When a company changes its name and logo, sometimes the moves are simply window dressing -- little changes within the actual business. But I sense real change is under way at CA Technologies (formerly CA Inc./Computer Associates). And it's clear that CA Technologies is very serious about reworking most of its software licensing plans to better serve MSPs and partners that want recurring revenue models. Here's why.

My thoughts are based on a recent breakfast meeting, plus recent CA Technologies meetings at the 2010 ConnectWise IT Nation and N-able Partner Summit conferences. Already, CA Technologies has partnered up with Ingram Micro Seismic (the Master MSP), and CA has introduced recurring revenue opportunities for ARCserve (the backup and restore product). Over time, I suspect all of CA's midmarket and emerging enterprise solutions will offer service provider-type licensing. Instead of evangelizing singular targeted solutions (like online backup), perhaps we'll see CA offer more of an end-to-end data management strategy for VARs and MSPs.

Either way, CA Technologies seems to be changing for the better -- and listening a bit more to its core target audiences. The old CA spent a lot of time pitching products and services during editorial meetings. The newer CA spends considerable time asking questions and engaging in a dialog -- perhaps to make sure the evolving partner program truly reflects the evolving channel -- and emerging channel players like midmarket MSPs.

Will CA succeed? Too soon to say. Recent quarterly results show promise. And CA seems to be taking a hands-off approach to recent acquisitions, letting companies like Nimsoft execute their strategies without getting bogged down in large enterprise bureaucracy.

Still, CA needs to connect the dots between all of its mid-market solutions, and all of its recurring revenue partner programs. We'll be watching to see how those efforts progress. And we expect potential milestones leading up to the CA World 2011 conference (Nov. 13-17, Las Vegas).

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