New ASP Agillion ready to talk services

By Denise Pappalardo, Network World |  Software

AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Secretive new application service provider (ASP) Agillion, one of the most talked about start-ups around, is expected to break its silence in the next couple weeks by disclosing plans for its first service.

Agillion has been the subject of much speculation since announcing its formation 12 months ago. The buzz has largely been in reaction to the company's well-known leaders: former Tivoli CEO Frank Moss and BSG Systems founder Steve Papermaster will serve as Agillion's chairman and CEO, respectively.

Papermaster last week was still tightlipped about Agillion's plans, such as service details and pricing, but he did share a few tidbits.

The company's first offering, part of a line of what Agillion calls E-Services, will focus on customer relationship management (CRM), Papermaster says. The service, aimed at small companies, is scheduled to debut in the fourth quarter.

But unlike other ASPs, Agillion will not simply outsource traditional CRM applications, such as those from Siebel Systems. Rather, Agillion has designed its own CRM applications, which will be accessible via any Web browser.

Agillion also plans to differentiate itself by making it particularly easy to subscribe to its services. Business users will be able to sign up and set up billing for services through a Web-based portal site that Agillion is in the process of creating. Papermaster says monthly pricing will be based on the number of users that access each application.

Agillion plans to announce many partnerships with operators of Internet sites frequented by small businesses, Papermaster says.

Agillion initially will offer services through a single data center in Austin, where the company is based. Papermaster declined to detail what hardware and software platforms the company will use to support its services. Neither would he say whether Agillion has built its own data center or is collocating with another service provider.

Agillion has raised $4.5 million in venture funding and employs nearly 50 people.

Jennifer Kula, a consultant at TeleChoice in Boston, says she wouldn't be surprised to see Agillion target specific vertical industries, such as health care and insurance, with its offerings.

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