Australia's smaller enterprise software developers and solutions providers in vertical markets will now be able to leverage MUA's application service provider (ASP) infrastructure to sell their solutions on a per-seat- by-usage basis under a new service announced by the distributor last week.
Paul McQuarrie, MUA's managing director, said that it will be able to leverage its distribution partnerships and accumulated experience in Citrix systems and SCO/Unix to deliver true ASP services.
McQuarrie said that it is quite important for the whole market to understand that many of the people calling themselves ASPs these days are really just bureaus.
"They [many so-called ASP companies] are providing data centres for customers to come and run applications from but direct point-to-point links from their premises to your data centre are required to do so."
He said that genuine ASPs use the World Wide Web to deliver their applications. Since most targeted markets have access to the Internet these days, the additional cost of putting in a point-to-point connection is avoided under "the true ASP model".
MUA announced last month that it was supplying comprehensive and exclusive CRM ASP services to its customers (see ARN LiveWire, November 8). This announcement regarding hosting applications for the same customers is the next stage in the race by the distributor to be a player in the future ASP environment which everyone seems to be talking up.
"Most of our 600-800-strong customer base are small independent software developers that have written a package for a specific industry," McQuarrie said. Often these customers have had to opt out of very small installations because it costs too much for the smaller end-user businesses to justify the cost, he added.
"They can't sell their packages down to five or 10 users because it costs too much to put the infrastructure in. For a lot of our resellers this will allow them to have a much lower price point of entry for their system, which means they can now sell it to much smaller companies.
"These companies will now be able to offer their solutions on a pay-as-you-go basis via the Internet to customers they have never really been able to go down to before. All the end user needs is an Internet connection."
According to McQuarrie, MUA's ASP offerings are currently serviced by a farm of 25-30 servers with a 34MB Telstra fibre optic link to the outside world.
He said that he can't make any guarantees about uptime, but he did assure resellers that MUA's experience with the Citrix platform has made available rates in the high 90 per cent bracket.
"It is very easy for us to add bandwidth and servers as demand grows and extra users sign on."
As part of the announcement, McQuarrie said that a set of fees had been settled on for resellers. There is a $540 set-up fee, a $200 user access fee per month and an additional $130 monthly hosting fee per user. Resellers can add their margin and application rental fees to this.