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The Application
Service Model
systems that are focused on memory institutions, and in particular museums and libraries.
This table shows the most popular services offered currently by ASPs.
As newcomers on the IT market in the late 1990s, ASP services were met with sub-
stantial interest, accompanied by rapid industry growth. According to consultants IDC,
worldwide spending on ASPs is estimated to grow from over
850M in 2000 to around
20,450M in 2005. Other studies make more conservative estimations, but the basic
trend is towards growth. IDC predicts that the spending on ASP services in Europe will
4,930M by 2005.The activity of the ASP industry is still lower in Europe than it
is in the US. Non-profit organisations may stand to benefit from the ASP approach. A
case study by the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work (CREW) at the
School of Information, University of Michigan, has examined the impact of ASPs in
the US national network NPower.
Initially, many companies offering any type of services referred to themselves as an
ASP, regardless of whether or not they delivered applications or simply access to the
Internet.Vendors nowadays are far more precise when defining the type of service they
offer, hence many providers use custom acronyms which are more descriptive of the
services they offer (e.g. management service providers use MSP, storage service providers
use SSP).The growth in the numbers of service providers has given rise to the term
xSP, where `x' stands for a term which describes the nature of the services provided.
There are three types of company with a vested interest in the development of the
xSP market: multinationals (including telecommunication companies, IT services compa-
nies, consultants), organisations experienced in providing outsourced services, and brand-
new small companies dedicated to ASP provision. As this might suggest, the ASP industry
is still largely fragmented.The xSP market has grown as customers increasingly realise
Site building
Info sharing
Info sharing and management
Site services
Backup and Storage
E-mail & Messaging
Email & Messaging
Administration & operations
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Specialist (Web site services)
Human Resources
Vertical Markets
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Desktop Applications
10 For further introduction to ASP and non-profit approaches, see Thomas Finholt,
"An Introduction to Application Service Providers", in DigiCULT.Info 5 (October 2003), available online at
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