CA Technologies is vying to become a genuine contender in the security space after refreshing its Internet Security Business Unit’s (ISBU) business-to-business platform. CRN interviewed Joseph Souren, vice president of ISBU in EMEA, to get to grips with the vendor’s battle plans.
CRN: CA Technologies is an enterprise software behemoth. Is it fair to say you’re a relative underachiever in the security market?
Joseph Souren (JS): That’s an easy question to answer: we have 1.5 per cent [market share]. It is strange – it is the jacket that doesn’t fit.
CRN: So exactly how ambitious are you for ISBU in the long term?
JS: We have 28 competitors, but there are really only a couple we think are doing the job well. We want to be in that top three. Are we going to be there right away? Of course not, as when you have 1.5 per cent share you are not going to get 40 per cent the next week. But that is our goal and we now have the right platform and partner channel.
CRN: Why is the launch of your r12 platform significant?
JS: We realised we had an obligation at CA not just to catch up with our rivals but to move beyond. Two-and-a-half years ago we surveyed thousands of CIOs, CEOs, CFOs and CTOs and asked them what they needed in solutions such as end point security, gateway security and compliance. We then decided that, if we are going to build this, we don’t want to build it on top of the old architecture.
It really paid off as this new architecture gives us the ability to scale from the very small enterprise customers right up to the biggest names out there.
CRN: How does ISBU structure its UK channel?
JS: We have 8,000 partners globally. In the UK we have more than 100, but a select group of about 11 Gold and Platinum partners that we treat exceptionally well because we believe in commitment. We have three distributors: CMS Peripherals, Arrow ECS and Ingram Micro. There are no plans to change that as I like consistency; if you change too much, it sends out the wrong message.
CRN: You overhauled ISBU’s partner programme two years ago. How would you define your approach to partnering today?
JS: We surveyed the partner landscape and asked them what they were missing and what their experience was of vendors. The feedback was that over the past few years they had seen vendors taking more control of deals and closing the sales cycles themselves rather than enabling the partner to do it.
We bring opportunities to channel partners, but we will never own the sales cycle. This is one of the main catalysts of our channel landscape being re-energised – CA is coming and partners are saying we want to be part of that. This is very different from our competitors, who bring in their own consultants and charge £2,000 to £3,000 when they want to elevate support.
CRN: CA has traditionally endured a mixed reputation in the channel. Is channel trust still an issue for ISBU?
JS: My goal is to have everybody in the channel understand
that we are not
the CA of three years ago. Right now we have third-party analysis that shows we deliver the best programme out there with the best building blocks to make margin.
CRN: You’re also planning a retail push. Can you tell us about that?
JS: We do business in retail in EMEA but we do it through e-commerce partners. We now have amazing platforms that are coming out in retail and we need the infrastructure and are building that. But business-to-business is the true focus of what we are doing right now.
CRN: What do you make of McAfee’s acquisition by Intel?
JS: It did it for one reason – for integration at a chip level. But are we really saying that a $38bn (£24bn) giant is going to keep the same partners that it knows nothing about and the same software that it knows nothing about? I respect what Intel does, but there is a big question mark there.
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