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ASPs think laterally and turn vertical

ASPs think laterally and turn vertical

A growing number of application service providers in the US are developing services specific to vertical industries, with promises to understand those businesses better than more general ASPs.

Next week, HotSamba, a new ASP in Schaumburg, Illinois, will be launching a supply-chain management service called Rapid Commerce, tailored to the "durable goods" industry.

HotSamba's Rapid Commerce is an e-commerce service that will let businesses in the automotive, factory machinery or industrial outerwear industries, for example, set up in-depth online catalogs. HotSamba first developed this application for Caterpillar and is now taking its knowledge of how to set up, host, manage and maintain e-commerce sites for transactions more involved than buying a new pair of designer jeans online.

HotSamba is co-locating its servers at Exodus Communications' data centre, using the hosting provider's Vault service. Exodus' Vault service keeps HotSamba's servers behind double aluminum walls inside its data centre. Each Vault has biometric security, video surveillance and dedicated services for power and fire suppression.

Each Rapid Commerce customer will have to pay a one-time setup fee, which starts at $US30,000 for up to 5000 products. Monthly charges start at $2500.

TriZetto is another ASP that's taking a vertical approach, but TriZetto is going after the medical industry. The California-based ASP offers medical application hosting, in addition to financial, customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications for health care providers and insurance companies.

TriZetto also supports a Web portal site called HealthWeb that links 10 health insurance companies to doctor offices around the country. The site includes links that administration staff may find useful, such as one to Office Depot.

TriZetto's announcement that it is spinning off its HealthWeb portal site as a separate business unit will allow the company to more squarely focus on its ASP line of business and allow HealthWeb to connect more health insurance companies with doctor offices, clinics and hospitals.

HostLogic, an ASP in Florida, is also taking the vertical approach. HostLogic has announced its LogicSuite services, which are based on SAP/R3 CRM and ERP software bundles. The LogicSuite offering comes in four flavours, including Young Enterprise, itLogistix, myChem@ICM and SchoolSmart. Young Enterprise is preconfigured for small and mid-size businesses, itLogistix is a supply-chain management tool for hardware and software companies, myChem@ICM is a customised set of applications for the chemical industry, and SchoolSmart is an ERP application for K-12 schools.

HostLogic is co-locating its application and database servers at PSINet data centres.

The LogicSuite set of services is available now for about $500 per user per month.

That price includes not only access to the application and database servers, but also the security systems and dedicated T-1 Internet access. HostLogic plans to offer additional, industry-specific custom packages.


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