CA's Cron Reveals Product Strategy At TechXNY

"We are in the midst of constructing our strategy," Cron told VARBusiness. "That strategy is all about EIM."

Specifically, CA is working to combine components that address four different areas: systems and network management; managing storage; security; and life-cycle management. "We'll be providing that in a management software suite that's integrated," Cron says.

Providing such an integrated package dovetails with Cron's plan to become the leading provider of software to manage heterogeneous networks, which are becoming ubiquitous at customer installations.

Selling into such networks could also become a jumping-off point for CA to address on-demand computing. "We want to sell all the management software and the infrastructure to allow grid to happen," Cron says. "We are going to be an active participant in that market."

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Cron's two-pronged plan to simultaneously address EIM and grid could put CA in a good position as IT installations migrate to on-demand configurations. "We think that ultimately the big position for CA is that all of our products integrate as onethat you can use to manage heterogeneous networks," Cron says.

To make its offering more attractive to the channel, Cron says that CA will work to make its software easier for VARs to seamlessly integrate into the vertical-market installations they sell to their customers.

Such a plan could help Cron reach CA's goal of garnering more of its revenues through the channel. Currently, the company takes in 90 percent of its revenue through direct sales; only 10 percent is indirect. Moving forward, while Cron didn't commit to specific numbers, he says it's conceivable that CA's indirect share could ultimately rise to 30 percent.

On customer satisfaction--an area where CA has in the past earned poor marks--Cron says he's working hard to repair the damage. "I see it as an opportunity," he says. "We have some core areas where we need to do [better]. Customer satisfaction is one of them."

Since he assumed the interim CEO post in April, Cron has worked hard to forge improved ties with CA's base. "I've seen our top 100 customers, either directly or via telephone," he says. "Our relationships have gotten better."

Looking ahead, Cron sees major overseas growth opportunities for CA, particularly in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

On the near-term product front, CA is working on a major upgrade of its flagship UniCenter package. "UniCenter is going to be coming out just before summer of 2005," Cron says. "That is going to be a very big launch for us." In revamping the package, UniCenter is undergoing major engineering improvement and will include extensive new functionality, Cron says.