WHAT DRIVES APPLICATION SERVICE PROVIDERS (ASPS)
There is an irony to the fact that the Internet is making millions of pages of content available to you and your organization yet does not at present provide a suitable means of succinctly analyzing that content and presenting the results for your use. Analysts and information strategists in companies are tasked with taking the wealth of information and content on the Internet and then creating valuable analysis from the many sources of information.To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
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Underlying the irony that the information explosion actually makes the decision process more difficult, there is also the expectation by many that anything on the Web is actually easier to create and maintain than printed media. Although this may be true with e-marketing based sites, this is certainly not the case with e-operations based applications that rely on tying together with legacy applications in existence before the Internet.
The company looking to use an application service provider first should see the market drivers that are shaping the direction of the ASP market and its participants.The most proactive and visionary customers today will actually help define the direction and depth of offerings in this industry.
ASPs are in many respects working toward a model of efficiency by having little customization in their service and product suites. It’s a continual challenge for an ASP, because it needs to customize the application to the client, yet for internal purposes, it also needs to get efficiency out of production and operations by streamlining delivery.
As with any emerging market and corresponding driving technology, there are challenges of managing expectations both of delivered products and services, and the support associated with them. The intent of this post is to explore the market dynamics of the ASP arena that are shaping product offerings, including the proactive role customers play in this industry.
Of all Internet-based marketplaces, the ASP arena is marked by product strategies developed both with and for customers in real time. The need for being a responsive resource is an underlying assumption and core value, which is included in the business models explored in this blog post.
The core concept of the ASP model is service, and within service there is the opportunity to differentiate on customization or personalization, responsiveness, scalability, and upgradability of applications as the needs of a customer grow.
EXPLORING BUSINESS MODELS
The capability to deliver applications via the Internet to virtually any desktop with Internet accessibility is alluring to both software developers and investors alike. Creatively working to integrate the aspects of the Internet with those of advanced application development technologies including XML, Java, and Enterprise Java Beans, ASPs are creating entirely new classes of software almost monthly.
Further, the continual focus from IBM on Notes as a development platform works to bring time-to-market advantages to those companies willing to aggressively pursue product strategies both with internal development staffs and with partnerships.
One of the core values, which define a successful business model over another, is the capability of the model to scale for partner’s inputs and contributions. The most successful business models are capable of scaling to take into account a focused reciprocal approach to bringing business and new opportunities to each business participating. The continual evolution of Linux, for example, shows a model of association, which drives the sum total of efforts to produce a robust operating system.
The cost savings of working with Linux have attracted many ASPs to that operating system. The capability of a business model to create a win/win situation for each partner involved is very powerful. On a consumer level, this model is the basis for EBay.com, in which there are tens of thousands of partner sellers that generate traffic in the millions of visits.
There are several ASP business models that are starting to emerge from the ASP market arena. Here is a review of each of the dominant models that continue to be successful in generating customers and recurring revenue streams.
Companies That Offer e-Marketing Sites Online
Often called by ZDNet and others the “click-and-sell” sites, this class of company provides all the necessary tools for creating an e-marketing and e-commerce site online. As the fastest growing of business models, this area has attracted many competitors; Bigstep.com and FreeMerchant.com are two market leaders.The business model of these site focuses on the development of thousands of online customers, charging them nothing for creating their sites, and charging or for completed transactions. The larger click-and-build sites are increasingly looking to partnerships for creating a comprehensive product suite.
In the near future, it is feasible that a business will be able to get a free simple e-marketing site, catalog, and even a click-together simplified HR application using the tools on these sites. The key aspect of these click-and-sell sites is their capability to generate customers for the more expanded applications that collaboration, and cost savings throughout an organization.
It’s apparent that the click-and-build companies are -very new customers for their offers of free e-marketing sites. With over 880,000 business users now communicating the competitive advantages of their companies online free, click-and-sell companies are rapidly creating an entirely new class of application service provider. This class of ASP is aimed at the companies that are either unsure of needing an online presence and don’t want to spend the funds, or smaller companies that just want to experiment with online marketing and don’t have the funds to hire an ASP or Web site developer.
Click-and-sell companies are in the business of offering companies a free online presence for making their e-marketing sites visible to the outside world, including sales catalogs.These build companies make their money on advertising revenue for banner ads and also on catalog revenue, accruing 5% of monthly sales on items sold through a catalog.
