Computer Associates hopes to meld several acquired lines of aging business applications into a state-of-the-art electronic commerce and enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite called interBiz, teaching them to speak each others' language and endowing them with additional functionality from its own basic technology.
This strategy is being borne out by the products CA announced last week at interBiz World, the first-ever user group meeting of its newly unified interBiz Solutions division.
The key is the new integration framework, BizWorks, which will become available this week in a beta version, interBiz president Reuven Battat said.
BizWorks will not only help the manufacturing, financial, human resources, supply-chain, and banking modules of interBiz work together, despite their heritage from separately acquired companies, it will also let them work with users' other homegrown and even competing applications, as well as the systems of their trading partners, Battat said.
"For the first time in my 25 years at Computer Associates, I can say we provide for you an entire business solution," chief executive officer Charles Wang said in his keynote speech.
"This is a great leap forward for [CA]," said Janet Gould, an analyst at Plant-Wide Research in California. "Together, [the individual new products] plus this framework should enable them to compete with the top 10 ERP vendors, which would certainly be new for CA."
Besides better integration, the interBiz strategy relies on two other themes - real-time pattern recognition and analysis, and intelligent agents predicting business events - to make the whole suite greater than the sum of its parts, Battat said.
The company wants to reassure its installed customers that although ERP will become a smaller percentage of its overall business as it adds new types of applications, it will continue to support and extend existing product lines, he added.