Microsoft Certified Fresh

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Microsoft Certified Fresh
A. Turner - August 10, 2000

Event Summary

On July 14, 2000, at the Fusion 2000 business symposium, Microsoft Corp. announced new tools and programs to support the growing application hosting market. Application service providers (ASPs) can take advantage of new technical resources, partnerships, licensing and certification programs in offering software as a service on the Microsoft platform, including Microsoft Windows 2000, SQL Server™ 2000, Exchange 2000 and Office 2000.

Microsoft is enabling Independent software vendors (ISVs) and Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs) to bring hosted solutions to market. These programs are based on feedback from industry partners and customers and are an initial step toward Microsoft's recently announced .NET strategy. Over 65 ASP, ISV and systems integrator partners have announced support for Microsoft's platform and applications.

Tools, Partners and Support to Help Develop and Deploy Applications:

Guide to Developing and Hosting Web Applications - To facilitate the development and deployment of hosted Web applications on the Microsoft platform, Microsoft is offering their Guide to Developing and Hosting Web Applications. The guide was created for ISVs, customer application developers, hosting and other companies offering hosted application services. It provides a set of documentation, guidelines and best practices for developing and deploying applications in a hosted ASP environment.

ISV Partners - Independent Software Vendors (ISV) that offer Windows DNA-based applications for hosting include Solomon, Shared Medical Systems Corp., Pivotal Corp. and many others. Operational support and management ISVs include Xevo Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Evidian and Full Armor Corp. Tools.

Professional Services - Microsoft is working with systems integrators such as Compaq Computer Corp., EDS and marchFirst Inc. to offer professional services to ASPs and ISVs planning to deploy ASP services. Microsoft will also provide technical readiness resources for ASPs, including Microsoft Consulting Services and Product Support Services, to assist in developing their online offerings on the Windows DNA platform, Office 2000 and Exchange 2000.

ASP Service Delivery Initiative:

Microsoft announced an ASP Service Delivery Initiative, which brings together the hosting capacity provided by ASP enablers, the solutions developed by ASP aggregators, and the sales and customization skills of the Microsoft sales channel.

Microsoft is working with ASP enablers, including DIGEX Inc., Data Return Corp., EDS, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Cable and Wireless, to empower ISVs, ASPs and MCSPs to enter the application hosting market. MCSPs can partner with ASP aggregators to customize and resell ASP services, increasing the ability of ASPs to reach customers.

ASP Certification:

Microsoft announced an ASP Certification Program. The program has been developed to provide market recognition to ASP partners that demonstrate consistent, high-quality delivery of specific hosted or outsourcing services built on Microsoft technology. The certification program will help customers and partners in the ASP Service Delivery Initiative identify ASPs that meet a high level of service readiness,

New Licensing Options:

Microsoft will offer Windows 2000, SQL Server 2000, Exchange 2000 Server and Office 2000 to ASPs to be delivered as hosted services through subscription licensing. This broad-based commercial licensing program, provides a way to commercially license all Windows DNA products, Exchange 2000 and Office 2000.

Market Impact

With industry leaders such as AT&T, Nortel, WorldCom, SAP, IBM and others offering programs supporting the Application Service Provider market, it is no surprise to see Microsoft's involvement. The Microsoft "stamp of approval", or certification program may prove interesting. Not only does the certification program validate the ASP market, it will improve the adoption rate for ISV's and ASP clients. Organizations may be more willing to participate if they know Microsoft is involved. This coupled with similar programs, such as AT&T's "ecosystem" (which allows ISVs and ASP's to advertise using a "co-brand" methodology) will help establish a strong mix of brand-recognized offerings.

User Recommendations

Independent Software Vendors (ISV), Application Service Providers (ASP) and Microsoft Certified Service Providers (MCSP) who support Microsoft's platforms may find the recent announcements positive. It is clear Microsoft is embracing the outsourcing model and is providing tools/services to help drive business.

More information is needed on the licensing architecture, as well as the depth and availability of these services. While in its infancy, the promise of Microsoft's .NET initiative is positive for ASP's who support Microsoft solutions.

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