IBM has come up with a new set of services for Application Service Providers (ASPs) to help it gain a foothold in this potentially lucrative market.
Big Blue plans to offer two programmes, which are intended to help Internet Service Providers (ISPs) evaluate whether they are ready to enter the ASP market, and to enable software houses to build applications that can be used by ASPs.
Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM's global service provider industries, said: "Service providers need a technology company that can provide more than the components needed to deliver access and hosting services. IBM is committed to delivering all of the business tools service providers required to take advantage of the tremendous business opportunity before them."
The first scheme, Hosting Advantage, helps ISPs assess themselves against criteria set out by customers when seeking ASPs. These include system capacity, performance, customer support, availability and security.
The criteria will also be made available to members of the ASP Consortium, and successful ISPs will be given IBM Premium Hosting status, which includes help with sales and marketing and lead generation.
The second programme, ASP Prime, is a 'matchmaking' service for ISPs and software developers. Programmers will be helped to evaluate whether their applications are suitable for the ASP environment, and they will also gain access to two ASP Prime Centres. These centres provide testing facilities for applications based on Unix, Microsoft's Windows NT and IBM's AS/400.
Among the first rentable applications that IBM intends to offer ISPs is its Lotus unit's range of email offerings.
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