A Sterling effort by CA

The impact of Computer Associates' $US4 billion acquisition of Sterling Software remains uncertain, with local officials yet to gain a clear understanding of Sterling's channel strategy.

One thing is for sure though. Following on from last year's acquisition of Platinum Technology, this merger gives CA - a traditional direct-selling enterprise software vendor - a definite line of contact to a large number of resellers.

Charles Wang, CA's CEO, has gone on record saying he needs channels other than direct to maintain the incredible growth of the business.

"The cornerstone of CA's strategy is to have 50 per cent of [our] revenues coming through indirect channels by 2001," Wang said in July last year. In the same interview he indicated CA is already obtaining 30 per cent of its sales indirectly.

However, local officials from CA

are so far unaware that any channel strategy exists for Sterling either locally or globally.

CA announced the deal is one of the largest ever in the software market.

David Sanday, marketing manager at Computer Associates, said officials from both organisations met on February 15 to begin discussions regarding the integration of the two companies. Sanday added that following those discussions, CA was sill unaware of Sterling's channel strategy.

"We don't believe there will be an immediate impact on the channel . . . our understanding is that Sterling does not have a channel strategy. CA [will continue] to invest heavily in thechannel [and] we will certainly belooking at Sterling Software's operation to see what channel initiatives we can incorporate," Sanday said.

Sterling last year launched a formal push into the channel [see ARN November 24, page 6]. Sterling was unable to return phone calls before this issue went to press.

Under the strategy announced last year, Sterling intended to recruit channel partners to sell its storage management products, as well as a reseller manager, Don Paterson, to find and manage resellers.

Meanwhile, both Ross Ballard, Sterling's president of the Asia-Pacific systems management group and John Ruthven, CA's Australian MD, agreed the merger would be "synergistic".

"In four key areas - systems management, storage management, business intelligence and application development - CA is either already very strong or will become much, much stronger with the integration of the two businesses," Ruthven said.

"I think for the Australian marketplace, it's a very synergistic client base in the fact that many Sterling clients are also CA clients.

"It won't necessarily be who's CA's customer - it will be a consolidation of two providers already," he added.

Ballard, who does not expect any Sterling products to be shelved by CA, said: "There is a great deal of synergy.

It appears we don't overlap at all in product set."