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Planet Online Announces ASP Strategy

In a move that could change the systems delivery market in UK and Europe, Planet Online yesterday unveiled its ASP strategy.

Following the recent launch of its e-commerce solutions EasyStore and Commerce Architect, Planet Online's move into the ASP reinforces its position as one of the leading providers of business Internet solutions in the UK.

Planet Online, one of Europe's biggest indigenous Web hosters, is part of the UK power generator-turned-telco Energis and handles over 500,000 e-mail packages per hour and receives more than one million hits per day on the Web sites it hosts, according to the company.

Planet Online plans to initially target small to medium sized enterprises in the UK, helping these companies to get online as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Planet's ASP services will allow the targeted companies to move their business online with the additional benefits of speed, reduced costs and low maintenance.

According to the company, Planet also plans to expand into the large and corporate market in the UK and Europe.

Planet's ASP offering will be rolled out in two phases, with first phase based on Microsoft Office 2000 and Microsoft 2000 Exchange services. Phase two will include Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management and Managed PC solutions.

A series of major contracts with other software vendors has been signed and will be rolled out over the next quarter. The company declined to release further information at this point. Technology and support will be supplied in partnership with Microsoft and hardware and services with Compaq.

Network performance and security infrastructures are provided by Cisco systems. Business expertise from Deloitte & Touche will help Planet ascertain the optimum operational requirements for each sector of the market.

Once the infrastructure is established, Planet can offer its portfolio of tiered applications, each level offering a more complex range of integrated solutions.

From individual Microsoft 2000 applications at the lower end, through to CRM, ERP and accounting and business reporting applications at the higher end, each layer is stacked on one integrated platform. A different level of service will need a phone call to install and will be available at a fraction of the current 'on site' costs.

John Beaumont, managing director, said: "There clearly is a revolution coming in the way businesses meet their computing and information needs. We plan to take the lead for customers to exploit these opportunities for their competitive advantage. ASP services will become the cornerstone of B2B e-commerce growth by quickly offering secure, proven, reliable, scaleable and easily accessible services to UK businesses."

Beaumont feels that UK business can benefit from e-business. "It is our mission to make it easier and cheaper for them to get online," he said. "Renting applications will allow for reduced costs, access to a range of the very latest and most sophisticated software available, and avoid headaches with development, support or reliability."