UK software developer Centrix Software has upgraded its WorkSpace platform to give IT managers greater visibility and control over application use within the enterprise, to enable them to accurately chargeback for services consumed.

Centrix WorkSpace uses a browser interface as a 'launchpad' in order to access local, virtual and web applications via a "user friendly and branded interface". Version 3.0 was launched last November, but now the company is rolling out version 4.

"With WorkSpace 4.0, companies can apply chargeback billing frameworks, facilitating the development of IT as a utility or internal software-as-a-service provider," said the company.

Independent research (commissioned by Centrix) has shown that over three quarters of IT decision-makers want a more accurate view of how IT resources are being used and consumed, in order to improve how services are optimised, charged and reported to the business.

The survey showed that 79 percent were looking to improve how they account for IT, with a quarter not able to perform any type of chargeback for IT services. Those that did have some mechanism in place to monitor IT resources, the majority only measured service, desktop or application as delivered rather than by actual service consumption or use. Others could only conduct chargeback through budgets as a central overhead.

"The environment they (IT managers) are delivering to businesses is becoming more complex and fragmented, thanks to virtualisation," said Laurent Seraphin, Senior Product Director. "Complexity has hugely increased, and this complexity makes it hard for them to charge business for using applications in a fair and accurate manner."

"Centrix workspace is an aggregation layer that removes complexity that has been introduced by multiple workstation silos," he told Techworld. "Version 3 was focused on aggregated services across silos and improving the user experience, but with version 4 we have increased visibility and control for IT managers, to enable them to chargeback for services to the business."

"In the past Centrix has been heavily engaged in visualisation activities in a consultancy capacity, and we have developed tools for people to get quicker return on investment...WorkSpace was created from that," said Lewis Gee, head of sales and marketing. "We know the problems CTOs face, the increasingly complexity to access information, be it from a Citrix environment or a VMware environment."

"From a user point of view it can often be clunky to access this information," Gee said. "But WorkSpace makes it easier. From the IT point of view, it is also easier to roll out another application, because the users adopt it more readily. We are also able to meter any application, hence IT can see what applications users are consuming."

"There is a single view for the user," added Seraphin. "The browser interface effectively delivers the applications across a fragmented and distributed infrastructure. It is easy to deploy across multiple machines. It is easy to navigate, to search through virtual and local infrastructure, instead of going through multiple environments separately."

Besides the chargeback and metering in version 4, the new version also has an improved scalability and robustness, with the ability to now scale up to 800 concurrent users on a single server.

WorkSpace is sold via the channel, but the UK list price is £200 ($326) per concurrent user, for a perpetual licence. A subscription model is also available, priced at £10 ($16.30) per concurrent user, per month.