History of Higher Systems




Higher Systems was set up in 1983 by Iain and Barbara Simpson as an organisation to provide computer support and bespoke software. At that time Iain had over 20 years experience in the computer industry working initially with large main frames such as the Leo III and the IBM 360 range. He then spent 7 years with NCR (then a mainstream computer manufacturer) in the UK and USA before working with a small Birmingham OEM called CBS Consultants on the DEC PDP 11 range.

At CBS Iain had been instrumental in the production of the BUMP software package for Builders Merchants and he continued to be involved in its development for nearly 20 years either directly for its various owners (CBS, Castle Business Systems, Aran and the XKO group) or for major users such as Darenas (janitorial supplies - Birmingham)  and Butterfields (builders merchant - Luton). Higher Systems provided software support, including bespoke PC systems, to Darenas from 1983 until its merger with Bunzl in 2003. The BUMP package moved from a 4 user system on a DEC PDP-11/23 256k, 40Mb disk) to upwards of 100 terminals on an IBM RS/6000 (64Mb, 6Gb disk) while still retaining its Dibol (later Unibol) code.

In 1984 Iain was responsible for installing the on-line system at Banbury Stock Market (Oxfordshire) for Midland Marts at the time the largest cattle market in Europe. The system processed the paperwork for up to 1200 lots per day with a value in excess of 1m. This and associated PC systems was used until 1996 shortly before the market closed and the site was sold for housing.

With increasing turnover Higher Systems became Higher Systems Limited in 1987. In the 1990s Iain installed a number of PC systems using the FoxPro database software. These were supplied to estate agents (Shipways, Wm H Brown), accountancy firms (Arthur Anderson), freight forwarders (DAS), service companies (ISS) and horticulturalists (Woolmans Plants). They were also used widely in Darenas and its customers.

After the intense activity preceding Y2K (remember the Millennium Bug ?), Iain concentrated on his support work with Darenas and then Butterfields. Between 2003  and 2005 he  worked with XKO (the last owners of the BUMP System - now part of Solarsoft) providing software to ease the transition from the BUMP package to the more advanced XERES package. 

Higher Systems Limited closed in 2004 although Iain continued to do a little light web development to keep his hand in.