The main theme yesterday during the first day of the Network Hosted Application Conference 2000 (NHAC) sponsored by The Phillips Group was the challenges that ASPs face and the future direction of the market in general.
There to enlighten attendees was a panel of presenters derived from some major player companies, and some up and comers, in the ASP game right now including chell.com, Lucent Technologies, Citrix Systems, Qwest Cyber.Solutions and USinternetworking.
Terry Vega, president, Lucent Technologies, pointed out that the services offered by ASPs are broadening and becoming more sophisticated, moving to include procurement, supply chain management and highly customizable vertical applications.
As this happens, the challenges facing the ASP market become even more of an issue.
“The challenges for ASPs now are security, reliability, scalability, the business model issue and market awareness,” Vega said. “As the market continues to advance, end users will require and expect continued assurance that these issues are under control.”
Traver Gruen-Kennedy, director, internetworking strategy, Citrix Systems and chairman of the ASP Industry Consortium, told attendees that ASP is a key driver in much of the telecommunications sector and much of the software developer business.
“ASP is the convergence of IT and telecommunications and the Web, but it is also much more than that,” he said, indicating a need for a global legal system to manage contracts.
The ASP Industry Consortium has worked to create a global agreement for the ASP market. With 175 countries currently in agreement, this goes live in January 2001.
“ASP is changing the way business will be done,” Gruen-Kennedy said. “You need to have ways to be sure you have a cost effective and speedy way to make sure contracts and SLA are fulfilled. ASP is about managing a business process, not just about business technology.”
Gruen-Kennedy broke the challenges into two venues: business challenges and security challenges. “Business challenges for ASPs consist of expansion of user geographic range, IT training requirements and high capital budgets and costs,” he said. “The technical challenges are security and the growing technical complexity of apps, platforms and networks that require improved support.”
When focusing on the next phase for ASPs, he pointed out that ASPs must serve anyone, anyplace at anytime. “It has to be as simple as using a phone,” Gruen-Kennedy said. “The B2B solution an ASP has today will have to be able to give the same ability it can to a PC to someone sitting on a train. ASPs are doing for apps what the Internet did to data-making it affordable and easy to use.”
Cameron Chell, chairman and chief executive officer, chell.com, pointed out that the challenges he sees for the ASP market are the ability to scale down and slow customer adoption.
“Even though there is huge customer demand, the supply chain must be developed,” Chell said. “The service infrastructure is just being built out and is where I see tremendous opportunity.”
John Charters, president and chief executive officer, Qwest Cyber.Solutions, echoed Chell’s thoughts. “In regards to the scalability challenge, I see the challenge in building enough scale to serve the large companies,” he said. “Turning downward to focus on one is much easier than scaling up.
Mark DeSimone, executive vice president, AdoroNet, suggested “The ASP and dotcom models will have to build an infrastructure that is more intricately developed.”
This event kicked off The Phillips Group’s worldwide series of conferences dealing with the high-growth ASP market.