London based e-business specialist, Blue Sky, has won the race in the UK to launch a secure and comprehensive hosting and development environment, based on Lotus Development Corporation’s - Lotus Hosting Management System (LHMS). Blue Sky chose to extend its services by developing an LHMS-based hosting environment as the company believes LHMS provides features unavailable elsewhere. Using the new Blue Sky rentable application service, ISVs and ASPs have a unique route to market providing customers with single-source access to fully managed, hosted business applications through multiple web portals, known as ‘store fronts’. “With our LHMS expertise we can make the most of the platform’s inherent facilities to create and tailor applications quickly and effectively. LHMS also allows us to create multiple storefronts – all of which can be branded individually – which give users access to a wide range of applications, as well as the adaptable pricing, billing methods and paymen!
t methods that meet the needs of both Blue Sky partners and the end-user,” explained Steve Johnston, Blue Sky’s Chief Executive Officer.
Blue Sky currently offers Lotus Community Workspace. Lotus Community Workspace is an applications portal that brings departments, organisations or professional communities together online. Authorised users enter a secure Web-based environment, where they use Lotus collaborative business applications to send and receive e-mail, hold real-time chats and document-based discussions, share documents and maintain calendars. Users also have access to Lotus Quickplace where team members can communicate, share and manage information. Longer term, Blue Sky plans to offer additional ‘Community Workspaces’, which will incorporate suites of applications, such as 'Project Community Workspace' with applications related to project planning and management and 'Small Business Community Workspace' with accounting, HR and sales tracking applications relevant to smaller companies.
The new Blue Sky rentable application service eradicates many of the billing problems that have to date undermined the potential profitability of the ASP industry in particular. The Blue Sky service keeps track of usage and billing information in order to provide automatic billing. The benefit to both partners and users is that the service offers a number of flexible charging models. The models on offer are distinguished by the fact that they reflect actual usage. Users pay on a per user per month basis. “Blue Sky's rentable application service incorporates a secure management framework, which handles the complexity of billing and deployment for hosted applications,” says Patrick Lavan, ASP consultant at Blue Sky, “This enables ISVs to offer their business applications to more clients cost effectively.”
The Blue Sky approach responds to key market drivers. In a recent report (April 2001), Gartner argued in favour of the pay-as-you-go payment method, claiming that it is better suited to the needs of those medium sized companies that are critical to the success of the ASP sector. A further advantage of the new service is that Blue Sky will handle the entire billing and collection process on behalf of ISVs, most of which do not have the internal resource to deal with individual customer billing. As Johnston further explains “We’ve harnessed Blue Sky’s proven application development and hosting expertise to develop a service for which there is an existing and proven market need. Respected commentators such as Gartner have made it clear that the future success of ASPs depends on their ability to move into the role of business service providers. With the Blue Sky service, ASPs have the opportunity to concentrate on delivering functionality via a single, secure and fully-mana!
ged platform. Users today want solutions to business problems not just technology for its own sake – however good it may be. In planning the new service, the emphasis has been be on providing quick and simple access to applications and services that deliver business benefits rather than simply adding to their technology burden. This system addresses the needs of those users that maybe don’t have the internal resources to develop applications or the budget to buy into expensive software system, which they may still have to tailor and subsequently manage and support. In addition, it will help even major organisations meet specific departmental problems, offering them the solutions they need without major investment or a lengthy delay in bringing the system into operation.”
Blue Sky is actively seeking partnerships with selected ASPs and ISVs to build an application platform, which will offer users a wide range of business-focused solutions. Blue Sky plans to offer both vertical and discrete departmental applications, such as human resources on the new LHMS-based platform, all of which will be targeted at meeting the specific needs of different types of organisations and businesses.
About Blue Sky Communications
Established in 1995, Blue Sky provides dynamic technology solutions to strategic business needs. The company offers a coherent range of strategic, creative, technical and infrastructure services which include web and digital media design, software application development, internet hosting and e-business consultancy.
Blue Sky is distinguished by the level of technology expertise it offers customers, particularly in the Lotus Domino and Linux arenas. Blue Sky has been a certified Lotus partner since its inception in 1995. It is also a Lotus hosting partner, providing a full range of Lotus hosting solutions.
Customers include BP, Unilever, Boots, Sony, Arthur Andersen, BAA, Royal & Sun Alliance, Datamonitor, Associated Press, Ernst & Young, Samsung Europe, Age Concern and the Interactive Media in Retail Group.
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