APM, Channel technologies, IT management, Midmarket, MSP, Telecom cloud

CA Inc. UIM Quietly Builds Cloud Monitoring Momentum With MSPs

CA Technologies CEO Mike Gregoire
Mike Gregoire

CA Inc.'s expanded Unified Infrastructure Management (UIM) for Cloud platform is quietly catching on with midmarket MSPs and enterprise customers, anecdotal evidence suggests. However, CA needs to fine-tune its partner-led business strategy -- which had an "uneven" performance in Q1, CEO Michael Gregoire conceded during an earnings call yesterday.

First, the good news. CA expanded UIM's capabilities in June to support performance monitoring across a range of additional platforms and workloads -- including  Docker containers, PureStorage arrays, Nutanix hyperconverged systems and OpenStack cloud environments. Additional Amazon Web Services (AWS) monitoring features also surfaced. Overall, the platform now supports 140 on-premises and cloud technologies.

Translation: This isn't an RMM (remote monitoring and management) platform designed for MSPs in the SMB market. Instead, UIM allows midmarket MSPs and other types of service providers to monitor and manage workloads whether they're on-premises or in a third-party cloud.

CA UIM for Cloud: Service Provider Adoption

Poke around, and you'll find many of UIM's adopters first discovered CA when the company acquired Nimsoft -- a midmarket MSP platform -- in 2010. True believers in the UIM platform include Bespin Global, KPN, Sirius Computer Systems and Telefonica UK, just to name a few.

But just how well is the platform performing in the market? CA's Q1 2017 quarterly results, unveiled yesterday, offer some promising anecdotes. Net income of $198 million exceeded Wall Street's expectations, and top-line revenues ($999 million) easily exceeded investor predictions of $981.8 million, AP reported.

Without mentioning specific UIM revenue figures, CEO Gregoire and other executives from the company mentioned UIM's overall momentum multiple times during yesterday's earnings call.

"From a product perspective, the greatest contributors to new sales growth in the first quarter were Mainframe, Security, Agile Central, PPM, UIM, and APM," Gregoire said. PPM stands for Project and Portfolio Management. APM is Application Performance Management -- another hot segment that MSPs are now embracing.

The momentum extends beyond North America into EMEA, among other regions. "We actually saw some really strong performance at our PPM, UIM, and APM products" in EMEA, said interim CFO Kieran McGrath.

CA Partner Strategy: Fine Tuning Required?

Still, CA concedes that the company's go-to-market execution has room for further improvement. Several times during the earnings call, company executives admitted that partner-led engagements need improvement.

"While our performance in Named and Growth Partner-led businesses was uneven in Q1, we continue to view this as a significant opportunity for CA to meaningfully expand our market reach," said Gregoire. "We have just started to scratch the surface. We will continue to make adjustments and be agile in our approach to driving continuous improvement throughout the organization."

Added CFO Richard Beckert, "As Mike said, our uneven performance in some product areas and in Named and Growth and Partner-led opportunities are places we are focusing as we continue this journey to transform the company to one that can sustainably grow as we continue to work to improve the efficiency and productivity within our development organization."

The partner strategy will be especially critical because CA expects its own services revenues to fall as turn-key cloud and partner engagements accelerate.

Another Potential Step

Overall, UIM's momentum sounds promising. But I was surprised to notice that CA executives never once mentioned service providers during yesterday's earnings call. And partners were only mentioned in passing.

Frankly, I think that's a mistake. CA does have a clear commitment to service providers. And it's one of the first companies to blend extensive cloud monitoring with application performance management solutions. APM, in my mind, is the next major land grab for MSPs.

CA can help MSPs to grab that land. And more. To do so, CA will need to turn up the volume on its partner and MSP engagement strategy.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.