Bank Finds ASP Service Comes at a Price

"Interesting" is ASB Bank IT boss Garry Fissenden's word for the rate at which ASP (application service provider) Esolutions intends charging for providing Microsoft's Office on a monthly rental basis.

At the price announced last week, Fissenden says the bank would be coughing up about $NZ4.5 million ($US2.03 million) a year for its more than 2000 Office users; that compares with the six-figure license fee it's paying at present.

"That's not a cheap service," says Fissenden.

Price aside, the bank is unlikely to become a paying Esolutions customer, on the strength of a trial it's been running since February. It had been intended that 20 bank staff would run Office via Citrix Metaframe and Windows NT Terminal Server, hosted by Esolutions. But so far only two staff have joined the trial.

Fissenden says they're encountering printing and file storage problems, and complain that the service is slow. He isn't sure how much bandwidth has been dedicated to the service.

Esolutions plans to charge NZ$155 a user per month for Office and Exchange; that will include some network management and security services. Fissenden says if mail administration is part of the deal, it looks a little more reasonable.

"Mail administration is a big job for most organizations," he said.

But for an organization like the ASB Bank, which needs in-house servers to run its banking application, he's doubtful of the financial benefit of the service.

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