CA sets up new services team

CA sets up new services team

Looking to shore up a weak spot in its operations, Computer Associates International is quietly assembling a group of salespeople whose task will be to promote the company's IT services offerings.

CA this week said it began training the 80-person unit, dubbed the Service Development Specialists (SDS) group, in April and plans to officially launch the outfit later this year. Officials at CA said they hope the dedicated sales staff will help put a stop to an ongoing decline in the company's IT services revenue.

The services business has been dipping for the past several quarters, and CA reported earlier this week that services revenue dropped to $US65 million in its first quarter, to June 30, down from $83 million in the same period a year ago.

Sanjay Kumar, CA's president and CEO, said during a conference call about the first-quarter results that the company needs a boost in the IT services market. "We just absolutely have to do better in that business," he said. "We'll make some changes there."

The new sales team is Exhibit A, according to CA. Until now, the company hasn't had a sales force dedicated to services. Bob Dinkel, CA's senior vice president for services in North America, said the SDS personnel are being trained strictly to drum up services-related business, although he added that they will work with CA's software sales force on deals.

Despite the addition of the new sales unit, CA isn't changing its strategy of targeting the IT services business at customers that use its software. In a statement, Kumar said he remains convinced that focusing on service offerings tied to CA's technology "is the best use of our resources".

CA has been divesting itself of IT services operations that don't revolve around its software, Dinkel said. Two years ago, for example, the company sold off the federal government services unit that it had acquired when it bought Sterling Software.

CA is now trying to position itself to be a "trusted adviser" to work with its software users and help them get a return on the investments they have made, Dinkel said.

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