CA's COO Looks Ahead

CA is replacing most of its legacy systems with a SAP ERP system in an attempt to avoid more financial scandals

September 8, 2005

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

NEW YORK -- Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA) is struggling to move beyond a turbulent period marred by financial scandal. Steps include a new branding program and the completion of major surgery on the company's back-end computer systems.

Speaking at the Citigroup Technology Conference here today, Jeff Clarke, the companys chief operating officer, described an initiative to revitalize the marketing of its three main products lines: storage, security, and systems and network management software.

“The CA brand was tired,” said Clarke. “We have started to do a new brand campaign -- some of you will see that in the major periodicals.” CA will peddle its wares under the umbrella of “enterprise IT management."

It's all part of CA’s long-term plan to more closely integrate its different product families, a move designed to compete with the likes of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ).

Clarke gives an exmaple: “We’re building our BrightStor [storage management software] to be more compatible with security and systems management,” he says, adding that the products rely on the same underlying database and schemas.The software vendor, like a number of its rivals, is also hell-bent on breaking new ground in the emerging Eastern European market. Up to now, Clarke said, CA’s products have been available in only eight languages, although the company is now planning to expand this to 20 in an effort to tackle “fast-growing markets such as Eastern Europe.”

Last year, analyst firm IDC predicted that Eastern Europe would be one of the hottest technology areas in 2005, and other vendors are already eyeing opportunities in the region (see IDC Makes 2005 Predictions and Intel Capital Goes for Czech Mate). CA has opened up a mainframe center in the Czech Republic (see CA to Establish Center in Prague).

Meanwhile, CA is in the midst of tearing out around 100 of its legacy systems and replacing them with a state-of-the art enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP).

The project, first announced late in 2004, has been no small undertaking. “It will replace a significant amount of our homegrown systems,” Clarke says, likening the project to a "heart transplant for an organization.”

ERP systems use application software to control a range of different business functions, from billing and financials through to human resources. However, the technology, as Clarke admits, is often difficult to implement across complex IT infrastructures. SAP overhauled its mySAP ERP product last year (see SAP Enhances mySAP).Clarke was drafted into CA last year from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) to help drag the company out of a turbulent spell, blighted by high-profile corporate scandals and a $225 million settlement with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

and Department of Justice. The firm has also announced massive restructuring plans (see CA's Mea Culpa, CA Cuts 800 Jobs, and CA Changes Shape).

The exec, who worked on HP’s merger with Compaq, admitted today that CA has a checkered past. “This is a company that has a troubled history in terms of compliance. We’re past that now.”

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights