CA: Connecting the DoTs
To help address the emerging multi-trillion-dollar app-driven digital transformation business phenomenon, CA Technologies made more than 20 new and enhanced product announcements at CA World ‘17. That might seem like a lot, but not when you consider that even after decades of consolidating and rationalizing its software portfolio, the ISV still lists 192 separate products on its website (courtesy of the approximately 70 companies acquired since opening its doors as Computer Associates back in 1976). While its efforts to expand the non-mainframe portion of its business — 65% of total revenues last quarter — seem to be taking longer than expected, CA’s emphasis on four pillars, or what Ayman Sayed, President & Chief Product Officer, called patterns — 1-making the products simpler to use and driving faster time to value; 2-SaaS availability; 3-openness, i.e. any infrastructure, any platform; and 4-AI — figured prominently in the innovation onslaught.
Innovation was repeated often in the keynotes and one-on-ones. ”Most everyone in our industry is operationally efficient… but that’s not enough,” said CA CEO Mike Gregoire. “Our job is to break down barriers between technology and innovation,” referring to the event’s ‘No Barriers’ theme. Whether it’s built internally or bought, the company’s promise “and the holy grail” is to take innovation, integrate it with its other offerings and make it a “force multiplier”, he said.
The innovations were intended to help address some of the impacts customers are confronting, he said. There has been a shift from building products to providing and supporting business outcomes. Customers are also demanding more intelligence, and security is becoming a bigger concern and a challenge, he added.
Customers were another focus for CA, and as important as the announcements were, the “most exciting” news were the “170 customers joining us to talk about using our products to transform themselves,” said Sayed. Then he talked about the products, including the company’s latest artificial intelligence initiatives.
CA combined the up and coming technology with its mainframe roots with solutions that ‘help customers speed time to resolution by 5X, reduce insider threats and cut operational expenses by 25%.’ “Through A.I. and machine-learning powered intelligent automation, CA’s new mainframe solutions enable increased insights across broader sets of data,” said CA’s Ashok Reddy, GM, Mainframe, in a prepared statement.
It’s not a new concept or term, but as part of its security focus CA is pushing the concept of DevSecOps. In announcing new tools that integrate security throughout the software development lifecycle, Sayed said this approach is “critically important”, and the tools are now available across the company’s Automic, Veracode, and Continuous Delivery portfolios. “Companies that embrace DevSecOps deliver better and more-secure software because of the focus on collaboration and alignment across disciplines,” he stated.
Two new additions to the ISV’s lineup are CA Microgateway, and CA Veracode Greenlight. Microgateway ‘modernizes monolithic application architectures with a lightweight, modular services approach’ that leverages existing systems and builds new applications quickly and securely, while Greenlight, available as a free trial, enables developers to produce vulnerability-free code with instant feedback on security defects, right in their Integrated Development Environments (IDEs).
CA also announced the open registration for the FreshTracks.io beta program that addresses the challenges of monitoring and scaling containerized applications. One of 10 start-ups enrolled in the company’s internal incubation initiative, CA Accelerator, it uses machine learning to provide intelligent alerts enabling applications to be highly available.
Accelerator is a novel approach to R&D, providing internal innovators with support and funding to develop and test new product ideas in the market, said CA’s David McNierney, Advisor, Product Marketing. “CA has been very good at acquiring companies… but there is a lot lost when you acquire a company.” Unlike buying a company, where you don’t get any benefit until it’s acquired, incubating a product means you’re involved — and learning critical lessons — right from the start, he said.
Although now 18 months old, it’s early days for the program — “we’re still in the learning process”, said McNierney. There are several more products in the works, and there is growing support from customers. All of them are facing disruption, and they’re very interested in how CA handles innovation in the face of this rapid change. “It’s resonated really well with our customers.”
DISCLAIMER: In addition to looking after airfare and hotel for this event, CA is also a part of my investment portfolio.