When CA Technologies kicks off its MSP Symposium (Jan. 29-31, Miami, Fla.), the company will arrive with considerable momentum. Indeed, CA announced surprisingly strong Q3 results yesterday. Revenues rose a healthy 10 percent to $1.263 billion. Dig a little deeper and you'll see managed services and cloud services platforms like Nimsoft and AppLogic gaining momentum with partners. So what's next? The answers will likely surface at CA's MSP Symposium.
I believe roughly 100 MSPs -- including large players like Peak 10 and ViaWest -- are set to attend CA's MSP Symposium. I'll be on hand to offer attendees a sneak peek at the fifth-annual MSPmentor 100 survey results. But the real story involves how CA plans to more deeply engage MSPs.
Smart MovesI've already written extensively about CA's multi-year transformation. The company burned quite a few resellers in the 1990s, and CA was plagued by an accounting scandal earlier this decade. Dramatic management changes allowed CA to clean up its accounting. The company also adjusted its M&A strategy. Instead of forcing CA's culture on M&A targets, CA has been mostly hands-off with targets like AppLogic and Nimsoft.
The result: CA is quietly building a network of AppLogic service providers, each of which use AppLogic to quickly launch SaaS applications and related services. Similarly, many of the largest MSPs run Nimsoft -- a monitoring platform that now has SaaS and on-premise versions. Plus, Nimsoft has branched out into the service desk market.
Resellers Never ForgetThe challenge? Some old perceptions die hard. When I moderated an event for CA in New York a few months ago, a loyal MSPmentor reader politely (but firmly) told me he wouldn't attend. The reason: He never forgave CA for its ARCserve partner missteps in the 1990s. CA acquired ARCserve as part of the Cheyenne Software buyout around 1996, and the Cheyenne partner program promptly imploded.
True ChangeStill, today's CA barely resembles the CA from the 1990s. And current CEO Bill McCracken isn't resting on his laurels. In CA's earnings statement yesterday, McCracken said: "We had a good quarter on many measures and continued to make solid progress against our long-term goals. However, we are not done. We remain focused on continuing to execute on our strategy and making further operational enhancements including driving new product sales and increasing sales productivity."
Investors like what they heard. CA's shares jumped roughly 10 percent today.
Of course, challenges remain. Generally speaking, I think CA's mind share remains relatively low in the managed services market. But one MSP at a time, CA seems to be building and gaining credibility.