CA begins simplification of product names

CA will implement descriptive names for its current software families like Unicenter and BrightStor

CA has unveiled plans to simplify the naming of its entire software range over the next 12 to 18 months to better brand the products and more clearly indicate their function.

The software vendor will do away with the names currently denoting its various software families like its Unicenter systems management offerings and its BrightStor storage products, according to a company spokesman. CA will also drop specific product brand names such as PestPatrol and FileSurf in favor of the company's name and a descriptive term for the particular piece of software.

For instance, Unicenter Service Desk will become CA Service Desk, while eTrust Access Control transforms into CA Access Control.

CA cited its surveys of more than 500 IT directors and managers around the world suggesting that they were more likely to buy "CA" branded products compared to the vendor's sub-brands.

"Our goal is to make it easier for customers to find and buy CA solutions," CA spokesman Bob Gordon wrote in an e-mail response for comment. "We’re moving to a master brand strategy and this is the next logical step in clearly defining CA’s value. A number of our customers told us they didn’t understand what we stood for or what we delivered."

Supporting a single "master brand" may help CA in cost cutting since the vendor will no longer have to split its marketing dollars to support a host of different individual brands.

CA is taking a page out of Hewlett-Packard's recent strategy play book.

HP, one of CA's main rivals in the systems management space, announced in November that it would gradually phase out its OpenView and newly acquired Mercury brand names, replacing them with a unified HP Software brand.

However, HP's planned renaming efforts aren't as far reaching as CA's, since HP intends to retain individual product names like Systinet and LoadRunner. Both companies are midway through major transformations of their entire business operations and are looking for ways to simplify and reposition their respective offerings to make them more attractive to customers.

The decision to standardize product names will likely impact CA's future acquisitions of IT companies. "On the whole, we would expect to rebrand acquired products more quickly than in the past," Gordon wrote.

A year ago, CA made its previously announced name change from Computer Associates International to CA official. In part, the name signified a break with the company's troubled past and the fallout from a financial scandal involving the false reporting of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Several former Computer Associates executives have received prison terms for their roles in the scandal including the vendor's former CEO Sanjay Kumar who in November was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay a $8 million fine.

CA has a Web site detailing the name changes which will occur in phases as the vendor comes out with new releases of its products.

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