Platform Lab and Microsoft Team Up to Offer MS Corporate Clients Demo Lab for Testing New IT Offerings - 1-May-09: Newsletter Newsletter article: contact TechWeek Editor
Platform Lab and Microsoft Team Up to Offer MS Corporate Clients Demo Lab for Testing New IT Offerings
Microsoft’s large corporate clients based in Central Ohio now have local venue for learning more about Microsoft products. The software giant and Platform Lab are offering a Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) at Platform Lab’s TechColumbus facility.
“I handle about 20 accounts of major corporate clients,” said Mark Harris, Microsoft Account Specialist in Central Ohio. “I made the decision to start a tech center to help those customers.”
The MTC at Platform Lab began its second week-long demonstration April 27. An earlier program took place in March. The demonstrations provide IT users with hands-on assistance with Microsoft tools including virtualization with Hyper-V, system management with System Center, and collaboration with SharePoint and Windows 7, in an independent test lab environment on HP hardware.
“We create a hypothetical company and simulate everything we need to run that company,” Harris said. “The customer – usually an IT director – comes in and plays the part of the employee for that “company” and we walk them through the solutions to problems. At some level, just about every company has the same IT needs. Our goal is to get customers more familiar with Microsoft’s offerings.”
Harris and an IT specialist from one of Microsoft’s partners run the demonstrations using Platform Lab’s hardware and bandwidth at the TechColumbus facility. “Platform Lab has extensive experience in creating replica production environments of our client’s infrastructure, and since so many of our clients utilize the various Microsoft environments, the requirements of Microsoft Technology Center - Columbus are very similar to the requirements that most clients specify.” said Steve Gruetter, Director of Platform Lab. “We hope to bring Microsoft’s government and healthcare clients into the MTC Columbus program as it evolves.”
Platform Lab offers short-term access to IT hardware, software and massive bandwidth for all types of companies for IT testing and other projects. Harris said he thought Platform Lab would be the perfect location for the demonstrations after learning about the lab from a peer. “Practically all of our Central Ohio enterprise clients have used Platform lab at some point for their testing,” he said.
Gruetter was happy to accommodate the Microsoft demonstrations. “Platform Lab sees this proactive test lab by Microsoft as an extension of the Platform Lab mission to provide Ohio firms and organizations the ability to validate a technology prior to incorporation,” he said. “Robust testing leads to better processes and solutions, higher quality applications, fewer mistakes and less waste. The confidence of knowing that an IT solution will work – or the knowledge that it will not – is well worth the modest investment in testing at Platform Lab.”
Local system integrators that have partnered with Microsoft on the project are HP and Kizan Technologies. Harris said his goal is to hold about four demonstrations a year, with the next one occurring in the fall. Information Control Corporation, a Columbus technology company, is expected to participate as a partner in the fall demonstration.
In the past, Microsoft’s major customers in Central Ohio had to travel to one of eight cities, primarily Chicago, to benefit from MTC demonstrations, and Harris says they may still want to make those trips. “We’re not out to replace the work being done at those centers,” Harris said. “The Platform Lab demonstrations merely augment the offerings at MTCs in other cities.”
Interested enterprises that have headquarters in Central Ohio may contact Deborah Carrier at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on future demonstrations.
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