CA chief offers help for customers

ORLANDO – Customer service is going to be the top priority for Computer Associates International Inc. according to president Sanjay Kumar.

The company will also focus on technology and innovation – concentrating on Web services and wireless.

Kumar said in his keynote Monday at CA World 2002 user conference in Orlando that CA will not be trying to change its interactions with customers in the field, but looking at how it works with them internally.

This will continue CA’s move last year to categorize all of its products and services into six brands. Kumar announced earlier in the day that these brands will now be represented by business units, which will include marketing, development and separate customer support for each.

Kumar also announced in his keynote a customer service portal, Customer Connect, which will give access to information collected over the last two years. Users can review software and hardware contracts and view other CA client sites through Account Connect, or download products and help at Support Connect.

He said that in order to improve business continuity, CA would focus on bringing infrastructure and technology together. He added that they hope to rise above standards and build with an open architecture for Microsoft Corp’s .Net and Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) users alike.

Kumar earlier told press he did not want to get into a public debate about the recent financial inquiries that are plaguing CA and other industry vendors. However, in an earlier interview, Kumar said he is confident in the company’s accounting practices.

“We have people who are going to provide whatever information any agency wants during this. We’re confident that our accounting is proper,” he said. He said the biggest issue is trying to operate under this type of cloud, and the ghost of Enron. “It’s a time where it’s kind of accuse first, justify later; shot first and maybe even aim later.”

Kumar stressed that the company made more than US$1 billion in operating cash over the last five years – and the company is not running out of money. “Now, either we’ve got a printing press downstairs cranking out green bills, or somebody is actually paying the bills,” Kumar said. “We don’t have off balance sheet partnerships.”

He noted that it’s a very complex environment, which is very frustrating for business.

“You’re living in a world where every word a business executive utters can be held against them in the future,” he said.

He also responded to the recent sale of much of the InterBiz enterprise resource planning applications. He said the InterBiz brand was a bit separate from the six core brands.

“Last year, I said one of two things had to happen with InterBiz – either we had to acquire more critical mass, to give InterBiz critical mass, or we had to combine it with something else to give it critical mass, because it just wasn’t big enough on its own.

“And people should have clearly expected that we would have done one of those two things in that space.”

Kumar also wanted to rid CA of its “big acquisitor” title. He noted that it has been, “two years since (CA has made) an acquisition of any meaningful size.” He added the focus was on partnering and reinforced these opinions during his keynote and press conferences.

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