Networked computers provide an unprecedented opportunity to gather and coordinate the flow of information in schools and districts. Many districts have become quite adept at centralizing this information and have one or more full-time staff members who manage various databases. Now, school districts can choose between managing their data in-house or outsourcing that service to an application service provider (ASP).

An ASP is a company that charges a monthly or annual fee for maintaining connections from the district's computers to a large off-site data warehouse. Among the many potential benefits of hiring an ASP...

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