Ideal Computer Systems is now under the ownership of Toronto-based Constellation Software. The Ideal brand is expected to be maintained, with little to no disruption being felt by dealers.
“We’ve actually owned the business for six months already,” says Sean Raynor, general manager of Integrated Dealer Systems. “There haven’t been any dramatic changes. Ideal’s Iowa operation is still the heart of the business—and will continue to be. There is a very capable management team that’s been with the company for many years. They will continue to run the day-to-day operations in Dennis Haefner’s absence. I then manage that team. We set initiatives based on best practices coming from Constellation’s experience of managing other software companies. The emphasis is to continue to invest in R&D, and to maintain a high level of satisfaction among our customers.” IDS was purchased by Constellation Software in 2009. Raynor works out of the Raleigh, NC, office.
Haefner founded Ideal Computer Systems in 1985. He’d had his eye on retirement for a while, and when his children expressed little interest in taking over the business, selling the company made sense.
“Constellation acquires businesses that have a market-leading position in whatever niche they serve,” Raynor explains. “Ideal certainly fits that criteria. In addition, Ideal has a large amount of happy customers. They’ve had a very stable customer base as well as revenue as a company over the past five years. So it was very compelling to us.”
“Overall it’s a very good thing for Ideal because we’re backed by a company that owns 120-plus software companies and believes in the long-term support and development of its individual companies,” says Erin Zein, marketing coordinator for Ideal Computer Systems and the IDS Dealer Group. “So, for the most part, Ideal is still Ideal.”
Taking Ideal to the Next Level. According to Raynor, Ideal will benefit from being part of a “dealer group” that includes InvenTrakk, which Constellation also acquired when it purchased Paulson Computer Systems in early June. “There will be a lot of best management sharing among this group in order to build a better product and offer better service to our customers,” Raynor says. For example, Constellation is making significant investments in the integration of merchant service capabilities to the Ideal system. This will give dealers credit card capture functionality at the point of sale.
Also, Raynor says roughly 80% of all technical questions submitted by Ideal dealers are how to-related. “We’re coming up with additional ways for dealers to answer these questions on their own if they want to (via frequently asked questions on a specific web page, or information attached directly to a product like you might see in a software program’s “help” feature). “Dealers will also be able to submit questions via a support portal we’ll be offering them. And, of course, they can still call if they want to,” Raynor reminds.
About Constellation Software: Constellation’s common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “CSU”. Constellation Software is an international provider of market-leading software and services to a number of industries across both the public and private sectors. Constellation acquires, manages and builds vertical market software businesses that provide mission-critical software solutions to address the specific needs of its customers in those industries.