David Magee lived it before as an IT professional with an end-user organization: the testing of technology tools to determine how secure they were, whether they could scale, and how well they could work within his infrastructure.
Now, as chief technology officer for Atrion Communications, a solution provider based in Branchburg, N.J., Magee has adopted a concept familiar to technology vendors: a center of excellence, which allows Atrion to test how a combination of products from different vendors can work within the corporate infrastructure.
Atrion opened the center earlier this month, and announced its debut to 40 customers who gathered for its Security Day at its headquarters, about 50 miles west of New York City.
Using the center can be as simple as calling up Atrion and saying, "I want to know if this device will integrate with that device," Magee told a group of clients during a Security Day presentation. And his response would be: "OK, come on in!"
With a barrage of new technology tools released over the last two years, Atrion's customers have had little time or patience to determine if they could work in their environments, Magee said. And, he added, "we ourselves were struggling with how quickly our vendors were bringing out" new tools.
The center also offers an opportunity for vendor representatives to address questions from Atrion customers while their products are being put through their paces, he added.
"The center of excellence was really an opportunity to work with our core vendors and say, 'Look, all of you together have some great technologies. There are some synergies here (and) we have to capture the value of those synergies,''' Magee told IT Best Of Breed. "Otherwise, we're selling single-stack (technology), which isn't what the market needs; it's not what the market wants."
In describing the center of excellence to Atrion clients in his Security Day presentation, Magee said the center – located in a room measuring about 400 square feet -- will also be used to train engineers and provide a staging environment for new solutions that customers buy.
"Our motivation (was) that if we get a center of excellence built, we get commitments from all our core vendors to help us continue to keep that relevant and fresh with what they're doing," Magee said, and "we have a place for our customers to come in, look, touch, feel, prove out, install … do all of the relevant IT operations and IT components you want, and actually end up with something that you go to your leadership and say, 'We really need this.'"