CA asks customers to believe again

CA asks customers to believe again

Computer Associates' turbulent past is claiming a final victim: the company's name. From now on, the software vendor wants to be known only by its longtime nickname: CA.

CA Chief Executive Officer John Swainson introduced CA's tweaked name and revamped logo Sunday night in his opening keynote at the company's CA World show, in Las Vegas. The user conference is CA's first since Swainson took over as CEO earlier this year, after an accounting scandal wiped out most of CA's management team. Swainson used his address to list his priorities as he works to overhaul the troubled company, which include rebuilding damaged customer relationships and expanding CA's partner network.

"Believe Again" is CA's new slogan, and Swainson exhorted the show's estimated 6,000 attendees to let CA work with them on simplifying and integrating their IT systems. CA will introduce two dozen new products this week, all built on an integrated technology platform. "What we really want is IT to be transparent to the business and work as if it were magic," Swainson said.

Swainson avoided a technical discussion of CA's products in his speech, focusing instead on high-level remarks about the company's new, customer-focused direction. On Monday, CA plans to begin detailing its Unicenter 11 update, a major product overhaul that will ship this week.

One customer attending Swainson's keynote was struck by how thoroughly Swainson disavowed CA's past. "It's really evident CA's new management is trying to distance itself from the old company," said HSBC consultant Scott Bradshaw. "Which is a good thing."

HSBC, with global headquarters in London, relies heavily on CA's vast software portfolio. Because HSBC is such a large CA client, customer service -- an area CA had historically struggled with -- has never been a problem, several HSBC employees said. Still, Bradshaw and others were happy to see CA move on from its era of scandal, and are eager to hear more about Unicenter 11.

Apurba Islam, HSBC's global service-desk technology development manager, is particularly eager to check out calendaring and CMDB (configuration management database) features not available in CA's last Service Desk release, which came out several years ago.

"I'm here to look at what CA has to offer," Islam said.

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