Computer Associates International last week announced several partnerships with mobile industry pioneers that the company says will give customers options to manage their wired networks and new wireless devices with the same tools.
CA announced the partnerships at the CeBit conference in Hannover, Germany. It is teaming with Aether Systems, Motorola, Nokia, Symbol Technologies, Soft Design and EDS. CA did not announce new software products, although the company indicates it will make more wireless announcements this year. CA will integrate its existing software products with wireless offerings from its partners.
CA and Aether combined Unicenter TNG with Aether's ScoutIT Server to manage wireless devices. Unicenter's management features will be extended to the wireless devices connected to the corporate network via the ScoutIT Server. Unicenter TNG customers also can now integrate Motorola Wireless Application Protocol servers into their enterprise networks and extend the Unicenter network management capabilities to WAP-enabled wireless devices. In similar fashion, Unicenter will work with Nokia's 9210 Communicator devices and its Activ Server to perform remote management from WAP devices.
CA will use Symbol Technologies' wireless LAN and mobile computing devices to extend its Unicenter technology beyond the connected network. This partnership will offer centralized management from a single console and make corporate data accessible to mobile users. Under another agreement, EDS will use CA's Unicenter TNG in an outsourced model.
The teaming of CA and Soft Design will let users build WAP and iMode applications to be used in field situations, as Kurt Nielson is doing at Scandinavian Garment Services (SGS) in Denmark.
SGS uses CA's Cool:Plex software with Soft Design's Websydian application to let truck drivers use WAP-enabled phones to report inventory coming in and going out in real time. Nielson, IT director at SGS, says using CA to let mobile users tap into the corporate network saves the company "a lot of kronas." SGS has been a CA customer for about six years, but just in the past six months began using the integrated WAP-enabled phones.
"Using the mobile phones, our drivers can scan the goods when they are coming in and when they are leaving from the SGS terminals," he says. "It really reduces our costs because it's much cheaper to buy a lot of WAP phones than a lot of PCs." He also says the training involved with WAP phones takes about five hours, whereas training the drivers on laptops became too time-consuming.
CA is ahead of competitors such as BMC Systems, Hewlett-Packard OpenView and Tivoli "in terms of creating a unified marketing push around wireless," says Jasmine Noel, an analyst with Hurwitz Group. "In terms of actual management capabilities, I don't see that much difference.
"[Its] partners bring a lot of device management capabilities," she says. "What CA brings to the picture is wireless management under a single enterprise infrastructure management umbrella."
Bob Lonadier, a Hurwitz analyst, says CA's partnerships could be significant in furthering the adoption of wireless technology in the US. CA stands out from competitors in the net management market by offering many ways to manage wireless networks, and differentiates itself in the wireless market with more proven software expertise than vendors such as 724 Solutions or F-Secure.
"The barriers for wireless adoption [at least in the US] have not been lack of infrastructure management but the lack of applications," Lonadier says. "To the extent that CA's partner announcements can help promote application development, this will encourage adoption of wireless applications and therefore CA's management infrastructure."
The fruits of CA's new partnerships are available immediately.