CA reassures customers with new product strategy

23 May 2004 Computer Associates (CA) is pitching itself as the trailblazer of a “new age” of IT as it attempts to draw a line under the accounting scandals and management changes that have plagued the company in recent years.


CA believes the computing industry is entering “the age of management software” and claims it is at “the forefront of this revolution”, despite holding only a 9% share of the heavily fragmented systems management market.

Launching its annual CA World conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, interim CEO Ken Cron also said he was “committing CA to the highest standards of fiscal integrity” to start a “new chapter for this company”. A new position, chief compliance officer, will be created to enforce these standards.

CA is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after the company admitted improper reporting of its revenues in 2000-2001. An internal inquiry found no evidence of fictitious revenue, but the incumbent chairman and CEO Sanjay Kumar was nevertheless pushed aside to take a specially created position of chief software architect.

Although he was not making a keynote himself, Kumar appeared in a pre-recorded video, along with other CA employees from all management levels, during Cron’s speech. Thousands of delegates heard that his task of creating a common architecture would be a “very exciting job”. His new position will also involve spending more time with customers and helping with the transition of day-to-day company operations to his eventual replacement.

Jeff Clarke, currently serving as interim CFO as well as his permanent position of COO, said the company was searching for a new CEO and CFO but will “take time to get the right executive — we prefer that to finding one fast”. But he has denied rumours that he would put himself forward for the CEO position himself.

The emphasis on systems management — which Cron dubbed “the CIO’s secret weapon” — is part of CA’s effort to provide a better integrated software offering. Although it is four years since CA made a major acquisition, the company has only recently begun to bring some coherence to its vast software portfolio. “We wish we’d done this before,” admitted chief technology officer Yogesh Gupta.

The result is a new product strategy, “enterprise infrastructure management” (EIM), encompassing asset management, security, storage and application lifecycle management. So far, only one product has been launched under this aegis: the CA Management Bundle for Microsoft Exchange, an email management tool.

This year’s guest speaker at CA World is comedian Bill Cosby. His speech promises to be something of a departure from previous guests’, who include former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani and Nobel prize winner Henry Kissinger.

“Given what CA’s been going through lately, as well as the rest of the world, we thought it would be nice to lighten things up a bit.” No mention was made of CA’s first choice of guest speaker, Madeline Albright, the former US secretary of state who pulled out of the event citing “personal reasons”.

CA will announce its delayed financial results for fiscal 2004 on Tuesday. Announcements are also expected on new CA products and strategies for wireless security, web services and open source.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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