It seems you just can't keep a good IT craze down. Earlier this month at Progress Software's international user conference in the US, the vendor unveiled its Application Service Provider (ASP) ENablement Program (ASPEN).
The program will enable its 2000 global independent software vendors (ISVs) to utilise new technology, services and partnerships in a bid to extend their 5000 packaged applications to the ASP model.
According to Jennifer Bergantino, Progress' vice president, marketing and strategic relations: "This will help ISVs get their applications out to the market and in turn will increase exposure for Progress' application development, deployment and management products."
One area that may prove a boon for potential ASPs is Y2K compliancy. Bergantino suggests that Y2K may be the motivation for small-to-medium businesses to start using ASPs as a way of becoming Y2K compliant without the huge investment of providing infrastructure and developing their own applications. In the meantime, however, many analysts cannot agree on just how fast the ASP market is growing. Forrester Research predicts the market for application rentals, which stood at zero a few months ago, will reach $US6.4 billion by 2001 while IDC estimates the enterprise market worldwide will be $US2 billion in 2003, representing a 91 per cent four-year compound annual growth rate.
"The reality is that the high-end ASP market is an emerging market with few customers to date," said Meredith McCarty, senior analyst with IDC's Internet Services research program.
"This year will be a turning point as ASPs hit the streets with their service offerings and the market responds. At the end of this year we will have a better idea of how well and how fast the ASP concept will be accepted.
"Customers are always looking for assistance in managing, deploying, and enhancing their applications in a more affordable, manageable model," McCarty added.