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

s Global Net Generation Business division to help ISPs,
ASPs, and ISVs establish their services and software to become profitable
in Internet time.

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