Get ready to ditch those old releases - we're going Saas in a big way, says CA Technologies

CA is aiming to move as many products as possible to a software as a service delivery models - and hopes to persuade customers to upgrade to the latest versions too.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Software giant CA Technologies wants to switch to the software as a service (Saas) model for as many of its products as possible.

CA's new CEO Mike Gregoire said the company has already released three Saas-based products in the last quarter and has big plans for more. "Over time you are going to see a migration of all of our products that we can into this environment because it's just a better way to engineer. I want to get products our quicker, I want to use a Saas platform to do it."

"This is a lot more than a technical infrastructure, it's a business model and a philosophy of how we build applications," he said at the company's CA World customer conference in Las Vegas.

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Gregoire joined CA in January, having previously been CEO of cloud-based talent management software company Taleo which was sold to Oracle in early 2012 for nearly $2bn.

CA, one of the world's largest software companies, is best known for its less glamorous mainframe management software, which still accounts for half of its revenue and three-quarters of its profit.

But the company has also been searching for new high growth areas to target, and shifting to a Saas model is an obvious step that could provide new subscription revenue streams — and sprinkle some cloud sparkle on the company, too. And, while CA has had ambitions both to manage cloud-based services and deliver its own software via the cloud for some time, Gregoire's speech seems to indicate CA is stepping up that strategy.

Moving to a Saas model will change the way the company approaches its customers, Gregoire said, by forcing it to communicate better on product roadmaps.

"If we are going to be dropping in new releases on a regular basis it put the onus on us to do a better job of describing what those applications are going to do and how that affects what you've already got. It's a better way of developing software. We are making a heavy investment in this," he said.

Saying goodbye to old releases

Gregoire said as part of this move to cloud delivery he also wants to move CA customers off old releases of software — something that some customers may be reluctant to do.

"We have to get you off of old releases — this is a big problem. You don't like old releases, I don't like old releases, I want to tackle it I want to work with you to find a way to get you from wherever you are on whatever release to where we are innovating."

Gregoire said CA will also unveil a new mobile device management package at CA World. The first version will allow IT departments to procure VPN, email and applications and security for mobile devices while in the next 12 to 18 months management of applications and devices will be added, he said.

"This is one of the first big organic engineering activities that we've done at CA in a while. This is going to be a very big part of our future," he said.

Gregoire said modern CIOs are becoming brokers of technology, rather than custodians. "If you are a CIO it's not about the size of the datacentre, the number of employees or the numbers of MIPS under management nobody cares it really comes down to 'what have you done for me lately?'."

ZDNet attended CA World as a guest of CA Technologies.

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