Thursday, February 20, 2014

CA Technologies 2014: Innovation. Execution. Speed.

By Rich Ptak

CA Technologies held its annual Analyst event in New York City between snow storms which disrupted air traffic around the country. The one day event was well worth attending as the new CEO, Mike Gregoire, and his management team outlined plans for the future and detailed progress to eliminate past problems. A half day was dedicated to an overview of the state of the company, progress and strategy. The other half provided drill downs into activities in specific business segments. The DEV/OPS and IT Business Management breakout sessions were interesting, enlightening and will be discussed in another article.

Mike Gregoire, with barely a year in charge, had a lot to discuss. To his credit, he didn’t gloss over major challenges that existed and were resolved over the past year. He discussed insights gained from spending considerable time with customers, some satisfied, some not so much. He admitted being surprised at times in both positive and negative ways.

Those insights influenced what he and his team identified as major challenges for the future. They also helped direct the team as they contemplated their plans to resolve them. During the event, there was too much to cover in a single article. We will write on more topics over the coming months. Today, we focus on some highlights.

First, how they view their future:

  • CA Technologies is on a journey with its client as it strives to become the industry leader it can be. To do this, he and his team need to understand where the market will be and to identify the specific opportunity for them. From this they can build their strategy for growth by being better equipped than the competition to serve and benefit their customers.
  • Focus and prioritization of effort are critical for success. The critical priorities for Gregoire, his team and the company were identified as:
    • Innovation – to assure they are helping to define the future of IT in their customers and in the market. Every Product Manager must include and will be measured on ‘paradigm shifting’ product enhancements identified for new releases.
    • Execution – do whatever it takes to ‘do what they say they will do’. Measuring performance against well-defined goals has been a major accomplishment. To make his point, Mike pointed out that at the end of this fiscal year (March, 2014) his quantitative statement of performance against goals will be available in 8 hours versus the weeks it took last year. 
    • Speed – need to move faster across their product and solutions to keep ahead of their competition, which includes ‘Silicon Valley’ startups, need to balance prudent caution with speed in execution focus on critical thinking.

Next, a major concern for the team is to increase and speed growth. They will do so by focusing efforts and investment on those that they are in the best position to exploit. Thus, their products will align to three themes:

  • Mobile Experience,
  • SaaS/Lightweight Applications,
  • Big Data/Analytics.

Finally, CA Technologies has an extensive portfolio of diverse products. They need to focus on the areas that will drive growth and build major market interest in them and their products. Recognizing that they must maintain and support existing customers, CA Technologies is actively managing their portfolio. For the future, they have identified three areas which will allow them to most effectively serve and attract customers. These areas are:

  • IT Business Management – acknowledging the shifting center of buying power towards business and functions, as a result of IT’s critical involvement in every aspect of the business.
  • DEV/OPS – IT’s role in the business becomes increasingly significant as applications become more complex and dynamic; the efforts of development and operations become end-to-end processes extending from service creation to delivery device which makes more powerful, innovative tools necessary. 
  • Security – every day’s media includes stories of the security risks posed by the proliferation of technology; the result is that management of data, access, identity, validation, etc. represents a massive opportunity.

CA Technologies history of infrastructure management will continue for mainframe, distributed and mobile devices. They believe that the future belongs to the Cloud; whether implemented as private, hybrid or public Clouds, relevant services and products will be included in the CA Technologies portfolio.

Gregoire admitted that their strategy sounds a lot like what others are saying.  However, they believe that they can and will differentiate themselves from the competition in a number of ways. For instance, they view IT and DEV/OPS as the ‘bookends’ of the enterprise, extending into and across more business functions. A view that is more inclusive than that of competitors.

For CA Technologies, this means that IT becomes more influential in defining the enterprise. This view is shared among many of CA Technologies customers. These same customers are clamoring for solutions that reflect this comprehensive view. This is what drives CA Technologies commitment to deliver innovative products. We like the way, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, Jacob Lamm, puts it: “Innovation, when properly understood and executed, changes the ‘paradigm’ of what is being done.”

There was much more with respect to sales, channel partners, marketing, etc. Have you noticed the ads for CA Technologies are appearing everywhere on the internet, in airports, etc.? We will have to leave these for discussion in future articles.

We were really impressed with what we heard and saw at the event. CA Technologies appears to have shaken off any uncertainty about who it was and where it was going.  The plans for the future are confident and aggressive. The vision appears fresh and expansive. We anticipate that this will be a very interesting year for CA Technologies, its customers, its competitors and those of us who follow them.