CA Technologies is embarking on a project that will see the software management firm transformed into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, focused on innovation and engineering, according to the firm’s new chief executive.
Mike Gregoire, who took the helm at the company in December, shared his plans with delegates at the CA World user event in Las Vegas.
During the next few days, Gregoire said the firm plans to make announcements around the CA SaaS platform, which will let customers run their apps behind their own firewall, in CA’s private cloud or in a public cloud.
CA has already launched three applications in the current quarter that run on this platform – CloudMinder, Application Performance Management and Nimsoft Service Desk – and plans to move more CA products across. The platform will also serve as an integration framework to third-party products. “It allows us to connect with other great innovation,” Gregoire said.
The push to SaaS is unsurprising, considering Gregoire’s background. He was formerly head of cloud-based talent management company Taleo, leaving the firm in 2012 after it was taken over by Oracle. It is also unsurprising that Gregoire made the jump as soon as the Oracle takeover went through. He served as vice president of global services during Oracle’s very hostile takeover of PeopleSoft, and so would not have relished the prospect of Larry Ellison as his new employer.
Gregoire is also trying to change CA into a firm known for engineering and organic innovation, critical for any technology provider attempting to compete with the latest crop of startups offering firms flexible, cheap options that are built around mobile and social, rather than having them added on as an afterthought.
“I think we have some of the best engineers in the world, but I want to get the products out quicker, using the SaaS platform.” he said.
“We are a software company and we have great engineering."
The new chief executive also said customers have a part to play in this refocus, by upgrading to the latest product versions – and making CA some much-needed cash in the process.
“We’ve been in the business for 37 years – I’m not convinced we’ve been as good at getting the value out of your products as we could have. So we’re going to have a professional services person contact you and see about driving more value out of them,” he told delegates.
“If we’re going to drive this organic engine and innovate, we have to get you off old releases. You don’t like them, we don’t like them. I want to find a way to get you from where we are to where we’re innovating. We’re going to miss an opportunity to really be your partner and drive business value if we can’t get you onto new releases.”
Gregoire’s presentation on Sunday evening was rare for a CA World keynote in focusing on innovation and research and development throughout. Previous chief executives Bill McCracken and John Swainson did not manage to transform CA into a firm with a reputation for exciting innovation and in-house engineering, and the firm’s most recent set of financial results were down across the board, with drops in revenue and profit across all territories.
It remains to be seen whether Gregoire can turn around the firm’s fortunes, but acquiring the chief executive of a major cloud player – one Oracle thought it was worth shelling out $1.9bn to purchase – certainly gives CA a good shot at doing so.
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