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Computer Associates pushes partnering programme

Computer Associates International plans to increase online support for technology partners by year's end and create a partner advisory board next year. The software maker has also detailed some of the success stories of its year-old CA Smart Solution certification process.

The programme ensures that companies that sell their hardware and software along with CA products are fully certified for interoperability and have adequate technical support from CA.

About half of the approximately 300 CA Smart Solution partners have already received the certification and the company hopes to get the remainder on board in the next three months.

Uncertified companies risk losing their partner status, according to Stacy Leader, vice-president of the partner programme.

"We are re-evaluating where we are and then will be moving forward and either decide to partner with them or keep their name on file," Leader said. "They will either jump on the train with us or part ways."

Leader said last year's CA Smart Solution announcement represented a turnaround for the company. At the time, CA said that instead of acquiring other companies, it would rely on partners to fill gaps in its technology line-up.

CA will continue to enhance the programme. The company plans to add more online technical support for partners and create a partner advisory board within the next year.

CA's Smart Solution initiative is, to some degree, addressing long-term weaknesses in CA's partnering strategy, according to James Governor, an analyst at Illuminata.

"Historically, partnering has not exactly been what you would call a core competency" of CA, said Governor. While CA has traditionally been a direct sales firm, the Smart Solution programme "shows a systematic attention to partnering that CA has sometimes lacked," he added.

However, in terms of channel support, CA's competitors generally offer something similar for their partners. For example, Microsoft has just announced a $500m (£318m) boost to its channel marketing budget.

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