CA chief preaches holistic approach to IT

LAS VEGAS — Managing the often “bewildering complexity” of an enterprise’s information technology environment requires a holistic approach, said John Swainson, CEO and president of CA Inc.

“What’s needed is an approach that recognizes the world is getting more networked, distributed and global all the time,” he Swainson, speaking at a keynote at CA World 2007 that kicked off this past weekend.

The conference’s theme this year is ‘innovation in the real world.’The six-day event will focus on how technology can unify and simplify the management of complex IT infrastructures, an approach that CA has dubbed enterprise information technology management (EITM).

Contributing factors to such an environment, said the CEO, can be multiple PC vendors, server and storage suppliers, applications management and security providers, for instance.

Further adding to the fray, are constant innovations, said Swainson, such as faster and more extensive networks, pervasive use of virtualization, service-oriented architecture (SOA), open standards, and enhancements to software and hardware functionality.

“We face a future in which each new innovation threatens to deliver diminishing returns because each adds a new level of complexity.”

Therefore, he added, the industry needs to do more to address this “enormous complexity” that has been created – ironically, by the industry itself. “It (needs to be) a modular, integrated approach built around a common view of the services that IT is delivering to businesses.” 

CA’s vision for EITM, said Swainson, embraces effective IT governance, better management and superior security. These three areas are generally not what developers have in mind when creating an application, he said.

The keynote also included a synopsis of the company’s accomplishments during the past 18 months – since the last CA World conference. Six key priorities were announced at the 2005 event against which “tremendous progress” has been made, however, additional work is required, he said.

CA has since strengthened customer relationships – its key priority – by increasing the number of client-focused account directors to almost 800, and introducing industry verticals in order to entertain customized technology management solutions. “Everything needs to begin and end with your customers.”

It’s since more than doubled its market reach by way of business partners, and expanded relationships with strategic partners. “This means more highly-trained experts to help clients with implementation,” said Swainson.

The company has focused on market leadership and making investments that grow the business.

CA has aligned its teams – sales, marketing, development – into cross-functional groups for the common purpose of evaluating business process and ultimately transforming how IT is managed.

The company has built an internal infrastructure to support future growth, for example, replacing financial systems with an enterprise resource planning environment from SAP.

And last, CA has rebuilt company culture to “create a performance-based culture (rooted) in integrity, accountability, teamwork and innovation.”

That culture is based in part on a code of ethics CA adopted after the arrest of former CEO Sanjay Kumar for securities fraud. Kumar was later convicted and faces 12 years in prison and payment of at least US$52 million in settlement costs to investors. Separately, CA settled with government prosecutors over the fraud scheme and also paid into a US$1 billion settlement fund.

CA execs also discussed its Unified Service Model. CA CTO Alan Nugent called the USM the next step in CA’s Enterprise IT Management concept announced 18 months ago.

The USM is a core element of CA’s architecture, which is stored inside CA’s Configuration Management Database to give IT managers a complete view into the technology, assets, people, projects and processes support for any given service, such as billing or human resources, CA documents and officials said. The USM works with 16 groups of CA products, called “capability solutions,” which are grouped under three major categories: management, governance and security. For example, CA Network & Voice Management is one of the 16 capability solutions, but is itself made up of several CA products, including Spectrum and eHealth, said Ajei Gopal, general manager of CA’s Enterprise Service Management business unit.
— with files from IDG Newswire

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