CA Technologies is betting big on software-as-a-service (SaaS) and DevOps as a means to turn around its fortunes and become a more relevant technology vendor in a world dominated by mobile, cloud and start-ups.
Chief executive Mike Gregoire, who took the helm at CA in December, shared his plans to transform the firm into a SaaS business focused on innovation and engineering with delegates at the CA World user event in Las Vegas this week, which was themed around 'Go Big. IT with impact'. CA has already moved three key products onto its SaaS platform - CloudMinder, Application Performance Management and Nimsoft Service Desk – and plans to follow these with others soon, he said.
The SaaS push is understandable and uncontroversial. Companies of all sizes have taken to the application delivery model, attracted by the speed of deployment, regular and quick access to product upgrades, and flexible licensing.
“The economy has forced a pay-as-you-use option. Firms want to buy IT as a service, not as a technology play,” Jacqueline de Rojas (pictured, right), general manager for CA in the UK and Ireland told V3. “The way my revenues have shifted in the UK, 46 percent of my business is now through managed service providers, whereas before it would have been resellers, who would resell the technology rather than resell the technology-as-a-service. And I’ve sold more of the SaaS products, than the ones that are not SaaS.”
The SaaS push could be a useful way to offer CA sales execs a route into potential new customers, something the firm is in need of.
“Selling new products to new customers, and breaking out of our top 1,000 customers into new areas is key to us,” Jacob Lamm, executive vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development at CA, said. “We’ve focused the sales force, and we have new products to do that, so that’s clearly where that growth is going to come from.”
Another of the new areas that CA is hoping to tempt new customers with is DevOps, a framework that brings together software development and IT operations to enable faster and more efficient app releases.
This area of the tech market is relatively untapped, and one that has good growth potential. CA’s push into DevOps is based on two acquisitions: ITKO for its LISA app delivery and service virtualisation tools back in 2011, and Nolio for its app release management product this week.
De Rojas predicted that DevOps could prove particularly popular with public sector IT teams.
“They’ve got to get their online persona out there to citizens, they’ve got to their apps to market first as well and that’s where DevOps will probably become very interesting to them,” she said. “People will want government apps on the fly, they’ll want them on their iPads, and government needs to respond much faster than they’ve been able to in the past and shift some of their budget from the old stuff to the front-end stuff.”
Spencer Izard, research manager at IDC, said that the DevOps push is a savvy move by CA.
“DevOps offers the ability to test, provision and operate a business application end to end, and the only other firm talking about this is UC4. I think if CA can help manage apps, that will help turn around their business. They’re moving up the stack and that’s the right way to go,” he noted.
“The challenge with DevOps is that customers need to be mature enough to recognise that they need the products. CA needs to spend more time understanding customer requirements, rather than going in with a cookie-cutter approach with a new product.”
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