Computer Associates: New Owner, New ConcernsBy Baselinemag | Posted 2005-02-01 Email Print
Modernizing Authentication — What It Takes to Transform Secure Access
CA must prove to some customers that it's committed to building on the technology of recent acquistion Netegrity.
Before Computer Associates bought Netegrity last fall for $430 million, the top complaint among Netegrity customers was that the 400-person company provided poor technical support services. Now their main worry is that CA will smother Netegrity's technology.
Customers give high marks to SiteMinder, Netegrity's Web access control software, for its stability. "It's been one of the best pieces of software we've ever installed," says Robert Wyatt, director of information technology for the Society of Petroleum Engineers, an organization for oil and gas professionals. "It's never failed."
But some say Netegrity could take months to resolve technical problemsa situation they hope CA can rectify. "When we experienced problems, Netegrity was slow to acknowledge it may be their issue, and then slow to bring the right resources to bear," says the information-technology director at a multibillion-dollar manufacturing company, who did not want to be identified.
Others believe CA is positioned to bankroll the next phase of Netegrity's development. CA is "a large and reputable company," says Danny Peltz, executive vice president of wholesale Internet and treasury solutions at Wells Fargo. "Now Netegrity will have more financial wherewithal at their disposal."
But not everyone is thrilled about CA absorbing Netegrity. An information-security manager at a Fortune 500 company that uses SiteMinder is afraid the CA acquisition "spells doom" for the product. "CA's customers are Missouri nowthe company needs to show us that they won't kill off SiteMinder," says the manager, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
Steve W. Kesler, director of information security with Reynolds and Reynolds, a software and services provider to auto dealers, is eager to see CA nail down product road maps: "I'm nervous about building out an infrastructure on a technology they may discontinue." Plus, he says, CA "carries a lot of baggage with them. They've had some financial troubles and executive changes" in the past few years.
CA executives acknowledge customer uncertainty over the deal, but insist the company has turned over a new leaf and that it will continue to support all of Netegrity's products. Says Vadim Lander, chief identity architect for CA's eTrust security products group: "It's the job of the top management team to show our customers that we're absolutely committed to making them happy."
Computer Associates operating results*
* Fiscal year ends March 31; FYTD reflects first nine months
Source: company reports
Total assets - $11.93B
Stockholders' equity - $4.99B
Cash and equivalents - $3.33B
Long-term debt - $2.47B
Shares outstanding - 594M
Market value, 1/31 - $15.47B
** As of Dec. 31, 2004, except as noted
Includes short-term investments