Although these emerging ASPs differ in their approaches and philosophies, they all agree on one thing: If the ASP ripple turns into a wave, it will mean big changes for IT departments everywhere.
Naveen Chanana, CEO of Systech, a value-added reseller of computers in Torrance, Calif., recently signed up with Qwest Cyber.Solutions, and his experience could provide a clue to the shape of things to come.
"We wanted to install SAP for our back-office applications," Chanana says. "But our IT department consisted of one person. To implement SAP, we would have had to hire several additional IT experts."
So Chanana chose to go outside the old IT boundaries.
"Cyber.Solutions hosts and manages the entire system," Chanana says. "We were up and running in about two months. We still have an IT staff of one."
He adds that saving time and money were not his only concerns.
"It is difficult to keep skilled IT people inside a company like ours," Chanana says.
But this doesn't spell out less opportunity for IT workers. It just means that the walls will have moved. Many who now work in corporate IT may take up residence at an ASP.
"Corporations have been largely unable to inspire and retain technical expertise," says Williams. "There is simply a chasm between IT people and businesspeople that isn't going away."
Which is why, according to some, the ASP model makes perfect sense.
"If it isn't your core competence, you outsource it," says Corio's Lee. "This means the CIO will become more of a strategic partner. Many IT workers will work for ASPs, which will be an improvement for them -- you are no longer part of a cost center, a burden to the organization; rather, you are now part of the core business."
Wohl puts it more succinctly: "We could easily see a change of address for some IT professionals. That's fine. Working for an ASP might be more fun."
We examine IT'ss boundless new world in this special in-depth analysis and Test Center reviews package, along with breaking news from ComNet Expo in Washington, D.C.