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.
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.
Swainson in his keynote also acknowledged the issues confronting IT today, including the need to reduce cost and downtime, improve on IT governance, increase IT agility, and manage risks more effectively.
Faced with reducing the percentage of its budget apportioned to day-to-day operations, while meeting increased service-level requirements, IT requires tools that allow it to manage itself “like any other business process,” he said.
“Vendors like to talk about taking control, but IT organizations must take a more holistic approach to ensure that as complex infrastructure evolves, it complements what you already have. This is the mandate for the next phase of IT evolution. It falls to companies like CA to solve the challenge of business complexity while being efficient,” Swainson said.
CAs vision to help IT deal with such issues—its Enterprise IT Management strategy—is built around technology designed to simplify the management of IT across the enterprise through an “integrated, automated platform,” he said. “At last we will use technology to manage technology. We built a common platform of services that underlie all our products. EITM will allow enterprises to align all IT resources with business needs and create an effective, efficient infrastructure. It is designed to unify and simplify management of infrastructure, assets, applications and business processes.”
The foundation of that vision is the set of common services that underlie 26 new or enhanced products integrated through a common management database, user interface and more, along with a total of 86 products that exploit those services in some way. “EITM is real. Its been tested by more than 500 customers. You will get a better sense over the next few days of how EITM can work for you,” he promised.
Swainson sought to bolster CAs message by replaying a video message from Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer, who announced that CA will be a co-author of the Web Services Management Specifications. Ballmer also said that CA and Microsoft are integrating CA Unicenter management applications with Microsoft desktop and system management software. How that differs from previous integration efforts was not outlined.