CA WORLD - Users focus on software integration

Several customers at CA World 2004 said Sunday that they are largely focused on how Computer Associates International Inc. will integrate its 1,200 different products and drive management automation -- not on the recent management shifts and ongoing government investigations of the software company.

Despite the removal of Sanjay Kumar as CEO three weeks ago amid an internal investigation into accounting procedures, "I believe they will be OK," said Bruno Marculescu, IT manager for the National Society of Nuclear Electrica in Romania. Marculescu, who is attending CA World after four years as a CA customer, said he knew little about the management shifts that put Sanjay Kumar in a nonmanagement role as chief software architect.

Another customer, who works in network management at a Midwestern financial institution, said she is "very interested" in whether there will be further fallout with the government probes of CA and about what happens to Kumar. "Sanjay Kumar has done a good job with customer service, and I don't want to see CA go backwards," she said.

The woman, who asked that she not be identified, said she is impressed with the company's focus on ethics, which was discussed at the event by interim CEO Kenneth Cron and CA Chairman Lewis Ranieri.

Martin Staeubli, data architect for Winterthur, an insurance company in Winterthur, Switzerland, said he wants CA's data storage software products combined, integrated and simplified. "There are always so many changes in the software every year," he said. "A software system becomes a real investment."

He also said he feels that CA is taking the proper steps in dealing with accounting problems, and he doesn't believe management issues will affect CA's technology at all.

Two IT managers from Arizona Electric Power Cooperative in Benson, Ariz., said they hope CA can produce a centralized reporting database, since it would be cumbersome to buy another CA software product that must be loaded on a separate server. Like other users, Tony Cardenas, security administrator, and Stan Hollowell, network administrator, said they don't believe the management disruptions at CA will have a long-term effect on the company.

Both men said they are encouraged by CA's announcement yesterday of its Enterprise Infrastructure Management strategy, with the CA Management Bundle for Microsoft Exchange, an integrated management product for ensuring performance, security, data protection and reliability of e-mail.

"Customers are asking for greater integration to lower the cost of management," said Mark Barrenechea, senior vice president of product development at CA.

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