app-e.com has decided it’s time to leave the friendly confines of Quebec and branch out to the rest of Canada. The ERP management software solutions company believes the ASP version of Maestro400, an accounting, payroll and human resources software application, is prepared to enter the entire Canadian market.
While the ASP market is considered relatively young and emerging, Ralph Terner believes it’s an area where business will increase. Terner, the vice-president and CTO of storage service provider NetDriven Solutions in Calgary believes it will become more common for services to interact and blend, with ASPs combining with other managed services, from managed storing to database servers.
Companies will look to an ASP mode “so that they can concentrate on their core business,” Terner added. But the real issue for Terner is security. ASP providers have modest activities around security issues, he said. But they should be placing more emphasis on security, since outsourcing requires a lot of maintenance.
But app-e.com’s Thierry Bernard doesn’t share Terner’s concerns. Security is not a concern because the Maestro400 incorporates a VPN and secure IDs, he said. When users initially log on, they enter a primary password, but then they must enter the code that is currently being displayed on their tokens. “They can’t guess at the password,” he said.
Bernard, the technical co-ordinator for app-e.com in Laval, Que., said the actual software has existed for over a decade. Companies can choose to install and run the application internally or can access it through app-e.com’s ASP service. From the Web site, there is a link that automatically starts the application on the PC, and if updates are required, it does so immediately and sends them back to the server, he said.
But the emerging ASP market still has some hurdles to overcome. Mark Quigley believes the biggest challenge for a small to medium sized ASP company is maintaining the cash flow needed to continue operations. But by no means is Quigley pessimistic about the future of the industry. “The market place is heading towards outsourcing the whole shooting match, from implementation to running it,” said the associate director of research for the Yankee Group in Brockville, Ont.
He believes ERP systems can lead to substantial savings. But small to medium businesses don’t typically have the in-house expertise to look at implementing the system, to manage it internally because they simply don’t possess the capital for the solution, he said. “They save on the up-front expenses and don’t have to worry about bringing in IT people to manage it for them.”
Also, monthly expenditures on an ASP will make more sense than large capital costs for CIOs re-examining their company’s infrastructure, and trying to achieve business objectives with fewer resources, Quigley added. It will become increasingly important for ASP providers to offer transitional technologies to companies, such as disaster recovery facilities, he said.
For additional information on the Maestro400, visit the company Web site at www.app-e.com.