CA sheds big iron reputation

In its return to health, this software giant aims to become a nimble software supplier to e-businesses and ASPs.

  • E-Mail
By  Colin Browne Published  October 1, 2000

If new CEO Sanjay Kumar has his way, you won't recognise Computer Associates (CA) in six month's time.

Last month, Charles Wang, the founder and veteran of 24 years at the helm of the world's second largest independent software maker stepped down following an extremely shaky set of financial results for CA's most recent quarter.

Those results sent the stock price plummeting more than 50% in under a week. The message was clear: things are not well at CA. It is Kumar's job to fix them.

He doesn't lack enthusiasm for the job; he says being given the CEO position and a mandate to refocus the company is like "your parents giving you the keys to the car and saying: 'OK, no curfew.'"

And he has been quick to start. With the appointment of eight executives who will report to him directly, and whose salaries are directly tagged to CA's stock performance, Kumar says he wants all of the customers currently buying from e-business content management vendor Vignette. That company reported sales growth of 419% last year, but Kumar is quick to point out that technically, there is nothing Vignette can do that CA cannot. Except, traditionally, execute on sales effectively.

That means a dramatic shift in CA's business focus though. Kumar is determined to change the image of CA from a mainframe software company to a nimble new-economy powerhouse. That makes sense; the biggest reason for last quarter's financial flop was given as softening mainframe software sales.

Under his leadership, Kumar says CA will focus squarely on high-growth markets, namely security, storage, network management, business intelligence tools and application tools such as CA's Jasmine to build Web portals.

CA's biggest bet however, may be its iCan-ASP spin off. CA is set to publically detail the strategy of the new company around the time we go to press. But iCan-ASP will target ASPs plus the Ciscos and Nortels of the world, which are supplying networking equipment to carriers.

In the mean time, Wang isn't entirely out of the picture. He will focus on finding technologies within US$6.7 billion CA which can be spun off into new e-business ventures.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code