IDS Story: Finding a New Home for a Non-Strategic Asset at a Large Corporation

Every business has the potential to be the best in its particular niche, but sometimes the circumstances are just not right.

Integrated Dealer Systems (IDS), a dealership software vendor founded in 1987, had been growing consistently on its own for many years – until it was acquired by Brunswick Corporation, a large organization with interests in marine and fitness manufacturing. However, after a few years, Brunswick realized that it couldn’t help IDS reach its full potential.

So, instead of letting IDS’ fortunes slip buy, the CEO of Brunswick decided to sell the company to Perseus, an operating group of Constellation Software, where it could resume its steady growth.

“Perseus is a great fit for our business because it has experience working with a vast amount of software companies just like ours. We now have the ability to compare our processes and best practices to theirs and make adjustments based on our discoveries.” Sean Raynor, the General Manager of IDS

Click on the video below to watch our interview with Sean.

Giving Dealers the Tools to Grow Their Business

IDS is one of the most well-regarded dealership management software providers in the RV, Marine and Trailer markets. By allowing dealers to manage every aspect of their business through one system, IDS helps them spend less time on micromanagement and more on planning and growth.

Originally known as RV Software, the company was founded by Steve Hawkins in 1987 to provide RV dealers with an all-in-one software package for all their needs. After experiencing significant growth results, the company started approaching Marine dealers as well, which is why Hawkins changed the name to Integrated Dealer Systems – or IDS for short.

IDS currently has over 10,000 active users across North America, with headquarters in Wake Forest, North Carolina, as well as offices in Florida and Ontario.

Escaping the Great Recession

IDS’ growing prominence in the RV and Marine markets eventually led to its acquisition by Brunswick Corporation in the early 2000s. However, the conglomerate’s focus on manufacturing brands like Life Fitness and Mercury Marine made it very difficult for IDS to thrive since its core offering has always been software.

“Brunswick had a very hard time understanding our business,” said Raynor, who’s been with IDS for more than 20 years, occupying a wide variety of roles. “This made it difficult for them to help us grow in a manner that was going to be best for us and our customers.”

When the Great Recession hit the global economy in 2007 and 2008, it became a struggle for IDS to stay in business. The choice was clear – IDS would either find a new home or fall into obscurity.

Rediscovering Meaningful Growth

Before the Great Recession could cause IDS any more damage, the company was able to make a quick transition to Perseus – an organization focused solely on overseeing software businesses – where it soon found stability and growth.

“The Great Recession hit us hard, so we needed a solution that would help us get back on our feet,” said Raynor. “Perseus was willing to buy the business professionally, close quickly and pay cash.”

Transitioning to a new business model                              

The transition from Brunswick to Perseus was a challenging yet meaningful process since it brought to light many opportunities for improvement that later on made a positive impact on the business.

“The Perseus Group is all about being self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses from a business standpoint,” said Raynor. “It’s a very collegial setting where you are constantly challenged to learn and improve. In addition, the Perseus culture allows you to innovate and grow your business in an environment where failure leads to new knowledge and success leads to financial rewards. Both allow you to grow.”

Rewarding successful employees

Aside from helping IDS grow as a business, Perseus has also provided plenty of new opportunities to its employees, including Sean Raynor himself, who was responsible for a 250% increase in the dealer customer base when he was in charge of its marketing and sales activities during the 2000s.

To help Raynor make an even greater contribution to the business and expand his career, Perseus decided to make him the General Manager of IDS and its sister company, Ideal, which joined the Perseus family in 2011.

My current responsibilities include building and recruiting a great team of people, continuing to grow the business, developing innovative solutions and of course ensuring both businesses stay profitable,” said Raynor.

What’s in Store for the Future?

Thanks to Perseus’ support, IDS remains one of the most influential software companies in the RV, Marine and Trailer markets. But, there’s still plenty of room to grow, which is why the company will continue to expand its core offering.

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