HelpSystems, LLC is an Eden Prairie, MN-based IT software company, working in the areas of systems and network management, business intelligence, security and compliance, for IBM i, Unix, Linux and Windows environments. The company is recognized as the biggest independent IBM i software vendor in the world. The company also has US offices in Chicago, IL, Hanover, NH, Kent, WA, Los Angeles, CA, Raleigh, NC, and Rochester, MN, and international offices in Sheffield and Fleet, UK and Melbourne, Australia.
HelpSystems, originally known as Help/38, was founded in 1982 by Dick Jacobson. An engineer with Advanced Circuits (AC) in Minnetonka, MN, Jacobson had written a program called Robot/38, used to provide IT automation for the IBM System/38. The program was originally designed to offset the computer costs for AC. In 1988, when IBM replaced the System/38 with the AS/400, the company became known as Help/Systems. The company was spun off in the late 80’s after AC was sold to Honeywell.
In 1991, in response to IBM's introduction of the AS/400 three years earlier, HelpSystems introduced Robot/CONSOLE, Robot/ALERT and Robot/NETWORK, a suite of tools for message management and escalation for the AS/400.
In 1992, HelpSystems became the first software company in the United States to be certified under the ISO 9001 standard.
In 2005, HelpSystems was bought by Boston-based investment firm Summit Partners.
In October 2006, HelpSystems acquired Advanced Systems Concepts (ASC), the developer of SEQUEL reporting and business intelligence tools for the i5/OS and OS/400 platform. HelpSystems created the SEQUEL Software division to support the product.
In August 2007, the company announced version 1.0 of the Robot/SECURITY suite of products, supporting IBM's i5/OS systems. In September 2007, HelpSystems was acquired by the Boston-based private equity firm Audax Group.
In January 2008, HelpSystems expanded their International presence in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, by purchasing one of their partners and product distributors, eveLogic Group of England. In August 2008, HelpSystems bought OS/400 and IBM i security and compliance software vendor PowerTech, to complement Robot/SECURITY, and the products were eventually combined under the PowerTech name. In October 2008, they followed up by purchasing Bytware, a provider of the StandGuard brand of security, management and anti-virus tools for IBM devices.
In 2009, HelpSystems modified Robot, by then called Robot/SCHEDULE, to support Windows, OSX, Linux and Unix, and called the new software Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise.
In 2010, Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise evolved and led to the launch of Skybot Scheduler, which was turned into a separate division. In May 2011, Skybot Software expanded their customer base by acquiring Fleet, UK-based Open Systems Management, a creator of job scheduling and IT process automation tools for Windows, Unix, and Linux platforms.
In June 2011, HelpSystems bought the DataThread DB2/400 monitoring product from Innovatum, and it became part of the PowerTech line.
In April 2012, Summit Partners bought back a majority stake in HelpSystems. In June 2012, HelpSystems purchased UK-based Safestone, a security and compliance software developer for the IBM i. In October 2012, HelpSystems bought Gillingham, UK-based CCSS, the developer of QSystem Monitor, QMessage Monitor and QRemote Control systems monitoring and performance management tools for the IBM i server.
In January 2013, HelpSystems announced the acquisition of New Hampshire-based Dartware and their network management product, InterMapper, one of the first network mapping tools ever created. In April 2013, HelpSystems acquired IBM's ShowCase business intelligence products, and added the software to its SEQUEL Software division.
In April 2014, the company acquired Los Angeles-based Network Automation, the developer of the AutoMate line of workflow mapping and automation software. At the same time the company announced its Robot/NETWORK Web user interface, which allowed users to see IBM i server performance information from a mobile phone or any device with a Web browser. In July 2014, HelpSystems acquired Minneapolis-based document management software company RJS Software, and the data warehousing product from Australia-based Coglin Mill. Coglin Mill's data warehouse product RODIN was added to the SEQUEL product line. After this acquisition, the company was acknowledged by New York-based IT publisher IT Jungle as the biggest independent IBM i vendor in the world.
In January 2015, HelpSystems bought Peterborough, England-based Halcyon, a developer of software for multi-platform systems management, and announced its intention to operate Halcyon as an independent company for the time being.
In March 2015, HelpSystems received media coverage for conducting a survey of IBM midrange shops, in conjunction with ITJungle.com and the European publishing company PowerWire. The results were released entitled 2015 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results, and included topics such as modernization, hardware and operating system upgrades, data growth, IT initiatives, staffing and workforce dynamics, and the perceived future of IBM i.
In June 2015, HelpSystems bought IBM i security vendor SkyView Partners, a deal which included SkyView's team of security experts.
In August 2015, it was announced that the company was being acquired by Florida-based private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, for an undisclosed amount.
In June 2016, HelpSystems acquired Linoma Software. Linoma Software products for the IBM i include the RPG Toolbox free format converter, GoAnywhere managed file transfer solutions, Gateway, Crypto Complete and Surveyor/400.