ASP concept is foreign to most feds, survey finds

ASP concept is foreign to most feds, survey finds

By Kevin McCaney

GCN Staff

APRIL 30—Federal information technology executives are largely in the dark about application service providers and how their services work, a recent survey found. But respondents familiar with ASPs said such services offer benefits in areas such as better services and reduced costs.

The Information Technology Association of America late last year conducted an Internet survey of federal IT executives that drew 316 respondents. A report on the survey, prepared in conjunction with GCN, was just released.

Of the respondents who answered a question about how familiar they were with ASPs, 9 percent described themselves as very familiar with the concept, while 54 percent said they had no familiarity.

ASPs host applications on their servers and offer them to customers via private lines or the Internet. The ASP model has been around for several years and has made some inroads into government. Of the 157 survey respondents who answered a question on whether they used ASPs, about 13 percent'6.6 percent of all respondents'said they did.

But answers to other questions in the ITAA survey revealed the lack of familiarity among the entire survey group. When asked to select a preferred pricing model, for instance, 28 percent picked a fixed, one-time fee—a method that is not an option with ASPs.

Overall, respondents either using or considering using ASPs expressed a mix of hopes and concerns about their possibilities. Among the benefits most frequently identified by respondents were access to high-end applications, guaranteed uptime, better performance and lower lifecycle and administrative costs.

Among the drawbacks they most often identified were being locked in to a contract, losing of control of their systems, concerns about vendor stability and potential problems with integrating legacy systems.

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