Customer Relationships Top CAs Priority List

CEO John Swainson outlines how CA-through its Enterprise IT Management strategy-will grow its business and enhance its value to customers.

LAS VEGAS—Computer Associates International Inc. CEO John Swainson set the tone for this weeks CA World user conference in his keynote Sunday night by asking customers to look for proof at the conference that CA is actually delivering on its Enterprise IT Management vision.

In his first speech before CA users since taking the helm at CA a year ago, Swainson sought to convince customers that CA is transforming itself to become a vendor that users can believe in again.

To achieve that result, Swainson outlined six priorities guiding the companys efforts to grow business and enhance the value that it brings to customers.

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Topping the list is improving CAs relationship with all of its customers. "In the past few years CAs relationships with customers has improved, but were going to make it way better. Every CA employee must deliver that sense of value to you," he said.

Toward that end, CA has already charged 300 account directors with ensuring that customers get value from CA products. CA also put in place a customer advisory board with "25 of the fiercest critics" and others who can "tell us what we need to do to be the best IT company in the industry," he said.

CAs second priority is to "focus on markets where we can lead," said Swainson. CA is focusing on systems and network management as well as security, storage and business optimization. To bolster those efforts, the company has made several key acquisitions in the last year, including Netegrity in the security space, Concord Communications with Aprisma in the network management space, Niku in the governance space, and Ilumen in the storage space. "Each is designed to strengthen our leadership in those key areas," he said.

Another priority guiding CAs efforts is to align the company to take advantage of new market opportunities. Its reorganization this year into five business units focused on specific markets reflects that priority, as does its aligning of its sales teams with the business units in the United States. That will also be reflected in Europe, Swainson said. In addition, CA is changing the way it is compensating its sales force in support of that priority.

CA is also focused on building "strong partnerships" with channel partners. Toward that end, CA has "built a robust partner network," which the company intends to strengthen, Swainson said.

In addition, CA will eat its own dog food by creating a stronger internal infrastructure. Swainson said he was surprised to see the hodge-podge of systems in place in CAs own IT organization and acknowledged that a lack of integration of those systems contributed to the difficulty customers have had dealing with CA. "Weve changed our processes, and were replacing the hodge-podge of systems with" an SAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) system for all of CAs business processes, he said.

Finally, CA is working to build a "corporate culture that celebrates achievements and adheres to the highest ethics standards," in a nod to CAs troubled history with the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Department of Justice. "We will be uncompromising in our performance, standards and business ethics," Swainson pledged.

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