CA Looking to the Channel for Cloud, Midmarket Growth

By Jennifer Lawinski  |  Print this article Print

At it's Global Partner Summit in New York City, CA Technologies executives told partners they need them to help succeed in the cloud computing, virtualization management and SaaS markets.

CA Technologies is betting its future on the cloud, virtualization management and software as a service, the company told partners at its Global Partner Summit in New York City this week, but it will need its partners to help it succeed.

The company is also looking to expand its presence in the midmarket and "emerging enterprise" space, and is hoping to leverage its partner network to make that happen in an evolving market.

Leading those changes is the explosive growth of cloud computing, CEO Bill McCracken told attendees.

"I think we’re at an inflection point, and its being driven by similar kinds of things that have driven major changes in the industry before: technology, business needs and the capability to bring the technology together with business needs. And when those things come together, change happens," CEO Bill McCracken told attendees.

And it's midmarket companies that are on the forefront of the cloud's evolution.

"This technology is actually entering the marketplace there. Netflix is a midmarket customer and it’s taken out Global 500 customers." CA defined midmarket customers as those with revenue between $200 million and $2 billion and said that represents a $17 billion opportunity for the company and its channel.

CA hopes its partners will help it make midmarket inroads. "You can help us do things in the marketplace that we can’t do ourselves," McCracken said. "One of the things I’ve come to know and understand in a partner marketplace is that you have to be able to depend on us and you have to be able to trust us."

It will need its solution providers because the transition to the cloud is going to happen faster than the market realizes, McCracken said. "The industry estimates are wrong— they’re low. It’s growing faster, and it’s moving faster than we’re predicting. It did last year and it will again this year," he said.

"This industry is sitting on the edge of another very dramatic shift and change, and you’re in the heart of it and we’re in the heart of it. And that’s the good news about today."

The Summit is CA’s first in many years and represents a shift in the company’s attitude toward its channel. McCracken called the company’s partner program a "work in progress."

Executive vice president and group executive, worldwide sales and operations George Fischer gave the same message. "I think the most important thing is that you need to feel when you leave here today and tomorrow how committed we are to you and to this business proposition," he said.

"The culture is changing at CA," he said. "We understand that we need a holistic approach to partnering and it involves our entire organization."

CA doesn’t release figures on the size of its partner program, but senior vice president of global channel sales David Bradley said a "significant portion" of the company’s revenue came through the channel. "But it’s not clear that enough of that is partner-led, and it’s not clear that we have the right collaboration in place," he told Channel Insider.

On how the company is planning to help its midmarket partners succeed in cloud computing, virtualization management and SaaS deployments, Bradley said it can’t have a plain vanilla approach.

"Midmarket is a funny term," he said. "Certainly, there are $500 million companies that have very sophisticated IT requirements and $5 billion that don’t. There are a portion of those customers who really do have sophisticated requirements and have a significant portion of their budget going into IT. It’s our premise that the solution partner really should be our lead into that customer segment. We want to do that in a collaborative way, and we want to enable them to lead us into that segment."

Bradley said CA wants to support a variety of service-provider models within its partner program’s framework.

"What’s unique about what we’re doing is that we’re putting this all into one CA program framework. In particular for the SPs and MSPs, we view that as one major program," he said.

As many regional solution providers make the leap to MSP, he said, helping them with the transition and linking the program so that solution providers can benefit from investments they make to mature their businesses will benefit both companies.

"We think of that as a nice piece of our promise to simplify our program," he said.