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How Michael Gregoire plans to put CA back on track

Joab Jackson | Aug. 20, 2014
What's new at CA Technologies? Turns out the company has been quietly trying to reinvent itself as a top provider of enterprise products for managing cloud services and mobile devices, extending its expertise beyond in-house IT management.

What's new at CA Technologies? Turns out the company has been quietly trying to reinvent itself as a top provider of enterprise products for managing cloud services and mobile devices, extending its expertise beyond in-house IT management.

It's a tough challenge for CEO Michael Gregoire, who took charge of CA in 2010 to transform the company for this new age. As enterprises slow their spending on traditional IT management software, CA's revenue has stagnated. For the past fiscal year, which ended in June, CA tallied US$4.5 billion in sales, roughly level with the prior year.

But changes are afoot. With close to 200 acquisitions under its belt since its birth in 1975, CA is better known for acquiring new lines of software than building it from scratch. But nowadays more development is being done in-house, with CA coders writing new software for managing mobile devices, the cloud and security.

Before joining CA, Gregoire was CEO for business-intelligence software provider Taleo, which he led from its successful IPO in 2005 to its sale to Oracle in 2012 for almost $2 billion. He also had a successful run as an executive at PeopleSoft.

IDG News Service sat down with Gregoire to learn how the company is transforming itself for the new enterprise software market.

IDGNS: How are you changing things at CA?

Gregoire: We're taking a different approach than 'business as usual' at CA. Number one is organic development: building our own products. We've been beefing up our raw, pure engineering talent and creating products to go into big markets.

When I got here, I found we're spending $660 million on R&D [each year]. We have some good, hardcore technologists, but the product management and discipline of what to build and when to build it, and the analysis of markets, was less than strategic. So we're putting a strategic framework around building interesting products.

We're evolving into three big markets. Market number one is devops. Not many people understand how complicated it is to build applications at the speed and pace at which [customers] are trying to build them. There is no way that is not getting automated in the next several years. I think we have a multiyear head start at tying these things together.

The second business is managing the cloud. Once again, that is a multi-billion market and there is no clear winner in that space, and it is very fragmented. All the things we're doing in product and portfolio management, service management and linking it into all the other applications fits into cloud management.

The third one is security, which has been a very strong area for us. We've been banging the drum on identity and identity management over the last five years, well before I got here. You can't build a moat big enough to keep the bad guys out. Being able to understand how identities are managed and being able to process them quickly so that service is not impeded has become a very big business. We have a whole suite of products with respect to security.

 

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