The burgeoning application service provider (ASP) market received a shot in the arm yesterday with a self-appointed advocacy group announcing more than 20 new partners, including four local companies.
Solutions 6, Mincom, MUA and Professional Advantage have joined the ASP Industry Consortium, along with Microsoft, Fujitsu, National Semiconductor and Progress Software.
An ASP 'rents' applications to its clients across a wide area network with the service ideally suited to small- to medium-size enterprises, or to departments within larger organisations.
The consortium was formed about a month ago as an effort to promote the ASP industry and foster standards, said chairman Traver Gruen-Kennedy, who is Citrix's American-based director of advanced business development.
Earlier this year, Solution 6 announced an agreement with SAP to host the R/3 suite and more recently signed up Unicef as its first customer. Brisbane-based Mincom has more than 30 hosted clients already using three data centres.
Gruen-Kennedy said entering the ASP market had given Australian organisations a head start in the international market over their competitors.
"This is a global organisation and in some ways, because of the networks and because of the delivery mechanisms, this is really the way to level the playing field for Australian software companies," Gruen-Kennedy said.
"It enables them to get their services and their applications distributed without being gated by local distributors.
"For Australian companies it's a great opportunity for them to get closer to a variety of the suppliers that can deliver their applications over networks. It's an opportunity for them to get closer to a variety of other companies that can provide middleware solutions," he said.
"I feel reasonably confident that most of the software companies will join and many of the carriers and telecommunications companies will follow suit."
Last week Microsoft announced it was timidly entering the ASP arena, sanctioning the rental of its BackOffice suite in the US.