Computer Associates CEO Swainson Seeks Fresh Start

In the brief presentation, the Computer Associates International president and CEO acknowledged that before his arrival and the changes he has made so far, CA could have done a better job of including channel partners in sales and communicating its direction to customers. But he stressed that things have changed at CA for the better.

To demonstrate that change, Swainson said the the Islandia, N.Y.-based software vendor has officially changed its name to just "CA." The rebranding exercise changes the company's logo by moving the two letters closer together, aimed to illustrate the unification of the company's Enterprise IT Management technology vision.

EITM is the architecture that governs CA&'s flagship Unicenter product. Swainson clearly disappointed keynote attendees when he said the world would have to wait until Monday to get the details about CA's Unicenter r11 suite, a rollout of 26 new products that the CEO called "the largest single product announcement in CA history."

During his speech, Swainson--who was energized and direct with the audience but at times seemed more like he was making honest admissions to past CA shortcomings--said the company&'s practice of driving direct sales ahead of channel sales was over. CA's restructuring of its business units earlier this year corrected a lack of a "market-facing focus," he said, adding that CA's tendency to expand into too many technology fronts while being master of none was finished.

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A pledge for more openness drew cheers and applause that Swainson clearly had not planned on getting. "We are taking ourselves to the next level and how we're going to earn the right to be your IT management partner," he said.

Partners will play a bigger role in CA sales going forward because customers have increasingly been engaging with solution providers instead of CA directly, according to Swainson. "Our customers are telling us that over 50 percent of the time they&'re buying software through partners and the channel," he said.

The Sunday presentation was Swainson&'s first CA World keynote. He joined the company 12 months ago.