I learnt a new word the other day—"inculturated". Apparently it has something to do with the way IT systems can become part of an organisation's way of working. All I do know is that the spell checker in Word hates it, which demonstrates how far "inculturated" is from any known English language derivative.
Anyway, I digress. My increased vocabulary was down to spending some quality time with CA to learn more about their vision, products and ideas on the future.
I must admit to still being a new boy at the CA party. I attended my first ever CA analyst event last year and I am still getting to grips with this sizeable beast of an IT vendor. I was aware of the problems faced by the old CA and have been watching their reinvention with interest. Being polite I only mentioned the old CA once but I think I got away with it.
John Swainson, CEO of CA, has got the virtualisation thing big time. Nowadays no significant IT vendor's pitch can be complete without at least some reference to virtualisation, but Swainson went one further in demonstrating his commitment by presenting the first 10 minutes of his keynote using Second Life. Despite my pretty intense dislike of these virtual worlds at least you felt he really believed in the whole virtualisation thing, whether he did or not. It was also heart warming to note that Swainson's avatar was a half way decent rendition of the real life chap. Unlike many who would be tempted to represent themselves as a nubile 25 year old blonde with suitable appendages.
From a virtualisation perspective CA have a good claim to have been doing it for 40+ years, based on their experience with mainframe computers. It certainly looks as if they will be squeezing every ounce of virtualisation experience from the organisation to ensure they become a decent player in the market. CA believes that virtualisation will succeed or fail based on the ability of organisations to manage the virtual installation. Few would disagree—the notion of dynamically building and deploying virtual servers on the fly, doing work and then uninstalling in a short period of time causes all sorts of management issues, from licensing through to security.
According to Swainson there are 5 other disruptive technologies, as well as virtualisation, that CA are focusing on;
- Architectural convergence
- Social networking (inside the corporate network)
- Cloud computing
- The explosion of IP addressable devices
Whilst I would agree these are new challenges I do not feel I could label them all as disruptive.
Whilst looking into the near and medium term future is fine, the more important challenges faced by IT is how it can further integrate into the business and demonstrate real, tangible benefit, reduce costs and become a key part of an organisation's customer experience.
EITM - Enterprise IT Management is the place holder for CA's strategy to support organisations and help them govern, manage and secure their IT. In support of this and moves to software as a service (SaaS), CA announced a range of products that will help to deliver a more secure environment, including SOA Security Manager, designed to prevent XML-based malware attacks.
There is no doubt that CA has a very strong portfolio of products, coupled with a deep R+D culture. Despite the current economic conditions they remain bullish that their products will speak for themselves and that they will emerge from the inevitable downturn stronger than before. From what I have seen they seem to be on the right track.