Application and infrastructure service provider (AISP), ExpressApps.com is prying its way into the retail sector after securing a contract with software vendor and retail outsourcing firm SVI.
The combination of SVI's merchandising solution (CRMS) coupled with ExpressApps' rental service will offer retailers an ASP strategy with low up-front investment in infrastructure and management that operates on Citrix and Microsoft platforms, according to the companies.
While unable to discuss the specifics of the alliance Trevor Laughton, executive director of ExpressApps.com, says it is a "contracted business partnership with joint marketing initiatives".
"Neither of us are making millions from it at this stage," says Laughton, however he predicts user numbers will be in the low hundreds within the next year. The SVI-ExpressApps offering is currently being piloted by select customers, however who these experimental partners are remains confidential.
SVI is the first point-of-sale vendor to explore the possibility of an ASP offering, according to Laughton. He says retail especially lends itself to the model because of its geographically dispersed operations.
"We already have a proven sales model," says Laughton. " We're moving that now into the verticals that are ready to implement it."
Laughton feels the 24 x 7 economy is pushing the market towards ASP adoption as the weight becomes greater for internal IT departments and focus is further diffused from core business. "We're specifically looking at it from an outsourcing and rental point of view," he says.
ExpressApps has already rolled out AutoIT and Paradigm ASP solutions for the automotive and asset and facility management industries respectively. And, while he agrees the introduction of the GST has pushed a lot of SMEs online, Laughton says the accounting factor hasn't been enough for them to adopt an ASP solution.
With IDC predicting the ASP market will grow to $184 million in 2004, Laughton believes the model has reached "the bottom of the S' curve". With the launch of Microsoft's ASP offering late last year, he expects things to accelerate rapidly. However, IDC analyst Merv Langby believes Microsoft's appointment of only 10 or so ASP partners gives an indication of the likely universe of ASPs. "This year will give us a good indication of whether ASPs will start to multiply."