Bye Bye BrightStor

CA is 'simplifying the user experience.' Brace yourself for storage changes

February 8, 2007

2 Min Read
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3:15 PM -- The company formerly known as Computer Associates is going minimalist. In what it terms a "mission to unify and simplify IT management," CA Inc. (NYSE: CA) is renaming all of its products. According to a prepared statement on the company's Website: "Our goal is to make it easier to focus on meeting [customers'] IT management software needs."

CA is truncating the "sub-brands" that ran through CA's product catalog. What used to be called CA BrightStor CA-ASM2 Backup and Restore, for instance, is now CA ASM2 Backup and Restore. The BrightStor Arcserve series is also being renamed, though the new monikers are "TBD" on CA's continually updated product names list.

CA could stand a bit of the simpler life. The ongoing fallout from malfeasance charges that resulted in the penal march of multiple former executives, including ex-CEO Sanjay Kumar, continues to embarrass. At the end of January, for instance, former SVP of finance and administration David Kaplan was sentenced to home detention, while former CFI Ira Zar got seven months' jail time and seven months' home detention.

No wonder CA wants to break with the past.

CA is also seeking distance from poor marketing of its wares by indirect suppliers. In recent earnings, the company showed poor storage sales, which CEO John Swainson chalked up to trouble with indirect sales partners. (See CA Reports Earnings.)It's a problem he's intent on correcting, particularly given CA's aggressive investment in the storage segment. In the last 15 months, the company bought XOsoft, iLumin, and MDY Group International in an effort to add CDP, replication, email archiving, records management, and compliance to its storage lineup. (See 2006 Top 10: On the Hot Seat, Storage Shopping Spree, and Suppliers Snap Up Services.) It's clearly time for some fresh marketing.

It will be the end of 2008, though, before marketing materials, Website, and packaging are fully simplified. "We estimate that it will take 12-18 months to fully migrate our product names," notes EVP and CMO Donald Friedman in a letter to customers.

CA's effort should be applauded. The company is clearly intent on strengthening its assets. And in the fast-paced IT business, it's vital to distance oneself from mistakes as quickly as possible. Whatever isn't constructive soon rots on the vine. We can think of a few examples, but that's another story.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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