Have you ever heard of a Microsoft Technology Center (MTC)?  Wonder what an “Envisioning Center” is all about?  How can a MTC help Microsoft customers?

Sven Ingard, who serves as the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) director in Boston, recently offered the following insights into the innovative facility:

Q: Tell us Sven, what is a Microsoft Technology Center (MTC)?

Sven: The 10-year-old Boston MTC was the very first center (currently 23 worldwide). Microsoft invests in MTCs because they provide a unique way to connect with our customers; each MTC is a purpose-built collaborative environment providing access to innovative technologies and world-class expertise.  We use this combination of people, place, and technology to work with our customers and partners, mapping technology solutions to business challenges and opportunities, and helping them envision, design and deploy solutions to meet their exact needs.

Q: What are some of the business offerings of a MTC?  Can you briefly explain what takes place in a strategy session, an architecture design session and a proof-of concept workshop?

Sven: While every engagement with our customers is different, in general we focus on:

  • Strategy Briefings – These are one-day engagements designed to create a shared vision of how technology solutions can address business challenges and opportunities. They start by examining our customer’s business objectives and current environment.  They typically include a visit to our Envisioning Center, a fantastic environment designed to stimulate our customer’s creativity, where they see Microsoft solutions in action through powerful demos and scenarios customized to meet their needs. The day includes mutual discovery, tailored product and technology drill-downs and expert presentations, culminating with the delivery of a clear and actionable picture of how Microsoft software can help them reach their business goals.
  • Architectural Design Sessions – These one or two day sessions drill into the business objectives and align them with specific technologies to help our customers identify the options and design patterns around implementing the solution. We provide architectural guidance, preferred practices input, architecture and risk analysis to chief technology officers, architects, and senior members of a customer’s development/IT team.
  • Proof of Concept Workshops – In these engagements, which can run for a few weeks, our architects work closely with key members of our customer’s technical staff and partners to transfer knowledge and mitigate technology risks. We offer a great lab environment tied to some of the best hardware and software our partners have to offer.  Our customers and partners are allocated a private, secure, and fully loaded development suite that is preconfigured prior to their arrival.

Q: What types of customers utilize a MTC?  Have there been any local organizations – or community events – that have used the MTC?

Sven: We have hosted customers from all industries spanning from commercial to public sector to non-profit.  It really is a dynamic environment, and we have been able to bring interesting industry experts to augment what we do so that our engagements meet the exact needs of our customers.

From a community perspective, we regularly host students from our public schools, local universities and non-profits that focus on workforce enablement and digital inclusion. We hold an annual DigiGirlz event at our MTC for local high school students. We have a great relationship with Year Up and support the organization’s technical and professional skills development program for urban young adults.

Q: What is a “wow” factor of the Boston MTC? 

Sven: As I mentioned, the Boston MTC was the very first one and the legacy of innovation is still very present today.  Customers really enjoy the first-class experience that we provide; from the Envisioning Center that taps your innovative spirit, to our Interactive Center that lets you get hands on with our mobile and consumer devices, to our labs, and even our Server Display Center that showcases the latest hardware. But the core of the experience is based on the expertise of our resident Technical Architects who have deep understanding not only of technology solutions, but how to map them to the business challenges of our customers.

Q: What’s the process if a customer wants to book an engagement at the MTC?  Who should they contact?

Sven: The MTC has a tremendous collection of resources available to customers exploring Microsoft and partner technology solutions. A customer that is interested in taking advantage of these resources can work with their account manager to request an engagement designed to fit their specific business needs.  For more information on the MTC, please visit www.microsoft.com/mtc.