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Data Conversion

SMBs without in-house IT departments may fail to take into consideration the often necessary step of data conversion. Larger companies are probably experienced in the process because they've run different applications in different departments and had to load data between applications and reformat it during the process. In the ASP model, data must be loaded from your legacy-installed applications to the ASP's hosted applications.

If it's transferred between similar systems from the same vendor—say, from an installed SAP ERP system to a hosted SAP ERP application containing identical modules—then conversion isn't needed. The data is typically copied to some storage medium at your premises according to the ASP's specifications, and loaded onto the hosted application in the data center. If it must be converted from one or several formats into a format usable by the hosted application, then actual data conversion—rather than data transfer—takes place.

ASPs either outsource conversion or do it themselves. If they outsource, then they hire consultants, service bureaus, integrators, or other service providers to handle the process, and then the ASP loads the converted data into the hosted application. The ASP might pass on the fee for the service to you as a charge independent of the leasing fee. For instance, a pure-play ASP that offers no value-added services would likely outsource conversion. If the ASP does the conversion, it assigns its own staff to go on-site and either actually do the conversion or oversee it to make sure you convert the data according to the ASP's specifications. An FSP offering integration as a value-added service would likely be efficient at conversion, do it profitably, and be able to bundle the cost into the overall leasing fee to your satisfaction.

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