I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago.  I went to NYC to brief with CA Technologies.  I spent a full day speaking in group sessions with some of its top executives including CEO, Mike Gregoire, EVP Technology and Development, Peter Griffiths, EVP Strategy and Corporate Development Jacob Lamm, as well as a 1 on 1 meeting with GM of Security Management Mike Denning,.  I found their discussions and candor on the changes and advancements within CA VERY refreshing; more so than I would have expected from what I perceived as a “monolithic behemoth” such as CA.

During that time I learned a number of things that pleasantly surprised me and I think will surprise many of you.

1. CA has over 1200 products and services within their portfolio.

They are looking to appropriately decrease that volume.  The executives’ perception is that if they focus CA’s resources on a smaller subset, they can increase speed to market and value or the remaining product base

2. CA is changing its sales culture.

Mike Gregoire stood up and recognized to the entire forum that CA had, in the past, been overly aggressive in its renewal charges.  He noted that this was not winning any fans in the market or the customer base and was overall counterproductive.  In this practice, the customers that really got angry left while others that tried to stay with CA were then more heavily penalized in the sales team attempt to recover revenue.   This was a pretty amazing statement and gesture of culture change for CA.  Mike has personally worked with some of CA’s larger customers

3. CA is moving the solutions that make sense into the cloud

They see the trend and the value to customers and are going to deploy solutions to the cloud that make sense in that model.  That will not be all of their solutions as some work better in the perpetual delivery and licensing models.

4. According to Peter Griffiths, “CA is doubling down on IAM”.  They feel that managing Identity throughout the environment is one of the biggest keys to security.  This is evident with 2 things:

The development resources they are pouring in to the Minder suite (Identity, Site, Cloud, Auth, Data, etc.)

The expansion of the API gateway capabilities from the Layer 7 acquisition. The new gateway has tremendous potential to deliver “comprehensive set of solutions that externalize APIs in a secure, reliable and manageable way. The CA Layer 7 API Security & Management Suite is fully integrated and designed for the enterprise to address mobile app development and bring your own device (BYOD), cloud connectivity, partner and cross-divisional SOA integration and API developer onboarding.”

5. CA is expanding its target market.

It is not ready to move to the SMB market yet but they are expanding from the fortune 1000 to the $2 Billion to $100 Million enterprise space.  This is a huge change for CA.  As part of focusing their portfolio and improving deliverability of the focus products, they are able to move to market in the space where budgets are a little tighter and the runway for demonstrating business value is a little shorter.

6. CA solutions are not “monolithic behemoths”

CA has been working at changing their image and approach for some time now but it has not penetrated the market well.  I hadn’t worked with CA for nearly 9 years and, as I mentioned earlier in the blog, had that incorrect perception.

Their solutions are being more and more tailored to be deliverable out of the box without a long-run project timeline and huge professional services or consulting engagement.  I saw this represented in a number of the IAM “Minder” products when we demoed them.  This is not to mean that a highly distributed and complex environments will absolutely be deployed overnight but it does mean that many average enterprises can see business value within a week and realistically have a solid deployment in a month.

7. CA is trying to turn not just a corner but move across the map.  Their stated goals are:

Build great products

Increase market and brand awareness

Sell more software to customers.

My personal opinion is that if they continue in the direction they demonstrated at the symposium, they are on the way with building great products.  Do less things well is what comes to mind with their portfolio strategy.

Changing the sales culture away from the aggressive renewal tactics is a start of improving their image but it has a ways to go to really get the message out about their new target market and how they have and are changing as a brand.

If they execute on the first two the third is a natural consequence.

 

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