John Patrick (an ex-IBM-er) writes:
I believe now is the time for the reincarnation of the ASP as a valid and important business model. Tens of millions of people, either at home with their cable modem or DSL or at work with a high speed wired or wireless (WiFi) connection, now have access to always on, reliable, and fast Internet connectivity. There is no need for an ASP to provide an “office” desktop from a server via the Internet – it is already on the PC. The new generation of ASP (the name will probably not reemerge) will focus on the delivery of high value applications some classical and some new. The new generation of ASPs will provide applications that can not be done on a PC. They will also be e-businesses on demand a term we will be hearing more and more about.
On demand e-businesses share important characteristics, the most basic of which is delivering value-added results to their customers — whenever their customers need it. Twenty-four by seven is jacks or better that in itself does not make an e-business an on demand e-business. Not that 24×7 is that easy to achieve; especially as an e-business scales up to a very large one. 24×7 means not just always on but also everywhere. WiFi enabled e-businesses will make their services available to all their constituencies whenever they want and wherever they are.
There are two other very important elements to being an on demand business. First and foremost is integration. An on demand e-business has integrated all of its processes so that the e-business presents one face to the customer. Buy it online and return it to the store. But at the store and return it via an online request and then ship to a centralized location. Download support materials or place a service call on line regardless of how you made the purchase. On demand e-businesses are not just click here to buy. They also enable click here to initiate a chat session or video window with a real live person. If you call an on demand e-business by phone and ask them something about the web site they dont say thats a different department. On demand e-businesses do not have the words fax this form or call Monday Friday, 9 to 5. They dont pretend to be a global business and then say to call a 1-800 number 9-5 Central Standard Time. They dont say click here or call our inside sales desk for the location of a store near you. On demand e-businesses offer a people-oriented and user-friendly integrated and comprehensive experience for all their constituencies employees on the intranet, suppliers, customers, partners, analysts, and prospective constituents.
In the months and years ahead, successful on demand e-businesses will share another attribute competitiveness. The on demand channel will need to be competitive versus any channel of any competitor. On demand e-businesses will not have achieved 24×7 by making everything redundant but rather will use autonomic computing capabilities to allow their system to achieve the effect of redundancy by virtualization of their resources and intelligent and automatic sharing of those resources. It will gain cost advantage by creating an on demand operating environment that allows them to expand capacity on the fly to meet unexpected needs of customers. Ultimately most on demand e-businesses will either become a computing utility or use one.