Changing times

CA has just emerged from one of the most turbulent times in its history, but remains focused on moving ahead. ACN spoke to Russ Artzt, co-founder of CA and executive vice chairman for products, about the challenges facing the company – and his view of the competition.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  July 2, 2007

CA has just emerged from one of the most turbulent times in its history, but remains focused on moving ahead. ACN spoke to Russ Artzt, co-founder of CA and executive vice chairman for products, about the challenges facing the company - and his view of the competition.

As a co-founder, what changes have you seen in CA over the past 30 years?

Russ Artzt: Just a couple! Obviously, when we first started, the computer industry was just getting started - it was a new industry. The first computer came out in the late 60s - the Univac. We started in 1976, we were early. We always had a vision - software would become bigger than hardware. This was the vision we had 30 years ago, and it's not so off - it's certainly very profitable.

Certainly the marketplace has changed dramatically - we've gone through mainframe-centric processing, where everything is centralised; to distributed client-server processing; to internet-based processing. Our company has clearly changed - in the last few years our management team has completely changed. Charles [Wang] is no longer there, our entire executive leadership team has changed - except for me - since John Swainson came in. I think that we've been fortunate enough to put together a very strong management team - you can see that here at CA World, that we have a good team, we have a good business, we have a good company. We have a strong vision for what we want to do.

What do you see as the key challenges for CA?

RA: We need to execute well. There's a lot of competition out there - we have to grow our business - our distributed business - aggressively. We have great products, we need to execute well in the field. Because approximately half our business is mainframe, we have to keep that business flat, maybe a little bit of growth. If we can keep mainframe flat and grow our distributed business well, we'll do fine. Our goal is to get most of our growth from distributed - I think we have the right product line for that.

We also need to execute on our EITM vision - EITM is all about aligning business and IT, it's all about govern, secure, manage - and having each of those areas integrated well. I believe the right portfolio of products to make that happen. It's a matter of staying focused on our vision - the salesforce needs to stay focused in the field, and development needs to stay focused on the products. We can always improve them.

How do you balance acquisition and development, and how far can an acquisition strategy take CA?

RA: We've always had the philosophy that to grow, first you need to know what direction you're growing in, and you need internal development, you need to do acquisitions in appropriate areas, and finally you need to integrate well. And that's the piece that most companies fail in - integration. I think it's very very important - in IT, everything is connected in one way shape or form. Whether you're doing network management, systems management, Wily, Clarity - there's connections.

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