CA: Cloud Creating Bigger Opportunities For Managed Services Providers

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CA Technologies sees managed services becoming a bigger part of the channel and the software vendor is evolving its partner program to help solution providers make the transition.

Some 1,300 solution providers are getting a look at CA Technologies' plans at the CA World conference in Las Vegas this week where the company will unveil a number of new cloud computing-related products and initiatives. Those are expected to include an expanded cloud ecosystem built around Nimsoft andother cloud computing-related acquisitions the company has made in the last two years totaling more than $2 billion.

The vendor this week will roll out a new strategy that targets more of its IT management software as tools for managed service providers.

A central theme Sunday, the first day of the conference, is that IT organizations will increasingly rely on cloud service providers for core IT infrastructure. "The world is shifting from an IT-centric paradigm to a business services-centric paradigm," said David Dobson, executive vice president and group executive in charge of CA Technologies' customer solutions group, in a session for channel partners.

Business "are deciding that their core competencies are not in data centers," Dobson said. Within three to five years as much as 60 percent of IT spending will be going to outside service providers, he said, with only 40 percent spent on traditional internal IT operations. To meet that demand Dobson said CA Technologies is "cloud-enabling" many of its products, allowing them to be used by MSPs to manage their customers' IT.

The shift to cloud computing means businesses will be relying less on solution providers for basic IT implementation and more for managed services and other higher-value services. CA executives portrayed that shift as an opportunity for partners.

"We'd love for you to be part of our professional services delivery network," said Dave Bradley, senior vice president of global channel sales, addressing channel partners. "We'd love for you to be part of our support delivery network. These are additional revenue opportunities."

Partners heard similar pleas from CEO Bill McCracken who in a keynote speech Sunday afternoon to all CA World attendees said the channel is critical for getting new services and capabilities into the marketplace.

"A large majority of the skills and the capabilities and the talent to get that done [come from] business partners," he said. "That's why we have such a focus on these business partners. Because they can reach people with services that we don't provide. They reach people we don't get to."

Earlier in the day, addressing the session for partners, McCracken said: "We've built our strategy around you."

"I like what I'm hearing," said Mike Ragusa, director of enterprise sales at ePlus Technology, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based solution provider. Ragusa said ePlus is doing more work with cloud computing systems from Cisco, EMC and VMware, "and we could use CA management tools to add value there. They're on the right track."

CA Technologies is in the process of revamping its partner program and Bradley outlines some of the changes that are scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2012, the start of the company's fiscal year. The program will globally cover all resellers, service providers, solution providers and other types of partners.

Designed to support CA Technologies' new emphasis on managed services, the program will reward partner investments in developing new business service capabilities, Bradley said.

The new program will have a simpler structure with "Premier" and "Advanced" tiers. Partners will be able to combine revenue from one-time sales and recurring revenue from services to count toward program benefits. And Bradley promised "contract flexibility" for both "sell-to" and "sell-through" initiatives and "major overhauls" to pricing models.

CA Technologies is beta testing a new partner relationship management system based on applications, Bradley said, and the company's is updating its rules of engagement with customers and partners. "We know we need to be easier to do business with for this to work."

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