CA pushes on partnering program

CA pushes on partnering program

Computer Associates International continues to work on boosting its technology line-up and gaining a competitive edge through partnerships. To that end, the company plans to increase online support for technology partners by year's end and create a partner advisory board in 2003.

Additionally, the software maker today began to detail some of the success stories of its year-old CA Smart Solution certification process.

The program ensures that companies that sell their hardware and software along with CA products are fully certified for interoperability and have adequate technical support from CA. About half of the 300 or so CA Smart Solution partners have already received the certification, and CA hopes to get the remainder on board in the next three months.

Holdout companies, however, are in jeopardy of losing their partner status, according to Stacy Leader, vice president of the partner program. "We are re-evaluating where we are and then will be moving forward and either decide to partner with them or keep their name on file. ... They will either jump on the train with us or part ways."

According to Leader, last year's CA Smart Solution announcement represented a turnaround for the company. Rather than do acquisitions, it would rely on partners to fill gaps in its technology lineup. Among its partners are high-profile companies such as Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and PeopleSoft.

CA will continue to enhance the program, adding more online technical support for partners and creating a partner advisory board in the next year.

The CA Smart initiative is to some degree addressing long-term weaknesses in CA's partnering strategy, according to James Governor, an analyst at consultancy Illuminata.

"Historically, partnering has not exactly been what you would call a core competency," said Governor. While CA traditionally has been a direct-sales firm, the CA Smart program "shows a systematic attention to partnering that CA has sometimes lacked."

However, in terms of channel support, CA's competitors generally offer something similar for their partners, said Governor. Microsoft for example, just announced a US$500 million boost to its channel marketing budget.

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