Intersystem Concepts (ICI) was founded by Steven Okonski and Gary Dickelman and incorporated in 1986 for the purposes of developing and bringing to market interactive software, primarily for education and training. Steve's background was in computer science and training. Since 1979, he had been designing and implementing training courses and other interactive multiuser software on Control Data's PLATO computer system. Gary's background was in mathematics and education. He had provided classroom training in school, government and corporate settings.
In the mid-1980s, only a handful of computer-based training (CBT) authoring tools existed for the IBM-PC platform, and none were especially good. To fill that void, Steve began development of what he called Concept II; the screen shot shows an early prototype. He teamed up with Gary and while they refined the program, they looked for a third party to help. That same year, they formed a close alliance with a publisher that was to provide start up assistance and marketing. By the end of the year, Concept II was revised and released as the Summit Authoring System.
By the late 1980s, Summit had developed a loyal following and a reputation as a quality, speedy, flexible authoring tool. In independent magazine surveys, it consistently received the highest scores for ease of use, flexibility, multimedia and productivity. However, the publisher failed to sieze the moment, and neglected to market the system extensively. During that time period, other better funded authoring tools gained in popularity. Disgareements with the publisher resulted in Gary leaving the alliance in 1990, and Steve taking over full control of ICI. Around that time, ICI also developed a Macintosh version of Summit that provided the only MS-DOS to Mac cross-platform capability in the industry.
In the early 1990s, it slowly became clear that Windows would replace MS-DOS as the primary operating system for microcomputers, and ICI began development of Summit for Windows. One of the unique qualities of Summit for Windows was that it was upwardly compatible with projects created with the DOS version. It was the only authoring system to offer this important time-saving ability. By 1994, the software was ready for release, but when the publisher failed to honor its promise to market the software, ICI used the opportunity to break free of the alliance.
Later that year, ICI released Everest, a Windows-based CBT authoring system, and sales took off. In that first year, ICI sold more than it had during all the prior 8 years combined. In 1995, Everest was reviewed by PC Magazine and compared with 10 other popular authoring systems. In that review, Everest was awarded the top scores for CBT capabilities. That helped fuel the explosive growth illustrated on the chart.
In 1996, ICI added Internet capability to Everest so that projects could be played back in real-time over the Web (WBT, or Web-based training). In 1997, ICI expanded into the computer game area with the release of RB Player. In order to provide a better corporate framework, ICI split into three divisions: Authoring Systems, Interactive Games, and Development Services. In 1998, the total number of users of ICI software exceeded 100,000 for the first time.
ICI continues to maintain a quiet profile. We do small amounts of advertising in selected magazines and journals. Many of our sales result from word-of-mouth from existing users. We are a small company that provides customer service with a personal touch, and we intend to keep it that way. This approach has succeeded for about 15 years: that's the longest any company in the CBT industry has been under the same ownership/management. Thank you for reading about us!