SAP Application Service Provider (ASP)
ASP model has emerged over the past two years as one of the
foremost global trends driving phenomenal growth in the applications
service providers allow companies to leverage the technologies,
processes, and expertise of the leading software platform
providers, all without having to make the substantial IT investments
usually required for such systems.
Certain ASP's are offering SAP's entire ERP application suite.
SAP is also planning to spin-off an ASP company. The SAP spin-off
will manage SAP's relationship with ASPs, but it also will
compete with them.
Advantages of SAP/ASP:
expertise and flexibility
ASP can support software and platform of your choice. ASP
provides expertise with
the technology to support your needs, especially for application
integration with your company's and your business partners'
ASP will provide the tools to monitor your application remotely
and reconfigure it
ASP's can support your company's E-business needs as user
volume, transaction load,
and data storage needs increase over time.
ASP's architecture provides high-speed connections and a
Web application server infrastructure to promote scalability,
performance, and fault tolerance.
ASP or its data center partners provide well-documented
security for the physical site-- including 24-hour guards,
video monitoring, alarm systems, and facility access control
(such as key cards, biometrics, etc.). In addition, the
ASP also provides security at both the application and data
levels. Ask about the ASP's approach to network security,
data transmission encryption, data storage encryption, intrusion
detection, virus detection, and virtual private network
support. Finally, ensure that the ASP's approach meets your
own security requirements and that it keeps your data independent
of its other customers.
ASPs can support localized versions of a company's applications
in different languages, with
support for the different currencies, date formats, transaction
processing, and other things that may vary from country
An outsourced application requires many things, so ensure
that your expected level of service is received. If your
business needs are 24 hours a day--with guaranteed performance
levels, security policies, and documented backup procedures--make
sure the ASP's service-level agreement covers them.
Different ASPs charge differently for their services. For
example, some ASPs charge on a per-user basis, while others
charge on a per-transaction basis. Also, some have additional
charges for software licenses and the number of servers
or CPUs used within their data centers, while others charge
based on data storage volume. Also ASPs charge for
customization, professional services, customer service,
and software maintenance.