dcsimg
RealTime IT News

ASP Consortium Elects New Executive, Forms User Committee

A new executive with an international breadth, the launch of a best practices campaign, and a renewed emphasis on reaching out to end-users were the dominant themes of the ASP Industry Consortium (ASPIC)'s Global Members' Meeting held in London yesterday.

The Consortium's founding board of 25 members was replaced by a new 44-strong board and executive, elected by the organization's nearly 500 members. An expanded executive includes regional committee chairs for Europe, Asia/Pacific and the Americas.

Reviewing the Consortium's one-year history at a press briefing today, chairman Traver Gruen-Kennedy said the organization was proud to have helped turn ASP into what one industry publication said had become the most overused acronym of 1999. "That to me is not about hype, that is about accomplishment," he said. "This is simply a great idea whose time has come."

The Consortium meeting voted to establish a new committee charged with the task of researching and understanding end-user needs and attitudes with respect to ASPs. It also announced a partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to help end users resolve disputes with ASPs. A new campaign to foster industry best practice kicked off with the launch of a how-to guide for ASPs and an awards scheme (see separate story).

A new membership fee structure saw the entry-level cost of Consortium annual membership cut by 50 percent from $5,000 to $2,500. Startups and other businesses with low annual revenues will pay the lower figure for associate membership, while larger organizations will pay up to $10,000 for the same membership rights. The executive membership rate, which includes the right to stand for election to the executive and board, remains at $15,000.

The agreement with WIPO is to establish a globally-recognized dispute avoidance and settlement mechanism specifically tailored to meet the needs of the ASP industry. Geneva-based WIPO, an agency of the United Nations, is working with the Consortium to develop contract language for the delivery of ASP services that can be utilized around the world, as well as establish a method for resolving any disputes that may arise in the delivery of that service.

The WIPO service will be delivered in two forms. A dispute avoidance service will take the form of training and consulting to help ASPs and end users learn how to devise contracts and service levels in a way that avoids disputes arising in the first place. An arbitration service will be available for the speedy resolution of disputes without recourse to legal action. WIPO already provides dispute resolution in top-level domain disputes, and is currently handling over 100 every month.

The service is intended to give users confidence in using the services of ASPs even when part or all of that service originates in a different country. "The technology is global - it's borderless, it's seamless - but legal systems are national," explained Francis Gurry, WIPO assistant director general. "The idea of the service is, here is something that is designed to give you some comfort legally."

The Consortium's executive elections largely preserved the existing officers, albeit with some changes of role. Futurelink founder Cameron Chell, formerly president, took up the new role of global vice-chairman, while former vice-president Paula Hunter took over as president. Chad Corneil remains as treasurer. All three have moved to new companies in the past year. Chell left Futurelink to found ASP venture fund Chell.com, while Hunter left Compaq initially for ASP Eggrock Ventures, and subsequently joined Chell.com-funded startup C Me Run. Corneil left software vendor Great Plains to found WorldOne WebWide. He also recently became a director of C Me Run.

New officers are Tim Pickard, of UK-based ASP infrastructure provider Esoft Global, who becomes vice president, and Roger Ueltzen of Boca Raton FL-based ASP Cylex Systems, who