Mike Gregoire, the new chief executive officer of CA Technologies, makes no bones about the problems he sees in the software market - too many customers aren't implementing software they bought and paid for, and too many haven't upgraded operational applications in years.
The mission Gregoire proclaimed to partners in his CA World channel keynote: Get customers on the innovation curve in cloud computing, mobility and big data. This will create deeper relationships and drag in more professional and support services.
"If we don't do this in the next several years, our relevance will be muted," Gregoire said.
The appearance before about 700 CA partners was Gregoire's official coming-out party since joining the company four months ago. Since taking over the CEO seat from Bill McCracken, Gregoire has put in motion a reshaping of CA, with a view to making it nimble and entrepreneurial.
Channel partners, he and other CA executives said, are essential to the vendor's vision of expanding market coverage, updating existing customers through horizontal sales and capturing new customers - particularly in the burgeoning services market.
"We don't have enough sales capacity to make that happen," Gregoire said.
CA is pushing a strong channel message to partners attending this year's CA World. About 1,300 partners were registered for the event, many more than in previous years. Moreover, CA says partners are touching half of all CA bookings.
Gregoire says he understands the channel and is committed to working with partners in bringing innovative products to market. But he also says there will be channel conflict.
In my view, his candid remarks were a levelling of expectations, with Gregoire clearly stating that CA will retain some product sales and customer relationships.
"There are areas where we will have channel conflict. There will be things we'll want to manage directly. What we need is greater transparency," he told partners.
For Gregoire, best way to work with the channel is to communicate openly. He admitted that CA hasn't been doing a good job of communicating its product roadmaps, value proposition to the overall market, and channel performance to its partners. He also said that six consecutive quarters of cuts to marketing budgets have hurt CA's ability to communicate.
In support of several product and channel initiatives, Gregoire said CA is increasing marketing funding, initiating new communications programmes and offering new incentives for managers to become better listeners.
The comments were echoed by David Bradley, senior vice president of worldwide channels at CA, who told partners that CA is no longer dabbling in channel marketing, communications and enablement.
"This is the year when we're no longer reliant upon a small number of people scattered through CA. This is the year when it all comes together, he said.
Larry Walsh is president and chief executive officer of Channelnomics
As part of our special editorial partnership, CRN is republishing this article from Channelnomics
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