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July 19, 2015updated 21 Oct 2016 5:24pm

CIOs must regain control of application development and management

C-level briefing: Marco Comastri GM EMEA CA Technologies says his is not an application company but entering the App Economy is changing the enterprise software world.

By Sam

Becoming software driven is now seen as a critical business differentiator by 40% of businesses today (78% of businesses believe this will be the case in three years) according to European wide research commissioned by enterprise software firm CA Technologies.

Based on the findings of its research the focus of this software development should be on customer experience, it says.

Marco Comastri is President EMEA at CA Technologies. CBR sat down with Mr Comastri in London to ask how CA will execute its app economy strategy.

He began by acknowledging that the company is on a mission to explain.

"We are taking and positioning the value proposition of CA in a different way. Five or ten years ago it wasn’t so clear or easy to explain what CA was doing. Today, we are giving a message to the market that CA is an enabler of the app economy. This is important because the app economy drives additional business. Through our tools we can empower the enterprise to be more business ready, to take the opportunity," he says.

The context for this is what at first glance could appear to be a contradiction. Enterprise CIOs have too many applications to manage but must develop more applications in-house in order to provide a basis for businesses to thrive in the ‘app economy.’ Hence the emphasis on customer experience.

So CIOs must first regain control of the enterprise apps that they have while changing the development processes and cycles by bringing control of application development and management in house.

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"If you go back five or 10 years and said to a CIO: ‘Do you want to create an application?’ Most probably the answer would have been ‘No.’ They would be more likely to have said: ‘I have SAP, I have Siebel and others and these providers will manage the applications of my company.’

Today it is different says Mr Comastri: "The CIO is trying to regain control of these applications. And this transition means they want to have fewer applications. Today, more and more they are thinking ‘I will create new applications in house."

The position of his company to help deliver against these requirements, he says, is focused on management cloud, security, application economy, dev ops and mainframe. These are core competencies for CA and customers understand they value of what it is doing in these areas, he says.

"We’re not an application company but provide tools to deliver applications. So we are limited to the infrastructure to enable the application economy. But we are positioning CA pretty clearly. We are not in the project business. We are not in the service business. We are a software company. We are not in the business of implementation."

CA engages with companies such as Lloyds bank and Mr Comastri offers it as an example of a success story where its enabled agile application development.

"The investment we are making are done through organic development and through acquisitions. We’re adding to our portfolio, so we can serve the enterprise and to turn legacy companies onto this new world. Three and a half years ago we acquired ITKO, a Dev Ops company which produces service virtualisation software. (ITKO solutions promise to improve the effectiveness of application development teams.) So you can virtualise where to develop the application. We added this to our portfolio and then started talking to our big clients such as Lloyds (the UK banking group). They embraced this technology and it shortened the development cycle for their applications."

Asked whether or not there is an obsession with the consumer in the app economy space Mr Comastri says that this is not the case but recognises that engaging even with his enterprise target market means using tools and methods more usually associated with consumers:

"I don’t believe that the app economy is only about consumer and I will use CA as an example. Recently we did some research and found that more than 50% of customers take a decision around buying our software before anyone from CA shows up and gives them a business card. We are certainly not a consumer company but the app economy means also influencing the decision through social media, through the Internet and through benchmarking. The customers are becoming smart and more prepared, they are making up their mind before they enter negotiations with the company," he says.

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