Sequent ASP plans falter in NZ

Sequent Computer Systems - now known as IBM Numa-Q - has been stymied in its plans to launch as an application service provider in New Zealand following its merger with IBM.

The $US810 million merger was completed at the end of the last month - the same month Sequent expected to announce its ASP offering. (An ASP rents software applications via Internet technology.) Sequent is now a server division of IBM. Former Sequent New Zealand general manager Sean McDonald - who spearheaded the company's ASP plans - left the firm last Friday, having announced his resignation the week before. McDonald said he is still keen on ASP opportunities and is looking at a position in another company pursuing that market.

"It's something I'm very passionate about," he said.

In July, Sequent became one of the first companies to announce ASP plans in New Zealand and had intended to unveil a commercial service in September. However, due to the ensuing merger with IBM, the ASP initiative was put on hold.

Steve Burke, IBM New Zealand brand manager, said application service provision is important to IBM and IBM has been formulating a number of scenarios for the local market.

"With Sequent becoming a division of IBM we now own their intellectual property and their development and technologies so we will take what they've done and assimilate that with the strategy we're building in New Zealand," Burke said. "We will move forward with that in the next few months. We won't be rolling it out as it would have looked before because it has changed with the strengths that IBM brings to bear."

McDonald said the work over the past four months has not been wasted as successful relationships with key technology partners have been formed and a clear way forward has been established to fit the New Zealand market.

Sequent has discussed ASP plans with companies such as Clear Communications and Advantage Group, as well as software vendors and chartered accountant firms. McDonald said a fully deployable market model is ready to go as soon as clear direction from IBM has been established.

"There are now a number of potential ASP start-up operations ready to deploy in New Zealand. However, very few which have the background knowledge of the Sequent team and applications in a Web-ready state to go to market," he said.

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