A group of 25 vendors have set up a consortium to promote and set standards for application service providers (ASPs) - a breed of suppliers offering hosted packages over the internet.
The Application Service Provider Industry consortium, launched at the Networld+Interop show in Las Vegas last week, includes AT&T, Citrix, Compaq, Ernst & Young, UUNet, and Great Plains Software among its members.
It aims to promote best practices in a market that IDC estimates will be worth $2.2 billion in 2003 for software-only related services.
Rich Brewer, analyst at IDC, said: 'An ASP has to master three disciplines: networking, data centre and network management applications - the area where most ASPs will come from - and services, covering helpdesks, project management and customer support.'
He highlighted SAP, which plans to offer its R/3 application suite, hosted on Hewlett Packard servers, 'on demand' over the internet with the help of telecoms service provider Qwest and, in future, BT. ASPs could also be network carriers and system integrators.
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