How an ASP-based solution can help your business

Grimco Inc. dramatically improved customer service and sales response this year after installing CRMbyKarpel, a customer relationship management (CRM) software by Karpel Computer Systems.

Is your information availability keeping up with larger competitors and high-demand customers? The Internet has increased the speed on which decisions are made and communicated. Most companies, and their customers, depend on it as part of their day-to-day business operations. However, many firms still fail to take advantage of everything high-speed communications has to offer. Those who fall behind the curve are not only losing significant business opportunities, but may be losing ground to their competition.

Larger companies are able to support and access critical business applications through a traditional in-house server-based system. In this scenario all equipment is located at the company site and the company takes full responsibility for the entire system.

Companies like this must make hardware and software purchases, system upgrades, back-ups, and have round-the-clock technical support. In addition, as a company grows and requirements change, the information and communications system must adapt to these changes. The system may require additional hardware, equipment and software licenses when a new location is added. Costs can be significant.

So how do you take advantage of the applications and processes your larger competitors enjoy? A sound alternative for a small business is an Applications Service Provider or ASP-based solution. An ASP hosts applications and data in a world-class data center. Information is accessed via secure connections over the Internet. The ASP manages the site thereby replacing the need for installing and maintaining applications and data on every PC or server at every business location. All general IT maintenance, all data back-ups, and software upgrades are done at the central data center. The Internet is integrated into the solution to support fast, efficient, simultaneous communications between companies and individuals at multiple locations. Without the need to host your own applications, the ASP can help level the playing field with your bigger competitors.

Stable and reliable, the 24 hours per day, seven days per week operation is a key benefit of an ASP-based solution. Most installations include on-site generators for power failures, unlimited Internet bandwidth and automatic failover switching for communication failures. All you need is an Internet connection to use your application in a well-maintained and stable environment. An ASP will seamlessly support remote employees and remote operations you would otherwise need to manage. You can catch-up on work in your office, home, or on the road during regular business hours at night.

You also control the costs. The ASP-model is typically subscriber-based putting you in control. Payment is by monthly fee or fee-based on usage. No need to purchase software(and any upgrades) outright. This monthly fee remains the same until your needs change or you opt to add or remove certain services. It’s all-inclusive and covers software upgrades, system back-ups, security and general maintenance of the data system. You don't need a long-term commitment and you have the flexibility to make and change business decisions quickly as needed.

An ASP solution also offers a world-class data center; a powerhouse built on the latest technologies. It supports an aggressive service model and is continually upgraded to support the changing needs and requirements of the customer base. It seamlessly performs software upgrades with automatic back-ups. It has a high level of reliability with full redundancy capabilities and is less likely to go down than an individual or legacy system. An ASP also offers a robust secure environment including firewalls, encryption and the latest security technology.

Small-business owners realize that to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace, it is essential to focus their time and resources on their core competencies. Many have found that though they need computer technology to run their business, they need it as a user, not as a manager. For them, an ASP is the right way to go.