CA Sets Sights on Moving Customers to Latest Application Releases

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Print this article Print

At its annual user conference, CA is targeting mobility, development operations, software as a service and big data as the key IT markets where it plans to help customers drive innovation.

LAS VEGAS—With the arrival of a new CEO in January, CA Technologies has been working hard in the last three months to refocus its messages about what it offers to its customers.

Here at its CA World 2013 annual user conference, the company couldn't make its go-to-market plans any clearer. CA, which began operations in 1976 as a business software innovator and later emerged as a corporate acquisition machine, says it wants its users and prospective new customers today to see CA as a leading driver of innovation in mobility, development operations, software as a service (SaaS) and big data.

"We're committed to helping you transform your existing operations, to free up budget, to increase business innovation," said Peter Griffiths, CA's executive vice president of enterprise solutions and technology, in an April 23 keynote address here at the conference. "Innovation is what separates the winners from the losers."

To accomplish that goal, he said, CA is reshaping itself to help better communicate with customers to help them solve their toughest IT problems in a wide range of areas.

"It used to be about building a big wall around systems," Griffiths said. "Now it is about security and enabling authentication for users" wherever they are located. "At the same time, we don't see people having great big bags of money and big IT budgets to spend" to accomplish those tasks. What that means, he said, is building the additional capabilities into CA's product lines so that customers are better served.

One area where CA is driving these kinds of new innovation is in service management, where the company has integrated social-media capabilities to make it easier and more collaborative to encourage users to make full use of the technology, Griffiths said.

"CA is changing the game in service management," he said. "I like to call it Facebook for IT."

In an interview with eWEEK after his keynote, Griffiths was asked if CA is trailing competitors in markets such as mobile-device management, where a large group of companies already offer similar products to help enterprises run their IT systems more effectively.

"I don't think that we're starting from behind," Griffiths said. "We're bringing it in and enabling our customers to manage it today. Other vendors have been bringing in mobile-device management products, but they haven't really been integrated into larger enterprise-scale products. It's exactly the right time for us to be here."

John Rakowski, an infrastructure and operations analyst with Forrester Research, who also attended the conference, agreed with Griffiths' take on the company's competitiveness today.

"You've got to take the stance of where CA has come from—from the old CA," Rakowski told eWEEK in an interview. "Many user companies in the past have been put off by CA's image, by their past integration problems. But they've now got a lot of really great products. They've been acquiring companies and technologies,” he said. However, CA hasn’t succeeded in fully integrating them into its technology stack as quickly as they might have hoped, Rakowski observed.

Rakowski said that he's "impressed" nowadays with CA's messages and approach to its customers, especially when it comes to how CA is going to help their customers solve their IT problems.

In particular, CA is making a new offer to provide free professional services consultations to help customers review the products they are using to determine whether changes and improvements are needed. That option, said Rakowski, puts CA ahead of competitors who typically charge high fees for such reviews.

"CA is starting to realize that it's not just about having fantastic solutions but also engaging with their customers," Rakowski said. "I really do believe that CA World 2013 is a rebirth of CA and the market is completely open" for the company to get back into a leadership role for customers, he said. "This space is hot, and they have a really good opportunity."