The latest moves in the crowded application service provider (ASP) space prove that even traditional software and systems vendors are not immune to the emerging model's lure.
In fact, top-tier vendors are busily tailoring their established business models to snare a potential customer bonanza within the ASP market.
Novell and Hewlett-Packard last week proclaimed ASP-driven initiatives, and Lotus is expected to amplify its own this week.
Novell last week pitched its OnDemand Services hosting and billing software as ASP building blocks. The company is moving toward a "subscription" or utility-type model, where it will act as a centralised middleman to link customers with ASPs, providing services to both parties, said Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Novell.
OnDemand will be at the heart of Novell's ASP services, augmented by its caching technology, iChain security, and e-business services, as well as its planned NDS Web portal, called Blackhawk.
Lotus is also trying to cash in on the white-hot ASP market. The company finally formally unveils its ASP version of Notes/Domino this week, and is expected to announce partner agreements for hosting the software.
The upcoming introduction reportedly will underline the company's belief that software increasingly will be delivered to users much like services.
Shortly after it launches the ASP version of Notes, Lotus is also expected to introduce a service for corporate and third-party developers. The services will allow them to embed a number of different Lotus technologies in their applications and then be able to call on those applications over the Web, sources said.
Hewlett-Packard is taking the less overt path, supplying the hardware and software backbone for service providers.