CA Technologies Analyst Symposium 2014 – Insights and Outlook

Introduction

On February 4, CA Technologies held its 2014 Industry Analyst Symposium in NYC.  During this event, CA Technologies shared information about its market and product strategies with information technology (IT) research analysts from around the globe.  With this information, IT analysts are able to share their findings with readers of their reports – and are also able to express their views in client consulting engagements.

The keynote at this event was delivered by CA Technologies CEO, Mike Gregoire, who joined just over a year ago.  His speech centered on three themes: innovation, execution and speed – and during the course of this speech he described how the company has taken important and notable steps over the past year in these three areas.  For instance, CA Technologies has:

  • Invested almost $600M in R&D this year – and is in the process of shifting a large portion that investment to new, “transformational“ product areas.  With this large investment (almost 13% of the company’s overall revenue) Gregoire wants to foster a culture of innovation.  This innovation will be focused on organic growth (CA Technologies is known as an acquisitions company – but will now place less emphasis on acquisition);
  • Reduced the  number of development centers from 80 to 40 in an effort to support an agile development framework and reduce complexity in the development processes;
  • Expanded the number of SaaS offerings available directly from CA Technologies, not just by taking a licensed software product and creating a SaaS version but by providing new, unique SaaS software offerings;
  • Focused strongly on digitally-based lead generation – and will make this a major focus in years to come;
  • Introduced “try before you buy”  freemium software supported by on-line communities;
  • Launched a new customer reference brand-awareness  advertising campaign, “CA at the Center” previewing in airports and on-line; and
  • Refocused on growing global sales through its partners, based on geography and product area.

Strategic growth areas for the company include IT Business Management, DevOps, and Security — in mainframe, distributed, and mobile environments with the goal of extending market leadership through differentiation.  In this blog, I will focus on CA Technologies DevOps strategy and two of those solutions, CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap and CA LISA.

DevOps Strategy

“DevOps’’ is a software development approach focused on strengthening the linkage and collaboration between software development and IT operations to allow a company to release new software or new versions of software more quickly and more cost-effectively  in a “continuous delivery” model. It is enabled by agile development, an iterative and incremental development approach also based on collaboration.

CA Technologies DevOps portfolio is comprised of applications delivery, application performance management (APM) and infrastructure management solutions designed to develop, deliver and monitor todays’ complex composite applications in a real-time, closed loop continuum that allows configurations to be adjusted to maintain performance.  With service virtualization, organizations can create virtualized development and test environments requiring fewer physical resources.  Applications are tested through the development cycle and bugs are removed before the software hits production rather than creating software quality at the end of the process.  The goal is to deliver applications in a business-informed way.  CA Technologies shared data showing that in enterprises measuring DevOps initiatives, 20% reported faster time-to-market, 22% improvement in quality and an 18% reduction in development and operations costs.

 CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap Infrastructure Management Solution

One example of a solution in CA Technologies DevOps infrastructure management portfolio is CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap. In the first hundred days after releasing this freeware (free for up to 30 monitored devices version of CA Nimsoft Monitor) 5000 users in 147 countries have taken advantage of the free download. At the event, CA Technologies showed a demo of the product highlighting auto-discovery capabilities such as the discovery wizard, a dashboard displaying detailed CPU, disk and memory metrics with graphs that drill down into specific time periods as well as display 7-day or monthly trends, for example. Other features include role-based views and geographical views. For a complete review of this product see http://bit.ly/1b04Khz

What I like most about CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap is that it embodies many of the characteristics of the “new” CA Technologies—free software, fast and easy delivery model, on-line community (CA Snap Central),), partner/geography focus (more than 60 partners are promoting CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap), and a sales model designed for the digital age. As soon as users have reached the 30 device limit, they get a call from a sales representative. Architecturally, the product also typifies CA Technologies strategic direction—is designed to scale, is easily extensible, easy-to-install with a quick time-to-value, and is lightweight and downloadable. After seeing what has been done with CA Nimsoft Monitor, it makes it easier to see how the company will apply these principles to other products in the future.

CA LISA Application Delivery Solution

In 2011, CA Technologies acquired Interactive TKO (ITKO). This technology is the foundation of CA LISA and was designed to address many of the challenges associated with software development: lack of API testing, lack of automated testing, lack of visibility in how applications perform in production, and the difficulty of managing different versions.  The acquisition of Nolio added the ability to move application software efficiently and reliably through the development process and into production environments spanning physical, virtual and cloud with the release automation product.   Together, the CA LISA Suite and CA Release Automation enable continuous delivery, continuous validation, and data mining in support of true agile development. Service virtualization allows development organizations to easily simulate real-world conditions and to test behavior and dependencies for complete integration, performance and functional testing.  Release automation is based on manifest driven deployments that simplify and streamline application releases by allowing users to design a release process and use that process for multiple application/environment combinations.

Summary

Under CEO Mike Gregoire, CA Technologies is undergoing a major transformation.  He is changing the acquisition-focused CA Technologies into a software innovator that builds products organically.  The company is now looking at innovation across the board – in R&D as well as in their sales and marketing practices.  Marketing is evolving to a more digitally-based focus; and the sales force is implementing a carefully crafted partner go-to-market plan.  Further, the company is experimenting with new ways to package products such as offering try/buy programs to enable products to practically sell themselves. These new practices will help cut sales and marketing costs while still increasing brand-awareness and driving customer loyalty.  Products have a new look as well — with solutions like CA Wily (criticized for being tough to install and maintain for creating too much overhead) giving way to solutions that are lightweight and easy-to-use such as CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap.

Finally, by employing a DevOps approach in their own development organizations, CA Technologies will be able to bring new, innovative solutions to market sooner with better quality and at a lower cost.  And with the company’s complete portfolio of solutions, they can enable their customers to do the same.

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