Nimsoft-Pay No Attention to the CA Behind the Curtain

Michelle DeFiore

blog-201003-datacenterWow, CA bought Nimsoft. So many thoughts swirled around in my head after hearing about this – from “what about all the product overlap?” to “CA? Really?”

I shouldn’t be so surprised. If you’ve been following the news in the last few months about CA’s recent acquisitions – 3Tera, NetQoS, Oblicore and kinda Cassatt – they’ve been positioning themselves to finally have a cloud story.

Buying their way into a cloud story – the Big 4 way. (By the way, where is BMC in all of this? We, along with many others, joke about just calling it the Big 3 and getting it over with.)

Or I should say their marketing folks have been positioning (and repositioning) these acquisitions for a cloud play. I can just see the Larry Ellison rant now…

So taken that way, the Nimsoft buy makes a lot of sense. Nimsoft has some probes for AWS and Salesforce and some nice app monitoring/end-user experience monitoring – and voila a cloud story.

But let’s get back to those marketing folks and the pesky problem of positioning before this new CA focus on cloud. How do you reposition a company that touted themselves prolifically and loudly as “the Big 4 alternative” (I should insert a “me too” here)- now that it got bought by one of the Big 4?

According to Gary’s blog, you don’t quite backpedal, but instead you say that you’ll continue to operate as an independent unit. In his own words:

When CA first suggested a conversation, I admit I had a brief moment of hesitation, but I quickly realized that this could be the perfect partner for Nimsoft and our customers.

And that’s it. After all the talking about eating the Big 4’s lunch – one sentence and a “brief moment of hesitation.”

No mention of that “Big 4 alternative” in their many press releases. No mention of the new motto they had after buying Indicative,

The Big 4 promise. Nimsoft delivers.

What will their new new motto be? Perhaps “The Big 4 promise. Nimsoft – part of CA but not really because we’re independent – delivers.” It’s kinda long.

The whole reason ScienceLogic and our EM7 products exist is because of the first-hand frustration the founders had with Big 4 tools IT management tools. Do not underestimate the frustration of these Big 4 customers.

Many of our customers specifically bought us because we weren’t the Big 4 – they had had such a bad experience. And now, no matter how you slice it, Nimsoft is now a part of the Big 4 which has to translate to Big Problem.

You have only to read the comments on Nimsoft CEO Gary Read’s blog post on it to see the reaction is not great. BTW, look at the comments from Nimsoft customers, not the ones by CA employees – as if I had to tell you that.  

And also, why are there so many defensive comments by CA employees? Gary Read has a response about CA not being the company that it was 10 years ago.

Thank goodness for that, but Gary, you were bashing CA a month ago, not 10 years ago.

So I will be watching this 3-card monte game with interest going forward. Where is Nimsoft now? Upstart Big 4 alternative? Division (still not integrated) of CA? Or the third option which is TBD.

Last note: Full disclosure – selling out to a Big 4 company in particular is probably the most realistic exit for a company in our space. You have only to look at all the acquisitions. But did it have to be CA?

A lot of people have referred to CA as “where good companies go to die”. Concord. Wily.  Spectrum….Nimsoft…

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  • CYE EX

    Even with the best of intentions, the “separate division” thing never works or sticks. It starts out that way. Then it’s “yeah, ya know, we best put the engineers under the engineering group for simplicity sake. They’ll still support NMS but will do other things”. Then its “we have to consolidate the field sales guys under local mgmt”. ETC. Little by little it all gets rolled in.

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  • Let’s see what happens over the next while! Well written post.

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