It was just a matter of time. Application service providers (ASPs) led the way with Internet-based hosted systems that provide an outsourcing alternative to in house application implementation. ASPs are now somewhat common, and their business model and entailing benefits are fairly well understood by the IT community. The latest wrinkle in the ASP market trend is that several vendors are now adapting data warehousing and business intelligence methodologies and technologies to the ASP model.

A new category of service provider – complete with its own acronym – is born. A business intelligence service provider (BISP) typically monitors its clients' Web sites, collecting information about activity on the site. The BISP transforms and loads the information into a database (perhaps in a multidimensional data model), and provides an analytic application or body of reports to analyze the data.

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