What makes the click-and-sell site a leader in the area of business models? It has the following key strengths, and also the following challenges. First, for the strengths, a click-and-sell site is free, which draws thousands of users to the site for e-marketing and e-commerce tasks. The click-and-sell sites generate revenue by the costs per trans¬actions fulfilled from the catalogs online with customers, and the advertising revenues generated by showing potential companies the size of the customer installed base.
The limitation of this business model is actually the limitation it places on its customers. Customers cannot, for example, create customized templates; they cannot create a customized look either.The catalog is useful yet does not provide the necessary tools for creating a truly in-depth and industrial-strength trading center. Lastly, the click and sell sites require branding on their customers’ sites and also have limited search engine optimization capabilities.
Furthermore, on the topic of marketing and analytic tools, many of these sites do provide approaches to checking the number of hits, where they came from, and the number of orders placed. They are finding it difficult to quantify the number of hits to a specific URL, as many of these companies require a URL that has their name in it.
Search Engine Optimization
Many businesses, after getting their sites online, find no one comes to visit. This is both frustrating and a challenge for companies, which is the reason for the pervasive advertising of URLs throughout our daily lives’—everything from commercial jets to crock pots. Although advertising is prohibitively expensive, you can use search engine optimization to get a Web site listed on search engines, which uses a unique approach to embedding meta tags into a Web page so the search engines will find it more often. Companies such as ZLand.com offer this service and have had very successful results. One example is of a chocolate manufacturer who had a Web site with his products listed and found very little traffic. In fact, the site was not even breaking even. The chocolate producer used the search engine optimization from 21and.com and was picked up in a search engine by a regional department store looking for more chocolate suppliers in its area. As a result, the chocolate company has seen nearly a doubling in revenue in the last six months.
In summary, the click-and-sell sites, although free for e-marketing and nominally priced for e-commerce tasks including catalogs, are not the industrial-strength sites
Exploring Business Models needed by many larger organizations.
Companies in this arena have either limited or often no capability for importing or exporting data. There is also the limitation of only a few pages of templates to generate a “Web site, and the added issue of the URL having the name of the click-and-sell company in the site’s address. Despite these limitations, this business model continues to grow for the following reasons:
• Click-and-sell companies give businesses the opportunity to learn about their Web site needs and develop catalogs in real time, without a staff.
• Instead of going through a long, drawn-out production cycle, you can create a basic catalog in a matter of minutes. A business with many divisions that wants to test the Internet as a communication vehicle can do so in a matter of minutes for no cost.
• New products and business ideas can be tested quickly and without cost.
• Partnerships from the click-and-sell companies promise to bring e-operations tools into their overall product mixes within the coming years, Bigstep.com has more partnerships than any other click-and-build company. Although e-marketing is the strong focus of these companies today, they do realize that e-operations is the future.
e-Business Accountability and Relationship One of the interesting insights that comes from spending time with CEOs of businesses is that they as a group see the potential of the Internet as an avenue for generating additional revenues These CEOs also see the Internet as having the potential to minimize their costs through more efficient communication.
For the vast majority of businesses, the idea of having orders placed for their products over the Internet and even leasing applications seems futuristic and great in potential, but the issue of trust is still crucial. How can I trust that the application will provide the right information at the right time? And what about the orders on my site? How can I make sure the orders are all correct? What about the HR records I update over a weekend for a new hire? These questions and more requite a singular point of accountability for the business person. The point of having a trusted guide, a person to go to, who will provide guidance and consultative advice is invaluable for the businessperson looking at the ASP model. Relationships are what this model is all about, with the revenue stream being driven by both monthly lease fees and upselling to customers as their needs change. This model focuses on how to be a long-term asset to a customer.
Long the domain of EDS, IBM, Oracle, and others, this approach to one-stop personalized selling of e-business solutions is needed for businesses of all sizes. One of the most interesting dynamics of companies that are using this approach to provide ASP services is that relationships, once created and sustained by solid performance on commitments and ongoing trusted communication, turn into customers who migrate from the most simplistic Web sites to the most complex. Taking the personalized approach to providing e-business solutions, over time, creates trust. From the foundation of trust created, many CEOs begin adopting e-business solutions to solve their problems. No other business model in the ASP arena can personally take responsibility for developing a customer over time.
