The hidden claws of proof of concept

August 2019 Editor's Choice, Integrated Solutions

A proof of concept is a wonderful thing. It is the glorious end-product of months, perhaps even years, of honing an idea and its abilities to perfectly suit a market and need. It is the physical manifestation of innovation and it plays an important role in helping the organisation to fine tune issues, assess the true value of a product, determine its value to the market, and so much more. However, it can also be an expensive and time-consuming trap.

Sean Laval.
Sean Laval.

“A proof of concept (PoC) project is a great way to test new technologies and ideas, but it becomes problematic when it continues for extended periods of time without any quantifiable conclusion as to its success or failure,” says Sean Laval, executive: solutions and innovations, SqwidNet. “It can delay the commercial deployment of a viable solution within the business or for its customers. And this happens far more regularly than organisations realise.”

The pitfalls of PoC often occur when the success criteria of the project aren’t clearly defined from the outset. When the milestones, key performance indicators and benchmarks by which the PoC are measured are not adequately stipulated nor correctly managed. This can be a critical failure point for any project. Just as the employee requires ongoing measurement to ensure growth and performance, a PoC requires precise parameters within which to operate.

“The biggest challenge around the timeous completion of PoC projects is the temptation to keep on adding more to the original scope,” adds Laval. “This often happens as more possibilities become evident as the project evolves and grows. Suddenly, there are so many iterations and opportunities that they are tacked onto the original project without clear outlines or goals. To avoid this, the PoC has to remain a well-structured process.”

A successful PoC project should have a defined operational lifespan. Once this is completed, it needs to be assessed against the final metrics that were determined at the outset to establish whether or not it is worth taking further within the purchase and production lifecycle. This doesn’t mean that new insights and information won’t be uncovered throughout, or that these insights should be ignored, but rather that these fresh ideas and thoughts should be contained within a different phase of the operation.

“In fact, the new information and ideas that are unlocked throughout the course of the PoC, should be considered only after the initial results have indicated that the PoC meets minimum specifications,” says Laval. “The metric that ultimately determines the success of the PoC is whether or not the solution adds value to the business and this can only be understood objectively if the metrics are agreed upon early in the engagement. They should ideally be agreed upon by both the business and the solutions vendor at the beginning of the process to avoid any complications later on.”

To deliver relevant results, the business entering into the PoC needs to understand exactly what information is valuable. This can relate to increased return on investment (ROI), greater operational efficiencies, faster go-to-market capabilities, or improved customer satisfaction. Often, solution providers will promise an array of benefits to the business, across multiple spheres, and equally often, many of these may not be feasible.

The best approach to any PoC is a realistic one that isolates a few key pain points that need to be addressed during the PoC period. This tends to lead to simpler metrics that allow for more valuable evaluation and improved long-term success.

“It is critical to involve all the stakeholders in the business to ensure the problem is correctly defined and understood across multiple levels of the organisation,” says Laval. “By the same token, PoC success is dependent on the reputation and capabilities of the service providers and consultants that the organisation works with.”

Before embarking on a PoC, check the credentials of partner organisations, reference their case studies that describe similar deployments, and ensure you have a clear picture of their capabilities. This will help to identify possible complications early on in the process and mitigate preventable issues.

“A business should consider a PoC project wherever there is a problem that requires an innovative solution, but should always ensure completion is timeous, partners well-vetted, and parameters extensively measured,” concludes Laval.




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

A customised solution for backup power
August 2019, Specialised Battery Systems , News, Integrated Solutions
Specialised Battery Systems designed and implemented a bespoke solution for Stallion Security Electronics to deploy at almost any site.

Read more...
Keeping our changing environment secure
August 2019 , Editor's Choice, Security Services & Risk Management
For a crime to take place there needs to be a victim and a criminal who sees an opportunity. For a cybercrime to take place we need the same set of circumstances.

Read more...
Augmented security with drones
August 2019, Drone Guards , Editor's Choice, Integrated Solutions
Drone Guards is moving into an untapped market of using drones to secure residential estates and other high-value assets such as mines, farms and commercial properties.

Read more...
The importance of real security risk assessments
August 2019, Sentinel Risk Management , Editor's Choice, Security Services & Risk Management, Residential Estate (Industry)
Andy Lawler, MD, Sentinel Risk Management, says a security risk assessment is an onerous task, but is not something estates can consider optional or a luxury item anymore.

Read more...
Risk assessment or product placement?
August 2019, Technews Publishing, Alwinco, SMC - Security Management Consultants , Editor's Choice, Security Services & Risk Management, Residential Estate (Industry)
Hi-tech security solutions asked a couple of experts to provide estate managers and security managers with some insights into what a ‘real’ risk assessment includes.

Read more...
10 things to consider when shopping for a VMS
August 2019, Genetec , CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions
Today’s video management systems (VMS) provide a wide range of tools and capabilities that help make security personnel more efficient by allowing them to focus on what really matters.

Read more...
How far are we really at with artificial intelligence?
August 2019, Axis Communications SA , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, IT infrastructure, Residential Estate (Industry)
Justin Ludik unpacks exactly how far AI has come and what it potentially can do for society and more importantly, surveillance.

Read more...
The importance of effective perimeter security
August 2019, Elf Rentals - Electronic Security Solutions, Stafix , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Residential Estate (Industry)
Protecting the perimeter is critical for any residential estate; how does one go about making sure your perimeter is as secure as possible?

Read more...
From fog to foxes
August 2019, Axis Communications SA , Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions
What makes radar devices so valuable is the fact that they can provide a high range of accurate data while barely relying on external factors, such as weather or light.

Read more...
Inundated with cyberattacks from all directions
August 2019 , Editor's Choice, Cyber Security, Security Services & Risk Management
IT managers are inundated with cyberattacks coming from all directions and are struggling to keep up due to a lack of security expertise, budget and up-to-date technology.

Read more...