ASP99: Giving small firms big boys' toys

Netstore's Maynard says small businesses and ASPs are a perfect fit.

Netstore's chief technology officer, Jeff Maynard, Thursday afternoon summed up the value proposition of the ASP (application service provider) to small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs) as being all about "giving small firms the big boys' toys".

Maynard was speaking at ASP99, a one-day conference in London sponsored by Netstore.

Cost-effectiveness, ease of use and speed of deployment for utility applications, things like Exchange for example, are all of particular benefit to the SME, argued Maynard. They allow firms to concentrate on the things that really add value. "Ease of implementation and use... You don't have to do it, so by definition it is easier," he said.

"An ASP will provide you with a service at a fixed cost, a predictable cost. It may be x pounds per user and you know that if you add a hundred users it will be 100x," he said. Typically the cost per seat for a suite of applications from Netstore would cost £15 per month, per seat.

Persuading customers to sign up for an ASP contract involves getting customers to trust the ASP with key elements of their IT infrastructure. Maynard outlined a number of independent audits and assessment of his firms' various services.

When challenged about what happens to the data that Netstore collects about clients' IT infrastructures, Maynard said, "We would never share that with a competitor," but added that he believed "churn rates will be low in the ASP business".

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