Oracle and IBM are gearing up to provide their software to application service providers in New Zealand. Until two months ago, enterprise customers wanting to outsource the management and hosting of Oracle applications had to use Oracle's US-based ASP arm, Oracle Business OnLine. But in a significant alteration to its ASP strategy, Oracle has begun allowing third-party ASPs to host its business applications. In New Zealand Oracle has teamed up with yet-to-launch Auckland ASP Asparona, and is talking to two consulting firms. IBM is also talking to prospective ASPs about providing the Lotus “ASP Solution Pack” In the meantime, Auckland-based Lotus resellers CrossWare and Aptitude are hosting Lotus software. Oracle New Zealand managing director Leigh Warren says the company's goal over the next couple of months is to get its ASP initiative "nutted out", but says software vendors still have a way to go on costing the ASP model. “Costing models will evolve a lot. We are still working through how to deploy it to give a good value proposition to everybody - customers, partners and Oracle. We’re not seeing major successes from any business models yet.” However, he believes the ASP model is compelling and will eventually become widespread. “Generally, the provision of software will move this way and it will be suitable for all sizes of organisation.” One benefit is that by providing software for set platform configurations only, software developers can provide upgrades more often and more quickly, he says. As an example he cites Oracle’s electronic B2B marketplace product which, when provided through Business Online, is upgraded with new features every two weeks. The other main driver towards ASPs is that they provide a way of filling the IT skills gap, Warren says.