Making the ASP Decision
(as adopted from the META Group document "Making the Exchange
2000 ASP Decision".)
Organizations considering an ASP relationship should work through the following
- Consider opportunity cost gain - the opportunity cost benefits to ASP
hosting, such as being able to free IT personnel to focus on operations
or projects more fundamental to the company's core business, is key to ASP
outsourcing. Customers need to clearly determine how important those are
for their organization.
- Determine the level of uptime (defined as when the system is available
to the user community), and make sure that the ASP has proven to satisfy
that level. Clearly the higher the availability requirement, the more challenging
it is for the ASP to deliver.
- Consider the on-going operational expenses by determining the "fully-loaded"
costs of the support infrastructure (personnel, service contracts, administrator
training, etc), plus server costs (hardware procurement depreciated on a
three year cycle, plus hardware maintenance). This will give a basis for
comparing ASP pricing.
- Determine the business requirements for ASP services. If needs are basic,
those needs will be more readily met by ASPs. For more complex needs, customers
will need to do more work to ensure that the ASP is capable of delivering
- Contemplate the IT personnel situation. If hiring adequate personnel is
difficult, then ASPs should be seen as one vehicle for alleviating personnel
- Contemplate the status of the existing infrastructure. Organizations with
an aging host system that needs upgrading should calculate the cost for
planning and deploying a new system, as well as the drain on existing personnel
resources. The same advice holds for organizations without an online system
in existence. This should be factored against the cost of an ASP relationship.
- Consider the security requirements. Some extremely security conscious
organizations may have prohibitions on outside hosting of proprietary content.
- Consider the degree to which the application requires customization and
has application level dependencies. High degrees of customization and dependencies
need to be negotiated with the ASP, making the process more complex. Along
the same line, clients and protocols - especially in regards to offline/online
capabilities - must be taken into consideration in structuring the hosting
Upon contemplation of each of these issues, one of three results will occur:
there will be a clear predisposition toward, or against an ASP relationship,
or there will be a gray area where the path is unclear. In gray area cases,
organizations may want to consider many of the ramifications covered above
for further clarification.
If you would like more information on our services, please contact
us or leave your information using our Online