Last week, Innovative Computing celebrated its 40th anniversary during its annual user's conference in Nashville.

It was 1969, a year of innovation. In July, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The interstate Highway System continued to unfurl. In September, Innovative Computing Corporation opened for business.

The original offering of trucking software was delivered on IBM mainframe computers in what was then called a "service bureau." The term "computing power," although somewhat of a misnomer compared to the power delivered by today's computers, was exciting and new. Microsoft didn't exist. Pay phones were the standard for remote communication and the basis for driver "check calls."

Innovative Enterprise Software began in the late 1970s with the release of the IBM System 34 "minicomputer." The release of the AS/400 (predecessor of today's IBM Power Systems) in 1988 heralded a period of intense growth for the company as truckload carriers in North America adopted the "400" as a de facto standard.

In the 1990s, Innovative tried to make the transition from a small, entrepreneurial company to become part of a large corporation, which ultimately threatened its viability. Fortunately, Innovative was purchased by a group of investors in the late 1990s, and a new era began.

In 1999, Innovative reached out to small trucking companies when it launched its software as a service over the Internet with products that later became known as IES Access and Access Plus. The smaller customers taught Innovative a lot about systems management and customer service.

March 2001 saw a management buyout of Innovative Computing Corporation, and the company streamlined its focus on profitability and efficiency for its customers.

And as Innovative celebrates its 40th anniversary, it marks other significant milestones:
• The 10th anniversary of its online Software as a Service (SaaS) systems.
• The 5th anniversary of its online training program, Innovative University, which offers 68 online courses to more than 2,500 active users.
• The upcoming release-level upgrade to IES that includes additional modules, enhancements to existing modules, database updates and significant changes to the programming language used within IES.
• A broad-reaching release of maintenance software FleetRx that is also scheduled this year.