Application service providers (ASPs) should form an integral part of future e-business projects, Gartner Group has urged.
Predicting the e-business landscape of 2005, Gartner believes that the intricate integration demands of e-business projects will be too complex for suppliers and consultancies to deliver without the help of ASPs.
Peter Sondergaard, generalvice-presidentat Gartner, said, "Despite the 'all-singing, all-dancing' sales pitch of the big application vendors, no single packaged application source will represent more than 40% of a firm's application requirements.
"By 2005, critical investment and strategic decisions around integration efforts will be twice as complex for enterprises as yesteryear's enterprise resource planning environment."
But IT managers should be careful when choosing which ASP to partner in such a fast-changing market, Gartner warned. It predicted that, by 2004, more than 80% of existing ASPs will have either gone to the wall or have been consolidated.
Companies should include contingency plans in their ASP arrangements as insurance against such volatility, Gartner advised.
By 2005, we will also see the emergence of three main e-marketplaces, according to Gartner. They are businesses services, to support the supply chain; commodities, replacing markets and auctions; and integration services.
In the new e-marketplace traditional bricks-and-mortar companies have the advantage over dotcoms due to factors such as brand identity and their size.
Sondergaard said, "The future will belong to hybrid brick-and-mortar-type businesses. Pure dotcom companies must overcome their disadvantages in brand identity, economies of scale and retained expertise by offering added value in other areas."
Gartner also predicted that the rise of the Internet and wireless sector will place a greater importance on "client-focused" applications.