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Praise For BSP Services

Business service providers (BSP) are showing signs of responding to the needs of enterprises looking for way conduct business processes quickly and at reduced costs says Dataquest Inc., a division of market research firm Gartner Inc.

In its Research Brief: 'What Processes Are Good Candidates for BSP?' examining how new technologies are changing delivery strategies for professional services, Gartner Dataquest defines BSP as the delivery of one or several automated, Web-based business services by an outsourced provider in a shared environment.

The firm argues that the BSP model solves may of the limitations of the applications service provider (ASP) and business processing outsourcing (BPO) models.

"By automating the delivery of business processes and enabling clients to perform transactions themselves, the BSP model goes beyond pure cost reduction and operational enhancement. It enables true process transformation by incorporating business knowledge and technology," Rebecca Scholl, senior analyst for Gartner Dataquest's IT Services worldwide group

With only a handful of processes provided through a BSP environment, the market is still in its infancy but Gartner Dataquest says that many more processes are expected to emerge as the BSP model matures and as companies recognize the value of specialization and process automation.

But the firm points out that the processes more suited to the BSP model are not necessarily traditional independent processes as the value of Web-native software is to integrate multiple processes across departments and outside the enterprise to retain the natural flow of a process.

Scholl explains that multiple flavors of BSP services exist because the level of automation varies across business processes and because clients require different levels of service from their service providers.

"Some BSP offerings are closer to ASP offerings, such as limited process management and transaction processing, while full-process management and process content are closer to BPO offerings," she says.

Gartner Dataquest recommends that enterprises and service providers examining investigate BSP opportunities as a way to provide a cheaper and faster alternative to full-blown outsourcing, but advises that, when doing so, they go slowly and follow these guidelines:

  • Determine which processes are good candidates for BSP, with a particular focus on cross-functional processes.

  • Determine which level of service is required - In some instances, a basic level of application maintenance and inquiry support is sufficient; in others, customers expect BSP to deliver full transaction processing or process management.

  • Establish a sourcing methodology and experiment one step at a time - Even if a BSP is a faster alternative than full-blown outsourcing, a solid sourcing, business process reengineering and integration methodology will avoid disappointments in the long run.