More SaaS movement from a major software vendor
CA yesterday announced the availability of two software as a service (SaaS) solutions. One is targeted for the IT management space while the other is oriented around governance.
CA is taking its on-premise enterprise IT management solution, CA Clarity PPM and is making it available in an on-demand offering. To accomplish this, the company is forming a special on-demand business unit. This group will provide the hosting infrastructure, run the data center operations and provide the product management and marketing functions for their on-demand solutions (both in PPM and GRC). Development of the applications themselves will be housed in a separate solution development group. The company will continue to develop one version of the software regardless of its deployment method (i.e., on-premise or SaaS).
CA’s IT management offerings are available now in a number of modes: on premise, on-demand, partner hosted, CA hosted but customer licensed, single project as a service, program as a service, etc.
The on-demand applications will be configured such that each customer gets its own database schema. Virtualization technology is being used to permit multiple clients to coexist on the same CA server. The software has been through a SAS 70 part II audit. Full approval or certification for same may be another six months out.
Pricing for the solution is based on a minimum number of users (i.e., 100) with a minimum term of one year. At these minimum levels, companies can expect to pay approximately $60 per user per month but this rate will go down to as little as $18 per user per month based on the number of users and the length of the term. (These numbers were not firm prices and can vary.) Unlike other SaaS products in the marketplace, CA is not charging a price differential based on user type or number of functions/applications used.
The PPM solution is based on the CA Clarity PPM products. This is a very robust IT management solution set that has its roots in the Niku software product from the beginning of the decade.
The GRC (governance risk compliance) on-demand product is built on the same technology platform as the Clarity solutions. The software takes the portfolio management approach to managing numerous governance, risk and compliance activities in one solution set.
How will these solutions play in the market? The on-demand PPM product is functionally well-suited for complex, big IT groups and the programs/projects they manage. For IT groups in need of a PPM solution without the high up-front costs of an on-premise solution, they’d be well-advised to consider this. For smaller IT groups or groups seeking a one-time or one project solution, products like Wikis or other collaboration tools might suffice. In the middle, PPM or PSA products like QuickArrow, PlanView, Deltek, etc. have the project management capabilities some IT groups could benefit from.
From the GRC perspective, CA’s on-demand solution will be going up against products like OpenPages – a SaaS GRC provider that’s captured a lot of mindshare. CA’s product will likely have a strong IT GRC focus though given the background of the personnel who have developed this product.
One other point struck me in this announcement. It was good to see a major software firm like CA throw its support to SaaS. SAP's recent moves re: the hosting of Business ByDesign were disappointing; however, CA, like many PSA/PPM vendors is embracing it. From my conversations with business solution buyers, SaaS is looking better and better and woe to software firms who cannot adapt to a new business model..