established business vs. innovation
Wed, 9 Jan 2002 18:54:21 -0500
The Platinum acquisition was a mess -- for two companies that had both grown by aggregating smaller (sometimes failed) companies, Plat and CA couldn't be farther apart in approach. They learned a lot of lessons, I think, because the
Sterling acquisition was not nearly so hard on their folks, and we've retained a much larger fraction of their development staff.
Still, CA's message isn't innovation. It's reliability/efficiency/frugality, and complaining about that is a largely useless activity, I've found.
From: Chuck Murcko [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 4:45 PM
Subject: Re: established business vs. innovation
Yeah, my GE exposure was pre-Welch, knowing folks from Knolls. Sorry
about that one, overly old bits.
My CA experience was rather different than yours. When CA bought
Platinum, I was told I would not be allowed to work on Apache and also
work for CA, but that I had 24 hours to decide what I wanted to do.
Took about 10 seconds (8 were the result of being stupified by what I
had just heard) to decide.
On Wednesday, January 9, 2002, at 04:26 PM, Meltsner, Kenneth wrote:
> "...Think GE/IBM/DuPont and the like. I'd suspect a lot of copy in the
> tier, less on the upper. Think Computer Associates and the like as just
> below critical mass or just dumb ..."
> Having been at GE Research and Development, I have to disagree. GE
> used to be a corporate innovator. That changed during the Welch
> They throttled the "R" part of their R&D, and the horizon for the "D"
> part became shorter and shorter. The hybrid approach worked well
> (research and development, as well as central vs. product area) in the
> past, but company-wide support for it faded away during the late '80s
> and 90s.
> Around the R&D center, feeling (ca. 1993) was that the company had to
> support *some* research so it wouldn't be viewed as a financial
> services company with a few high tech appendages. The biggest
> problem,IMHO, was an accounting approach that charged substantially
> more for staff at the central lab than for staff at the product
> divisions. Next biggest problem was that several GE product areas
> simply did not want any sort of R&D overhead charges -- there's a
> limited amount of innovation that can be afforded in highly cost
> sensitive businesses like Motor.
> Since Computer Associates is my current employer, I'd just as soon not
> comment in public on our R&D efforts, except to say that I wouldn't be
> here if the amount were zero, or if we were "dumb."