Application service provider (ASP) Digex is being launched in the UK in conjunction with Compaq and Microsoft.
Thomas Davidsson, senior vice president at Digex Europe, said: "We will run resellers' operations for them and they can stick to their core activity, which is selling."
Davidsson said that firms are now looking to rent many applications and resellers have the choice to change their offering. "More businesses are moving to ASPs for hosted applications, and rental across the internet will soon take over," he said. "Resellers need to change, and the big question is how will they do it?"
Resellers can share in the benefits of ASPs in two ways, he said, either as ASPs themselves or by partnering with an established web application hosting company.
Stuart Keeping, vice president of marketing at Cable & Wireless, which recently launched its A-services Limited Programme, said: "This process allows resellers without a lot of capital to provide ASP services."
Davidsson explained that the continuous relationship between reseller and customer will replace one-off deals and will enhance a reseller's relationship with its customers. "Monthly procedures can carve out more business than a one-off solution. This tighter grip on customers will lead to a relationship of trust and inevitably lead to additional sales," he said.
But Duncan Crook, managing director of Equinox, warned the channel of the possibility of customers migrating once their contracts run out. "The channel needs to make sure that the relationship contract is properly drawn up. And they must clearly examine the value that they are adding," he said.
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