Insurers and brokers can now test new computer systems to prove them capable of doing what was promised, before they commit to buying.

Infrastructure service provider Computacenter has launched a computer systems testing centre at its Hatfield head office.

The centre allows businesses to simulate real-life situations on their IT systems. An example would be if up to10,000 users accessed a critical business application at the same time.

Cornhill Insurance has already started using the centre to measure its storage infrastructure system against its production requirements.

Cornhill IT infrastucture and planning manager Rod Adams said: "This not only reduces risk, but also shortens the time it would have taken to complete the evaluation internally."

Computacenter development director David Alexander said although the company's target market was FTSE-250 sized companies, small brokers could test a new system at the centre.

They could also advise a potential software vendor to use the centre to check if its offering worked.

He added that the cost of testing could seem expensive, but would be a fraction of the cost to a company in lost business and dissatisfied customers if its IT system failed.