eComWorld October 2000

Making a decision of this magnitude can be daunting - especially when many representatives resort to jargon in their sales pitches and the market changes so frequently. To help you through this process, eComWorld has prepared a guide to choosing an ISP and an overview of the burgeoning ASP market.

ASPs, or application service providers, rent access to applications that may have previously been out of the reach of SMEs. The idea harks back to the days of the mainframe and bureau services, where companies paid for just the time or storage capacity they needed.

The fact that upgrades will also be taken care of and, in many cases, applications can be accessed via a Web browser, make this option a compelling one for smaller businesses - where new versions of software and the requisite training spend can significantly eat into IT budgets. In this month's issue of eComWorld we look at what applications ASPs can provide and who has this type of service on offer. It's a relatively new area, so it pays to tread carefully.

The other type of service provider we discuss this month is the trusty ISP or Internet service provider. ISPs sprang up in the early days of the Net to help people get connected to the Web. Nowadays, they've expanded their offerings to services like Web-hosting, site design or high-speed access. Besides this market evolution, the ISP industry has also seen a number of mergers and acquisitions - not to mention business failures - that have made it difficult to keep up with who's who. To help in this area, eComWorld this month features a guide on how to choose an ISP, including the questions to ask and the options for small business users.

And to ensure we can measure the progression towards our goal of 2001 web sites online by 2001, we invite you to register your business's Web site with us. We'll be providing an online directory - categorised by industry, business and site type - for our readers, consumers and other businesses alike.

To register your site, follow the links at http://ecomworld.com.au.

We hope you enjoy the October edition of eComWorld, out now. If you have any suggestions, comments, or ideas for case studies, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at ben_gerholt@idg.com.au.

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Ben Gerholt

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