Six Tips For Successful
ASP Selection"> Selecting an ASP: There are a number of factors you need to consider when selecting an ASP.
Service Level: Some ASPS offer 24/7 availability of 99.5 percent or higher. If an ASP cant promise availability at this level, then you should consider another provider who can.
Application performance: This is the other side of the coin. Productivity will suffer and users will get frustrated if it consistently takes 10 seconds or more to execute page loads. Customers should be able to demand and get consistent page loads of about 2 seconds.
Real-Time Monitoring: An ASP should provide you the ability to readily monitor in real time the performance of your organizations access to all the applications. This allows you to keep performance constant during peak periods or as you add additional users.
Integration: You also need to ensure that an ASP can readily integrate their services with your existing internal applications. This is typically done through the use of Web services and XML. Integration wont be easy or economical if the service provider has to write lots of custom APIs to ensure your critical business applications can share data with the ASP.
Phased Upgrades: Another touted advantage of working with an ASP is that application upgrades are automatically deployed to all customers at the same time. But ASPs should also give customers the option of phasing in upgrades to make sure that they dont disrupt business and provide adequate time to train employees to use new features.
Defined Exit Policy: If the time comes when you decide that you and ASP must part ways there has to be a rational exit process in place that ensures that all of your data securely departs with you.
But even splitting up with an ASP should be a lot less painful than tossing out an in-house application that you may have spent years and perhaps several million dollars to install and maintain.
eWEEK.com Enterprise Applications Center Editor John Pallatto is a veteran journalist in the field of enterprise software and Internet technology.