In January, CA acquired Automic for $640 million and, in April, acquired Veracode for $614 million.
At first glance, CA customers might view these acquisitions positively. Automic had some interesting cloud automation capabilities. Veracode had excellent technology for application security testing. Together, the two acquisitions seemingly support CA’s desperate longing to be relevant in the non-mainframe DevOps toolchain market.
But, if you’re still depending on CA for mainframe software, this $1.25+ billion spending spree is yet another sign that CA ain't your friend. If you don’t wean yourself off their mainframe development tools soon, you’ll be stuck with core systems-of-record that are not Agile, while using tools that are the equivalent of Kryptonite to your next generation of DevOps super heroes.
And that’s bad for your business. Very bad.
Milking the Mainframe
CA admittedly uses its mainframe business as a "cash-cow in the basement." In recent years, CA has milked its mainframe customer base for the money required to fund forays into other markets. These forays have almost never lived up to there promises for CA customers, acquired employees and CA shareholders—but, CA, desperately undeterred, just keeps milking mainframe customers for acquisitions dollars it can squander on their next great hope.
This mainframe-averse strategy has left CA customers disadvantaged with SCM tools like Endevor, Panvalet (now stabilized) and Librarian (now stabilized), bound to outdated Waterfall processes and left developers to toil with painfully-inferior CA tools like InterTest, File Master, SymDump and Mainframe Application Tuner. And, CA’s mainframe business unit employees have it no better. They've become collateral damage to relentless budget cuts executed to solve for CA's profit targets. Over the last few years, CA has cut over $100,000,000 from their annual Mainframe Solutions budget. Yet, somehow, CA shamelessly counts on its mainframe customers to keep paying outlandish license and usage/maintenance fees—while, in return, CA pretends to be something they're not, while struggling to even maintain currency with the latest version of IBMz operating system software.
Some CIOs thought they could live with CA’s failure to innovate because their mainframes would soon go away. But, that’s not happening. The mainframe is a proven home to invaluable and irreplaceable systems-of-record that are simply too finely crafted, too reliable, too secure and too scalable to re-platform. To prove the point, surveys have found that ~90% of CIOs believe the mainframe will remain strategic for a decade and beyond.
CIOs also rationalized their acceptance of CA’s mainframe complacency by imagining that they could allow their systems-of-record to languish with just a few code drops annually, while they pushed their systems-of-engagement towards continuous delivery. But, you can only be as fast as your slowest digital asset. Your business can’t be fast and agile unless all your platforms—front-end and back-end alike—are fast and agile.
CA won't get you there. They seem compelled to support CA's stock price through an endless series of acquisitions in the futile hope of achieving non-mainframe relevance. This single-minded strategy has caused mainframe innovation to approach zero—much to the detriment of CA's customers that urgently need to bring essential Agile and DevOps practices to the mainframe.
What’s a CIO to Do?