9.what is an application software provider (asp)

ASP - Application Service Provider

By Bradley Mitchell. Wireless/Networking Expert

Bradley is a computer professional with 20 years experience in network software development, project management, and technical writing. He has covered wireless and computer networking topics for About since 1999. See also - Bradley Mitchell at Google+

9.what is an application software provider (asp)


An Application Service Provider (ASP) is a business that offers software services to customers, using computer networks and the Internet as the mechanism to deliver and manage the service. Among the most well-known Application Service Providers are Clickability, Salesforce and WebEx.


The goal of an ASP business is to reduce the cost of software distribution and maintenance. Using a client/server model (often Web-based), network software can be installed in a centrally-controlled place and hosted - accessed by the customers over remote links.

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This method to providing software solutions is sometimes called the software as a service (SaaS) approach.

Common ASP Applications

These classes of network applications are often hosted by ASPs:
  • human resources (accounting and payroll)
  • sales (sales force automation)
  • enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • office and workgroup productivity tools
ASPs have had success selling these types of applications on a subscription-based model. Smaller businesses cannot afford to pay large sums of money to acquire a full-featured ERP tool, for example, but they can very possibly afford to rent these applications on a monthly or yearly basis.

In this way, Application Service Providers function much like automobile leasing services: ASPs allow businesses to use application software for a known up-front cost using a periodic payment schedule.

Networking Issues for Application Service Providers

A successful ASP must have robust technology for:
  • network security - protecting the business data flowing through the network
  • network monitoring and troubleshooting - ensuring the hosted applications remaining running. Often, ASPs will be under contract to meet network uptime and performance goals.
  • 9.what is an application software provider (asp)

    Application Service Provider

    Related Terms

    Abbreviated as ASP. a third-party entity that manages and distributes software-based services and solutions to customers across a wide area network from a central data center.

    In essence, ASPs are a way for companies to outsource some or almost all aspects of their information technology needs. They may be commercial ventures that cater to customers, or not-for-profit or government organizations, providing service and support to end users.

    According to ASPnews, ASPs are broken down into five subcategories:

    • Enterprise ASPs -- deliver high-end business applications.
    • Local/Regional ASPs -- supply 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 healthcare.
    • Volume Business ASPs -- supply general small/medium-sized businesses with prepackaged application services in volume.

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