The e-business expert is the trusted guide and can eventually assist customers, if they choose to take the advice, to drive for cost reduction in their companies, creating a collaborative intranet in the process.
With the personalized approach resembling a technology-savvy concierge in a great hotel, the business model of e-business accountability and relationship selling also needs to singularly focus the internal operations on the needs of the customer. This perspective, with many technology and pricing decisions surrounding the service aspect to the customer, makes this model “high friction” in terms of having a strong e-business expert be the evangelist internally for the customer. When a company has an e-business evangelist inside an ASP looking out for their needs, the execution will be strong and the relationship will grow.
The need for guidance and the benefits of providing it for businesses is evidenced by many of the leading software companies embracing the ASP model. The ASP model is a service business that requires responsiveness in e-business experts. With service being the differentiator, the voice of the customer must permeate both an ASP provider and the companies using e-business solutions. One of the real strengths of this model is that the voice of the customer comes through via e-business experts who rightly evangelize solutions for their customers inside the company. For example, Oracle Online continues to grow as an ASP, providing e-business experts to customers who are adopting Oracle solutions.
On a global scale, the most attractive segment for ASPs is small businesses. There are 4 million small businesses today in the United States alone_ according to The Yankee Group. With a projected 4% growth rate, this will turn into approximately 5 million businesses by 2003. Reaching into this segment does not make sense for the larger companies that have cost infrastructures, that prohibit their servicing smaller businesses cost efficiently. Using a franchise model, Zland.com focuses on bring local e-business experts to small businesses around the world. The focus on being a one-stop shop for the small business is critical because the bandwidth in companies below 1,000 is already stretched thin.
The need for having a resource for handing off critical tasks is essential for growth of e-business strategies in these companies. Without the help of an e-business expert or consultant, the tasks necessary to create an e-business strategy wouldn’t get done.
The role of the e-business expert as trusted guide is critical, especially in smaller companies in which the focus needs to be on doing a minimum number of tasks for maximum results .That’s the true traction of this business model: It provides efficiency for small businesses to get their online objectives accomplished.
Exploring Business Models land uses a franchise model for providing personal accountability to customers
With the strengths of personal accountability, focus on the customer for the long-term, and the capability to span applications for e-marketing, e-commerce, and e-operations areas, the relationship selling model is adaptable for many types of customers. The shortfalls of this model are succinctly explaining the value proposition of the relationship-based model and simplifying pricing and options. Overall, this model shows great promise because the relationships with customers are the asset, and the product innovation is used to further serve the evolving needs of customers as their businesses change and hopefully grow.
THE COMMUNITY MODEL
Starting as a Web site used for auctioning offPez dispensers, Ebay.com is now a fully functioning corporation with a market capitalization of over $200 billion. Using a community-oriented concept of creating online areas where people with similar interests can bid on items of interest, Ebay.com has risen to be a standard in B2C commerce. What’s interesting is the business model initially focused on taking a percentage of the transaction for a processing fee, and is now a model that includes revenue streams from advertising, partnerships, and international expansion.
The community business model is well suited for B2C commerce, in which people cruising the Web for pleasure can quickly get a handle of the pricing for items of interest. Further, the community model creates specific market segments within itself, further segmented by purchasing behavior. This provides Ebay.com with additional advertising opportunities as well.
EXPLORING BUSINESS MODELS
What’s crucial about this model is the role partnerships play. For Future link, the role of Citrix, Compaq, and Microsoft are crucial because the technologies these companies provide serve as the foundation of the delivery approach Future link uses for providing applications. Each of these partnerships provide specific technologies that are essential for Future link to deliver leased applications to customers.
The drawbacks of this model include the shortcomings of many Internet-based distribution and selling companies, “which are primarily being accused of “hollow” business models that don’t have a true delivery of value over time. Specifically, companies that are consistent in the value they deliver over time with a business that would have suc¬ceeded on the Internet or without it are the ones making progress both in market share and profitability. The role of the Internet is then one of streamlining these already solid, business models to enable even, greater growth. The need for building a robust BackOffice for serving up the applications, and the capability of the BackOffice of a distribution company to scale is also critical. All the investments in scalability and development of applications, including their testing, makes the distribution model very expensive to operate.
