CA CEO Looks to Channel to Accelerate Change

CA CEO Michael Gregoire

CA CEO Michael Gregoire

Mike Gregoire, the new CEO of CA Technologies, made no bones about the problems he sees in the software market – too many customers aren’t implementing software they bought and paid for, and too many haven’t upgraded operational applications in years.

The mission Gregoire proclaimed to partners in his CA World channel keynote: Get customers on the innovation curve in cloud computing, mobility and Big Data, which will create deeper relationships and drag more professional and support services.

“If we don’t do this in the next several years, our relevancy will be muted,” Gregoire said.

The appearance before more than 700 CA partners was Gregoire official coming out party since joining the company four months ago. Since taking over the CEO seat from Bill McCracken, Gregoire has put in motion a reshaping of CA to make it a nimble and entrepreneurial.

Channel partners, he and other CA executives said, are essential to the vision of expanding market coverage, updating existing customers through horizontal sales and capturing new customers – particularly in the burgeoning services market.

“We don’t have enough sales capacity to make that happen,” Gregoire said.

CA is pushing a strong channel message to partners attending this year’s CA World. More than 1,300 solution providers are registered for the event, a sharp increase over previous years. Moreover, CA says partners are touching one-half of all CA bookings.

While Gregoire says he understands the channel and is committed to working with partners in bringing innovative products to market, he says there will be channel conflict. The candid remarks were a leveling of expectations, in which the CEO clearly stated that CA will retain some product sales and customer relationships.

“There are areas where we will have channel conflict. There will be things we’ll want to manage directly. What we need is greater transparency,” he told partners.

For Gregoire, the optimal path for working with the channel is open communications. He admits that CA isn’t doing a good job of communicating its product roadmaps, value proposition to the overall market, and channel performance to partners. Further, he said six consecutive quarters of cuts to marketing budgets have hurt CA’s ability to effectively communicate.

In support of several product and channel initiatives, Gregoire said CA is increasing marketing funding, initiating new communications programs and changing the incentives of managers to become better listeners.

Gregoire comments were echoed by channel chief David Bradley, who told partners that CA is no longer dabbling in channel marketing, communications and enablement.

“This is the year when we’re no longer reliant upon a small number of people scattered through CA. This is the year when it all comes together,” said Bradley, whose title is senior vice president of worldwide channels.