RealTime IT News

Big Blue Moves to Set ASP Standards

IBM Corp. and Portal Software Inc. this week formed a formidable twosome tasked to tackle two tiresome issues impacting application service provider standards.

In order to accelerate growth of the ASP industry the two firms plan to lend software developers a hand in developing IP billing and user management service benchmarks.

IBM and Portal Software contend that establishing standards of the two components necessary for server-based hosting in ASP data centers will propel the industry to new heights.

Portal Software is the de facto standard for IP services billing. Its proprietary Infranet platform and training will made available to qualified software developers within IBM's ASP Prime program, a flagship initiative designed to help software developers prepare their applications for Web hosting.

IBM is rarely shy about setting industry standards. Software vendors have enthusiastically utilized its ASP Prime program, as an essential tool needed to create and deploy Web enabled services for UNIX, Windows NT, and AS/400-based business applications.

The IBM, Portal initiative is the first customer management and billing platform to be featured as a prime solution within IBM's facilities worldwide. IBM's data centers will be able to help educate developers about how to extend their hosted applications with Portal's Infranet platform.

The agreement provides a framework for allowing IBM and Portal Software to work together toward building a common industry interface for billing instrumentation and user provisioning in ASP space.

Industry analysts forecast that ASP revenues will grow anywhere from $7 billion to $23.5 billion by 2004. Businesses that utilize ASP services are projected to grow from 20,000 today, to 30 million within the same time frame. IBM intends to be a key standard-setting playing in the ASP market to ensure that the higher end scale of the analyst's revenue predictions is made real.

Jim Corgel, IBM Global Net Generation Business general manager, said IBM's relationship with Portal Software is key to building an even more robust set of offerings for qualified developers in ASP Prime and propel the ASP market forward.

"It is our expectation that working with Portal on this initiative will result in more rapid enablement of applications to ASP hosting and greater success rate of software developers entering the ASP market," Corgel said.

Portal's Infranet software platform is a real-time, scalable solution for the cost-effective management of Internet services and emerging ASPs. The platform allows service providers to capitalize on fast-growing Internet business markets with out-of-the-box functionality, open architecture, and seamless integration with other systems.

Infranet supports the creation and management of customer accounts, client development, pricing, and provisioning of service offerings. Customer activity reports track the entire rating and billing process.

Steve Sommer, Portal Software vice president of business development and marketing, said the ASP business model is clearly the driving force behind radical changes within the software industry.

"As a platform for Internet services, Portal's solution is ideally suited to provide the business infrastructure requirements of the ASP business," Sommer said. "IBM has a fast path for preparing applications for the ASP model with ASP Prime."

"With the overwhelming market acceptance for our solution, we have established a leading position and we believe we will continue successful implementation of our ongoing ASP initiative with this relationship we now have with IBM," Sommer added.

The ASP initiative will draw on resources from across IBM's 90,000 business Partners and it