For companies adopting this mode!, they must rely on the veloc¬ity of transactions and breadth of application leasing as the prime revenue generators.
THE PROMOTION AND ADVERTISING MODEL
A multitude of companies on the Internet have the development of a large readership or viewership to drive up advertising prices as their primary business model. One of the more unique companies in this arena is Buy.com, which until recently was selling its products below cost and attempting to make up the difference in advertising rev¬enues. This assumes that the products being sold have a relatively flat demand curve that tends to trail off, thereby leading to more visitors once a “cliff” on the price has been reached. This happens on certain products, which have limited supply, but with much competition in key areas of computing products, this doesn’t tend to work all the time. Upon its IPO early in 2000, Buy.com first told everyone in interviews that its model would now include for-profit products. This was refreshing to the analysts who track the company.
With the advertising model in full gear at other companies such as Yahoo!, it’s apparent how a market leader for premium pricing, leading to other media strategies, can lever¬age the model.Yahoo! has been focusing on driving content into their site, thereby creating an ever-greater value for visitors using the search engine features of this portal to find sites of interest. As Yahoo’s traffic has grown, so has its market capitalization, which stands at $91 billion at the time of this writing. Yahoo! is actively working to create television, printed, and online content as part of an overall media strategy.
THE SOFTWARE TO SERVICE MODEL
The gauntlet has been thrown down by Larry Ellison of Oracle to other software companies to change their business models from software sales to application leasing.
At the same time, Oracle is saying it will use its exclusive value-added resellers as the e-business experts to provide ASP services. Yet the direction Larry Ellison has set is clear; he commented to Internet World during October, 1999 that 50% of his company’s revenues would be generated from Web-based sales. This is an aggressive goal and is quickly being pursued with the Oracle Online application suite of Web-enabled applications for large and medium businesses.
What’s so intriguing about this model are the implications for companies that have built their sales and support organizations and processes to support sales tasks instead of service tasks. Microsoft is in the midst of this transition as evidenced by comments and anecdotes from Steve Ballmer during the close of the 4th quarter, 1999. With the Microsoft Office Online pilots underway and the efforts to streamline licensing, Microsoft is working to get their business model turned into a services-based model as quickly as possible. Using their extensive resources for marketing and development, Microsoft can be expected to lease all components of Office online before the end of 2000.
The strengths of this model include the capability to create recurring revenue streams, leveraging the Internet to deliver the value. This is also a business model that focuses on the development of longer-term relationships than has been possible in the mass sales approach from before. The third aspect of this model, which is going to be inter¬esting to monitor in the coming years, is the implications for OEM partners of these companies. With the direct model turning these companies into service businesses, will the direct model in effect give the end customer a complete decision of which operating system on which computer? The dynamics of OEM pricing and the very nature of the relationship will change between Microsoft and its OEM partners. There will be a migration of ancillary business models of companies also serving Microsoft.
The weakness of this model is that it does not require the size and scope of an organization needed for traditional application publishing and sales. The re-engineering of Companies such as Microsoft and Oracle are expected to be gradual yet significant. Coupled with the Department of Justice ruling on Microsoft and its migration to a service-based business model, the ruling to potentially split up Microsoft could be the best solution for how to streamline internal processes to re-engineer the company internally. What the Department of Justice can do through their ruling is what the market would have potentially done within three years as well. Clearly the transformation of Microsoft and the other larger software companies is at hand. Many of these larger companies have pricing structures favoring larger customers, and these companies are challenged to scale down to smaller businesses as the cost-per-sales call for larger corporations is too high for the larger players in this market. For example, it costs companies such as Oracle $165-3200 per sales call.
THE VAR TO ASP MODEL
Starting from the same foundation as the E-Business Accountability and Relation¬ship Selling Model, the VAR to ASP Model also relies heavily on relationships with focusing by Segment
customers. Many VARs first established their relationships with leading Fortune 2,000 companies by selling them networks, software, PCs, and servers over the last 15 to 20 years. The effects of the “Web as a change agent on industries are felt strongly in the PC and information systems VAR arena today. Although companies including Dell and Gateway have acted to change distribution, the VARs are now in position to retain the most valuable asset they have: their customer relationships. To that end, Vars are becoming application service providers through partnerships with Oracle, Great Plains Software, SAP, and many others. The VAR today is taking on the role of sales channel for the higher-end ASP applications, which require both project management and a strong voice inside their companies on behalf of the customer.
