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CA Technologies' evolution to a more channel-friendly company remains a work-in-progress. But CA's sales and channel executives say they've come a long way in the 18 months or so since the software company launched its channel initiative. And channel partners agree.
CA Technologies held a two-day North America Partner Summit in Boston last week where about 90 channel partners met with company executives to get the latest on the vendor's strategic direction.
"It's night and day," said Bob Schwartz, managing principal at Digital Celerity, a CA premier partner, referring to CA's alignment with the channel today versus just a couple of years ago. "CA is realizing they couldn't do so well without companies like Digital Celerity who sell enterprise and growth [company] applications," he said at an interview at the summit event.
"There has been a dramatic transformation," agreed Andre Maxwell, president and CEO of Information Security Xperts, an Atlanta-based solution provider and premier CA partner that develops IT security solutions and services based on CA products, also in an interview at the event.
As an example of CA's embrace of the channel, Maxwell noted that compensation plans for employees in CA's sales, service and education operations have been changed to encourage cooperation with partners. "The message has definitely gotten through from senior management that this is the new model," he said. "Comp plans dictate behavior."
Prior to 2011, CA was hardly known as a channel-friendly vendor, given its aggressive direct-sales business model and focus on selling to large companies. Channel efforts were focused on a limited number of products, including the vendor's popular ARCserve backup and recovery software and ERwin data modeling software.
But, last year the company changed course and began putting more focus on the channel to reach smaller companies -- a strategy outlined at the company's CA World show in Las Vegas last November.
The most significant aspect of CA's change is the company's decision to focus its direct sales efforts on large enterprise customers with annual sales of $2 billion or more. Customers with sales between $300 million and $2 billion, which CA calls "growth" companies, are being turned over to channel partners with the goal of eventually making that customer segment almost exclusively a channel play, said David Bradley, CA senior vice president of global partners, in an interview at the partner summit.
George Fischer, executive vice president and group executive of worldwide sales and services at CA, also cited that goal in a summit speech in which he estimated there are 14,000 potential mid-size customers in that market space. "We want 100 percent partner fulfillment there," he said.