ASP Consortium opens down under

Hoping to drive the adoption of the application service provider (ASP) model in Australia, several vendors, developers, distributors and integrators have banded together to form an Australian branch of the Application Service Provider Industry Consortium.

The branch, tagged ASPIC, will launch with a healthy variety of industry representatives including vendors such as Unisys Australia, Hewlett Packard Australia and Citrix Asia Pacific, Internet companies like Peakhour ASP Services and ApplicationStation.Com, and channel companies such as Com Tech Central and Brocker Technology Group.

ASPIC's first role will be to establish a framework for self-regulation, promote ASP development, educate the industry on the model, and create a forum for solution development through a series of workshops. Paul Gleeson, ASP business director for global outsourcing at Unisys Australia, said representatives from the consortium are being encouraged to take an active role in local and global committees on issues such as security, standards, certification and business models.

"We will get Australian members involved in local issues to influence and educate local businesses about the value of the ASP model," he said.

Gleeson encourages any member of the IT community with significant input to add to the consortium to become involved. "When we began discussions, I think everyone was a bit coy about revealing their business plans, but gradually we've learnt to trust each other," he said. "Word of mouth is getting around now so more people are getting involved."

Gleeson said the rest of the world has a lot to learn from the way Australia has approached the ASP model, despite its relative immaturity here. "Australians are somewhat ahead of the market in terms of the importance we place on partnerships," he said.

Fortunately the body is also keen to hear the input of channel companies, already including Brocker and Com Tech in the consortium, and keen to add more.

"This consortium is not just for the vendors," said Gleeson. "It is always open to good local value-add businesses too. Everyone has a voice."

Photograph: Unisys Australia's Paul Gleeson.