ASP explosion sounds death knell for IT managers

IT managers have scoffed at claims their role is becoming obsolete as a result of the emerging trend toward application service providers (ASPs).

They did agree that the role of the traditional IT manager is shifting because of greater demands and increased application complexity.

At Microsoft's ASP launch a spokesman claimed that the old routine of maintaining, upgrading and providing IT support will be outsourced and the IT manager will be busily enforcing Service Level Agreements (SLA).

According to US-based analyst Dataquest, ASP demand is set to explode on a global scale with hosted application revenues exceeding $US20 billion by 2003.

While IT managers have identified this emerging business shift not all agree it is the answer.

Allen Roberts, Cummins Diesel Engines IT director, said the need to reduce costs is driving the ASP model but often the decision to outsource is a "knee-jerk reaction".

"IT is becoming more complicated and those that cannot cope are looking for creative ways to defray costs. Outsourcing isn't always the solution; it's a false economy," Roberts said.

"It means losing your own strategic control and despite SLAs you are basically beholden to a vendor; of course it is situation specific; there is no black and white answer.

"Despite the significant change we have seen in the past few years the traditional responsibilities of an IT manager will continue."

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