CA forges ahead in IT services market

Losing its bid for Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) earlier this year hasn't deterred Computer Associates International from plowing ahead in the information technology services market.

Last week, the Islandia, New York-based software company named Ajit Maira, a former management consultant, to head its new Business Assessment and Consulting Group. Maira said the new CA consulting group will compete directly with Andersen Consulting and other national consulting companies that focus on business process re-engineering and IT.

Earlier this month, CA also acquired Aventura Systems, a Norwegian systems integrator specializing in electronic commerce. Aventura's offerings include an electronic supply-chain management service and outsourced business-to-business electronic-commerce service.

"CA is clearly not giving up their services strategy," said Marianne Hedin, an analyst at International Data Corp in Framingham, Massachusetts.

But following its unsuccessful attempt to acquire CSC in March, CA is pursuing that strategy in a more realistic manner, she said.

"CSC was an unwilling acquisition partner. CA was trying to bite off too much," she said. "Now, CA is acquiring smaller companies more methodically."

Maira said her new group at CA will apply a variety of technologies, including three-dimensional, computerized visualization techniques and intelligent agents, to continually assess its client companies' ongoing performance against various business goals and strategies.

For example, using 3-D techniques to represent data from a wide array of sources, "we can show clients what will happen to their business as various factors change," Maira said. A food company, say, could see how long-term weather patterns or soil conditions might affect sales over an extended period.