The strengths of this model include its capability to serve larger corporations through pre-existing relationships with companies they have known for years. Another benefit of this model is that many VARs have experience with training, support, and the development of product expertise internally, making them self-sufficient. The down¬side of this model is that it really doesn’t give the VAR complete control of its own destiny unless the strategy is to learn from the larger players and then embark as an ASP on its own. Many VARs are in fact doing just that. This model is focused on high service and low margin, as the applications are resold, netting a sell-through margin to the VAR.
ASPS FOCUSING BY SEGMENT
Watching the ASP marketplace evolve is synonymous to watching a kaleidoscope against the noonday sun; as new colorful companies emerge, some disappear and still others reshape themselves. The constant, however, is that small businesses and their needs are actively shaping the types of applications being offered. The capability of an ASP to focus on a vertical segment and capitalize on serving the segments’ needs with a variety of products drives product breadth. Many ASPs are looking to small busi¬nesses with operations tools that lend themselves well to a per-seat pricing strategy. Nearly all the ASPs in this market area are first focusing on the number of employees in a company as primary segmentation criteria. shows how ASPs are segmenting themselves by size of company.
Because the business model for most ASPs starts with a single per-Web-site charge for creating an e-marketing presence to a specific per-seat charge for e-operations applications, this segmentation is pervasive throughout the industry. Per-seat charges on a per-seat basis for leasing an application with slight variations in the breakout of employees—these classes give ASPs the insights needed for creating entirely new product strategies by market served. The need for accurately gauging the needs in each of these areas is typically accomplished through focus groups and customer surveys sponsored by ASPs.
TURNING CHALLENGES INTO OPPORTUNITIES
Taking the problems of other businesses and providing solutions has long been the basic focus of service businesses. In the ASP industry, taking on the challenges of creating an e-business strategy and accompanying Web site is the service proposition of application service providers. This holds very true in the ASP arena, because the focus of ASPs just entering the marketplace today is on small- and mid-sized companies.
The key to the ASP marketplace and its dynamics is seeing the perspective, by ASP, of how they perceive your need and the broader market need. Companies that communicate this, sometimes called a value proposition, are US Internetworking, Verio, Zland.com, and Intel with their hosting services. Because a new ASP is announced practically every week, it’s imperative that the value proposition be examined to see how the company sees itself. Is it a technology or marketing-focused company?
Is their focus on the latest gadget Or the ability to go the distance with a customer? One of the best tests of a value proposition is to check and see how many times, if any, the customer is mentioned in their statements and the vision of the company. You can learn quite a bit just from reading a paper presented by their CEO, for example.
Yet at the basis of the driving change of ASPs is the capability to fulfill service commitments. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are crucial for the long-term growth of the industry, SLAs are covered in later chapters of this book as well. A Service Level Agreement is actually a quantification of service performance. The ASP’s industry term for the contract, which states overall levels of performance to be delivered, is denned in SLA agreements.
SMALL BUSINESS DRIVING INNOVATION
Think about a small business you deal with on a periodic basis. Perhaps you are one yourself. What are your challenges? What are the tasks that take the most time yet don’t really provide the greatest return? This is the inflexion point for ASPs targeting companies of all sizes, but the small business marketplace is a driving force because its needs are both more immediate and more acute. The small business demands of delivering products to its customers, managing revenue and growth of receivables, and of handling all the paperwork for hiring and having people on payroll are often outsourced. First these tasks were sent out to companies such as ADP and others for fulfillment. With the growth of the Internet and its availability everywhere, these same tasks can easily be completed internally as well. The need for accurate information internally and instantly drives the ASP model, along with additional factors presented here.
LABOR SHORTAGE MEANS HR OUTSOURCING
With an unemployment rate hovering at 4% nationally and 2% in the tech centers of the United States, companies are increasingly looking to do more business in less time, with the same headcount or even less. Holding onto employees is difficult, and handling all the paperwork is also daunting. As more companies enter the ASP arena this will be a primary focus for them. This will be an area that will see significant product and service changes an the coming years.
Scaling applications on a global level is the foremost challenge of any ASP today. Because, by nature, this marketplace is focused on a one-to-many approach to providing application services, the need for having headroom in the BackOffice capabilities of a provider is crucial. This area is changing so quickly that if you were able to get the best minds of this industry together for a week and record the transcript, certain aspects of the conversation would be obsolete in the six weeks it would take to fully appreciate and analyze their insights.
With the ASP marketplace changing so quickly, the answer to handling this is getting a partnership in place with each of the companies who are acting as technology genera¬tors or technology developers. For the business looking at the ASP model, its important to realize that those partnerships its ASP has are critical for the success of both the ASP and its customers.
One of the characteristics of early adopter companies of the ASP model is their configuration as a business. The overwhelming need to communicate across broad geographic locations is a key driver for adoption of the ASP model. Taking the faster growth companies with revenue growth over 15% per year, there is the corresponding need for having online training available on a 24/7 basis as employees and their offices are constantly being added throughout regions of the world in high adopter companies.
Saving on travel costs and lost time when associates are out of the office, distance learning is making significant inroads into corporations worldwide. The ability to complete training at any location, anytime via a browser makes this approach to teaching and instruction one of the fastest growing areas of the IT industry. According to International Data Corporation, training completed over the Internet, sometimes called distance learning and even e-learning, is growing at over a 100% compound annual growth rate through 2003. This is attributable to the fact that the delivery of courses over the Internet is becoming increasingly accepted. In addition, there is an emerging class of ASPs that are focused on serving the needs of companies that want to learn more about how to program in Java, XML, and C++. Another trend driving the adoption of e-learning is the introduction of corporate and private universities that are entirely Web-based.
As the heart of e-operations, cross-functional communication is the need that tools aimed at dropping costs of manufacturing and operations focus on as a differentiator. Just how collaborative an application is depends on the time and cost savings it achieves. As companies grow and change through stages of communication patterns, the need for having an electronic representation of these patterns of information needs to be planned for. This approach to planning needs based on communications flow, using the Internet to augment its efficiency, is ultimately how the ASP model will be judged in five years.
INTERNET ADOPTION IN SMALL BUSINESS
These are the trailblazers of the ASP arena, those companies stepping out and becom¬ing the first adopters. In this section you’ll get a glimpse at who these companies are and why they chose to be among the first to integrate ASP applications into their companies.
WHO IS THE EARLY ADOPTER?
By definition, this is a company that jumps into the latest technologies looking for the benefits to accrue over time for their firms. In the case of ASPs, the early adopter shares these common characteristics across international boundaries:
• These companies have several remote locations, with the median number being four or more. The focus of these regional offices is on sales and customer service, and there is a challenge
to any sized businesses to have both the information and culture disseminated to these remote offices.
• Companies that are early adopters also have fewer than 15 years of experience. Consider that Microsoft was founded in 1975 and waited until 1986 to go public. At the time of their IPO, Microsoft annual sales were $197 million and they had 1,153 employees—a far cry from their $19 billion in sales for 1999 and their 31,396 employees today. Also consider Cisco, which shipped its first product in 1986. Since then, Cisco has grown into a multinational corporation with more than 20,000 employees in more than 200 offices in 55 countries,
• Typically have a higher revenue figure compared to non-adopters because these companies have found how to integrate technology into their companies.
• Have predominantly service-based businesses that are B2B focused. ASP applications are seen as tools for handling responsiveness to the customer base.
• Have a higher per-PC count than the non-adopters and have an intranet in place before adopting an ASP solution.
Have a tendency to work with other companies that are also early adopters and compare results, especially on the service dimension.
CHANNELS OF DELIVERY
One of the major differentiators by ASPs is their approach to distributing services to their clients. From the largest companies, there is the model of the e-business consultant along with a deployment team, which provides the key aspects of program management and testing. Increasingly, this model is being focused on smaller businesses as well. The channel dynamics ofVARs trying to hold onto their customers while migrating the business model of a hardware reseller to focus on the Internet is a challenge. To see how the channels of delivery vary by ASP, check out CMPNET.com and alsoVARBusiness.com; both sites capture information on the VAR to ASP transition.
Potentially one of the delivery approaches that will change e-marketing and e-commerce in the short-term, click-and-sell companies are intriguingly taking the Dell model and bringing it to the ASP model. What is not found in personal time with an e-business expert is made up for in the time efficiencies of creating a Web site unattended while online.
