End of Enterprise Software Company TSC Is Sign of Times


An ironic enterprise-software-related press release ran on BusinessWire the morning of May 5 speaking to both the current state of the software market and the PR industry. I include most of the release below because it is probably not available on any Web site I can link to for reasons that will become obvious:


"CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE) -- Technology Solutions Company (NASDAQ: TSCC), a software and services company focused on the healthcare provider market, today announced that on May 1, 2009 the Company filed a Certificate of Dissolution with the Secretary of State of the State of Delaware and closed its stock transfer books, effective as of the close of business on May 1, 2009, each in accordance with the previously announced Plan of Complete Liquidation and Dissolution of the Company (the "Plan") that was approved at a special meeting of the Company's stockholders on April 27, 2009.

"The Company further announced today that it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") a Form 25 relating to the delisting of its Common Stock from The NASDAQ Global Market ("NASDAQ")

"Technology Solutions Company (TSC) is a software and services firm providing business solutions that partner with clients to expose and leverage opportunities that create, deliver, visualize and sustain customer value. Our outside-in, fact-based approach quantifies value through the eyes of our client's customers, unleashing the potential for profit and growth. TSC serves the healthcare industry through tailored business solutions."

Huh? In the first two paragraphs the company announced it is going out of business and in the third boilerplate section it tells you how great it is. Cookie cutter PR at its greatest!


But it is the rest of the story that is more revealing. TSC formed in the late 1980s as a consultant company. I first followed it as it rode the wave of business process re-engineering in the early 1990s. It was there when we started talking about application service provision (which you know better as SaaS) in the mid 1990s. It tied its star to i2 and Manugistics in the late 1990s burst of enthusiasm for supply chain automation. In the midst of the turn of the century dot.com boom, TSC launched and then spun off eLoyalty.


Its SEC filings from that era kind of say it best. TSC described its sales stragegy as utilizing "a higher-end relationship-selling model in most of its business." In other words, it went around you guys in IT.


Throughout most of its 20 years, TSC partnered with both Oracle and SAP in ERP. It sold off that business a few years ago and tried to reinvent itself as a software provider to the healthcare industry. Like Willie Sutton supposedly said, go "where the money is." Whether there are in fact big paydays coming for enterprise software companies in healthcare - and U.S.-government-sponsored and controlled healthcare in particular - is debatable. But if there is, it will be too late for TSC, coming up one buzzword short in the enterprise software merry-go-round.