Apptix, a spinoff of application service provider TeleComputing, this week is unveiling upgrades to its automated provisioning platform to make it easier for service providers to offer applications on demand.The updates to Apptix's TECOS 4.0 platform include tighter integration with Microsoft .Net so that Microsoft applications can be more easily added to the Microsoft Provisioning System framework. The upgrades also include centralized management for a wider range of implementations so that service providers can deliver applications not only from a shared infrastructure, but also from dedicated servers, as well as customer premise installments.TECOS is the platform used by ASP TeleComputing to deliver software as a service. Last year, TeleComputing, which was founded in Oslo, Norway, in 1997 and still operates as an ASP in Europe, spun off Apptix in the U.S. so it could focus on enabling service providers to become ASPs. Since then, Apptix has struck up partnerships with Microsoft and HP and has customers that include Digex and XO Communications.With TECOS, Apptix offers an operations support system platform that service providers can use to manage billing and other business processes associated with the delivery of hosted applications. Applications are delivered through portals branded by the service provider. TECOS enables service providers to roll out a hosted application in as little as 30 days and avoid the high up-front costs they would incur if they had to build a provisioning platform themselves, Apptix executives say.TECOS 4.0 gives service providers more flexibility in how they manage and deliver applications because of its tighter integration with Microsoft provisioning and Web services, says Alex Hawkinson, Apptix CEO. A service provider can manage a dedicated deployment and a shared deployment all from a single management interface, he says. In addition, because TECOS 4.0 is fully integrated with the Microsoft\u2019s provisioning system, service providers can more easily customize how applications are delivered.That's a big reason why Digex chose Apptix to provide the framework for delivering its hosted Microsoft Exchange service.\u00a0"We liked the strength of their platform, how it's tied into Microsoft .Net and how we can customize that platform and then create our own messaging solution," says Bobby Patrick, chief marketing officer for Digex. "TECOS 4.0 allows us to further customize our unique offering on top of their software."Digex is using TECOS to deliver the hosted Exchange service it rolled out earlier this year. It plans to begin using the TECOS 4.0 platform by the end of the summer."There will be new service levels that are more customized around unique business needs vs. today the service levels are, 'Do you want the wireless options or not,'" Patrick says. "[With TECOS 4.0] we'll be able to talk about how we can tie messaging into our customers' businesses better."Amy Levy, a senior analyst with Summit Strategies, says Apptix is giving service providers what they need to be successful delivering software as a service."The big improvement [in TECOS 4.0] is flexibility in terms of the types of customers that service providers can support and the types of applications they can support," she says.