CA Set To Roll Out New Integrated Solution Bundles

Among the offerings are an Oracle bundle and a Microsoft Exchange bundle integrated with CA security and storage products as well as a new antivirus bundle for desktop systems, said Mark Barrenechea, senior vice president of product development at CA.

CA also will unveil a new user interface, dubbed "User Center Design," that personalizes the user experience based on that employee's particular role in an organization.

In addition, CA later this year will introduce integrated cross-brand solutions aimed at the small- to midsize-business market, said Gary Quinn, executive vice president at CA. "Customers want integration," he said. "We have got all the technology in our portfolio. Once we integrate that technology cross-brand, you can't beat us."

The integration effort opens the door for CA to put the pieces of its leading Unicenter network management platform together with its eTrust security and BrightStor storage products. As for the Unicenter push into the channel, Quinn said CA is aiming to get partners to focus on specific areas such as desktop management, help desk, call centers, job management or Web services. "I am not saying partners can't have the whole product line," he said. "But I really want them to focus on a discipline, gain traction there and add additional product lines to the business model as they progress."

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Barrenechea said that CA will detail at the show three initial levels of product integration,at the data, user experience and business process levels.

At the data level, integration will take place in the form of "asset definition across security, desktop management, job management, availability and performance," Barrenechea said. Integration for users will mean "customers can go across any module and it looks like the same piece of software. For example, they can go from service desk to asset management and it will look like the same piece of software," he said.

And asset discovery and vulnerability management serve as just two examples of business process integration.

Mark Demeo, vice president of consulting at Pomeroy IT Solutions, a CA partner in Charlotte, N.C., sees the value of product integration and solution bundling. But he worries that any ripple in CA's promised channel support and training initiatives could pose a challenge.

"Consultants need to know the products well. So when you start integrating, you get into more extensive consulting," Demeo said. "When I go to sell a bundled solution, I may need to have a guy with a SQL server background, a .Net background, you name it. And those types of guys with multiple disciplines are the hard guys to hold on to."

Demeo said that larger VARs might not have this problem. "But for the smaller VARs," he said, "the biggest issue is the complexity of the solution. It's not geared to a speed-and-feed sell, it's everything from a demo prototype to a solution sell across an entire enterprise."