CA unfurls product integration roadmap

Computer Associates (CA) this week laid out its plans to further unify and simplify its extensive product portfolio, homing in on governance, management and security technologies that would help customers optimise their businesses.

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Computer Associates (CA) this week laid out its plans to further unify and simplify its extensive product portfolio, homing in on governance, management and security technologies that would help customers optimise their businesses.

The company, at its 12th CA World user conference in Las Vegas, shared with press details of its Unified Service Model that it said represents 18 months of integration with in-house developed and acquired technologies. For instance, CA tapped application -dependency mapping and modelling technology it acquired with Cendura last autumn to include the ability to populate the Unified Service Model with data from across an enterprise network. It promises to model IT services based on IT assets and their interrelationships as well as incorporate other elements, such as user identity, business policies and financial costs associated with IT.

Building on its Enterprise IT Management initiative announced at the last CA World in November 2005, CA's Unified Service Model would provide integration across CA products and help customers simplify their technology implementations, the company said.

"IT organisations have been on a path forward from being just a backroom function to an internal service provider to now becoming an engine for competitive advantage," said CA chief technology officer and executive vice president Al Nugent. "An intimate linkage to the business will be required for IT to make this transition."

CA said the Unified Service Model is part of 16 CA Capability Solutions, which comprise existing products with updated integrations pre-packaged for customers looking to solve specific pain points. The technology is incorporated into CA products to provide an added layer of integration for software tools "that make sense." For instance, CA Network and Voice Management would include technology the company acquired with Concord Communications such as eHealth and Aprisma's Spectrum to tackle network fault, availability and telephony management. The Unified Service Model enables these products to share data schemas that make the data collected easier to integrate and correlate.

CA focused its Capability Solutions on three primary technology areas -- governance, management and security -- to help customers address the most pressing issues facing IT today. CA contends the level of detail in such technology areas must broaden to include users. The Unified Service Model builds upon the integration CA provided in its configuration management database announced 18 months ago and adopted by 70 CA customers.

"The Unified Service Model provides more than IT asset information and their relationships. It understands who has access to services, what the services costs and the identity of users that user the services. It is a much broader view of a service that runs across the silos of IT that all groups need to work off," said Ajei Gopal, general manager of CA's Enterprise Systems Management business unit. "It provides the same notion of what a service looks like across an organisation."

With the service model in place, Nugent explained CA will work in the next 12 months to productise technology currently dubbed intelligent automation that the company is working on now. The automation will also work within the areas of identity, policy and service-oriented architecture (SOA), he said. Information such as identity will help IT understand and drive behaviour, policy to control behaviour and an operational framework around SOA to first learn and then follow the relationships among IT components, users and the business.

"Everything should have an identity. IT needs to think about how those identities interact to put in control mechanisms and drive behaviour," Nugent said. He is expected to share more details on CA's work with automation technology early next week.

Customers who participated in the press conference shared how CA tools today and going forward could help them address pressing business issues.

Laura Leitzinger, senior vice president of change and risk management at OppenheimerFunds, said CA software products, Unicentre for IT management and Clarity for IT governance, aligned well with her company's IT Infrastructure Library best practice adoption. She reported that her organisation is expected to be able to move 15% of its budget from IT support and maintenance activities to projects that could contribute to business innovation.

"Our efforts around IT governance allowed us to enable a better dialog with the business about where we were spending our time and budget that ultimately enabled us to make better tool and technology selections," Leitzinger said.

Charles Carroll, senior vice president of AXA Tech, an IT provider for financial services firm AXA Group, said his organisation has reduced datacentres from 17 to seven using technologies including virtualisation and believes CA, being his organisation's second largest software vendor, will help him eliminate manual labour by helping his group automate 30% of level one IT tasks to start and then move toward automating 70%.

"On the infrastructure side, we have been working to consolidate our footprint and our next big push will be toward automation," Carroll said. "Automation frees up money on the infrastructure side which can be put toward applications and innovation."

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