The ASP Advantage

By: Ronnie Smith

Hand On Computer

What is ASP and why?
ASP stands for Application Service Provider and it is exactly that. An application that is monitored and maintained by professionals that can be accessed with secure log in from anywhere in the world and available to its users at a small monthly fee. Why ASP? There are many reasons, including accessibility, reliability, and other features that because of their complexity are only available through an ASP application. ASP’s are nothing new; we have been using them for years. Not many of us have our own private jet for travel. The cost of maintaining a jet is too high. We pay a small amount for a ticket and share the costs with all the other passengers. This is the ASP model, everyone pays a small monthly fee to maintain a system that is so powerful, that not one of us could afford to maintain it on our own.

How does it work?
The Beacon ASP model works by using a client, such as Dispatch Anywhere, that connects to Beacon's servers via secure internet connection. As a user enters data into the client, the data is sent to the servers and then processed there. This allows complex calculations to be performed on powerful servers instead of the user's computer; enabling Dispatch Anywhere to run on lesser powerful computers. The data is updated and sent back to any other clients connected to the company's database on Beacon's servers. This is done without any visible delay to the dispatchers or other users. One of the benefits of an ASP is that all you need is a computer and internet connection. There is no need for expensive servers or costly IT consultants to configure, maintain, and back up your system. This is all performed by Beacon professionals and is included in the monthly usage fee, no matter how many users you have.

What to consider
Let’s look at some of the things that you may want to consider when shopping for software and comparing an ASP to an enterprise solution.

Is your software data mirrored between multiple drives and multiple servers so if your server goes down you can run your business with no down time while waiting for your server to be repaired?
Is the software company going to have professional IT personel backing up your data everyday?
Can you run more than one work station in your office without buying an expensive server and hiring an IT person to build and continually maintain your network?
Is the software company going to have professional IT personel monitoring your servers 24/7?
In case of fire or theft is your software and data going to be available to you where you can continue to run your business with no down time?
Is your software going to be available to you anywhere in the world including your home or night dispatch office?
Is the software powerful enough to run web-based features like TowSpec and TowMap?
Are new features to the software (as they are developed) available to you in an instant at no additional charge?
Is the software company going to supply you with tech support 24/7 at no extra monthly or yearly charge as long as you are using the software?
Is the software company staying current with new technologies and releasing them to you in product updates instantly at no extra charge?
On a single user system, is your data and software going to be available if your computer crashes with no down time?
Are extra features such as mapping, two-way paging and complete accounts receivables included in the initial purchase price of the software?

What about owning software?
Why would someone spend a large amount of money on an enterprise solution with a huge up front cost and many hidden costs. In some cases, a system that is obsolete before it is up and running in your office. The first thing the enterprise software companies are going to tell you is “BUT YOU OWN IT!” Why would you want to own it? I talk to company owners all the time that are stuck with obsolete software that they own and can't change because they have too much money invested in it. There are so many hidden costs in enterprise solutions that they don’t tell you about when you put your money on the table, by the time you are up and running you are stuck in a money pit with no way out. With an ASP, if something better comes along and you are not happy with the service; you can pack up and move on without feeling like you left your wallet behind.

Shop wisely
So when looking for your software, shop wisely, do your homework and you will find what all of Beacon Software customers have found. A trustworthy, dependable company with a reliable staff that handles all your software needs, so you can focus on what you do best, run your business.

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