When CA acquired Nimsoft today for $350 million, it set the stage for some sweeping changes in the managed services market. But this is more than a technology story, folks. CA also gains a colorful executive -- Nimsoft CEO Gary Read (pictured) -- and a Nimsoft management team that thrives on social media and disrupting competitors. Here's the scoop, as only The VAR Guy can spin it.

The VAR Guy first met Read about a year or two ago, during a conference call involving Nimsoft making a small acquisition. Read is colorful and outspoken. Consider this line from Read's latest blog entry, about the CA-Nimsoft deal:
"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. CA is making a commitment from the highest level of the organization to be the leader in cloud management. They recognize the importance of Service Providers and Emerging Enterprises to this new world, and they are an important focus of CA’s growth strategy. They made it clear that they want us to innovate and pioneer and add resources to accelerate those efforts."
Frankly, it would have taken CA about a month to write, edit and publish the paragraph above -- assuming CA's legal team gave it approval. Still, the paragraph above does have some added polish. Perhaps Read did give CA a peek before posting? Hmmm...

Regardless, Read has a habit of shooting from the hip -- in real-time -- on his blog. He has taken shots (regularly) at BMC, IBM Tivoli, HP OpenView and even CA from time to time. Read doesn't apply many artificual filters, which means the blog is filled with honest opinions  -- a worthy read for customers, competitors and even bloggers like The VAR Guy.

Cast and Crew

Also of note, Read has surrounded himself with people who take action. The VAR Guy doesn't know everyone at Nimsoft, but some of the characters worth tracking in the weeks ahead include...
  • Phil LaForge, VP of Service Providers: LaForge came to Nimsoft from CDW. He understands the managed services market -- a key business sector that CA has so far failed to master.
  • Ken Vanderweel, a marketing director who asks questions. Lots of them. Then foll0ws-up. Regularly. The net result? Vanderweel has a knack for making sure Nimsoft is on message as the company engages MSPs and enterprise accounts.
  • Todd McKendrick, a sales pro who previously held managed services positions over at Do IT Smarter and Dell. McKendrick was the very first person The VAR Guy ever really "interviewed" and "quizzed" about the managed services market. The random conversation occurred inside a Kinkos in San Jose back in September or October 2007.
The big question: Can these fast-thinking (and sometimes outspoken) Nimsoft personalities blend in with CA's more conservative corporate culture? The VAR Guy will be watching and listening for clues.

The Road Ahead

In the meantime, CA and Nimsoft are busy briefing the media about their joint plans to serve managed services providers and emerging enterprises, while promoting a cloud monitoring strategy along the way. The CA-Nimsoft combo certainly sounds serious about managed services. The VAR Guy wonders: How will MSPs react? Our resident blogger is reaching out to sources for answers.

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