Users latch on to latest ASP offerings

The online application rental market is heating up further, with customers signing up for new offerings.

The online application rental market is heating up further, with customers signing up for new offerings.

Decorating retailer Guthrie Bowron has signed up to rent a point-of-sale system over the internet from the ANZ-owned application service provider Always There.

Always There, an ASP specialising in the retail sector, was set up by Eftpos New Zealand, which in turn is owned by the ANZ bank. It provides Windows-based point-of-sale (POS) systems, the key one being AdvanceRetail. The POS system tells the Eftpos terminal how much to charge and the transaction goes through Always There’s IP-based network to the bank. Retailers normally use a telephone line.

Meanwhile, GDC Communications’ application service provider division iVASP has started offering the ERP package Geac for rent online.

Geac managing director Nigel Birtwell says he sees the ASP model as “just another option for customers. You look at total cost of ownership, plus the additional benefits that iVASP offer and it takes away a lot of the administration overheads.”

Geac is offering the financials and distribution modules of its Streamline ERP solution. Start-up company Hillside Building Supplies is the first customer.

Birtwell says the iVASP offering is particularly suitable for generic solutions although Geac is doing some customisation for Hillside, which has outsourced its complete IT environment.

Meanwhile, TelstraSaturn and Deloitte Consulting’s outsourcing unit are offering part of SAP’s enterprise resource planning suite for rental.

They’re targeting medium-sized to enterprise-level organisations with ASPire, says TelstraSaturn boss Jack Matthews. TelstraSaturn will house the hardware and provide the infrastructure to run the ASP while Deloitte Consulting has the SAP implementation experience.

“We’ll be using pre-packaged generic templates to speed up the implementation process,” says Deloitte Consulting director John McKenzie. Initially there will be three templates, one for migrating existing SAP customers to the ASP platform, one for local authorities and one for the manufacturing sector. McKenzie says the implementation process will be shortened by using the ASP model, from a typical 11 months to six. “It also reduces the up-front capital costs; instead companies will pay a fixed monthly fee.”

Data security is a concern to ASP customers, says Matthews, and ASPire will address that by offering dedicated servers for customers. “Shared areas will be in support, administration, redundancy and that sort of thing. Data and processing will be totally dedicated to each customer.”

TelstraSaturn spokeswoman Deanne Weir says the TelstraSaturn deal has nothing to do with SAP and Telstra’s electronic marketplace, which has failed to attract any New Zealand customers since being announced in February last year.

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