With Cuts Coming, CA Goes Back To Basics

a major downsizing

That includes revamping its named-accounts program from 12,000 to 3,000 customers, refining its product focus, improving communications with partners, re-emphasizing storage and fixing its admittedly ineffective training programs. Company executives addressed these and some other changes at its World Premiere event at XChange 06 in St. Louis.

From a channel perspective, the company recently brought back two familiar leaders -- Gary Quinn and George Kafkarkou -- following the abrupt departure of channel chief James Hanley, who was tapped so the two could focus on growing CA's SMB and consumer businesses.

It was ironically a year ago that Hanley showed up for a CA World Premier at XChange '05 with what appeared by many to be a hastily prepared 10-minute presentation that lacked significant substance. "That was a real disaster," one CA executive admitted privately.

Determined not to let history repeat itself, Quinn, who is executive vice president for CA's indirect business operations, apologized to partners at the channel conference and promised more focus and to improve some evident problems.

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"Many of the names and faces have changed, but they've changed back to people you've known before," Quinn said. "It's a big change for the company; it's a big bet. I believe you folks can help us grow our company."

Some partners seemed willing to give Quinn the benefit of the doubt after pointing out there will be less interaction between solution providers and CA's direct sales force except with the top 3,000 named accounts and prospects.

"They are going back to basic, which is very nice. It will help us to work with them directly," said Ali Rezaei, sales manager at Enterprise Network Technologies, a Tucson, Ariz.-based CA partner.

Rezaei, whose company has had a nine-year partnership with CA, said the programs constantly shifted.

"Their model keeps changing over an over," he said. "Hopefully, there will be some stability."

In 2004, CA launched the named-accounts program, earmarking 12,000 that could work with partners. Likewise, CA's telemarketing facility, called the Customer Interaction Center (CIC), in Tampa, was open to both partners and CA's field sales force.

Under the new plan, the CIC will only support partners, helping them create solutions and marketing campaigns.

Partners can still go into named enterprise account with CA's sales reps, who will continue to be given incentives to work with partners. Among some other improvements Quinn promised: