IN ORBIT: News Review

CA confident of ASP success

Computer Associates is quietly confident it can make a serious go of subscription-based software sales.

The company has provided an update to its recently announced new business model. It is offering its customers software with more flexible payment options, including month by month, plus choices in the length of licensing contracts.

The new model should also spread revenue figures across the entire quarter, removing some of CA's concern with pulling in a majority of its revenue just before quarter's end.

Under the new model, CA will let clients set the length of their software licence, and change or update software throughout the course of the licence to accommodate changes in their business needs. CA believes the model attacks the ASP challenge by offering software more easily to an ASP on a month-to-month basis.

"This is not a rental model," insisted Sanjay Kumar, president and chief executive officer at CA. In a conference call, he stated: "We are not in the business of renting software. I am a firm believer that this business model is a major competitive advantage. It is with month-to-month licensing where the technology has to speak for itself."

CA believes more than 80 per cent of its software sales will be based on the new model by the end of the company's fourth fiscal quarter, which ends March 31, 2001.

Zip gets hip

A cloud of censorship hangs over the free distribution of music across the Internet as MP3 battles are being won and lost in the courtrooms of the old-economy era. So millions of people are catching their last train to Napster for a free fix of music over the Web. Judges may be of the opinion that distribution of music over the Net represents a copyright infringement, but removable storage company Iomega certainly thinks copyrighted materials can work on the Net. It recently released what is destined to become a favourite gadget of the new-economy generation -- an MP3 player with a trend-setting name -- HIPZIP. The HIPZIP (pictured) retails at $669 and is available go online One-third of CIOs and IT managers responding to Inform's Channel Performance 2001 report plan to make a majority of their IT purchases online by 2002.

With just 4 per cent of IT executives currently conducting the bulk of their company's IT purchases via the Web, the turnaround is set to have massive implications for large corporate resellers.

Of the companies surveyed for the report, about 63 per cent of those with an annual IT budget of $5-10 million, and 46 per cent of those with an IT budget in excess of $10 million, claim they will be purchasing the majority of IT goods online from resellers by 2002.

The survey also reveals the number of companies not planning to purchase IT goods online will diminish from 74 per cent in 2000 to 34 per cent by 2002.

Inform received 230 responses from 5000 surveyed IT executives -- a 4.6 per cent return.

Why are your customers unhappy?

While our retailers and ISPs are doing well in getting more and more Australians computerised and connected, it seems our Web designers and developers aren't in the same league just yet.

According to the preliminary findings of a national Web audience survey by the University of NSW, most Australian-built sites fail to take into account user needs and preferences, leaving Web surfers frustrated.

Major design/development faux pas include badly structured sites with too much information, security problems and lack of feedback.

Do you have some happy customers? Send them to before the end of January 2001.

Evolution is called e-nation

Marx never saw it coming, Stalin perfected it and Gorby was desperate to reform it. But it's the Japanese who seem set to become the first nation to rid itself of bureaucracy -- by creating an e-nation.

Long a personal goal of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, the adoption of the Information Technology revolution last month became a national goal when the Lower House passed a bill making the resolution to create an e-nation within five years official.

Apart from promoting an online government, the initiative aims to make the Internet accessible to all of Japan's 120 million people as well as to ease the regulations that have so far impeded the growth of e-commerce in Japan.

For a country with a stagnant economy, exorbitant telecommunications costs and a grand total of 857 laws and regulations standing in the way of e-commerce, the bill couldn't have come at a better time, given the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum's recent commitment to the development of information economies and cooperation in the region.

Australia, meanwhile, is well on its way to becoming an e-nation itself, according to the National Office for the Information Economy.

With Internet access up 135 per cent since 1998, 33 per cent of Australian households now have access to the Internet, making Australia the second "most connected" nation in the Asia Pacific.

Discover, analyse -- then visualise

Maxamine has a vision -- that's what 200 mainly US-based value added resellers (VARs) think, recently naming our own Maxamine's Web Analyst and Process Analyst software the best Internet/e-commerce products reviewed at the San Diego VARVision 2000 IT showcase.

The Best of VARVision Awards recognise "innovative IT technologies" and "channel excellence", and are given after reviewing and evaluating products in private sessions attended by consultants, systems integrators and VARs. According to Maxamine, the award-winning products enable VARs to better understand user experience and rapidly develop sound business concepts online.

X Facts

- Number of ISPs servicing rural Australia: 420 - Number of ISPs servicing metropolitan Australia: 592 - Number of secure servers per million Australians: 119 - % of women among Australian Internet users: 45 - % of all Web pages written in English: 52 - % of all Web pages written in German: 7 - % of Australian SMEs online: 60 - African share of the global mobile phone market: 1% - % of Oz households not online because of high costs: 12 Source: