After a few years of relatively flat revenue, Computer Associates International Inc. hopes to jump-start growth again with the launch of its new Enterprise IT Management initiative.
In what company officials characterized as the largest product introduction in CAs history, the Islandia, N.Y., company rolled out 26 enhanced and three new management and security offerings that exploit CAs common services platform.
But the scope of the effort is much larger, with about 85 products that touch the common services platform in some way, as well as a mandate for any new or acquired CA products to use the services when appropriate, according to Jeff Clarke, chief operating officer at CA.
The company, seeking a fresh start with a rebranding effort that includes renaming itself CA, has invested $650 million in engineering and $2 billion in acquisitions to pursue its strategy, Clarke said.
"This is a multiyear transformation, and we are only one year into it," said CEO John Swainson. "We think it is the only course available to grow the business thats commensurate with the market potential."
In CAs bet-the-business bid to become the dominant supplier of security and enterprise management software, officials said the goal is to simplify, unify and secure enterprise IT management.
"This is also about aligning IT to the business. We want to map IT services to the business and measure what value it provides," said Russ Artz, executive vice president of technology.
The common services integration platform provides a workflow engine, an MDB (management database), shared policies and a consistent user interface. Although it is reminiscent of the enterprise management frameworks that failed to deliver on their promise, this strategy is different, maintained Chief Technology Officer Yogesh Gupta.
"The integration platform isnt one big monolithic thing. The products deploy on the services they need, they are modular and they are based on [SOA, or service-oriented architecture]," Gupta said. He acknowledged that it is "a challenge for us to show the world how it is different."
The platform also differs from the old frameworks in the level of data integration it provides through the MDB—not just via APIs.
"Everything integrates a lot tighter with one central database," said beta user Harry Butler, support center manager at EFW Inc., in Fort Worth, Texas.
The MDB achieves such data integration using a single data model, and it normalizes data it gathers from other sources, whether they are CA products or third-party products.
"I think they have finally come to terms with the integration of third-party components," said Linda Reino, another beta user and CIO at Universal Health Services Inc., in King of Prussia, Pa. "This means once you are into the Web services enterprise management portal, your data is accessible to other areas where your data needs to be."
Toward that end, CA and Microsoft Corp. last week announced an agreement to integrate Microsofts Systems Management Server with the MDB to allow any Unicenter offering that uses the MDB to leverage SMS data. CA will also work with Microsoft to co-author the Web Services-Management specification, which will provide a common way to exchange management information across platforms.
Among the new offerings is Unicenter Asset Intelligence, which takes asset data from the MDB—including configuration, financial and usage data—and makes it more meaningful so that users can make better decisions about assets.
The new Unicenter Service Intelligence offering exploits the MDB to give IT executives a greater understanding of how much it costs to provide IT services, what IT service consumption levels are by department and individual, and what IT service levels are.
It was launched in the context of a new suite of software and best-practices methodologies aimed at helping IT run itself like a business. The suite includes the Intelligence offerings along with seven new releases of service management products that range from handling service requests to service delivery. They include former CA Ican-SP products, such as the service catalog and service assurance offerings.
The third new product, CA Identity Manager, pulls together technology from CAs 2004 acquisition of Netegrity Inc. and existing CA security products to automate the management of user identities across platforms, from the mainframe to Web applications.