Today, CA believes eBusiness touches every aspect of the enterprise – connecting with customers, suppliers and partners around the globe. eBusiness management has become a critical discipline for every organisation around the world. With the most advanced and comprehensive eBusiness portfolio available in the market, CA has uniquely positioned itself to help companies succeed in this new era that demands great speed, innovation and accuracy.
Following the ‘Four Stage Model’ (Hayes and Wheelwright, 1984), CA is at stage 3 at the moment because most current operations are appropriate for long-term strategy and the company is seen as the best in the industry for their portfolio of products. The new business model ‘pay as you go software’, the ISO 9002 worldwide quality certification and the Customer Relations Organisation are all ideas that are working well and are all order winners. Customer satisfaction surveys have proved these facts.
However, in my opinion, CA offers a very large range of products (more than 1000) and many of those are overlapping in what they offer. It becomes very difficult to concentrate on specific products that are superior by design and by their specific features but fail to get the promotion they deserve in order to truly succeed in the market. Some CA operations managers understand this problem but nobody really wants to make the decision of cutting overlapping products. This has to do mainly with taking the risks of upsetting and losing the customer base of those products (excess of concern about customers’ needs!).
A detailed independently managed analysis of the products CA offers would certainly conclude that many products are indeed overlapping in what they offer. Decisions to retire those products (keeping to maintenance phase only, for a period of time) would not only decrease costs but also allow the company to concentrate in the most important non-overlapping products, increasing market competitiveness in those products and general dependability, flexibility and speed. Also, there is lack of business integration from some of the acquired companies that until today are operating as autonomous units.
These are a minority of CA’s operations but needs to be addressed. Section 4. Recommendations for improving the operations function, whilst leaving the broader business policy unchanged. 1. CA has grown predominantly by acquisitions. Many of the acquired companies have been fully integrated into the giant CA is today. But few have remained as autonomous operating units. These have also maintained their legacy software business applications (the foundation upon which they still run their business).
The lack of integration of these business applications prevents CA from taking maximum advantage because they contribute for the existence of multiple copies of master data such as supplier, inventory data and customer. Operations based in these non-integrated business applications cannot be efficient because there is no sharing of information. For example, how does CA know if they are shipping from the closest warehouse to the customer? Unless these few business applications are fully integrated and have a common interface, it is impossible to guarantee such thing.
So, when it was mentioned CA’s speed output is high (in section 2), the lack of integration problem was not taken into consideration. Non-fully integrated acquired companies have to integrate as soon as possible in order to improve speed output. Continuing with the current situation is a waste of potential opportunities. 2. Is there a relationship between size and strategy? CA has become a huge company and is growing more and more, day by day. However, research has shown size does not mean growth.
The survival rate of big companies is higher than small companies. But is it not also true that the bigger the company becomes the slower it grows? So, how will CA find out where to stop? Keith H. Hammonds (2000) argues that depending on the marketplace, big is better but only up to a certain point. The turning point can be obtained by detailed analysis of the transaction data, business intelligence and market research. CA might need to sell some of its operations units in order to keep its current growth rate.
The software manufacturing sector can easily be subjected to a strategy of quality improvements through the use of JIT and Lean Management principles in order to reduce quality related costs (Chase at al. 2001, pp 268-270). The first step should be to change how employees think. CA needs to introduce lean thinking. The ISO 9002 certification is already making sure every activity is well structured and documented. It is equally important to simplify work flow. Over the past two decades, many companies were acquired by CA and flows got convoluted and complicated. CA’s number of employees increased exponentially.
Work flow needs to be as simple as possible. Managers should be the suppliers of know-how at all times but they should allow their employees to experiment as well in order to learn for themselves. Managers need to connect with their employees properly and efficiently. Business performance success of some of CA’s operations units can be enhanced by the use of JIT (Just-in-time). JIT will make sure that inventory is produced only when a known customer is waiting. This pulls the inventory through the system and avoids wasteful time and money in managing inventory.
In other words, develop a strategy of build-to-order to eliminate wasted labour time waiting for inventory that should have been available, wasted capital in inventory that customers did not ask for, wasted motion in material handling that is not necessary, etc. This strategy also calls for virtual integration (Rollins 1998) which means piecing together a business with customers and suppliers and treating them as if they are part of your organisation. 4. Chase at al. (2001, pp 271-273) suggests a procedure for benchmarking that can be used to improve CA’s supply-chain performance. It includes the following steps:
a) Establish a benchmarking team responsible for overseeing the benchmarking process. Team guided by supervisors and must contain employees from the same areas where process change will take place. b) Identify the processes requiring improvement. c) Identify best performance process measures (usually from another company whose process performance is the best in the industry. Data can be obtained from www. bettermanagement. com or www. industryweek. com) d) Collect data on current operations and supply-chain activities and perform comparative analysis (again with an industry performance leader)
e) Establish a set of recommended process changes – Long term and short term – and multiple strategies for their implementation f) Follow-up to insure successfulness. Performance measures that helped to identify operations problems should be posted where related personnel can see them. Management should then communicate the progress and the achievements and continue to offer suggestions and approaches to constant learning and improvement.
CHASE, R. B. , AQUILANO, N. J. , JACOBS, F. R. , 2001, Operations Management for Competitive Advantage. 9th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill/Irwin