Companies want assurances from application service providers (ASPs) that a move to outsourcing their software hosting would be a wise one.
A user poll at an ASP conference organised by analyst Bloor Research last week found that 74 per cent of delegates were "extremely likely" to move to an ASP model within five years, with ecommerce and web-enabled applications being the most likely first moves.
But ASPs must first calm users' fears over loss of control and concerns about how easy it would be to bring a service back in-house if a contractual relationship failed. Bloor said users were also concerned about receiving a secure disaster recover service backed by guaranteed service level agreements, and about integration of ASP services with existing systems.
Jon Collins, a senior analyst at Bloor, said: "User organisations are not going to be rushed into an 'early adopter' position. Vendors need to provide a realistic appraisal of how they plan to cope with far reaching changes, before they will find a massive queue forming to take-up their own offer."
"ASPs are arriving by stealth with a lot of activity extending the outsourcing of websites. As companies move from brochureware right up to high-level transactional services they are bringing ASPs into that development."
Bloor said nine out of 10 people expressed concerns about whether ASPs would provide secure disaster recover service backed by guaranteed service level agreements. There are also concerns about how ASP services would be integrated with in-house systems and with business or supply chain partners.
The most likely applications for ASP are ecommerce and websites, followed by packaged applications. Only 23 per cent of respondents saw legacy applications as suitable candidates for ASP.
Asked why they wanted to move to application hosting, respondents said the primary reason is so that businesses could outsource IT activity to concentrate on core business functions. Delegates also quoted a need for greater scalability and reducing total cost of IT.
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