Communication & Collaboration Boost Innovation: CA

by CXOtoday Staff    Jul 14, 2009

William Bauman, senior vice president & general manager, India Technology Center, CA in an interview with CXOtoday’s Muntazir Abbas speaks on global challenges vis-a-vis R&D infrastructure in India as well as enterprise IT management and CA’s mainframe 2.0 initiatives.

How are you responding to global challenges vis- -vis product development?
The global challenges of product development are largely cultural and time zone related.  Both challenges are met by effective communication and both can be used as an advantage.  Cultural differences are in themselves, an opportunity for communication and for learning.  From an individual perspective, those willing to expend the effort to understand our differences and cultural bias gain an increased level of interpersonal development.  From a business perspective, creation of an inclusive corporate culture that values diversity of opinion and thought provides an environment that fosters collaboration and increases innovation.

Operating a product development organization across differing time zones affords the opportunity to borrow a follow-the-sun model from product support and help desk operations.  Carefully managed workflows and coordination increases productivity and efficiency.  This is especially true between development and QA.

To facilitate cross cultural education we have invested in a learning curriculum that teaches cultural awareness, remote communication models, and effective use of collaboration tools.  To facilitate communication we have invested in a state-of-the-art telepresence system, which is being installed in five R&D centers worldwide.

Our global product development strategy is to have a few development centers worldwide, structured as service centers with core development of certain products centralized in these centers.  We employ cross-communication processes to ensure program management and project distribution are aligned with market needs and right-sized to the correct skill sets of each center by annually reviewing our product portfolio and project allocations and distributing projects according to resource availability and skill sets.  To do this analysis we use our own CA Clarity solution, which makes our project, program and portfolio decisions easier to analyze, manage and distribute.

With $60 million investment in your R&D infrastructure in India during the current year, do you see your technology development center in Hyderabad coming out with innovations and additional operational responsibilities?
We believe the path to innovation lies in creating a culture that fosters communication and encourages collaboration.  To this end, our ITC in Hyderabad, places an emphasis on making these attributes earmarks of our site culture.  We also believe that innovation ought to be encouraged and rewarded.  To this end we have implemented a program we call Innovate @ CA that awards engineers points based on patent filings, published white papers, and product enhancement ideas accepted by product management.  Last year this program generated 178 such innovation items.  There are three levels of recognition that engineers can strive for through accumulation of innovation points.  Additionally, our CEO sponsors the CEO Innovation Fund whereby each quarter innovation ideas submitted by employees are reviewed and, if selected, are awarded first round funding similar to a venture capital model. Given these incentives and this awareness around innovation we are likely to see continued innovation emanating from the ITC.

After five years of operation the R&D capacity of the ITC is spread across every business unit within CA.  In addition, every engineering function from product management to product support and all the supporting functional roles are represented in our center.  We will continue a steady level of investment across these R&D functions and in addition, we are staffing up our IT operations, support, and our professional services capability. For example, IT operations, in addition to providing IT services within agreed upon service levels, have created a demonstrable value proposition that shows how CA products are used within operations to drive IT services for the company.

CA support actively collaborates with R&D teams in ITC to resolve customer product problems and reduce mean time to problem resolution.  Co-locating the R&D and support teams allows the two organizations to collaborate and work on resolving complex customer issues in a timely manner.  The CA India support center provides worldwide round-the-clock support for our enterprise and channel client bases.

Our professional services operation at ITC currently develops and supports custom solutions on CA products to global customers through a small team of engineers and partners. Given the growing importance of a services practice, we are augmenting our current capacity and capabilities in the professional services division by developing the capability for global delivery of services. We plan to grow the services unit at ITC to a peak team size of approximately 300 professionals over the next two years. CA is building this team with a blend of partners and in-house staff in order to maximize the expertise that partners bring to the table in terms of both product and process, while ensuring we have sufficient in-house staff to provide core implementation services in each of our major practice areas.

What is Enterprise IT Management (EITM), and what are its competitive advantages?
EITM is a holistic strategy for IT management that at its core aims to simplify the management of an increasingly complex environment and to do it in a manner that is secure, dynamic, and business aware.  The enterprise that EITM manages comprises mainframe and distributed operating systems, network, storage, applications, and databases and it manages real instances of these resources as well as virtual instances. The advantage to customers is that EITM allows them to build on their existing IT investment, rather than replace it, and it allows them to do so at their own pace.

Because EITM is an integrated IT technology management paradigm, it will be different for every customer because every customer s business requirements are different. EITM is the science of taking the governance, management and security tools within an IT organization and integrating the role, function and purpose of each technology to not just support the business but to deliver competitive advantage. When an organization can secure, govern and manage the technologies that are delivering their business services, they are already far ahead of their competitors. EITM goes beyond these core competencies however. EITM is an evolutional process a journey if you will to bring innovation to the business through governance, security and IT management.

How does CA Mainframe Software Manager (MSM) simplify the acquisition and implementation of software on the IBM System Z platform?
CA s Mainframe Software Manager is a browser-based GUI toolkit written in Java and Google Web Toolkit that allows IT professionals to install and maintain CA s mainframe software and informs them when updates are available, while removing SMP/E complexities. A Product Acquisition Service enables customers to easily transfer product installation packages and maintenance updates from CA Support Online directly to their mainframe environment, and then prepare them for installation.  A  Software Installation Service standardizes installation, which includes a new, streamlined Electronic Software Delivery method that allows CA mainframe products to be installed using standard utilities.

What are CA s Mainframe 2.0 initiatives to support the next generation of IT management professionals?
CA launched Mainframe 2.0 to help customers successfully leverage the unique advantages of the mainframe even as they experience staffing shortfalls in the coming years. CA commissioned a global study last fall which indicated that enterprise IT organizations are losing their experienced mainframe personnel to retirement just as their use of the mainframe is projected to grow significantly. To compete, IT organizations must take steps now to ensure their continued ability to leverage mainframe technology despite the expected retirement and loss of their most experienced mainframe professionals.  Mainframe 2.0 addresses this issue by dramatically automating and simplifying CA product installation and maintenance, thus enabling less experienced staff to manage the mainframe easily and effectively. In fact, young CA mainframe programmers played a key role in coding Mainframe 2.0 in Java.  By introducing young staff to the mainframe now, they can benefit from the experience and expertise of senior staff before they retire.  To support this effort, CA launched The Mainframe Associate Engineering Recruitment and Training Program in 2008 to bring a new generation of mainframe developers to the company. CA works closely with colleges and universities that teach Enterprise Computing by encouraging them to add courses in mainframe software to their curriculum, and by providing guest speakers on careers in mainframe computing.

What are the risk management capabilities of your GRC Manager 2.0, and how can it help organizations to enhance efficiency?
GRC Manager 2.0 increases the organization s approach to risk management because it provides improved information needed to effectively manage enterprise risks.  It accomplishes this primarily by providing a common risk management framework across the enterprise.  This common risk framework provides consistent and uniform risk identification and terminology, risk assessment processes, and risk metrics.  When everyone uses the same risk framework, the following benefits can be achieved:

 collaboration is improved
 risk awareness and assessment is enhanced
 risk decision-making is improved.
 Because it provides a common risk framework across all levels of the organization, GRC Manager helps companies align all risk management activities (e.g., identification, assessment, control, and audit) with overall corporate strategy and objectives.