As part of its drive to increase revenue and deepen market penetration in the small to medium business (SMB) market across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Computer Associates has announced that it will open a Customer Interaction Centre (CIC) in Barcelona, Spain.

The CIC will focus on identifying new SMB customers, proactively generating new sales leads and winning new business. CA is the first major international software company to centralise continental European telesales operations in Barcelona and will hire up to 100 highly skilled, multi-lingual graduates to staff the new facility.

CA is investing approximately 16.5 million EURO in the first year on its Barcelona CIC and is working closely with CIDEM, the Government of Cataloniaís investment promotion agency. CIDEM is providing a range of services including feasibility studies, business location assistance, implementation support and follow up.

CA chose Barcelona over other European locations because of its ability to consistently attract an international pool of multi-lingual graduate talent, its reasonable cost of living and the high quality of life it offers residents. CA expects the number of staff at its Barcelona facility to grow to more than 300 over the next three years. The company was recently named as one of the 100 Best Workplaces in the EU by the Great Place To Work Institute.

According to Josep Maria Ra, Minister of Employment and Industry at the Government of Catalonia, ìCAís recent investment in Barcelona is a clear example of the new industrial policy of the Government of Catalonia, based on the promotion of technological innovation and the attraction of business activities that rely heavily on technological and highly qualified human resources. I am absolutely convinced that Catalonia offers all the necessary conditions to guarantee the success of CAís Customer Interaction Centre and its future growth.î

The CIC team in Barcelona will concentrate on cementing CAís position in the SMB market, a sector which presents an enormous growth opportunity for CA in EMEA. It will focus primarily on driving market share growth through dedicated end-user demand generation, to be fulfilled through CAís channel partners. It will also
co-ordinate high-level technical support for partners via an advanced IT infrastructure, best practices and a staff of software engineers.

CAís Barcelona facility will draw upon the experience of the companyís highly successful CIC in Tampa, Florida, leveraging its internal applications, training methodology and resources and other infrastructure that can be easily mirrored in EMEA.

ìVital to CAís long-term success is its ability to attract and retain the very best talent in the software industry,î said Carlos Escapa, vice-president, partner sales, CA EMEA. ìBarcelona provides the business climate and pool of highly-skilled graduates that we need to develop our next generation of sales staff that will be key to propelling the companyís growth in the next five to 10 years.î

The Barcelona CIC is expected to be fully operational by September 2004, and will be housed in a 2,000 square metre high-tech office facility in central Barcelona. There are currently three sites under consideration. In the short term, the project team will be based at the World Trade Centre, Moll de Barcelona.