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Key Concepts

  • Service provision—The ASP sets up, turns on, or orders network, system platform, application, servers, billing, reporting/monitoring, and security

  • Implementation estimate—The ASP estimates the extent of customization and fee

  • System sizing—The ASP decides the number, type, and use of computers to be deployed as well as the number of software seats; and the general system architecture

  • Platform preparation—The ASP loads operating systems, partitions drives, loads servers and storage devices into data center racks, and deploys firewalls

  • Client preparation—The ASP loads communication protocols and client, encryption, and remote management software on customer desktops

  • Customization—The ASP makes actual code changes to the hosted software that may involve integration with legacy applications and other value-added integration

  • User policies—Network policies grant different types of traffic from different companies or departments greater or lesser availability and bandwidth; application policies authorize certain users access to certain applications or application resources

  • Data conversion—The ASP or a partner converts the formats of customer legacy applications to formats usable by the hosted applications

  • Testing and QA—To guarantee SLA performance levels, the ASP maintains a separate testing environment to "test drive" hosted applications loaded with customer data

  • Training—The ASP should cover any functionality created by the customized hosted application and often uses train-the-trainer strategies

  • Going live—The ASP replicates the customized application from the testing environment to the production environment so the customer can conduct legitimate business

  • Maintenance and upgrades—The ASP should include client software, operating systems, patches for software bugs, data backup, restore and archival, and an on-call database administrator

  • Monitoring and reporting—Monitoring should be proactive and should cover key components of and equipment integral to the hosted infrastructure; reporting should contain data relevant to the customer's typical production work periods

  • Call centers—Customers should be able to contact the ASP call center readily (often in multiple ways like phone, fax, e-mail), and agents should have access to the customer's service history

  • Billing and mediation—The ASP should present consolidated, itemized services from multiple providers on one bill; ASP mediation should track actual application activity to calculate usage-based fees

  • ASP CRM—An ASP's CRM should combine best business practices, optimized work processes, apt technology, and relevant knowledge to service customers better, retain their business, and win new customers

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