CA exec touts new 'Channel-Preferred' business model
Computer Associates International unveiled Monday a new storage software management portal called BrightStor portal here at CA World.
The new portal, which allows solution providers to centrally manage heterogeneous storage environments, includes support for competitive products including Veritas and Legato backup software products, said CA Executive Vice President Russell Artzt.
The portal, which is being beta tested and is scheduled to be available before July 1, automatically detects any new storage added to a network, whether it is direct-attached, network-attached, SAN or tape, said Artzt. The portal dynamically provisions and allocates storage based on priorities and best practices determined by the storage administrator. CA did not reveal pricing of the new product.
Many systems administrators now have to go to five or more different storage consoles to manage storage, said Artzt. "BrightStor Portal brings some order to this chaos," he said.
The new portal technology is part of an all-out assault by CA to increase its share of the storage software market. The plan includes a new "Channel Preferred" business model that compensates CA's 4,000-strong direct-sales force more for sales that go through channel partners than if they sold storage software products themselves, said Mark Milford, CA senior vice president and general manager of North American channel.
As part of the Channel Preferred model, CA plans to increase the number of enterprise storage partners selling the BrightStor line from about 70 to about 150 over the next year, said Milford. He said CA is aggressively recruiting Veritas solution provider partners.
Milford maintained that CA is moving to a high-touch channel model with about 20 percent more channel account reps as feet on the street assisting solution providers, while Veritas is moving in the opposite direction.
Milford is counting on channel partners to deliver more than 50 percent revenue growth in the storage business. As part of that effort, CA is planning on aggressively tracking and monitoring sales leads in each region to ensure that enterprise storage partners are working closely with CA's direct-sales force to close deals. "For every lead I give them, we hope to get one to two leads back," he said.
CA plans to set up an automated lead management system that will track the leads closed by partners and the number of leads brought to the table by partners.
Anthony Ferrigno, CTO of AlphaNet Solutions, a Cedar Knolls, N.J.-based CA storage solution and managed service provider, said CA's channel-friendly compensation model is a dramatic step forward. He said he has already made joint sales calls with CA's direct-sales force.
As part of the changes, he said, CA needs to continue to stress that it is a new, more flexible company, said Ferrigno. "What will help the channel out is to make sure that people understand the new CA," he said. "This is not the company of several years ago. When you look at the old CA, it was, 'Here is your license deal' and if the customer's needs changed ... CA would basically say, 'This is the way you do it. If you don't like it, you don't have a choice.' Now, they are saying they will put in place the model that is right for you. A lot of customers got a bad taste in their mouth, and now CA has changed that significantly."
On top of the new channel-friendly compensation model, Ferrigno said CA has best-of-breed storage software products that are all tightly integrated. He said CA is the only software vendor that has a storage management portal, storage resource manager as well as backup and restore products that are all tightly integrated. The BrightStor portal has no significant competitor, he said.