SYSTEMS DIMENSIONS LIMITED (SDL)

The concept was simple.  Its execution was not. By the late 1960’s, the need for computing power was growing at an unbelievable rate, driven by the increasing complexity and variety of applications. Many organizations needed to access a high capacity computer but could not afford to install these very expensive systems costing millions of dollars in many cases. Remember this was long before the era of mini computers to say nothing of PC’s.

The answer was shared computing power provided by a major service bureau remotely accessed. The correct name for this process is Remote Batch Processing.

In March 1968, two senior Systems Engineers and I had left IBM in Ottawa to create a small computer consulting firm called Systems Dimensions Limited. Shortly thereafter, we started what was to become Canada’s largest computer services organization. We designed and built a special purpose building in Ottawa and installed an IBM System/360 Model 85. This was the largest commercial computer that IBM made at the time.

The whole story is told in The SDL Story which is available on this web site.

I was the President and CEO from April 1, 1969 to March 31, 1979, the period of these talks.

1. Telecommunications and the Computer Service Industry In Canada
A look at the improving capability of communication networks and the opportunities this provides for computer services, April 27, 1970.

2. And This Is Just For Starters
A staff talk, one of a series of Fireside Chats, 1971.

3. Relationship of Bell Canada to SDL and AGT
A proposal to Bell Canada, January 29, 1971.

4. A New Industry Looks at the Bell
Commentary on the development of the computer services industry in Canada, March 1, 1971.

5. An Experience in Raising Venture Capital
A talk to the Canadian Computer Conference, Session ’72, June 1972.

6. Toronto Society of Financial Analysts
An update on October 4, 1972.

7. Computer Services in Canada in 1975
A talk to the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Data Processing Service Organizations (CADAPSO), October 20, 1972.

8. Marketing Seminar
An introduction to an SDL Marketing Seminar on November 18, 1972.

9. Investment Dealer’s Association of Canada, Ottawa Group
A talk given on February 14, 1973 as a 5 year update on SDL.

10. SDL Annual Meeting
The President;s remarks at the November 8, 1973 AGM in Toronto.

11. Marketing Conference, Montebello, Quebec
The President’s opening remarks at a November 10, 1973 SDL Marketing Conference.

12. Montreal Society of Financial Analysts
An update given at the Hotel Bonaventure, Montreal on December 12, 1973.

13. SDL and the Wired City
A talk given in January 1974 on the relationship between SDL and cable television companies.

14. Investment Dealer’s Association of Canada, Ottawa Group
Another update delivered on May 6, 1974.

15. Service Bureaus and Cable TV State of the Art and Perspectives
A talk given to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France, September 25-26, 1974.

16. President’s Remarks at the Annual General Meeting
November 15, 1974.

17. The Wired City Concept – As It Stands Today
A talk given to the Canadian Industrial Communications Assembly, Ottawa, March 14, 1975.

18. SDL Annual Meeting
The President’s address on December 8, 1976.

19. What’s New Under the Sun?
A talk given to the International Federation of Information Processing Societies Conference August 8-12, 1977. At the time SDL was a takeover target by Sun Life.

20. Annual Meeting
The President’s remarks at the AGM on November 2, 1977, Ottawa.

21. The Wired City
A background piece on the proposed acquisition of Ottawa Cablevision Limited by SDL to form the first integrated wired city operation in Canada. The intention was to offer such online services as in-the-home banking, shopping, education and information retrieval this proved to be a bit premature as the Federal Government subsequently turned down our application to acquire a cable company.

22. The Future of Computer Services in Canada
A talk given to a Canadian Information Processing Society and the Data Processing Management Association joint meeting in Vancouver, April 10, 1979.

23. A Young Company Growing Up
A talk to the SDL Annual Business Conference in Kingston, Ontario.

24. Service Bureaus in Canada
An article for Auerbach Publishers Inc. in 1978.

25. Where is the computer industry going? A User;s Viewpoint
A talk to the Toronto section of the Canadian Information Processing Society, September 11, 1979.

26. Some Thoughts on Strategic Direction
A talk given to the Canada Systems Group Management Council reflecting on the computer services industry. Thursday, March 5, 1987 at the Old Mill, Toronto.