FutureLink aims to crack UK ASP market with trio

FutureLink, a US-based application service provider (ASP), has became the latest supplier to try to crack UK users' reluctance to...

FutureLink, a US-based application service provider (ASP), has became the latest supplier to try to crack UK users' reluctance to rent their software online.

Hooman Bassirian

FutureLink's European arm last week unveiled three separate packaged service lines which it will market through its channel partners in an effort to capture a slice of the ASPmarket.

The move pitches the company against existing ASP players such as NetStore and Esoft. Futurelink's flagship product is OfficeConnect, which makes Microsoft's Office Professional suite and Microsoft Exchange available for a monthly fee.

Other product lines comprise an application hosting business and AppConnect, which provides users with online access to core business management applications such as billing and accounting packages and enterprise-wide products such as enterprise resource planning software and customer relationship management software.

Yuri Pasea, managing director of FutureLink Europe, said, "We think that one of the key benefits [of ASPs] for SMEs is in enabling companies to budget more accurately for their IT needs and minimise the impact on cash-flow of purchasing expensive IT hardware and software in one lump sum."

UK users have so far shied away from using ASPs, citing mostly concerns over security, the reliability and speed of using the Internet, and unresolved problems with getting out of their existing software licences.

But Euan Davis, an analyst with research firm IDC, who spoke at FutureLink's London launch, said he expected the UK market for ASP services to grow from $3.5m (£2.3m) in 1999 to $322m by 2004.

He predicted that improvements in bandwidth technology, the continuing shortage of skilled IT staff would help boost the uptake of ASP services by UK companies.

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