMate and TMWSuite, its Windows-based solutions, and TL2000, the i OS-based dispatching solutions it developed in-house.
This is not the first acquisition of an i OS trucking industry application developer for TMW, which now claims to have 1,800 customers that collectively move $62 billion in freight per year. Its 2007 acquisition of TMT Software netted the company i OS and Windows fleet management products and customers. TMW, which itself was acquired by two private equity firms in early 2006, kicked off its run of acquisitions in late 2006 with the acquisition of Maddocks Systems, which developed on Windows.
There aren’t a lot of independent i OS trucking software developers left. One is McLeod Software, a fairly large Alabama company with more than 500 customers. Other vendors with trucking solutions that run on or interact with System i servers include Nulogx, which is based in Toronto and has 100 customers; Ayers Rock Software, which is based near Seattle, Washington; and Tell Systems, a small software outfit based in New Jersey.
TMW’s acquisition of Innovative Computing officially involved Innovative Computing’s parent company, BetaZone, which bought the software house in 2001 and was located a few miles south of Nashville in Brentwood. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.