Providing Essential Portal Management

The expected surge in the ASP market has left an air of uncertainty surrounding the entire computer industry. The AS/400 community is no different than others, with ISVs debating whether to ASP-enable their products or even become an ASP themselves. Others are still struggling with a pricing model.

Although the AS/400 community has never been known as one that readily embraces change, many members of that community are coming to the realization that the ASP model is here, and here to stay. In fact, The Meta Group estimates that AS/400-related ASP revenue will grow to between $2 billion and $3.5 billion by 2003.

E-commerce solutions provider Rippe & Kingston Systems Inc. (Cincinnati) is one AS/400 ISV that has already capitalized on the ASP model, as it recently introduced its second version of e.ssential ASP Portal Manager.

A turnkey Web portal management solutions, e.ssential ASP Portal Manager targets ASPs, ISVs, and corporate users, runs on the AS/400 platform and was built using LANSA for the Web, an e-business development tool for the AS/400. It delivers features such as Web administration, security management, user profiling, personal pages, Web reporting, multiple menu structures, graphics, images, content and corporate metaphors.

According to IBM, there are more than 8,000 ISVs providing solutions for the AS/400 market. e.ssential ASP Portal Manager provides these ISVs with a means to Web-enable their products, either to sell to ASPs or to end users directly. “We give them the ability to customize their product and make it manageable over the Internet,” says Thomas Davidson, VP of Consulting Services at Rippe & Kingston.

e.ssential Portal Manager also provides a solution for AS/400 ISVs still weighing the pros and cons of becoming ASPs. While some AS/400 ISVs are still trying to define their role—deciding whether to sell to ASPs or become an ASP themselves—others, such as Infinium, have already entered the ASP space.

The portal manages the entire security structure and takes care of any AS/400 specific issues when going through the Internet. ISVs can either purchase the portal itself or can license Rippe & Kingston to do the implementation for them.

“With the number of Web pages doubling every 12 months at active sites, we believe that AS/400 independent software vendors who enter the ASP space will need a method to aggregate, customize and manage Web content and services,” says Davidson. “e.ssential Portal Manager is a turnkey applications that leverages the best of the AS/400, and it embodies all the technologies necessary for the Web including Domino, Java, XML, WebSphere and Microsoft Office Products.”

For ASPs, e.ssential ASP Portal Manager provide features such as the ability to drill down into the AS/400, personalize their offerings and manage Web site development and applications.

Davidson offered one specific scenario in which an ASP has a distribution application that it wants to provide to any distributors in the world. In many cases, the distributor has specific needs and wants to be able to customize the product to fit those needs. If the ASP has to be on the phone helping the customer customize its product, it will cost both time and money.

e.ssential ASP Portal Manager eliminates this problem. “The ASP Portal has features like drop and drag and selecting of images that puts the customer in a self-service, self-delivery mode,” says Davidson. The portal also gives ASPs the ability to take information from different AS/400 applications and publish it to the Web in a controlled and secure fashion.

Looking ahead, Davidson is very confident that the AS/400 will be a big player in the ASP market. “We view this product as an AS/400 breakthrough for e-business, and it’s a necessary tool for ASP looking to establish themselves,” he adds. “Most of the AS/400-based ASPs are in their early stages, but we feel the AS/400 is a perfect model for classic reasons like security, reliability and scalability.”

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  • Rippe & Kingston Systems Inc. (new window)
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