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Throughout the meeting rooms, exhibition halls and lunch tables at CA World 2005 in Las Vegas, one phrase has had a special resonance with channel partners: Business solution.

This phrase is a new focus of Computer Associates International Inc., and channel partners are encouraged that the Islandia, N.Y. software maker has embraced a concept they have been championing for years.

“It’s not a new story, but it’s a good story,” said Robert M. Brock, president of Krypton Consulting, Flower Mound, Texas, which specializes in IT training and education.

“People don’t really care about what the name of the company is, they care about the business problem it solves.”

CA changes name, strategy. Click here to read more.

Brock and others said their customers rarely approach them requesting a product, a vendor or even a solution.

“They come to us with a business problem,” said Robert Capinjola, president and founder of TruArx, Inc., Farmington Hills, Mich., a security services provider specializing in risk assessment for midsize (1,500 seats and above) and enterprise companies.

“It is the classic idea of the trusted advisor. They want a problem fixed and they trust you to implement a solution that fixes that problem. When you sell a business solution, they trust that if it is not the right solution, you wouldn’t offer it.”

Trust is also important for John T. Rostern, director of technology risk management at Jefferson Wells, a financial services solution provider. Rostern is in the first steps of becoming a CA partner.

“In a sense, you have to be kind of product agnostic. You have to develop that trust, where they know you are offering the best answer to their problem.”

By improving its partner relationships, CA is hoping to capitalize on the business solution sell and the trusted advisor status of many of the VARs in the market, said Don Friedman, CA’s chief marketing officer.

The company’s product developments announced this week have transformed its focus from point solutions to suites that satisfy business solutions, he said.

Solution selling has an inherent advantage for many partners, most of whom are transitioning themselves to provide managed services, said Capinjola of TruArx.

“When they trust you to solve business solutions, you become a part of their business. It’s CA’s product behind the solution, but you’re invited back.”

Capinjola’s company has built a three-to-one ratio of services to CA technology sold.