Tyco executives prepare to cut the ribbon at the company's newly expanded Global Center of Excellence on Monday in Birmingham, Ala.
Photo credit: (Photo courtesy Joel Griffin)
Tyco on Monday held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Birmingham, Ala. to officially mark the grand opening of its newly expanded Global Center of Excellence (GCoE). The 24,000-square foot center will serve as a home to the company’s best and brightest project engineers, who are tasked with the job of designing and implementing some of the largest and most complex security installations in the world. The GCoE will also be a place where the company can bring its customers to demonstrate their streamlined operations and discuss how they can help meet a variety of different security challenges.
SIW was given an opportunity to tour the facility, which also includes a product support group to assist technicians in the field, a small CAD (computer-assisted design) center and an engineering room where they can build replicas of customer systems in the field.
According to Daryl Haga, director of the GCoE for Tyco, the center is staffed with 90 people who do everything from consulting work to applications engineering, global program management and professional services such as programming, commissioning and audit services.
“We cover a little over 80 countries throughout the world and we speak about 14 different languages that allow us to do business in those markets,” said Haga. “We cover from the presale work that we do from putting a proposal together all the way through to taking care of the system after the installation is complete.”
In addition, Haga said that many of the people who staff the center have extensive educational backgrounds and some even hold multiple masters and engineering degrees.
“For us, we see a lot of customers asking for higher level solutions in a very consistent manner no matter where they are in the world. One of the major drivers is for us to bring the right resources together that can really help navigate that need depending on where the customer needs that,” explained Mark VanDover, president of Tyco Integrated Security. “What we’ve done here is put together a cast of individuals that have higher level skills and are very focused on different aspects of the customer relationship – whether it’s presale or ongoing installation and service.
VanDover said the idea behind creating the GCoE really grew out of their existing project management and applications support base for U.S. customers, many of whom now have global operations. With that being the case, it only made sense for the company to make this transition with its customers, whose needs also changed with this global migration.
“We continue to see needs evolve, we continue to see higher level capabilities being in demand and we see that as a differentiator, so we continue to invest as we’ve been able to grow this business,” VanDover said. “The other piece that I think is a key acknowledgement to the investment and the capabilities of this organization, which we believe sets us apart from the competition, is this organization is one of the few in the world that’s been ISO certified for applications engineering and project management which is a big deal and we’re very proud of that.”
About the only thing that Tyco doesn’t perform out of the center is monitoring service which, according to VanDover, is still done in the company’s various monitoring centers around the world. And while many people wouldn’t think of Birmingham as being an ideal location for a facility with the scope of the GCoE, VanDover said that they already had a “great base” from which to start in the city.
“We’ve been fortunate to be able to attract talent into the organization, we’ve been able to really look for upgraded skill sets and finding people with a passion to work in a global environment, which sometimes is not always the easiest (thing to do),” added VanDover. “The other thing is, and it may be driven by some of the surrounding technology companies around (Birmingham), there is also a good portfolio of talent that has international capabilities, whether that is language capabilities and/or knowledge of local markets.”
In fact, VanDover said that the company can offer a full portfolio of services to continental Europe, Latin America and most environments in Asia with their capabilities in Birmingham. “I’m pretty proud of the capabilities we’ve been able to find, support and grow within this organization in Birmingham,” said VanDover.
Looking at the systems integration industry as a whole, VanDover said that the vast majority of companies are regional players or operate on the lower end of the market. With the opening of the expanded GCoE, VanDover believes that the capabilities they can now offer are “second to none” in the industry and will differentiate them even further from the few other integrators that operate on a global scale.
“It gives us the ability to give a very high-level, integrated solution capability on a very consistent basis across the world for a couple of reasons,” added VanDover. “One is we also have the ability to drive many of our direct companies and their abilities in the local markets where other providers don’t necessarily have that, so we think the mix between the capabilities here, consistency, knowledge and upgraded skills, as well as driving more and more of it through a direct footprint help.”
While the center is not focused on particular vertical markets, VanDover said that it will be primarily used for customers who have a need for “high-end” solutions.
“We can deal with many different verticals. We do have people with vertical knowledge, but having the ability to deal at the PSIM-level systems, the IT-level discussions and being able to go in and deal with the CIO about how we’re going to interface with their network is a key aspect and skill set that we have in this organization,” said VanDover.
Internally, VanDover said that they see the GCoE as a “feeder organization” for the company as a whole. “This is a great place to have people come up through the ranks, learn the technology and move out into different parts of the business,” added VanDover.