CA Technologies is a major publicly-held global software and services vendor, with a long history and several changes of focus and culture over its lifetime. It creates systems software that supports and manages mainframe, distributed computing, virtual machine and cloud computing environments, as well as mobile devices, application delivery, security, and data centre infrastructure. It operates primarily in the B2B space and claims that its customers include the majority of the Forbes Global 2,000 companies.
Its CEO, Michael P. Gregoire, is engaged in re-focussing the company on its strategic goals and executing against them. He has done a good job of rationalising its strong, but diverse and often overlapping, product portfolio, mostly gained through acquisition, and concentrating on organic growth. He is now concentrating on follow-through against goals, using well defined metrics, and seems to be managing the consequent cultural changes (although these aren’t trivial) pretty well.
Gregoire sees CA Technologies responding to three themes, going forward: mobility, where CA Technologies has just launched the industry’s first Management Cloud for Mobility; lightweight SaaS-based service delivery; and smart Big Data analytics, taking data from both the relational and non-relational worlds. These are applied across four strategic areas for the company:
- The management of business outcomes, by connecting them to operational IT and ‘actionable insights’ from smart analytics;
- DevOps is now strategic for CA Technologies, and exploits service virtualisation and performance management for continuous service delivery, controlled with end-to-end feedback loops covering application delivery, the production user experience and smart infrastructure management;
- Security, in terms of Identity and Access Management, data-centric security and API management;
- Managed infrastructure, across mainframe, distributed and mobile platforms; plus public, private and hybrid cloud environments.
CA Technologies has a strong mainframe story, around virtualising mainframe applications and technology and addressing any skills issues (it can provide a modern, knowledge-transfer front-end to mainframe support tools and also runs a ‘mainframe university’ for new recruits). A trend that Bloor finds important is the increasing integration of its mainframe solutions and distributed solutions across the enterprise.
One issue facing CA Technologies is that it is difficult to retire old products that someone is using and getting benefit from, so one of its strategic initiatives is to bring its customers, without pain, on to the latest, strategic, products. Another, internal, issue is the refocussing of its culture (and investment of resources) onto ‘new-build’ customers doing new and innovative things, so that CA Technologies can grow and gain a reputation for being an innovative company that is more commensurate with its actual, and significant, investments in R&D. Obviously there is no intention of neglecting existing customers with profitable and effective investments in large-scale CA Technologies solutions, but these don’t really need the same degree of investment needed by a new customer, pushing the boundaries of its solutions into new business applications.
The current investments of CA Technologies in innovation around virtualisation technologies and SaaS solutions at scale seem to be well thought-through and effective, and bode well for its future as a player in the delivery of enterprise-level automated business outcomes.