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Are Early Adopters Satisfied with Netsourcing?

Very few surveys have been conducted of the early customer experience. Our online international survey is one of the few studies of early adopters. In our survey we asked respondents to indicate the overall performance of their netsourcing supplier using a 10-point Likert scale, with 0 or 1 indicating poor performance, 2 to 4 indicating satisfactory performance, 5 to 7 indicating good performance, and 8 to 10 indicating excellent performance. Thirty-two customers answered this question as of the first quarter of 2001. The mean response was 7.06, indicating a "good" performance rating overall (see Figure 1.8). The netsourcing performance rating is a little higher than we found for traditional IT outsourcing. Using the same scale, our prior survey on traditional IT outsourcing yielded a mean performance rating of 6.47 (n = 113).13

Figure 1.8FIGURE 1.8 Customer Rating of Netsourcing Performance

However, this high performance rating does mean that ASP customers have not experienced problems with their service delivery. The two most frequently experienced problems were slow response time (41% of respondents) and application unavailability (25%) (see Figure 1.9). But only a small percentage of respondents experienced problems often cited in the press, such as lost sales or unanticipated costs, and no incidents of hacking were reported.

Early customers were also asked in the survey to share their most important lessons on netsourcing. Responses ranged from unbridled enthusiasm to strong caution:

If it was available sooner, I would have done it sooner.

—Customer buying services from a European telecommunications company

I can easily access everywhere I want . . . it saves me lots of time by not having to go to the office. We had no hard time installing software on my laptop. I only access via my browser, which always works. I always have access to information about my customers. I don't need technical knowledge because they maintain the software and data for me.

—Customer buying e-commerce software and services from a Dutch provider

In my ASP's case, we went through difficult times for quite a while through growing pains. I feel it is best for an ASP start-up to have sufficient capital from the get go. I had lost clients as a result of patches used until they acquired funds from an investor.

—Customer buying Web hosting services from a U.S. provider

Some ASPs deliver bad quality, but it was a forced choice. Be objective when selecting an ASP. Don't buy their sales rap but compare services and ask for references from at least four other customers.

—Customer using three ASP suppliers with varying success

Figure 1.9FIGURE 1.9 Customer Experiences with ASP

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