In all the years I've covered Computer Associates (the company is now known as CA Technologies), I'd never heard until yesterday about an in-house, jury-rigged database system called "CA-TOPS" that the company ostensibly used in the 90s as a quasi-ERP system. So when a reader who commented on my recent post, "As Charles Wang's World Crumbles, Justice is Served," mentioned it, my interested was piqued. The reason? The reader, who identified himself as a former CA employee, claimed that Wang used it to help hide CA's accounting fraud.
Here's the relevant excerpt from the reader's comment:
As for the accounting fraud, that was going on for decades. In '90, CA modified its Universe database product to produce an in-house system called CA-TOPS, which helped hide all kinds of licensing and financial shenanigans. Charles Wang knew CA's intimate details from day one. Sanjay Kumar was his fall guy.
I subsequently e-mailed the reader to find out what else he knew about CA-TOPS. His response was fascinating:
CA-Universe (an acquired, then renamed, mainframe database) wasn't selling well, considering that by 1990 Computer Associates had recently bought two old, big-player, badly-hurting mainframe DB companies-ADR [Applied Data Research] and Cullinet. Rather than use a generic, industrial strength, publicly recognized system (like SAP used by CA today), Charles Wang decided to use his doomed CA-Universe database product to custom-make the equivalent of a mainframe ERP system that had no auditing capability for anyone outside of the company. CA-TOPS was a unique system used only by CA, which had 100% of the source code. Who could objectively and effectively see what was going on?
I have no idea whether there's any truth whatsoever in the reader's claim. But he was eager to have me corroborate it:
There are thousands of ex-CA employees whose careers, finances and lives have been damaged by Charles Wang. I'm sure they'll gladly help you.
That, then, is the purpose of this post. Very often, the truth is uncovered by readers who have lived through a damaging experience and have the courage to speak up about it. If you know anything about CA-TOPS, or anything else about the internal machinations at CA under Wang's watch, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.