The POS Software Blog

The POS Software Blog

News from Tower Systems about locally made POS software for specialty local retailers.

Who invented the first newsagency software in Australia?


There is no evidence as to which programmer or software business invented and released the first newsagency software in Australia. Here at Tower Systems we can only speak to what we know, that for which we have evidence.

Tower Systems released its first newsagency software for Australian newsagents in late 1981. This software was for the management of newspaper home deliveries and accounts, newsagent sub-agent deliveries and accounts and for a range of over the counter retail sales functions in a typical Australian newsagency. It was written for a Apple micro-computer.

The functionality of our first newsagency software was determined by the owner of the company, Mark Fletcher, who had two years experience working in a newsagency. This, coupled with years of experience learning programming while working at the CSIRO, provided technical skills with practical knowledge, which were key to developing such a retain marketplace specific software solution. Knowing several newsagents helped in rounding out the practical knowledge of that a local newsagency needed.

This first release newsagency software from Tower Systems was completely replaced in early 1983 following a full re-write of the software in a more flexible and powerful software programming language that provided more options for the company as it expanded its reach of newsagents to use the software. This new release was delivered for the CP/M operating system on a range of different computers that ran it. The software soon expanded to be accessible beyond CP/M to cater to more complex business needs, such as access from more than one computer.

Already well established with plenty of newsagency customers, we are grateful for these early years in laying down a solid foundation for the business.

Back in these days the software was called by its acronym, NAPS, which stood for Newsagency Accounts Processing System.

Each year saw enhancements to the software small and large. Indeed, in the years between 1981 and 1999, the newsagency software from Tower Systems was re-written from scratch four times to leverage new software programming language technology and new database management technology. Each re-write unlocked new technology advances that helped newsagents broaden what they could do in their businesses with this software.

The Tower Systems newsagency software had evolved far beyond the scope of what was originally a newsagency home delivery and sub-agent accounts and delivery management solution, and this was still in the early years of the company.

Through the 2000s and the 2010s the newsagency software continued to evolve apace. Tower Systems expanded into a range of other vertical markets, each complementing the other, facilitating local small business retail expansion and all through this Tower Systems continued to serve newsagents.

Today, in June 2024, Tower Systems is proud to have more newsagents as customers than all other newsagency software companies combined. This is important as a software company needs more than 500 users of its marketplace specific software for the software to be commercially viable. Tower Systems today has close to four times this number in newsagency software customers alone.

While we have come along way from those early days in 1981, we remember them clearly. We appreciate and respect the support of our early-adopter customers. We are thankful for the many different colleagues who have contributed over the decades. We are grateful for the knowledgeable and caring crew at Tower Systems today. At our core we thank newsagents for it was their very unique needs that started us on this journey. Had we not encountered them at first behind the counter in the early 1970s we might to have understood the data opportunity of automating in our first newsagency software accounting and home delivery functions that we could not find automated by anyone else.

So, who wrote the first newsagency software in Australia? There is no evidence as to which company was first despite claims of being first. If you lay out incorporation dates and dates of the first customer, you can see by these facts enough to know who was not first.

Here at Tower Systems our focus is on serving local independent small business retailers with specialty needs. We have feature-rich software that is continuously evolving in service of these specialty retailers. We try and help our customer businesses grow, become more valuable and be more appreciated in their respective local communities.

By Mark
The POS Software Blog




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