Computer Associates: We won’t walk away from the sale

TORONTO — In a briefing designed to give the media some insight on Computer Associates (Canada)’s strategies for the future, the company on Tuesday stressed that it has learned from past mistakes.

The company no longer wants to sell

tools to customers and walk away from the sale, Joanne Moretti, CA (Canada)’s general manager said. Instead, it wants to be a business partner to its customers and help them deal with their business pain points, added Ken Williams, vice-president and area manager for Canada for CA Technical Services.

The company will no longer sell products without a solution delivery model, Moretti said. “So much lacked in the old CA days.”

Most of CA’s senior executives were removed as a result of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s ruling on the company’s accounting scandal, she said.

Moretti said the company will focus on four major areas: Lifecycle management, operations management, security and storage. Within those four areas, it will centre its efforts around IT service management; storage optimization; intelligence management; security and refortifying Web infrastructure; desktop management; network management; and application life cycle management, Moretti said.

But analyst firm Forrester Research has expressed some concerns about CA’s future in the lifecycle management area. In an executive summary, Forrester said “The recent reorganization put in place by new Computer Associates International (CA) CEO John Swainson sends a clear message: CA has relinquished its long-held ambition to be a significant force in the enterprise application development and application lifecycle management (ALM) markets.”

In an interview following the briefing, Moretti said, “I think that’s a little misstated.” The company provides some application development tools along with its life cycle management suite. But providing developers with tools is not what the company does best, so it is de-emphasizing those tools, but continuing its focus on lifecycle management, she said.

Though Forrester could not be reached for comment, Forrester analyst Carl Zetie said in an e-mail, “CA’s CEO has clearly stated on the record what CA’s core areas are — and ALM wasn’t one of them.

“The only parts of ALM that CA is still focusing on strategically are change management (perhaps that’s what they mean by lifecycle management?) and data modeling and management,” he added.

In the executive summary entitled “Computer Associates De-Emphasizes Its Life-Cycle Management Tools Business,” Forrester recommends that users begin planning their migration strategy now, even though CA would likely continue supporting the tools for many years.

During the press briefing, Moretti did describe the areas CA is not focused on. What CA is not, Moretti said, is a business intelligence vendor.

“That’s not what we do. Cognos and SAS, they do these things great.”

The company wants to keep its products open because it knows its customers will use tools from other vendors, she said.

CA has also revamped its licensing model to better suit customer needs, she said. It wants to try to base licensing fees on a metric that makes sense to the customer, Moretti said.

“That was a big stigma to CA, and that stigma has been removed.”

In the past, CA’s growth strategy centred around acquiring distressed assets, she said. It acquired companies with good products but poor business sense, however it didn’t have an integration strategy for the new acquisitions, she said.

Today, acquisition is still an important part of CA’s growth efforts, “but we’re going to do intelligent acquisition,” Moretti said.

A “strong, tangible commitment” on CA’s part has been an important part of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corp.’s (CMCC’s), IT strategy, said Gordon Butler, CMCC’s chief information technology officer during the briefing. CMCC manages both the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum. Most museums are only able to display two per cent of their holdings at any one time. To give the public access to the numerous pieces the museum can’t display, CMCC is digitizing them. It uses CA’s Unicenter TNG, BrightStor, CleverPath and eTrust tools.

Though CMCC was confident about the tools CA offered, it was initially “worried about the services side,” Butler said.

“But CA convinced us they were committed,” he said. “There is a worry that when the honeymoon is over, we’re just writing a cheque and they’re providing a service, and we warned CA that when this happens, the strategic relationship is over,” he said.

“That’s a great testimonial, and not one you would have heard five years ago,” Moretti said.

CA has been struggling through an accounting scandal and announced last week that it would restate its earnings for the last five years.

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