New Strategies At Computer Associates

The Web changes business processes -- and CA itself.

Last month's CA World in Orlando signaled more than the annual user group gathering of Computer Associates International Inc. Implicit in the rollout of more than 25 individual and interoperable solutions -- supported by new professional services and education programs -- was a rethinking of customer business models. Not even the undercurrents of a takeover attempt of the $6.1 billion, Islandia, N.Y.-based company by a minority shareholder could obscure that theme. CA's new strategies formalize a shift in how the vendor perceives the role of IT departments. When Chairman Charles Wang founded the company in 1976, IT functions were measured by their contributions to cost savings and departmental efficiencies. With the advent of e-business, IT assumed strategic proportions. Instead of merely producing business-process savings, IT operations are now directly related to enabling the pursuit of business. In today's organizations, IT departments and the infrastructures they manage literally are the business. Enter CA's Unicenter 3.0, the latest version of system and network management tools first introduced in the days of the client/server revolution. In this latest iteration, Unicenter has evolved from system management to infrastructure management. At CA World, President and CEO Sanjay Kumar heralded this transition from departmental solution to enterprise solution as "one of the most significant accomplishments in CA's proud 25-year history." Version 3.0 builds on a formidable predecessor, Unicenter TNG. With it, customers such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., based in Israel, were able to streamline maintenance and support processes across heterogeneous IT enterprises. Teva system administrators can remotely diagnose problems and rapidly administer solutions online, thereby minimizing system downtime while promoting enhanced availability and operational efficiency. Teva expects the savings to directly improve its bottom line. "The results for Teva are improved productivity, lower operating costs, and greater corporate profitability," says Yotam Erez, infrastructure manager. CA says that with Version 3.0's modularity, users will be able to implement a complex product in smaller, more manageable steps. Adds Paul Mason, group vice president of infrastructure software research at IDC, Framingham, Mass., "CA will now be able to deliver e-business management in packages suitable for virtually any size organization. This should dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of achieving end-to-end e-business management." At CA World, Kumar cited SallieMae's ability to consolidate four data centers, after an acquisition, in just six months. Consultants had predicted that up to a year and a half would be required. An IDC study of 30 medium-to-large CA customers revealed that Unicenter can generate an ROI of up to 663% over a three-year period. Kumar also cited an implementation for 21 ships of Miami, Fla.-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Project teams would sail with each vessel and implementation would take a week with technicians working from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Functioning of the shipboard IT systems, many of them revenue producing, was not disrupted during implementation. Most system management now is handled by satellite from the company's Miami headquarters. Kumar noted that the cruise line was a favorite client of CA's implementation teams! In addition to managing the infrastructure, Unicenter also integrates with CA's BrightStor storage management solutions, eTrust security solutions, and Jasmine information management solutions.

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