CA throws its weight behind e-business

Betting all its chips on helping companies to succeed in e-business,Computer Associates has reinforced its strategy and marketpositioning at CA World, an annual extravaganza which is held in Orlandothis year.

Betting all its chips on helping companies to succeed in e-business, Computer Associates has reinforced its strategy and market positioning at CA World, an annual extravaganza which is held in Orlando this year

Calling the new positioning a move to develop “technology that better supports e-business”, CEO Sanjay Kumar outlined the key areas of focus for thousands of conference delegates, company employees and press representatives at the opening keynote address.

Dubbed the “3X6 strategy”, the new initiative segments CA’s product development into three broad layers of management groups with six focus areas: security, storage, enterprise management, e-business transformation and integration, portal and knowledge management, and predictive analysis and visualization.

“Every business has to be an e-business in the future to survive,” said Kumar. “It doesn’t necessarily has to be a dot-com, or a business that has completely transformed itself, but it has to be a business that embrace the technology, embrace the Internet, embrace different forms of computing and different ways of working.” Some of these can be seen in CA's ventures in Asia.

Announced January this year along with the debut of CA’s brand new corporate logo, the strategy is meant to streamline CA’s technology development to bring better definition and focus to the company’s product offerings.

Real world e-business
The real message of the evening, however, is integration and support for heterogeneous platforms. The new CA strategy is, in fact, a response to changes in the information technology market. Corporations, having had their internal automation and enterprise systems needs fulfilled, are now looking more and more toward technology to meet the needs of their commercial activities.

Real world e-business, in short, is driving the demand for technological implementation.

CA’s vice president for corporate marketing, Tarkan Maner, said as much during a preliminary press briefing when he noted how technological solutions of the future will be driven by business demands.

"Software are becoming a strategic component of business success,” said Maner. “CEOs and business decision makers in enterprises across industries are building new business models which drives new business processes. And all these new business processes are driving new business applications. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Unlike Oracle or SAP, however, CA does not have a suite of e-business applications of its own. Its application division, InteBiz, is only a year old and offers a limited range of products. What the company has is a history of providing enterprise-wide systems solutions in the areas of security, network, knowledge management and most recently, a business intelligence product called Neugent.

“The positioning is not the platform,” said Tarkan. “This positioning is application driven, and it is management driven, but you have to remember that the key is that the infrastructure is cross-platform – from mainframe Unix/NT to handheld devices.”

CEO Kumar reiterated as much when he drove home the importance of cross-platform support in the evening keynote address.

“Heterogeneous platform support ranks high among (CA’s priorities), we have been an innovator in supporting multiple platforms since the 1970’s,” stated Kumar. “The ability for us to integrate across platforms has been very important to us, and will remain a pillar as we innovate and build solutions for you in the future.” Over the first three days of the convention, the company would make a number of announcements, including its flagship Unicenter 3.0: a system management solution and a piece that Tarkan called “the application driven infrastructure management platform.”

More poignant to the aims of the “3X6 strategy”, however, will be a series of announcements on the integration of CA products into Oracle, PeopleSoft and WebMethods solutions.

The opening of CA World also saw the announcement of four core brands that, according to Kumar, would embody the six areas of technology focus. The four brands are Unicenter, eTrust, BrightStor and Jasmine.

A key piece of solution in CA’s range of products will be the company’s Jasmine ii portal, which will be shipped with almost all of CA’s product from now on. It will sit on top of the layers of technology that CA provides and will act as a general purpose GUI for all those technology underneath it.

From the portal, a user can supervise security, manage storage, administer system management and even access and retrieve BI information.

“More and more Jasmine portals will be shipped with our products, and more and more it will serve as an interface to the layers of technology underneath it,” stated Kumar. “The portal will be your eye to the computing world.”

More importantly, however, the Jasmine ii portal will serve as the glue that gels together CA’s disparate pieces of solutions to present an integrated front as the company moves deeper into the game of supporting and ensuring e-business success.