Tool helps ASPs track app usage

by John MaddenTo allow application service providers to offer usage-based pricing for Web-based applications, Xevo Corp. hasrolled out its ASP Workbench software that enables complex provisioning and metering.

by John Madden

To allow application service providers to offer usage-based pricing for Web-based applications, Xevo Corp. has rolled out its ASP Workbench software that enables complex provisioning and metering.

Rick Hronicek, CEO and president of the Marlboro, Mass., company, said ASP Workbench is a way to enforce and audit service-level agreements between ASPs, their delivery partners and customers, as well as provision applications and resources to customers.

"Right now, there is nothing that can measure how much the software is being used," Hronicek said.

Pricing for the product varies depending on customization.

Amy Mizoras, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., said one impediment to growth in the ASP space is "the limitation in service management. For the most part, there is not one complete integrated solution." Xevo's product addresses that issue, Mizoras said.

FutureLink Corp., an ASP based in Irvine, Calif., was a beta tester for ASP Workbench. Tony Hill, director of product management, said that in addition to delivering more flexible options to customers, the tool will make his company more efficient.

Even if an ASP's customers are not interested in usage-based pricing, Mizoras said that "it's probably really good for the ASP to track usage."

Indeed, other vendors, such as Sphera Corp. and Ensim Corp., are appealing to service providers by offering service automation packages that have provisioning and reporting features.

But Mizoras cautioned that for some customers, the change to usage-based pricing from an easier-to-manage per-month model could be "too much, too soon. The ASP industry itself is so nascent."

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