CA CEO: On innovation, playing it safe is the riskiest thing a company can do

CA CEO: On innovation, playing it safe is the riskiest thing a company can do

Companies need to embrace risk and become ‘software factories’ to remain competitive, according CA CEO Mike Gregoire.

“We’ve long passed the point where enterprise software is used merely to drive efficiencies,” Gregoire said at the CA World conference in Las Vegas this week. “The focus today is on innovating the next big shift for your company.”

Building upon last year’s digital transformation theme, Gregoire furthered the company’s visions that not only should all companies become software companies, but ‘software factories’: not only should companies being making software, but doing so in a way that makes use of best practices around Agile, DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and security.

 “Software is the great creative medium of our age. Companies are competing on code. Having a modern software factory is a prerequisite for staying competitive.”

Gregoire was keen to highlight what he called “Pivot” moments; software and data-driven changes which enable new services and better experiences for end-users. To achieve these changes, organisations should ‘listen to their data’ in order to ‘drive change from within’.

“You need to cultivate an understanding of data”, said Gregoire, “in order to leverage value from the information and drive that pivot.”


Companies need to embrace risk

In the era of moving fast and breaking things, Gregoire was keen to emphasise the need for companies to embrace trying new things and ‘fail fast’ mentalities to help keep them competitive. In an age of constant disruption and innovation, he said, playing it safe is the “riskiest thing a company can do.”

Innovative companies are always changing and looking out for the next wave. He cited the likes of NetScape and Eduora as examples of good innovative companies that were ultimately usurped.

“It is not good enough to just be good or even excellent. You need to be able to change,” he said. “Companies need to do a better job of managing risks, not avoiding it. No company is too big to fail”

He acknowledged, however, that such change is difficult and there are ‘no easy answers’. But pointed to his own experiences to show it is possible.

CA’s own attempts at innovation and risk taking can be seen in the company’s own internal Accelerator, which sees the company’s employees pitch business ideas that are then run as lean startups within the company.

“We are always open-minded about where the next big idea might come from,” said Gregoire.

The accelerator now incubates 10 companies, including container management service and skill-surfacing service WhoZoo. The latest,, launched this week.


Also read:
CA CEO: Every company will be judged by their technology
CA CEO on the importance of change
Will life begin again at 40-plus for software veteran CA?
CA CTO: becoming a software company requires balance


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect. Writes about all manner of tech from driverless cars, AI, and Green IT to Cloudy stuff, security, and IoT. Dislikes autoplay ads/videos and garbage written about 'milliennials'.  

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