CA Shifts Focus To Integration Strategy

Software vendor combines elements of four brands under common user interface

Darrell Dunn, Contributor

May 21, 2004

3 Min Read

CA's Enterprise Infrastructure Management strategy combines apps for common structure, senior VP Barrenechea says.

It's been a rough year for Computer Associates, with federal investigations, a management shakeup, and the demotion of chairman and CEO Sanjay Kumar to chief software architect. This week, CA will focus on business as it unveils a suite of integrated management software at its customer conference in Las Vegas.

The company will roll out its Enterprise Infrastructure Management strategy, which combines elements of its four major brands--Unicenter for operations and service management, eTrust for security, BrightStor for storage, and AllFusion for application-life-cycle management--under a common systems-management structure.

"CIOs voted with their budgets last year that management was top of mind of all applications," says Mark Barrenechea, CA's senior VP of product development. "We believe this is an important milestone for the management marketplace."

The strategy is built around five core areas: operations, storage, security, life cycle, and service management. "Customers will lose no flexibility," Barrenechea says. "They can still deploy a module at a time or a minisuite at a time." CA hopes that a combined offering with a common user interface will make it more attractive for customers to use an entire suite of products, rather than a variety of point products from other vendors.

That's exactly what Jason Payne, manager of IT for a California insurance company, hopes to accomplish over the next 12 to 18 months. "Having a single user interface would greatly ease the administration and training of IT," he says. "We're kind of a mix-and-match shop right now."

The company, which declined to be named, is using software from Veritas Software Corp. for storage management, Symantec's Norton for antivirus protection, and Symantec's pcAnywhere for remote control. It plans to pull all those functions into the CA framework, Payne says.

The insurance company already uses CA's Unicenter and recently began using its remote-control software to help manage 12 servers, 80 desktops, and about 20 remote users, says George Jeffers, director of IT.

The company was already working with CA when a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into CA's accounting practices that began in 2000 came to a head earlier this year, resulting in the resignation or firing of about a dozen employees. While those developments raised some concern, Jeffers says, "I haven't seen anything to make me think CA is going to go Enron on us or anything. I do think if Sanjay were to totally leave the company, we'd be more concerned."

Customers this week will try to gauge the health and morale of the company based on the presentation of its products and even the body language of the new executives, says Ray Paquet, an analyst at research firm Gartner. CA is trying to provide customers with a high-level strategy as well as products to meet specific needs with the introduction of Enterprise Infrastructure Management. "Everyone wants to see the big picture and talks about integration, but they still buy point products," Paquet says.

Unlike many software categories that saw vendors consolidate as the market and products matured, systems-management software has expanded from about three major players a few years ago to half a dozen today, Paquet says. As one of the largest competitors, he says, CA can use the new strategy to demonstrate how its customers can potentially benefit from a tighter link with a single provider.

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