Cincom Systems

Cincom Systems
Cincom Systems, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Computer software
IT Services
Founded 1968
Headquarters Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Key people Thomas M. Nies, CEO and Founder
Products Contact center
Document automation
Data management
Application Development

Cincom Systems is a privately held, multinational, computer technology corporation founded in 1968 by Tom Nies, Tom Richley and Claude Bogardus.

Cincom Systems, Inc. is one of the first companies to sell software separately from hardware, revolutionizing the selling of computers and their components. The company is a pioneer in the software industry.

Cincom has 24 offices in 17 countries distributed over five continents.[2] Cincom has more than one office in US, Canada, France, Australia, and India.

As of 2006, Cincom ranks among the top 2 percent of all software companies worldwide in terms of revenue. The company hovers between 150 and 175 in the Software 500. The US has about 10,000 software companies [3] [4]

On August 20, 1984, President Ronald Reagan called Cincom and Tom Nies "the epitome of entrepreneurial spirit of American business." [5]

Cincom founder Thomas M. Nies is currently the longest actively serving CEO in the computer industry[6], and is featured alongside other pioneers of the industry such as Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Ellison (Oracle) and Steve Jobs (Apple), in the Smithsonian Institution's Computer History Collection.

Cincom Systems' History Museum located at its corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Corporate history


  • Thomas M. Nies, Tom Richley and Claude Bogardus start Cincom on September 29, 1968 with $600. A card table in Thomas Nies' basement serves as Cincom's first office. Nies, Richley, and Bogardus respectively fill marketing and sales, product development and research roles.
  • By March 1969, the company becomes a full service organization with the addition of principals Doug Hughes (systems engineering), George Fanady (custom systems), Jan Litton (product installation) and Judy Foegle (administration).
  • Although initially founded as United Computer Systems, the new company discovers that people confuse its name with other upstart computer companies. The company changes its name to Cincom – a contraction of the words "Cincinnati" and "computer."
  • Cincom sells TOTAL, a database management system.
  • Cincom becomes the first U.S. software firm to promote the concept of a database management system (DBMS).
  • Cincom delivers the first commercial database management system that is not bundled with a computer manufacturer's hardware and proprietary software.


  • Cincom introduces several new products this decade including:
    • ENVIRON/1 (1971), a control system for teleprocessing networks.
    • SOCRATES (1972), a data retrieval system for receiving quick, meaningful reports from the TOTAL database system.
    • T-ASK (1975), an Interactive Query Language for Harris computers
    • MANTIS (1978), an application generator.
    • TOTAL Information System, a directory-driven database management system.[7]
    • Manufacturing Resource Planning System (1979), a packaged data system for manufacturers that is the ancestor of today's CONTROL system.
  • Cincom begins expanding its operations internationally opening offices in:
    • Canada - 1971
    • England - 1972
    • Belgium - 1973
    • France - 1974
    • Italy - 1974
    • Australia - 1974
    • Japan - 1978
  • 1971: Cincom holds its first ever user conference dubbed as a "knock about."
  • 1979: Cincom forms its manufacturing systems division.


  • Cincom expands its operations opening offices in:
    • Brazil (1980)
    • Hong Kong
  • Cincom introduces several new products this decade including:
    • EPOCH-FMS (1980), a directory-driven financial management system.
    • Series 80 Data Control System (1980), an interactive online data dictionary.
    • ULTRA (1983), an interactive database management system for Digital Equipment Corporation's (DEC) VAX hardware.
    • PC CONTACT (1984), a fully integrated, single-step communications facility that interactively linked an IBM mainframe computer with the user's IBM personal computer.
    • MANAGE User Series (1984), an integrated, decision-support system that combined extensive personal computing capabilities with the power and control of the mainframe.
    • SUPRA for SQL (structured query language) (1989).
    • CASE Environment (1989), a series of integrated components that assisted users who were facing cross-platform development demand from multiple areas within their computers.
    • Comprehensive Planning & Control System (CPCS) (1989), a resource and project guidance system that centralized management of resources and activities.
  • 1980: TOTAL product sales reach $250 million.
  • 1982: Cincom becomes the first software firm to receive the President's "E" award for superior performance in increasing or promoting exports.
  • 1985: Cincom receives the "E-Star" award from the U.S. Department of Commerce for export excellence.
  • 1984: Dennis Yablonsky becomes President. He serves three years.
  • 1986: SUPRA release 1.3 received the highest score (64%) ever of any relational database from Dr. E. F. Codd.
  • 1987: Thomas Nies resumes the role of President.
  • 1988: In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Cincom Systems charters the Concorde for corporate purposes and is the first company to do so. It is the first time the high-speed jet made a private landing in Cincinnati.


  • The United States Defense Information System Agency (DISA) designates Cincom as its "vendor of choice" – the first time the U.S. government ever specified a single vendor's products as the standard.
  • Cincom introduces several new products this decade including:
    • AD/Advantage (1991), an application development system that automated development and maintenance activities throughout all phases of the application life cycle.
    • XpertRule (1993), a knowledge specification and generation system.
    • TOTAL FrameWork (1995), a set of object-oriented frameworks, services and integrated development environments (IDEs) for the assembly and maintenance of Smalltalk, Java, C++ and Visual Basic business applications.
    • Cincom Acquire (1995), an integrated selling system for companies that deliver complex products and services.
    • AuroraDS (1995), an enterprise-wide solution that allowed organizations to automate document creation, production, output and management in a client/server environment.
    • SPECTRA (1997), a system that provided customer administration and resource efficiency for telecommunications, utilities and service industries.
    • gOOi (1997), a solution that turns traditional server-based applications into graphical integrated desktop (client) applications.
    • Cincom Encompass (1998), a suite of integrated components for next-generation call centers.
    • Cincom Smalltalk (1999), a suite that includes VisualWorks and the ObjectStudio Enterprise development environment.
    • Cincom iC Solutions (1999), a technology that combines sales and marketing automation with knowledge-based support for product and service configuration.
  • Cincom expands by opening offices in:
    • Mexico City, Mexico (1994)
    • Milan, Italy (1996)
    • Shanghai, China (1998)
  • 1995: Cincom founder, Tom Nies, receives an honor from the Information Technology and Society division of the Smithsonian Institution as one of the founders of the computer industry.
  • 1995: Cincom founder, Tom Nies, receives recognition as the longest-serving active CEO in the entire computer industry (27 years).
  • 1996: Cincom acquires the print division of Andersen Consulting in Lyon, France (1996); ObjectStudio's German operations from VMark (1996); ChemData, a workstation storage and retrieval document management software company in Lyon, France (1997); and the VisualWorks product line from ObjectShare (1999).

2000 to present

  • Cincom acquires Grovewood Financial Management (2000), a UK-based independent financial advisor company and Synchrony Communications (2004), a company once operated by divine, Inc.
  • Cincom introduces several new products this decade including:
    • Cincom Knowledge Builder (2001), a business rules management system that streamlines sales and service processes by providing advice and guidance at the point of customer interaction.
    • Cincom TIGER (2002), a tool that integrates all data sources within an organization.
    • ENVIRON (2003), an enabling technology that helps manufacturers integrate their business systems, improve their business processes and eliminate waste throughout their organizations.
    • Cincom Synchrony (2004), a customer experience management system for multi-channel contact centers.
    • Cincom Eloquence (2006), a document composition solution that provides business-line professionals with the ability to generate dynamic structured and free-form documents.
  • Cincom expands into services in 2001 with OverC outsourced call center services and their application service provider offering CinAPPS.
  • Cincom opens an office in New Delhi, India (2000).
  • 2003: Cincom launches its award-winning e-magazine Expert Access.
  • 2004: Ernst & Young inducts Nies into its Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame.
  • 2005: Along with the CEO of Adobe, Nies wins the International Stevie Award for Best Executive in the International— "the business world's own Oscars," according to the New York Post. Nies also receives the University of Cincinnati Lifetime Achievement award.
  • 2006: Cincom CEO Tom Nies speaks at the United Nations and urges executives, diplomats and officials to simplify their information technology on June 27, 2006 at the 18th Annual Information Security, IT Infrastructure, and Business Continuity Conference and Exhibit at the United Nations. While at the UN, Nies also participates in a forum with global leaders on IT security threats. These forums offer a global view and educational format for business, technology, and government executives. "Most software applications are designed to automate organizational processes. But to get the most impact from technology implementations, simplifying processes is vital," says Nies.
  • 2007: Cincom generates over $100 million in revenue for the 21st straight year, a feat unmatched by any private software publisher in the world. Microsoft (a public company) is the only other software publisher in the world to reach this milestone.
  • 2008: Cincom and CEO Thomas Nies appear in a case study by Harvard Business School. "Description: Tom Nies, charismatic CEO of Cincom Systems, is considering a public offering of his software enterprise, but the 1987 stock market crash checks his plans. Nies reflects that capital for expansion will keep Cincom at the frontier of technological development in a changing industry. He also realizes that an IPO might negate his firm's efforts to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction and change Cincom's unique corporate culture."

Solutions and services

Cincom delivers software and services in the following areas:

  • Contact center
  • Complex manufacturing
  • Document automation
  • Data management
  • Application development
  • Business intelligence

Cincom solutions and services cover the following industries:

  • Manufacturing
  • Financial services
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Government
  • Retail
  • Telecommunications
  • Non-profit


Global offices

  • Americas: Brazil, Canada, Latin America, United States
  • Europe: België | Belgique (Belgium), Deutschland (Germany), España (Spain), France, Italia (Italy), Monaco, Nederland (Netherlands), Schweiz | Suisse | Svizzera (Switzerland), Sweden, United Kingdom
  • Asia: Australia, China, India, Japan


Cincom Expert Access is an award-winning e-publication that identifies key business trends, innovations, and issues. Expert Access provides relevant, concise, objective information, sometimes in an irreverent, humorous manner, to help readers do their jobs better, become aware of new ideas, products, or services or enjoy a business-to-business (B2B) laugh.

The newsletter has a profile in Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs.

References and footnotes

  1. ^ "Cincom Corporate Web Site". 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  2. ^ "About Cincom". 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2008. 
  3. ^ E-Commerce News (6 September 2008). "Cincom: A Software Powerhouse". Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  4. ^ Cincom News Release (2003). "Cincom Moves Up on Software 500 List". Retrieved December 3, 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ "President Ronald Reagan Speech & Cincom CEO Tom Nies". YouTube. 1984. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Transcript of a Video History Interview with Mr. Thomas M. Nies CEO, Cincom Systems, Inc". National Museum of American History. 1995. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Software History". Retrieved November 22, 2008. 

External links

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