Who Should Make the Transition from ISP to ASP

AMSTERDAM (03/15/2000) - That ISPs (Internet service providers) must transform themselves into ASPs (applications services providers) or die has become almost a truism here at the ISP2000 event in Amsterdam.

There is, however, still some debate among the speakers about which providers are ready, and how the others should prepare.

"The single most important issue is that you must be reliable, and users must be willing to trust you," said David Adams, marketing manager for Sita/Equant, addressing the conference here today.

It is still too early to ask which applications to offer, because thousands of new ones are being created every day, Adams said.

"What you need to offer depends on your focus," he said.

Not everyone is in the business of offering unified messaging or CRM (customer relationship management) applications, while in the ASP market things like supply chain management and ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications won't be valuable for at least another year or two, according to Adams.

"The (ASP) platform is not ready for mission critical," he said, noting that the average downtime for a company's voice network is five minutes per year, while the Internet still averages around 21,000 minutes of downtime per year.

In the new wave of e-business, service providers will need to focus on building and maintaining complete customer relationships, while having global support, security and excellent performance.

"One big challenge is in integrating e-business and physical business," such as putting bills and payment methods online, he noted.

ISP2000 continues through Thursday in Amsterdam; more information can be found at http://www.isp2000europe.com/.

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