Biography of Thomas M. Nies

When Thomas M. Nies decided he wanted to sell software, he never thought he’d have to start his own company. But with very few software companies in the country and none in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, it was according to Nies, “the only way to have a job in a field I wanted to work in.” So in 1968, he founded Cincom Systems, today, one of the world’s largest and most experienced software companies.

What Thomas M. Nies, who had been a leading IBM sales representative, didn’t realize at the time, was that he was also founding the then-radical idea of selling computer software as a product — rather than giving it away with the hardware. In those early days, Nies was one of the first to promote the concept of a database management system. Today there are thousands of database products, but when Cincom introduced TOTAL, it was a revolutionary event. TOTAL became one of the best-selling mainframe software products ever.

Under Nies’ guidance, Cincom organized the first national system software user conference, became the first U.S. software firm to establish international offices, and pioneered a variety of emerging new software technologies.

In 1984, Nies was recognized by President Ronald Reagan as “the epitome of the entrepreneurial spirit of American business,” and in 1995, he was profiled by the Smithsonian Institute as one of the “pioneers of the software industry,” alongside other industry giants such as Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Larry Ellison (Oracle).

Today, Nies has helped Cincom evolve to a provider of software and service solutions that help many of the world’s leading organizations transform corporate information into competitive advantage.

In 2004, Nies was named Southwest Ohio’s Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst And Young. Ernst And Young also inducted Nies into their 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame.

In 2005, Nies won an International Stevie Award for Best Executive in the International Business Awards — “the business world’s own Oscars,” according to the New York Post. Nies also received the University of Cincinnati Lifetime Achievement award.

In 2006, Nies was named as one of the Top Ten IT Visionaries by START-IT magazine and was invited to speak at the United Nations on the topic of maximizing the topic of maximizing technology investments through simplification.

In 2007-2008, Cincom and Mr. Nies were the focus of a Harvard Business School Case Study.

In 2008 Cincom’s 4oth Anniversary was recognized in New York Times. Mr. Nies thanked Cincom’s customers and employees for “40 years of impossible dreaming in the software industry” on large screens in Times Square in New York and Las Vegas.

And in 2010, Nies launched this entrepreneurial leadership Web site to provide ideas, inspirations, insights and information to help tomorrow’s entrepreneurial leaders – today!

Nies has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in finance and has served on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, one of 12 regional reserve banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System.

Thanks to the dedication and vision of Thomas M. Nies, Cincom has remained one of the largest independent software companies in the world, now spanning five decades. While many of Cincom’s peers from the software industry’s founding times have disappeared, Cincom continues to thrive. This ongoing legacy continues to shape and invigorate the industry Nies and Cincom helped found.