Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Time for Oil Change: New CTO for CA

Today CA announced a new CTO – an internal replacement. Alan F Nugent will be filling the office of CTO starting today.

He joined CA about a year ago; before joining CA, Alan held the role of a CTO at Novell. He had joined Novell in June 2002 where he was focusing on open-standards, cross-platform technologies, to name a few focal points.

His interview during his last days at Novell revealed some important insight into what he thought of Computer Associates before joining and his views on consolidating hundreds of products CA had at that time, about his views on using single database, on-demand computing.

Most of his works at Novell seemed relevant to what CA products were involved in, in the past few years and I can see the hype that the market has created about on-demand computing and simplicity of Enterprise management software. Recently, we have noticed a strong push towards supporting applications on Linux.

We all see major consolidation taking place in the market; companies choosing divestiture strategies all over to concentrate on just a few core competencies where they hope to be a leader in the market and maybe keep a cash cow that can keep funding the next rising star. The IT industry is getting competitive by the hour. Who knew with globalization the economies would get so intertwined and so interlinked that rising gold prices in one country, when the scientists at the Wall Street are sleeping, could affect NYSE the next day? This is leading to excessive pressure on the visionaries of large corporations to maintain a lead in their arena. Smaller players are as big a threat to them as the major competitors are.

Anyhow, coming back to this event, Alan’s appointment as CTO of CA, what does it imply to do an internal replacement for such an important post – a Chief Technology Officer for an IT company? How do you interview for such a post? What kind of questions do you ask? “What do you think about the SOA hype”? “Can you make us market leaders in Network Management”? I am wondering that because, we get very tough questions in our interviews… “What kind of data structure would you use for …?”; and one of the most irritating question that we usually get asked, “What is a virtual destructor?”

But in all honesty, I have respect for the position of a CTO – this one guy can change the future of a company and so many people associated with it in a small time span. He is the one who influences decisions relating to acquisitions, divestitures, mergers, strategic alliances, etc. I wonder what it takes to get there… I sure would like to work with that kind of responsibilities under my belt.

But what does it take to become a CTO for a company? What benefits does an internal replacement bring? I would think this means a better understanding of our present products portfolio – their strengths and especially, weaknesses – which are harder to analyze when you come from outside. This could also help when you are looking to consolidate and working towards your vision to consolidate many CA products via the EITM vision. What a CTO can bring from outside could be a better understanding of how the market perceives your products, your strengths/weaknesses and your company as a whole.

In all, hope this change is one of the last ones for the top executives. I hope the administrators do not have to change the “About Us” page for a long time to come now. The Wall Street didn’t like this change for some reason, though (the stock was red today), but I am hopeful that this change will do us some good in the long term and with this oil change, CA is good to go for another year without major overhauling.

1 comment:

Sambit Kumar Dash said...

Nice thoughts. In fact virtual destructor is a question I was asked recently, I got extremely irritated. Coding for 8 years in C/C++ and be asked about virtual destructors can be really frustrating.