CA unveils integration platform to challenge ERP, CRM

LAS VEGAS — Computer Associates used its annual customer and partner event to rebrand itself by its initials and to introduce an integrated software suite executives said will be as significant as ERP and CRM.

Called Enterprise Information Technology Management (EITN), CA plans to announce 26 new products at the show. This is the largest number of product releases in the company’s history, said Jeff Clarke, the COO of CA.

EITM is similar to an enterprise resource planning product, where all the products integrate together through CA Integration Platform. The products, which are centered around CA’s flagship Unicenter and BrightStor data management and storage lines, will have a workflow engine, database, shared policies and a consistent user interface. It is designed to allow customers to integrate and orchestrate their technologies, people and processes, Clarke said. EITN will also use a Service Oriented Architecture approach.

“Our vision for Enterprise IT management is that all the software, people, the networks, the communications become an everyday thing. It’s a simple concept: CA is coming from a specialized point solution to an integrated suite similar to ERP and CRM,” said Mark Barrenechea, CA’s chief technology strategist.

Barrenechea added that the software industry was a highly fragmented business in the past. “Customers would buy a general ledger and it would be different from the accounts receivables software. Vendors were not integrating and there were hundreds of vendors,” he said.

Things changed when SAP released R3, an integrated ERP solution that cut labour out of the back office and enabled businesses to scale globally. “It changed the world,” Barrenechea said.

IT management is in the same state, according to Barrenechea, who described it as under-automated, with high labour costs and a tendency to add complexity. All 26 products either are shipping today or will ship in a month’s time.

Clarke said the company has had to go through some tough times, including a corporate accounting scandal and the depature of former CEO Sanjay Kumar. The company did not grow its cash flow in five years, and CA hired a whole new management team from CEO, COO, chief marketing officer, CIO and even a chief compliance officer.

“We are renaming CA. It is exciting and a new time for us to clearly deliver our technology vision to customers,” Clarke said.

With that, CA invested more than $650 million this year in engineering these products so they can scale and be stable. The investment, Clarke said was the most in the company’s history.

Clarke added that CA was also aligning its business unit structure similar to other companies in the IT industry. “We can now measure investment and our returns and make decisions accordingly,” Clarke said.

CA, which has been embracing the channel more and more over the years, made another leap into becoming a bigger indirect player by making strategic arrangements with system integrators such as Deloitte & Touche, BearingPoint and Cap Gemini. Clarke added that the company would be furthering this strategy down to resellers and local distributors.

“We need to extend beyond our limited sales force,” he said.

Currently, CA’s channel business is a little more than 10 per cent worldwide, Clarke said. However, he added if you take away CA’s mainframe business the company does 25 per cent of its business indirect.

“We have a little more than 10 per cent and it is doubling over the rate of direct business and going into the single to high double digits in channel business in next six to 18 months,” Clarke said.

CAWorld continues on Tuesday.


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