ASPs must talk to IT managers

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ASPs must talk to IT managers

Nick Huber
Application service providers (ASPs) need to rethink their sales strategies and target IT managers as well as business directors.

That was the message that emerged from a round-table meeting between leading ASPs and professional services firm Ernst & Young.

By snubbing IT managers when pitching services to companies, ASPs have failed to win the trust of key decision makers within the business, suppliers now admit.

The slump in the telecoms industry, user confusion over the benefits of ASP services and scepticism from the analyst community were also cited as key challenges faced by the service providers.

The ASP model, once tipped as a catch-all solution for over-stretched IT departments, has failed to live up to its early promise, according to many industry observers and users.

Chairman of the Research Group Simon Moores, who drew together the meeting's findings for industry group the ASP Community, said, "ASPs tried to make it a business proposition and cut out the IT manager. But the financial director will still ask the advice of the IT manager.

"In the sales process ASPs appeared overnight and said trust us and outsource to us. They were asking IT directors to surrender their jobs."

The ASPs at the meeting agreed "10 commandments" for improved success. They include agreeing a new definition of ASP services, pushing their offering as an end-to-end solution for businesses and demonstrating a return on investment.

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