CA Opens Online Store, Sells Direct

CA said the online storefront was designed to cater to SMB customers, but any customer can source a wide range of CA products from it.

"CA continues to make it easier for customers of all kinds to take advantage of our management software solutions," said Gary Quinn, executive vice president of partner advocacy, in a statement. "Our new online store is part of our overall strategy to simplify access to CA solutions and expand our presence in the SMB markets."

CA is offering a 10 percent discount to first-time customers of the online store.

VARs were disappointed that CA, which has been preaching a channel-friendly gospel for months, decided to increase its direct-sales effort in this manner. CA has said it wants to significantly increase its indirect sales revenue, and has stressed the importance of the SMB market, since the CA World partner conference in May.

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CA "has certainly sent a mixed message" by pledging to increase indirect sales revenue then selling products direct online, said Gary Fish, president and CEO of FishNet Security, Kansas City, Mo.

"I think that any vendor who sells online is silly to say they are channel-friendly," said Fish.

The store, accessible from CA's Web site, is hosted by e-commerce outsourcing company Digital River, Eden Prairie, Minn., CA executives said.

Most of CA's corporate products can be purchased through the online store. The online menu includes security products from the eTrust product line, storage offerings from the BrightStor line, and desktop and server management products like Unicenter Desktop DNA. Database management products like Unicenter SQL-Station and business modeling products such as AllFusion Component Modeler are also available direct online from CA, the company said.

Ed Payne, vice president of DataTech Enterprises, a CA solution provider in Fredericksburg, Va., said CA's store could hurt many smaller IT resellers. But Payne added that because DataTech focuses on large accounts like the federal government and concentrates on delivering broad IT services instead of point products, it may not be affected.

Just last month CA's interim CEO, Ken Cron, reiterated a commitment made by executives in May to increase CA's indirect sales revenue to about 30 percent.

Abe Fisher, vice president of Setauket Computer Technology in South Jamesport, N.Y., said the decision by CA to open a direct storefront online was just more proof that resellers should take vendor commitments to the channel with a grain of salt.

"There's what you say, and then there's what you do," said Fisher.

This news comes on the heels of reports that CA promoted James Tedesco from running the vendor's Tampa, Fla.-based call center to head of North American channels. CA has yet to confirm or deny those reports.