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Apptix, HP Offer Exchange On Demand

The phrase "on demand" is in high demand these days. Last month, IBM unveiled its "computing on demand" strategy. Today, Apptix and HP announced a three-year agreement in which the private-label Microsoft Exchange ASP will provide application and managed services as well marketing support to drive HP's Exchange on Demand program.

Sterling, Va.-based Apptix specializes in working with ASPs, who resell Microsoft Exchange under their own brand name. Under terms of today's agreement, Apptix will provide HP's Exchange on Demand service provider partners with technology and infrastructure services to deploy and manage Exchange based on its TECOS service automation, delivery and management platform.

Service providers will also have access to Apptix' Revenue Assurance Services (RAS), a sales and marketing support program that builds on Apptix' experience and expertise in outsourced messaging.

The Apptix-HP partnership will help to clear up confusion in the hosted Microsoft Exchange market, Alex Hawkinson, CEO of Apptix, told ASPnews. "For end users, it means simplified service offerings that are fully automated, predictable and come with standard SLAs [service level agreements]. Exchange becomes utility-like."

This, in turn, will improve how service providers that offer Exchange are perceived, Hawkinson said. "There is continued confusion among end customers about what hosted Exchange is. It's less and less a mom-and-pop business. It was all you needed was a server and a T1 line," he said, referring to the many small startup ASPs that have since gone out of business.

Hawkinson said that service providers are also confused about how to best offer hosted Exchange. HP Exchange of Demand will make offering the services easier for the ASPs, network service providers (NSPs), telcos, value-added resellers and hosting providers. "They are looking for single source for outsourced Exchange services," Hawkinson told ASPnews.

Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are the "bread and butter of the service," Hawkinson said. SME, in this case, refers to companies with between 50 and 1,000 seats.

For larger enterprise, HP Exchange on Demand will still be based on Apptix technology. However, in that scenario, HP will sell direct and provide the managed services.

Apptix was spun out of its parent company TeleComputing (an Oslo, Norway-based ASP pioneer) in April, but the company has quickly established itself as arguably the leading Exchange ASP. In addition to the HP partnership, Apptix also has strong ties with Microsoft and in July was named 2002 Global Service Provider of the Year for Hosting and Applications Services (see Upstart Apptix Nets Microsoft Honors).

In September, Apptix launched its High Volume Messaging service, which is aimed at service providers targeting the consumer and small business market (see Apptix Turns Up the Volume on Messaging).

"We look forward to supporting Apptix and HP. Having worked closely with both companies, we know they will enable service providers to bring the benefits of Microsoft Exchange to enterprises of all sizes," said Goetz Kauschka, general manager of NSP Partners at Microsoft.

While industry watchers agree that outsourcing Exchange is a natural evolution for many enterprises, what is less clear is how — or even if — service providers can make money by offering hosted Exchange (see ASPs Change Approach to Hosting Exchange). This is where Apptix' RAS comes in.

Apptix works with ASPs and other service providers to develop financial models that describes the P&L for their type of business, Hawkinson said. "We set financial projections and then cut them by a multiple to make them more attainable. We can right-size the investment to the volume."

Because Apptix' TECOS platform automates delivering Exchange as a service, "we ask service provider to focus on sales," Hawkinson said.

HP Exchange on Demand, Hawkinson said, offers service providers low upfront costs, a turnkey application service, low fix costs, and support and assistance with generating sales. "If a service provider isn't willing to sign on," Hawkinson told ASPnews, "I don't know what we can do to help them."

Apptix, HP and Microsoft are listed by ASPnews as Top 30 Service Enablers.

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