ASP Consortium increasing, but not yet universal

ASP Consortium increasing, but not yet universal

The ASP Consortium announced last week that 31 more companies have joined the month-old organisation. But the group's nearly 60 members are still without two of the most well-known application service providers.

Corio and USinternetworking (USi) have decided not to join the consortium. The two companies say their efforts are better spent on winning and retaining customers, instead of getting caught up in other companies' agendas.

In fact, the two companies sent a joint letter to the consortium, saying "thanks, but no thanks" to the ASP Consortium's invitation to join, says Michelle Perry, vice president of marketing at USi.

Corio and USi are among the first companies to bring high-end enterprise ASP services to market.

Corio offers PeopleSoft human-resource software applications. USi has a broader portfolio, offering enterprise relationship management software from Siebel System, electronic commerce software from Broadvision and Microsoft, data warehousing software from Sagent, and PeopleSoft software, as well.

The ASP Consortium doesn't seem too concerned about Corio's and USi's lack of participation. "We're open to anyone who wants to join us, and they've chosen not to at this time," says Traver Gruen-Kennedy, chairman of the consortium and director of advanced business at Citrix Systems.

The consortium has nabbed some big-name vendors, including Lucent, Sprint, Cisco, AT&T, MCI WorldCom's UUNET and Sun.

In addition to the major firms, the group has quite a few start-up members.

The group's goals are to educate the industry, sponsor research and foster standards. For instance, the consortium will develop "guidelines for standards", Gruen-Kennedy says.

These standards will help in the certification of ASP services by a third-party company such as Ernst & Young, one of the consortium's founding members. The standards will also outline how ASP services should be secured, delivered and managed, Gruen-Kennedy says.

But USi's Perry doubts that the group will be able to meet this goal. "You aren't going to be able to agree on standards in this type of group because there are too many companies with too many agendas," Perry says. "We wish the consortium 100 per cent well, but it's not a good fit for us."

Corio echoes USi's sentiment. "We hope the group is successful in what it's aiming to do," says Scott Albro, business development manager at Corio. "But we're not entirely clear about what they're aiming to do, so we're not willing to invest time or money in it."

This week, the ASP Consortium is expected to meet to fully develop the organisation's framework, which will include setting up working groups, Gruen-Kennedy says. By the end of the northern summer, Gruen-Kennedy expects the group will have market research reports and results from those soon-to-be-formed working groups.

The consortium's goals are being discussed at a high level right now, despite the fact that the group was formed only one month ago.

With backing from its members that are network and telecommunications giants, the group stands a good chance of contributing something worthwhile to the industry.

ASP Consortium

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