The competition for application service provider (ASP) customers will intensify even before any more customers materialise, according to research released this week.
Although two thirds of businesses in the UK will make use of an ASP over the next year, they will be fought over by 37 per cent of US ASPs, which plan to expand into Europe, said the Information Resource Group report.
In response, Lucent Technologies has launched its Advantage Accreditation programme to support channel partners in providing high-end systems to the ASP market.
Patrick Aberg, Europe, Middle East & Africa accreditation manager at Lucent, said: "We rely on our channel partners to take us to market. The Advantage scheme will give our partners the opportunity to address the higher end of the market."
Roberto Santini, business partners UK managing director at Lucent, told Computer Reseller News: "We already know the resellers we want to partner. We need people that know the local market and will support their customers."
But Santini warned that Lucent will be selective about the resellers it partners. "We do not want to be in a position where a partner thinks this is the wrong situation," he said.
Lucent aims to provide partners with a business plan as well as a personalised website. Resellers will then be free to do the business themselves with Lucent's backing. Within a year, the vendor aims to have five distributors and 20 to 25 resellers in the UK, Santini said.
However, one rival claimed that Lucent's plans could limit the ASP ambitions of resellers. Resellers should not restrict themselves to merely supplying equipment for ASPs, they should be hosting applications themselves, said Cyrus Razzaghi, regional manager at Accpac Europe.
"We offer resellers two ASP models to help them become full ASPs or to host the service for them. Most resellers prefer us to host the applications for them because the high security and availability guarantees that an ASP must provide are very difficult to promise," he said.
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