ASP model opens up new vista of local app developer opportunities
The Application Service Provider (ASP) model hit the Middle East when two separate services announced their readiness to do business.
The Application Service Provider (ASP) model hit the Middle East when two separate services announced their readiness to do business—and things may never be the same again for local software developers.
However, whilst this new business idea brings into the spotlight the fresh opportunities that are on offer, the separate announcements also gave a glimpse of the immense complexity this new business model implies.
Both medicalpark.net, a vertical-solution focused ASP established by UAE-based Oracle business partners, and ASPGulf, a horizontal-focused Microsoft-based option took the first tentative steps towards the ASP model; however, neither company has any contracted customers, and neither are entirely certain of how much they will charge for such services, or how the billing will be done.
The business model within ASPs is that they function as outsourcing partners that allow businesses to rent software rather than have to install and maintain it themselves. ASPGulf offers Microsoft applications in this manner.
“ASPGulf offers Middle East businesses the opportunity to reduce their IT costs by 30-50% through outsourcing their software applications and IT infrastructure to our centrally managed application centre,” said Duncan Watson, chief executive officer, ASPGulf.
“The agreement with Microsoft will allow ASPGulf to deliver a wide range of easy to use Microsoft software applications to customers as a service, eliminating the need for them to invest heavily in licenses, server hardware, technicians, maintenance or software upgrades.”
Watson added that a 99.8% uptime guarantee will be built into contracts. Financial penalties will be incurred if ASPGulf fails to meet minimum service levels.
But while the ASPGulf model may be the most obvious, there are greater opportunities for local software developers within the more vertically-focused model unveiled by Computer Network Systems (CNS), Insyst, SR Singapore, and Oracle.
The solution these companies teamed to create is a locally-developed application for organisations in the medical field. The solution—medicalpark.net—is designed to be accessed over the Internet, with both the application and the data being hosted by the ASP itself.
“We are teaming up to empower doctors and pharmasicts in the country to utilise the Internet and improve their services and operations. Together we are launching medicalpark.net to help medical professionals to focus on their patients by organising all their administrative and file sharing requirements.
Through two specialised portals, medoctor.com and mepharma.com, medicalpark.net provides doctors, clinics, and pharmacists with secure web-based applications that will same them time and money,” said Maroua Naim, general manager, Emirates Internet and Multimedia (EIM), the Etisalat division charged with hosting the applications.
If nothing else, medicalpark.net offers an insight into the unfolding opportunity for local developers to build applications specifically for this new breed of potential customer.