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The ASP Phenomenon

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April 01, 2001
ASP Technologies
Mark Hamilton - mhamilton@uh.edu

©2001 Hospitality Upgrade. This work may not be reprinted, redistributed or repurposed without written consent.

There is so much frenzy, so many vendors working to make ASPs happen and others deciding to go back to core business strategy moving away from the idea.

After being asked to put together an article, I pondered the conversations, articles and research that I have encountered or engaged in over the past several months. In doing so, the recurring theme rang out like Rich’s voice in the C-Panel discussion at last summer’s HITEC. Or maybe it was his nephew’s voice. Actually it might work well set to that famous music…“you gotta have an ASP!” The question lingers; do you?

There is so much frenzy, so many vendors working to make ASPs happen and others deciding to go back to core business strategy moving away from the idea. The fact remains that the ASP phenomenon has seen a great publicity of late in the hospitality industry and in business in general. My belief, in contrast to the character I played at FS/TEC, is that the idea of the hosted application and the outsourced IT function is a good one and will have a significant impact on our hospitality business. However, like so many ideas, it is in its infancy, and it will change, evolve and become more reliable, secure and even faster as it develops.

In my role at the Technology Research and Education Center (TREC), I am working with no less than a handful of companies that have offerings in the hosted application arena. Certainly, the ASP model is in its infancy and in this stage we battle with issues related to the reliability, security and speed of these services. Like so many new technologies for business today, we are experiencing not only the growth of acceptance of this technology, but also its evolution. After all, Jupiter Communications predicts that B2B revenues will reach more than $6 trillion by 2005 in the United States. This will, of course, be fed by growth in the ASP arena. There is no doubt that the model, as we know it, is a sound idea that actually works. But what of the changes that this model may bring to the landscape as we view it now?

What about the idea of restaurants being able to purchase hosted services like G/L packages, consolidated managerial reporting or high-speed credit card clearing, and in doing so, getting the POS for free. OK, suppress the laughter. Critics are now questioning my credibility and scoffing at this idea. Don’t be so quick to judge. You may have said the same thing about Windows-based POS or maybe outsourced help desks and technology training.

We must continue to embrace these changes and reposition ourselves, our operations and our companies to accept the positive results that change offers. Cautiously, and with a guest-centric ideal, we will move forward with this technology and mold it into a model that serves the industry best. Then there will be something new that touts to change business as we know it.

If you are interested in knowing more about the ASP model and its impact on the industry, take a look at the TREC Web site www.trec.uh.edu. We will be hosting a Web cast on the topic in April at the 2001 installment of the TREC lecture series. We will attempt to enlighten some and challenge others on the subject. Stay tuned for further developments. I will continue to use my ASP and when the free POS systems start hitting the market, remember…I told you so.

Mark Hamilton is the director of the Technology Research and Education Center at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He may be reached by e-mail at mhamilton@uh.edu.

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