ASP stands for the abbreviation Application Service Providing or also Application Service Provider. It means the provision of an application as a service. In this case, the software license is not installed locally at the user’s workstation (client), but the user accesses the application via a network (Internet or company intranet) and a web client. The software and all required components are located on a central server.
When providing and using a software via ASP, the service provider receives a fee, usually a monthly rent, for a fixed term. In addition, usage-based billing based on the number of system transactions (pay as you go) has become established. Hybrid forms are also possible. In addition to the provision, the software provider also takes over the maintenance and servicing of the software and hardware.
ASP solutions are particularly suitable for applications that place particularly high demands on the hardware. This also applies to complex logistics processes mapping logistics and forwarding software.
Advantages of the software Use via ASP
The independence from the hardware otherwise required for processing the data volumes represents the most decisive advantage of ASP. In conventional software operation – both as a license for the individual workstation and in operation in a separate server setup – the customer must always handle the compatibility guarantee of software and hardware himself in order to be permanently upgradeable. At a certain point, the hardware becomes the bottleneck. If one has waited too long and then has to renew software and hardware at the same time, high and only partially foreseeable costs are usually incurred. The acquisition is also connected with a high investment with the normal software procurement. In comparison, in the ASP model these costs are harmoniously distributed over the term of the lease. This makes the software and indirectly also the hardware costs constant and reliably calculable.
Furthermore, the requirements for the local hardware (PC or laptop) are relatively low, as usually only an Internet browser or a web client needs to be installed. The maintenance effort for the workstations is therefore quite uncomplicated. ASP generates the same advantage on the server side, as the software only needs to be maintained once in a hardware environment.
Since no software has to be installed on local hardware, the effort required to implement the application is also greatly simplified by ASP. On the one hand this relieves the own IT department and on the other hand saves additional costs for otherwise necessary maintenance contracts.
Risks of ASP
In addition to the clear advantages, Application Service Providing also involves risks that should be weighed up against it. With ASP, access is via a network whose availability is a prerequisite for using the software. So if there are problems with the Internet connection or the server connection, the application is not available. Further factors to be considered are server availability. This cannot be guaranteed if there are unforeseen hardware failures or downtime due to maintenance and update windows. This also applies to your own hardware, where you can take action yourself and plan maintenance work and similar individually.
Data security should also be considered in connection with ASP. In general, it must be ensured that your own data is secured externally by the service provider. Depending on the type of data, special security standards must also be met.
The question of the support structure should also be answered. If this can be provided in a full lifecycle, proactive error correction, continuous improvement and professional versioning are guaranteed.
difference to SaaS
Software-as-a-service solutions are highly standardized and can hardly be customized by the user. The prices in the Saas model, which are usually arranged in bundles, offer a choice of different modules that are invoiced regardless of whether they are used or not. In addition, SaaS customers usually share the infrastructure and server environment.
On the other hand, the possibilities for tailoring the software in Application Service Providing is very high, which is why the price models for ASP solutions are also much more individual and geared to usage. The terms of ASP contracts are often longer, often three to five years, whereas SaaS contracts are often only binding for 12 or 24 months.