Nimsoft and CA: Business as Usual at N-fluence Conference

Nimsoft and CA: Business as Usual at N-fluence Conference

As Nimsoft kicks off its N-fluence user conference this week in San Francisco, founder Gary Read will deliver a simple message to customers and managed services providers. It goes something like this: Although CA acquired Nimsoft in March 2010, Read says it remains "business as usual" at Nimsoft. Here are some additional thoughts from Read.

Roughly 150 customers and partners are expected to attend the N-fluence San Francisco conference (April 6-8). Fast forward two weeks, and roughly 85 customers are expected to attend the N-fluence London conference (April 20-22). The gatherings represent Read's first opportunities to address large groups of Nimsoft customers since CA acquired Nimsoft in March for $350 million.

CA acquired Nimsoft because of Nimsoft's success promoting monitoring software into managed services providers (MSPs) and emerging enterprise customers. CA also evangelized Nimsoft's cloud strategy -- which is still emerging and will likely come into complete focus in time for the CA World conference (May 16-20, Las Vegas).

In the meantime, Read wants to assure customers that it's "business as usual" within the halls of Nimsoft.

"It truly is business as usual," said Read. "We are operating separately. We are doing our own customer contracts. We're negotiating our own customer deals. And they [CA] offer assistance and help, which is nice. Our legal team is very small, so it's nice to get help from CA's legal team as we close contracts."

Read also says Nimsoft's product roadmap remains "in place... but now we're adding to it with CA's help. We're being given new budgets and headcount, and engineering is in hiring mode. So far, everyone [within CA] is being true to their word. What I'm really enjoying is people are listening." Translation: Read says CA's management team has been receptive to Nimsoft's ideas and management style, which includes a fast-moving, often outspoken culture.

Read credits CA CEO William E. McCracken for his commitment to reinventing CA -- striving to move the company from maintenance mode to growth mode.

Reality Check

Of course, CA and Nimsoft remain in their honeymoon period; the buyout was completed less than a month ago. So I'm not surprised by feel-good statements.

Elsewhere, CA still has its share of skeptics on Wall Street and within CIO circles.

Under previous management, CA had multiple run-ins with customers, channel partners and government officials. From strong-armed sales tactics to an accounting scandal, CA nearly imploded roughly a decade ago.

Still, CA has spent recent years rebuilding its management team and channel programs. The transition started under former IBMer John Swainson in 2004. Swainson earned credit for stabilizing CA before retiring in 2009. Now, McCracken wants to grow CA.

Is CA really a growth company again? In my opinion: Not yet. But that's the vision.

I'll be curious to see how CA manages Nimsoft in the months ahead. And I'll be watching to see if CA can win back skeptical channel partners that felt burned or abandoned in the 1990s.

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