CASE STUDY: WHY TRIGON ELECTRONICS CHOSE AN ASP SOLUTION
Trigon Electronics uses its Web site to deliver timely product information to its dealers, maximizing sales productivity in the process.
In addition to serving its dealers with timely information, Trigon Electronics finds that its Web site is a valuable tool for projecting an accurate image of its business.
PRODUCTS TO MANY OF THE WORLD’S
Trigon has built a solid reputation in the security marketplace, starting with gate openers and electronically enabled security products in the early 1980s and advancing to intercom replacement products today. Some of the world’s leading corporations use Trigon’s products, including Bay Bank of Boston, Citibank, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Kaiser Permanente, and Xerox. These companies and many others have trigon products installed in their offices, and in many cases, at ATM locations.
CASE STUDY CHOSE AN ASP SOLUTION
Trigon’s rigorous production standards include the use of stainless steel cases and adherence to military spec standards of reliability and electromagnetic interference ratings. A 22,000 square foot production facility in Silver Lake, California, where security products are produced to exacting specifications, complements Trigon’s selling efforts worldwide.
ONLINE INFORMATION FOR CLOSING SALES
Selling security products to many of the world’s best-known companies required that Trigon build a strong, smart, dealer channel that understands how to sell and install security products. The company’s Land. Corn-based Web site at www. Trigonelectronics.com serves as a communications tool for making sure dealers around the country, and soon around the world, have the product information and literature they need to be successful. Substantial incremental business has resulted. “The Web site saved many sales for me by providing the information I needed when I had to have it,” said a Trigon dealer during a recent sales conference.
Trigon chose to use the Adobe Acrobat format to distribute its product literature, installation instructions, and product guides online due to the pervasive support for this file format.
DEALER LOCATOR PROVIDES DEALERS WITH AN ONLINE PRESENCE AND CROSS-LANKING CAPABILITY
Ron Edde, National Sales Manager with Trigon Electronics, championed the Web site and drove the creation of solutions tailored to the needs of dealers. Drawing from his experiences in the publishing industry, Edde was able to get much of the product literature online for immediate use by dealers nationwide.
Trigon arid its dealer network are starting to view the Internet as a marketing tool, and the ZLand.com-provided Dealer Locator is winning strong support m the dealer network. “Having the option of including a dealer’s Web site address is a great feature. Several of our dealers already have Web sites, and the painless approach to including their email addresses and URLs is great,” Edde commented.
The Dealer Locator is also introducing dealers to opportunities for generating referral business over the Internet. Dealers also like having a specific page in the Dealer Locator for their particular business. The ability to optionally add an email address and a URL gives those dealers an online presence and an opportunity to cross-link traffic between Trigon and themselves.
ONLINE PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS, PHOTOS, SPECIFICATIONS, PART NUMBERS, AND PROGRAMMING INSTRUCTIONS
The Customer Lounge area of the Trigon site provides a central reference point on the site for dealers and OEM customers to find product descriptions, photos, specifications, part numbers, and even programming instructions. The Customer Lounge also provides dealers with assistance in getting the Adobe Acrobat files up and running. The online Customer Lounge is the first step in what Edde sees as a continuing adoption of technology to better serve Trigon dealers, making it possible for distribution partners to create entire presentations for pursuing opportunities.
Edde is confident that the Web site clearly can provide even more valuable information to dealers in the future by leveraging the multimedia aspects of the Internet. His vision for the future of the Web site includes having product and sales training materials online in streaming video. “The ability to visually communicate a product s key selling features and benefits will be a powerful sales tool for us in educating our dealers. I can see where we will want to explore having streaming video product training as well. Dealers will be able to get up to speed online at their convenience,” Edde commented.
“One of the dealers recently told me that the Web site met the need for having prod-
quotes and answers to customer questions,” Edde concluded. “He really summed it up when he told me that Trigon’s site is fantastic!”
Finding a need and filling it is a good basic business axiom seen again and again within technology/market innovations. The market for leasable applications over the interest continues to grow and mature as the needs from all classes of business continue to out space existing staff and resources. The ASP model is the “release value “for companies growing at a rate faster than their infrastructures can support. In many case, the early adoption of the ASP model are companies needing the tools immediately on a global level. As these needs continue to change the landscape of international business, the ASP arena will also continually change to reflect unmet needs.To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.