Alan Rievman describes his experiences with Computer Software Systems (CSS) which later became National CSS, a major computer timesharing company during the late 1960s through the 1970s. Rievman worked with and for the company effectively as its chief financial officer from its founding in 1968 until and after its acquisition by Dun & Bradstreet in 1979. He discusses raising the money needed to start the company and how the initial timesharing offerings on the IBM 360/67 using a derivative of CP67/CMS were priced (and repriced) in order to generate sufficient income to pay the very high rental fees for the computer and its peripherals. He reviews the process for the initial public offering and then the lack of management financial discipline which almost destroyed the company within the first year after the IPO. He helped orchestrate the rescue of National CSS through layoffs, closing of offices and radically reducing the cost of the equipment needed through third party arrangements. Rievman then describes the successful growth of the company, the changes in management over the years and the makeup of the Board of Directors. He describes in some detail the acquisition of National CSS by D&B and concludes with his role after the acquisition and then the beginning of his financial consulting practice.
Software business history; Rievman, Alan; Bernard, Bob; Orenstein, Dick; Bridgewater, Ken; Dodge, Clarke; Computer Software Systems; National CSS; IBM System 360/67; IBM Cambridge Scientific Center; CP 40; CP 67/CMS; VP/CSS; VM/CMS; Neuberger Loeb; Weissman, Bob; Goldstein, Bernie; NCSS 3200; Zytron; TSI; TBS; RTW; Tymshare, Inc.; O'Rourke, Tom; Fehr, Dave; Dun & Bradstreet; Morgan Stanley