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Commentary

Ch-Ch-Changes At CA

This week's cover story on CA portrays the company formerly known as Computer Associates as a work in progress, transitioning from brute force to a kinder, more innovative machine. Yet it also shows customer opinion often lags behind major shifts in the way vendors do business.
This week's cover story on CA portrays the company formerly known as Computer Associates as a work in progress, transitioning from brute force to a kinder, more innovative machine. Yet it also shows customer opinion often lags behind major shifts in the way vendors do business.Customers ranged in their assessments of CA from "it's regretful that we're using it" to "they're on the upswing" to "very impressed." This must have to do partially with CA's rather notorious legacy as being pushy toward users and neglectful of its stream of acquisitions, but it's also a realization that even internally, change trickles down from the highest level. While CEO John Swainson and his team are on board -- and on message -- it takes a lot more to get a 15,000-employee behemoth in line. It's a multiyear process with stumbling blocks along the way.

It only gets easier slowly, as CA has had to reorganize and replace much of its executive leadership and sales teams, making the elements that run the company and interact with customers seem fluid at times, though hopefully better in the end. Of course, lumped on there is the specter of a $2.2 billion accounting scandal that's still being resolved. CA still has its work cut out for it.