What Is An Application Service Provider?

Join us in finding out what an application service provider is. ASP is a company that offers individuals or enterprises access to applications. And also to related services over the internet.

Knowing About Application Service Providers

The term is mostly synonymous with software as a service (SaaS) provider. However, in other countries, companies use the two terms interchangeably.

Once referred to as “apps-on-tap,” ASP services is valuable, not only for individuals and smaller companies with low budgets for information technology but also for larger companies exploring the idea of outsourcing their information technology (IT) infrastructure around the turn of the century. Early ASPs focused on delivering specialized applications that were expensive to install and maintain. Essentially, the model required the ASP customer to purchase the software and then pay a provider to host it. 

Application Service Provider Defined

Any vendor providing individual users with software applications over a network is called an application service provider (ASP). It is usually either a local area network (LAN) with an internet connection or a LAN. The provided software may be referred to as software as a service, apps on tap, or on-demand software. One of the most basic forms of ASP is a vendor that provides access to a particular application software using the HTTP protocol.

ASPs provide applications and services to individuals and small businesses on a pay-per-use or yearly license basis. In the meantime, more giant corporations primarily provided their ASP service in-house. Hence, applications are moved off personal computers. And they are then placed on a special kind of application server designed to work with thin client workstations. This process allowed an enterprise to reassert the central control over application cost and usage that corporations formerly had in the period before the advent of the personal computer (PC).

 Application Service Provider Advantages 

  • reduced IT capital expenditure, 
  • more accessible software and hardware maintenance (such as automatic software upgrades), 
  • better interaction with mobile users. ASP also works well for specialized applications that would be too expensive to install and maintain on company computers.

Explaining Application Service Provider

An ASP is an answer to the repetitive and expensive process of installing the same software application on many individual computers or network stations. And hence using local hard drive space to install those applications. An additional benefit is that software upgrades are often automatic. The ASP usually provide technical support and security for its software. With an adequately fast network connection, an ASP can support business continuity and flexible working hours.

Organizations that use ASPs include businesses, non-profit and membership organizations and governments.

Sub-Categories of Application Service Providers

  • Enterprise ASPs — deliver high-end business applications.
  • Local/Regional ASPs — supply a wide variety of application services for smaller businesses in a local area.
  • Specialist ASPs — provide applications for a specific need, such as Web site services or human resources.
  • Vertical Market ASPs — provide support to a specific industry, such as health care.
  • Volume Business ASPs — supply general small/medium-sized businesses with prepackaged application services in volume.

Characteristics of ASPs

  • Single-tenant approach
  • Customized solution for each user
  • User has authority on the solution hosted by the vendor and can demand the type of service required.
  • Hosting user data at any jurisdiction per user’s requirement
  • SLA is unique to the user
  • User’s individual needs are the basis for costs
  • The monthly subscription on an as-used basis
  • Borrowed (third party) software used
  • User has the luxury to pull out of the ASP, buy the software from a third-party retailer and host it somewhere else
  • Once signed up, the vendor may take a long time to customize
  • Each user requires customized training and orientation which makes its usability cumbersome
  • Solution need not be internet-based

In Conclusion

ASP services have become an essential alternative to owning the software. This applies to small- and likewise medium-sized businesses. Most, especially those with limited information technology budgets. Moreover, bigger companies are using ASP services as a form of outsourcing.

ASP services make software less expensive and hence more comfortable to users by providing automatic upgrades and technical support. Application service providers created the concept of centralized processing or computing — accessing one central copy of the software versus purchasing and likewise maintaining multiple copies on every individual computer.

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