CA Wants Focus Back on Products

Computer Associates hopes new products and upgrades will shift the focus away from recent management shake-ups.

As it digs out from the rubble of government investigations, accounting scandals and executive shake-ups, Computer Associates International Inc. is hoping to shift some attention back to its products when it announces a handful of upgrades in two weeks at its CA World conference.

Much of the news at CA World, which starts May 23 in Las Vegas, will be a continuation of CAs recent strategy to integrate its products into packaged suites rather than roll out discrete products as it has done in the past. The plans also call for extending that strategy to creating product solutions with partners, something CA executives have said is a key goal for the company this year.

"By the end of this year, you will see integrated releases either in [general availability] or beta across the portfolio," said Mark Barrenechea, senior vice president of product development at CA, in an interview with eWEEK last week. "You will see more integrated suites, just like we did in January with BrightStor. Its fair to say over the next month or so youll see [similar] announcements on the security side."

One of those upcoming announcements will be based on the integration of some of the companys security products with its Unicenter management software. Barrenechea stressed that the companys success hinges on extending its strength in management to other key areas, such as security and storage. The company already has created one security-centric suite, the eTrust Identity and Access Management Suite, and the Security Command Center product, which is capable of managing a wide range of devices.

The eTrust Threat Management line currently comprises eight products, including anti-virus, intrusion detection, forensics and vulnerability assessment. Many of these are prime candidates for integration with Unicenter. Barrenechea also said that CA will deliver more of its security capabilities as services over the Web.

"We intend to keep pace with them on that," Barrenechea said.

CA is also working to deliver an integrated desktop management suite that incorporates the Desktop DNA migration tools acquired along with Miramar Systems Inc. earlier this year, Barrenechea said.

/zimages/7/28571.gifFor insights on security coverage around the Web, check out Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.

The suite, expected to enter beta testing by late fall, will integrate CAs software distribution functions with asset management, BrightStor backup for desktops, vulnerability management and the Miramar desktop personality migration capabilities, Barrenechea said. Imaging will not be integrated in that release but will come in a later release next year, he said.

Some CA customers who have been shaken by the recent upheaval at the company—which culminated in CEO Sanjay Kumar stepping down last month to take on a lesser role—said if CA can deliver better integration, the management and legal troubles will be irrelevant.

/zimages/7/28571.gifAlso read "Kumar Exit Prompts CA User Worries."

"Theyve made integration a hallmark, and Im quite pleased with that approach," said Rick Evans, senior vice president of communication and technology at Neways International, based in Springville, Utah, which uses several of CAs security products. "Every security device has its own log, and managing that can be a full-time thing. Better management and integration of all of this is great. Their concept is to make it easier for us."

Even with increasing attention to the new and updated products coming up, CA executives are still dealing with the reverberations of the management shake-up, as well as with the adjustment to a new set of leaders. With Kumar staying on as chief software architect, a newly created position, Barrenechea acknowledged there are plenty of questions about the former CEOs actual role.

"Sanjay is in a staff role working for Ken [Cron, CAs interim CEO]," Barrenechea said.

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