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Silicon Valley ASPs Unite

Nine Silicon Valley ASPs decided its needs would be better addressed by forming a consortium catering to its North California counterparts.

The Silicon Valley ASP Consortium was formed despite the existence of the ASP Industry Consortium, which has been a vocal member promoting ASP interests for years.

The group says the forum will "focus its efforts on promoting 'best-in-class' service to its market base and will capitalize on the strength of its membership to provide leadership and a set of improved professional standards for the booming Silicon Valley ASP market."

The consortium is the brainchild of Dorado.com director of customer service Tom Wilkins and Tom Lounibos, Dorado.com chief executive officer, who wanted an informal forum of local ASPs to discuss customer service and sales issues specific to the area. Along with colleague Jim Christofferson, the two contacted ASPs throughout the North California region.

From the meetings came a desire to formalize the group of companies who, interestingly enough, are not members of the ASPIC.

"The reason we put together the consortium was to sit in an informal environment with other ASPs in the Silicon Valley and discuss issues affecting the vice presidents and customer service groups in our companies, but it escalated to encompassing the ASP industry as a whole," Wilkins said. "All we're doing right now is establishing parameters and setting up meetings for companies that are looking at us as a forum for this and roof for ASPs. It isn't meant to be in competition with the ASPIC, but as an adjunct to their service."

Paula Hunter, president of the 600-member ASPIC, said the regional consortium is a wonderful idea and reflects her own organization's desire to localize forums.

"We welcome any body or company that furthers the awareness and progress of the ASP industry," Hunter said. "We've been working on a change in our charter to accept regional organizations that provide a service to a specific area. In fact, we've formed a technology committee to address some of the same issues that they are discussing."

Larry Yu, Corio Inc., public relations manager, said that although the two organizations have many similarities, both serve completely different agendas.

"The ASPIC and the Silicon Valley ASP Consortium are fundamentally different organizations," Yu said. "The ASPIC is about creating standards within the industry by talking about issues and their universal implications. The Silicon Valley organization is focused on the tactical issues to survive in the industry."

According to Yu, the current members of the consortium are distinct companies that provide separate areas of expertise. The other eight members that make up the Silicon Valley's ASP Consortium roster include powerhouse companies Allegrix, Corio , Application Park, Bitmo.com, HotPaper.com, Informative, ServiceSpace.com and Thinter.net. Each can debate within the group the concepts affecting issues like training and pricing, Yu said.

Yet despite Yu's claims that the two organizations provide oranges and apples differences, Wes Eagan, HotPaper.com director of corporate sales, thinks Silicon Valley ASP Consortium standards can benefit ASP's worldwide.

"As one of the earliest participants in the Silicon Valley ASP Consortium, I'm very proud of the progress we've made as an organization towards developing a set of standards and benchmarks that the indus