The Application Service Provider (ASP) users' organisation, the ASP Community, claims the benefits of ASP are fully understood by users
The ASP Community, launched at the Networks 2000 show last month, also says almost 20% of IT managers will be implementing some form of ASP working (primarily the rental and/or outsourcing of software management) within the next six months.
Research conducted by the group in June revealed that a third of IT managers polled found the ability to centralise their software working the most attractive factor of the ASP model. This benefit was followed by the flexibility in working (25%), and cost savings (15%).
In spite of expected cost savings, 20% of users believe budgetary considerations or a lack of knowledge could hold them back from going ahead with ASP. Other potential barriers include security issues (20%) and infrastructure factors (10%).
The most important factor when choosing an application service provider is reliability, according to the survey. A proven track record is a priority for 20% of respondents, despite ASP being a young market, while 20% say the choice of applications on offer is most important.
Chris Lee, managing director of Lucent's European Wan systems group, says standardised contracts and insurance issues are key for many users, when it comes to going ahead with ASP. Lee acknowledges that many users were fearful about their data - including e-mails - being captured and not released by ASPs following disputes.
ASP Community chairman Simon Moores says, "Users are grasping the nettle but for some this is a fearful step.
"ASPs will need to work hard at maintaining the standards that are required to make this model viable."