ASP99: Shift to network computing enabling the ASP boom

Traver Gruen-Kennedy points to growing use of ASPs, calls for 'managed' complexity.

Scott McNealy's vision that the world of IT is shifting to a network model was endorsed today by Traver Gruen-Kennedy, Chairman of the ASP Consortium, an international grouping that now has 160 members around the world including giants like Cisco, Nortel and Microsoft.

"The value proposition of an ASP (application service provider) is compelling", said Gruen-Kennedy, offering companies savings of up to 65 percent on total cost of software applications. The consortium is working on billing and settlement systems between software suppliers and telcos to deliver the ASP vision of being able to offer any-place, any-time, any-device applications on demand.

The kind of applications offered will have to change, said Gruen-Kennedy. "The challenge for the ASP industry is to deliver levels of service... think of the dial tone when you pick up a telephone. If I pick up a phone and call New York all of the complexity is handled for me... it takes care of all of the commerce. I pay BT but BT pays Bell Atlantic, taxes get paid in London, taxes get paid in New York, but I don't need to worry about it".

In the question-and-answer session following his keynote, a Gartner Group analyst questioned the growth predictions for ASP services in Europe, pointing out that the business is so far very supply-driven. "It is easier to put up a slide showing the number of companies in the ASP Consortium than it is to show customers spending large amounts of money on ASP services," he said.

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