After spending time and speaking at the ASP Summit conference a short time ago, I began thinking about the dynamic changes that have occurred since I last wrote about application service providers (ASPs) six months ago. The conference brought together an interesting mix of service providers, vendors that partner with or supply ASPs and a smattering of current and prospective customers. One of the things that struck me was how much the vendors are still looking for guidance. The refinement of strategies, focusing on targeted market segments, how to get the right sales team and process in place, and whom to partner with were all hot topics.

The view of the ASP market I discussed in my December 2000 column had a fairly positive outlook. Many vendors were in the market with many more poised to break in. Numerous customers and prospects were testing the market. Furthermore, data warehousing (DW) and business intelligence (BI) solutions appeared to be likely candidates for hosted environments. However, even at that time I noted the market was in flux and there was the possibility of a sizeable consolidation.

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