RealTime IT News

Finding The Perfect ASP Ecosystem

Four ASPs, the latest in a growing line, have penned deals with communications giant AT&T Corp. and its Ecosystem for ASPs.

The program gives ASPs dedicated hosting and network services bundled with a co-marketing and distribution program. Qualified ASPs are also allowed to sell AT&T Internet services with their own application offerings, perfect for system integrator ASPs.

NetChemistry, helloNetwork.com, BulkRegister.com and NeuVis are just the latest in a list of ASPs signing up for the Ecosystem, which includes heavyweights Intelligroup, USinternetworking, Inc., and Mi8.

In January, EcoSystem was launched and the telco has been gathering three to four companies a month to its data centers. But its the association with the AT&T name that brings ASPs out in droves, with nearly 30 to 40 inquiries a month.

Sandy Brown, AT&T vice president of data and Internet services, said the Ecosystem is proving popular with ASPs, who have seen significant revenue increases.

"ASPs need innovative 'partners,' not just providers, to help them advance and enhance their business models," Brown said. "In just six months, we've seen tremendous market acceptance -- the Ecosystem is a huge success for everyone. Month over month, our customers are seeing exponential increase in demand for their services and in turn our own business is experiencing tremendous growth."

Jenny Proctor, AT&T director of Ecosystems for ASPs, said she has been watching the ASP emergence for two years and is now seeing the fruition of AT&T plans.

"Over the course of two years, I've worked with a lot of customers and how to utilize the Internet to help them," Proctor said. "When the ASP market first emerged, we found AT&T would benefit it and realized partnering with ASPs was the primary contribution we could make to the industry."

A lot of people asked why AT&T didn't get into application services themselves, Proctor said, but knew its strength lay in support, not applications. "We're not the experts in application services," Proctor said.

AT&T's strength, however, lies in its international traffic network and a customer referral list that can make any company, much less an ASP, drool in sales anticipation.

All this takes place in the cozy comforts of one of AT&T's growing number of data centers worldwide. In April, the telco made a deal with British Telecommunications and Concert to invest $2 billion over three years for the construction of 44 Internet Data Centers in 16 countries. Eight are up and running and officials said they were well ahead of schedule with the remaining 36.

Finding a reliable network carrier in the coming year is going to be crucial for ASPs worldwide. According to a report released by the Gartner Group Wednesday, 60 percent of ASPs are forecasted to bite the bullet by the end of next year. While analysis by research firms are met with skepticism in the still-developing ASP industry, the finding is cause for concern.

Even if Gartner is half wrong, nearly one-third of today's ASP market will not be around to celebrate 2002. Not much room for error, and losing business from shoddy connectivity could spell the end for businesses relying on that support.

Alfred Lutter, Net