CA stages a software comeback

* CA to make several announcements in two key technology areas for the company: security and management

CA this week is making several announcements in two key technology areas for the company: security and management, and the slew of software upgrades has people talking.

CA this week is making several announcements in two key technology areas for the company: security and management, and the slew of software upgrades has people talking (see slideshow).

Industry watchers and customers seem bullish that CA has recovered from any real or perceived setbacks the company suffered earlier in the decade when accounting scandals wiped out the executive management team and caused talk of unsatisfied customers to escalate. The work CA has done over the past few years, since CEO John Swainson took the helm, is winning over customers as well as industry watchers, who say there was never any real threat that CA would go away.

"I don’t buy that the status of the big four [management vendors] is going to change substantially," says Andi Mann, research director at Enterprise Management Associates. "CA went through a tough patch, but they bunkered down and got very serious about business, made smart acquisitions and spent time and money to integrate products and reinvigorate themselves."

Some customers realize CA's corporate reputation was on the line for several years, but report they didn't feel the impact in customer service or technology development. Harry Butler, IT project manager at Elbit Systems of America, a defense manufacturing company in Fort Worth, Texas, dismisses talk of CA's comeback - mostly because in his opinion, the company never went away.

"I don't look at CA in terms of the internal politics. I've always wanted good service and technology from the company," he says. "Since all the scandals, the customer support and service has only gotten better because they are listening more and taking what customers say into account when developing products."

Butler says he is about to begin a beta deployment of one of the three new software applications CA introduced this week: Software Compliance Manager. The application matches licenses to discovered software assets to determine compliance status and ensure license uses aligns with license payments. The software can help companies identify under-used licenses and eliminate potential cost and compliance problems due to inappropriate use of software licenses. CA also debuted Security Compliance Manager and IT Process Manager applications.

Butler manages 14 locations with centralized IT systems and a core team, as well as IT staff in disparate locations. He says CA's technology advances, such as Software Compliance Manager, and partnerships enable him to stay ahead of problems in his environment. He is beginning a beta implementation of the new software application in a couple of weeks and says he is happy CA earmarked software license compliance as a priority.

"We get audited twice per year and we do quarterly internal audits. Our method of using spreadsheets to manage software licenses won't stand up against all the compliance requirements we have to deal with. CA sees that customers are challenged by this and are fearful of lawsuits," Butler says. "We kept asking, 'Isn't there a more automated way to do this?' and it seems CA is answering that question."

Learn more about this topic

Slideshow: CA software bonaza

CA jockeys for stronger position in security, management markets

CA boosts ITIL automation with new tools, training

CA details plans to connect products

CA unfurls product-integration road map

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey: The results are in