SmartAdvice: It's Time For CA To Focus On Product Improvement - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Business & Finance
03:33 PM

SmartAdvice: It's Time For CA To Focus On Product Improvement

Computer Associates has to move beyond its accounting turmoil and focus on competitive performance to stay viable, The Advisory Council says. Also, look for integration with current products when buying asset-management software, and treat developing a disaster-recovery plan as a project and devote some resources to creating it.

Editor's Note: Welcome to SmartAdvice, a weekly column by The Advisory Council (TAC), an advisory service firm. The feature answers three questions of core interest to you, ranging from career advice to enterprise strategies to how to deal with vendors. Submit questions directly to [email protected]

Question A: What adjustments in our software portfolio should we consider in light of the turmoil at Computer Associates?

Our advice: While it's natural to ask this type of question when a company such as Computer Associates faces what it has recently, we aren't convinced that the effects of current events will be long lasting. If one scans the newswires and analyst reports, one gets the sense that there are few who believe that CA's recent travails will have a significant impact on either customer-purchase decisions or the strategies and plans of the company itself.

Related Links

Clarke Says CA Is Ready To Move Forward

IT Alignment Program

What started things rolling, of course, was the specter of alleged accounting violations prior to CA's business model change at the end of 2000, and the termination of more than a dozen employees over the past six months. The Securities and Exchange Commission investigations go on, and earlier this month the company's CEO and chairman, Sanjay Kumar, left those positions. He will remain with CA as its chief software architect. The newly elected chairman, Lewis Ranieri, has made it clear that Mr. Kumar's removal wasn't based on the assumption or conclusion of wrongdoing on his part, but given the fact that events leading up to the SEC's scrutiny took place under his tenure, the action was considered by the CA's board of directors to be appropriate. Mr. Kumar's continued, and quite visible, presence within the company bolsters the board's position, in our view.

While we aren't in a position to assess the validity of the allegations, we believe that the ultimate result, while it could conceivably involve punitive action against either individuals or the company, won't end up being disabling in terms of CA's ability to move forward with product development, marketing initiatives, or sales activities. We believe the company will survive, and that whatever the resolution, the process won't drag on too long. No one, not even the SEC, has an interest in dealing CA or any other major industry player a knockout punch. Customers should therefore feel confident they can continue to evaluate CA and its solutions based on the products' technical merits and suitability to solving their particular problems.

So, while CA will work its way through its accounting woes and management shakeups, it would do well to take a careful look at its product positioning and competitive performance. The AlignIT Group's IT Alignment research has studied what it calls the Application Performance and Availability Management (APAM) market through surveys of users of relevant products, such as CA's Unicenter. Users who took part in their surveys indicated that CA lagged significantly behind the average performance for the products that make up the total APAM market in all major life-cycle phases covered: engagement, deployment, run-time use, and maturity.

The task for CA is therefore twofold: First, it must continue getting its house in order in terms of its dealings with the SEC. Second, it must continue to focus on customer satisfaction and retention through product improvement and customer-engagement activities. Again, it's our view that it's CA's performance as a vendor as reflected in its relationships with its customers and the quality and suitability of its products that will determine its future success, not the results of an accounting investigation or the firing of selected executives.

-- Steve Garone

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
1 of 3
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll