Progress Software's Application Service Provider Enablement (Aspen) programme received a boost from IBM last week, when Big Blue agreed to supply the software vendor and its partners with hardware and application hosting-related services.
Progress Software's Aspen members will receive out-hosted services on IBM's AS/400, RS/6000 or Netfinity platforms. They will also be eligible for additional IBM services, including ready-to-rent email, time management systems, EDI, IBM's suite of channel-ready service products and flexible finance packages.
While the ASP market in Europe is tiny at the moment, software vendors are preparing themselves for a massive shift to hosted applications. The Progress deal will bolster IBM's position in the market for hosted services in Europe, which analyst Durlacher Research predicts will jump from $14m this year to $200m next year, and $1.5bn by 2004.
Justin Wright, regional director for the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa regions at Progress, said: "This partnership with IBM will accelerate the provision of best-of-breed applications to the SME market. Many Progress Software ISVs - and some 50 have already joined the Aspen programme - have told us they want to concentrate on their core competencies: the applications they've designed and built to meet the needs of the mid-market."
"IBM's participation in the Aspen programme means they can choose to rely on IBM technology to provide the underlying systems' out-hosting infrastructure. The pro-position of Progress-based applications hosted by IBM is a compelling one, which will help our ISVs to win new business as they market their application rental services," Wright added.
Rob Hailstone, research director at Bloor Research, said resellers are unlikely to benefit from the deal unless they are developing applications.
He added that ASPs are very threatening to resellers as their business proposition removes the need for companies to buy software.
The ASP model is viable for SMEs, Hailstone said, and resellers should consider working with ISPs to move into the ASP market.
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