IBM is looking to help ISVs build versions of their products for application service providers with an online version of its ASP Prime initiative.
ASP Prime Online, which was announced last week, should bolster ASP Prime. The original service required ISVs to first enter a waiting list and then travel to one of IBM?s regional testing centers for training and advice, according to company officials in Armonk, N.Y.
In addition, while the original ASP Prime program required ISVs to be far along in their technology development before IBM would work with them, the online version will let participants bypass some prerequisites and get involved earlier in the process.
?We?re not trying to say that ASP Prime Online is the same as going into the center. This does not go to the same extent,? said Program Director Ann Reiten. ?But it helps people who are at an earlier stage in their ASP strategy to get access to the resources.?
Enfisys Inc. was one of the first vendors to try ASP Prime Online. The Atlanta-based company makes a hosted application for two- and three- dimensional medical imaging, but it lacked the necessary knowledge and experience to become an ASP, according to Louis James, CEO of Enfisys.
?We already had a relationship with IBM in terms of understanding what we can or cannot do,? James said. ?We were waiting to go through the ASP process. We wanted to be at a particular level when we started.?
Fortunately, he said, IBM announced the online version of ASP Prime just when Enfisys needed it. But while the program was helpful, he said, there was a downside.
?Eighty percent of the assessment document was a marketing tool,? James said. ?Sometimes, it?s hard to go through the IBM processes because it?s so big and appears to be disjointed.?
Despite those issues, ?we?re going to use IBM equipment and middleware,? James said. ?They tend to direct you in the right direction eventually.?
IBM last week also announced support for applications running on the Linux operating system and the opening of its first overseas testing center in Hursley, England.
Looking forward, Reiten said, IBM would like to bring even more of the program online and add business consulting to the mix. In addition, she said, IBM is dedicating personnel exclusively to ASP Prime Online, so the testing center backlog doesn?t carry over to the new program.
Approximately 150 software vendors have graduated from the standard ASP Prime so far, according to Reiten.