Avoid Getting Bitten by ASPs

May 1st, 2005

Benefits of ASPs

Application Services, sometimes referred to as "software-as-a-service" (SaaS) or "on-demand" services, offer many critical advantages to purchasing software off the shelf. With an Application Service Provider (ASP), you access the software through an Internet connection and pay a service fee. Since the service provider houses the software, it’s not necessary to divert internal resources; the entire process of system upgrades, testing and implementation happens without your having to worry about it. Another major advantage to ASPs is that your capacity is immediately expandable. If you need to increase your storage space or call volume, it can be done quickly, without the need to purchase additional hardware. In fact, in most cases the use of an ASP alleviates the need to purchase any new hardware at all.

The ASP may also be able to provide solutions or tools that you may not have been aware of. The use of an ASP is like reaping the benefits of being in a user group. The product you are paying for is the result of your vendor’s extensive experience in solving similar problems for other clients.

What to consider

Conducting your customary due diligence in vetting potential vendors is as important in selecting an ASP as it is with any other service provider. Basic issues to address include:

  • Vendor fit
    • Does the tool provide the solutions you need? How customizable is the system?
    • What is covered in the service level agreement?
    • Do you have a good culture fit with the vendor? Will you be able to work together?
  • Customer support
    • What is the typical response time to technical issues?
    • What are the hours of operation for the help desk/technical support? Is there an emergency after-hours contact available?
    • What training is available for the new system?
  • Data security
    • Who has access to the servers and what is their level of security clearance?
    • What security systems do they have in place?
    • How is the data backed up? How often and where is this backup data stored?
  • Physical plant
    • How secure is the physical environment where the servers reside?
    • What primary and redundant systems do they have for electricity, Internet connectivity, and the servers themselves?
    • What is their disaster recovery plan?

The pressure on profit margins within the industry is driving the adoption of technology, and collection technologies are rapidly moving toward ASP models. Services currently available through ASPs include collection software, payment processing, voice broadcasting, predictive dialers and document imaging & retrieval.

If you’d like more information on the ASP technologies we offer through Kaulkin Information Systems, please contact Mike Binko at 301-907-0840 ext. 115, or by email.

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