Annuncio Introduces "MSP" to CRM Marketplace Application service providers (ASPs) have been all the rage in recent months, as companies without the internal resources partner with ASPs to implement e-Business solutions. The benefits of the ASP model include the ability for a company to be up and running quickly with new e-Business initiatives; the reliability, scalability, and security that comes from an application hosted by an ASP; and the expertise that ASPs offer to companies that lack in-house e-Business skills. One subset of ASPs that have thrived is the commerce service provider, or CSP. CSPs offer companies a faster and often less expensive way to add e-Commerce capabilities to their web sites without having to build the infrastructure internally. Recently, Annuncio, an e-CRM player, announced its move toward offering a hosted model for its marketing automation solutions. While hosted e-CRM solutions are becoming increasingly popular, Annuncio is categorizing this service offering as a marketing service provider, or MSP. Through its MSP offering, Annuncio provides its customers with a variety of hosting plus value-added marketing services, ranging from a completely standard implementation in-house (Netscape's Netcenter is a customer) to varying levels of outsourced solutions. For example, E-Stamp has deployed Annuncio's solution in-house but partners with Annuncio to provide support for marketing campaigns. Lucent, in contrast, subscribes to Annuncio's hosted model but manages its own marketing campaigns in-house. At the opposite end of the spectrum is eBay, which is outsourcing the entire solution, from systems and applications management, to campaign creation and management, to campaign strategy and creative services. THE HURWITZ TAKE: Hurwitz group believes that offering outsourced or hosted e-CRM solutions is sensible for several reasons. Marketing organizations are familiar with utilizing outsourced services to complete marketing functions (advertising, creative, PR, direct marketing, etc.), and therefore the MSP model works well with their structure. In addition, marketing organizations are extremely time- and resource-constrained. The MSP model enables organizations to decrease their time-to-market for e-CRM solutions and also guarantees a certain level of performance through the MSP. For these reasons, Hurwitz Group advocates that midsize organizations closely consider outsourcing part or all of their e-CRM initiatives to enable faster time-to-market and increase the potential Return On OpportunityTM that e-Business provides.