The expected surge of interest in delivering applications over the Internet and private networks took a huge step forward last week, when enterprise software super-vendor SAP signed local accounting software company Solution 6 Holdings as its first ever application services provider (ASP) worldwide.
"Solution 6 is an ideal partner for us. The company has the resources, infrastructure and expertise to deliver effective solutions," said Les Hayman, CEO of SAP Asia-Pacific.
The initiative is expected to usher the SAP/Solution 6 bureau-style model of software delivery in what is forecast to become a $US6 billion market within the next two years.
Under the agreement, Solution 6 will deliver SAP's ERP applications over the Internet or through private networks, enabling small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of ERP without having to incur significant initial hardware costs associated with the traditional on-site application of business solutions.
"This mode of business intelligence network delivery will revolutionise the IT industry and Solution 6 will be one of the first to make it available to our customers," Solution 6 CEO Chris Tyler said.
Only a few months ago described as an experimental model in providing ERP solutions to the market, ASP is fast becoming a legitimate model for leading ERP providers around the globe.
For this reason, SAP and Solution 6 are expected to invest several million dollars in setting up the service, relying on analysts' predictions that indicate returns will be significant.
"For some time now, there have been strong signals regarding the enormous potential for operating applications from a shared services centre over the Internet," he explains.
"Solution 6 [now] has the infrastructure and the expertise to capitalise on this model and deliver pre-configured enterprise accounting to the SME market with minimal implementation costs."
With the initial focus on the Australian market, the first "applications over the Net" will be made available later in the year. Tyler expects the service to be rolled out in some 50 countries around the world.