CA has 'come a long way in a short time,' CEO says

CA has 'come a long way in a short time,' CEO says

New management software vision, Unified Service Model, launched

CA's CEO John Swainson announced a new vision for management software tools Sunday at CA World, while describing his company as making critical strides compared with its last global user conference 18 months ago.

"We've come a long way in a short time, but we're not done," Swainson told a crowd of 6,000 CA customers and employees in a keynote address in Las Vegas.

He referred to CA's progress on six major priorities that he announced in November 2005 shortly after becoming CEO, including adherence to a code of ethics that CA adopted after the arrest of former CEO Sanjay Kumar for securities fraud. Kumar was later convicted and faces 12 years in prison and payment of at least US$52 million in settlement costs to investors. Separately, CA settled with government prosecutors over the fraud scheme and also paid into a US$1 billion settlement fund.

While the fraud scheme still sits like an elephant in CA's living room, 10 customers yesterday said they are not focused on the fraud case but on CA's management products and ways to use them to simplify management of complex IT systems at their companies.

"The securities fraud is important," said one IT manager for a health insurance company in Louisiana who requested anonymity. "But even so, it doesn't matter for what I manage." The manager oversees CA's popular service desk products to help track IT system trouble reports and has seen great success, he said.

His sentiment was mirrored by nine other IT managers who said they knew that Kumar still hasn't gone to prison but wanted to learn more about CA's latest vision, introduced Sunday, for what the company calls the Unified Service Model. Swainson and CA Chief Technology Officer Alan Nugent called the USM the next step in CA's Enterprise IT Management concept announced 18 months ago.

The USM is a core element of CA's architecture, which is stored inside CA's Configuration Management Database to give IT managers a complete view into the technology, assets, people, projects and processes support for any given service, such as billing or human resources, CA documents and officials said. The USM works with 16 groups of CA products, called "capability solutions," which are grouped under three major categories: management, governance and security. For example, CA Network & Voice Management is one of the 16 capability solutions, but is itself made up of several CA products, including Spectrum and eHealth, said Ajei Gopal, general manager of CA's Enterprise Service Management business unit.

Several CA customers said they thought they understood the bare bones of the USM concept as an architectural guideline to help integrate products, which ultimately could help simplify the task of network and systems management.

"It's a meaningful concept, because CA has all these different productsm and they are trying to bring them together," said Matt Crocker, a network administrator at the Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga. Crocker's team has just tested and plans to deploy the Spectrum product to monitor 200 devices in a division of the TVA. "It's got to be a challenge for CA, which has so many years of making thousands of products and wants to pull them together in a cohesive way. And USM is also a good buzzword."

Patrik Gertsson, IT manager at Region Skane in Malmo, Sweden, said USM is a good direction for CA "because IT is a complex world, so if you gather up the many products, it helps." Region Skane is a regional public organization for medical and dental services and has been using CA's Service Center product successfully for more than a year, he said.

In his keynote, Swainson also gave a few highlights of CA's past year, including acquisitions of 15 companies to bolster the CA product line, and a $600 million investment in research and development to support 300 new software releases and new versions of older software. About 70 large customers have adopted the CA CMDB product since its introduction last year, he said.

One of the biggest indicators of CA's success since its last CA World is that an internal survey of customers asking if they'd recommend CA products to a colleague showed the highest score in seven years, Swainson said, without specifying the actual score.

"In the last 18 months, we've made the company stronger and continue to serve you," he told the keynote audience. "While we've made tremendous progress, we're not done ... and we're not satisfied."

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