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Proof of Concept: from Idea to Reality

A proof of concept (POC) is the process of assessing the feasibility and viability of a product or service before investing more significant resources in its development. […]

A proof of concept (POC) is the process of assessing the feasibility and viability of a product or service before investing more significant resources in its development.

Why use a Proof Of Concept?

There are many reasons why a company wants to use a POC:

  • Test the value and feasibility of a solution: A POC’s role is to demonstrate a concept’s viability before implementing it on a larger scale. It ensures the sustainability and strategic stability of the project.
  • Limit project costs and risks: Identifying risks upstream of the project is necessary to reduce uncertainties. The POC also makes it possible to estimate the project budget to limit financial risks.
  • Collect user feedback: Proof-of-concept provides a better understanding of end-user needs. It is also possible to use a POC to convince stakeholders (management, finance, IT…) of the interest and relevance of the project.
  • Communicate about the project: the POC is an internal and external communication tool to present the project.

For example, if you want to set up a solution, the use of a POC can be helpful in these two situations:

  • You have already used a service provider and want to set up a test phase to check if the solution is suitable and make the necessary adjustments.
  • You hesitate between two partners, and you want to determine the solution that best suits the needs of your business.

How is a POC conducted as part of a project?

The success of a Proof of Concept is based on several key elements. It must respect several phases:

1. Framing phase

First, it is necessary to understand the context and define the objectives of the POC to identify what you want to demonstrate or validate with it. What problem do you want to solve? This step will make it possible to delimit the perimeter of the POC so that the solution is tested in the best conditions.

It is, therefore, essential to keep in mind all the questions that will define the scope of the proof of concept and its execution modalities.

As a customer using a service provider for the implementation of a Proof-of-Concept, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is this company, and what is its field and level of expertise?
  • Has she ever worked on projects similar to ours? Is this company able to provide the necessary services to conduct a POC?
  • What is the company’s work process for developing a POC? How will communication with our teams take place?
  • What is the deadline of the project, and what will be the key steps essential for its smooth running?
  • How much will it cost? What human and material resources will be required for its deployment?
  • How can one ensure that this POC will fit our company’s strategy?
  • Will the company train and support the internal team using the new tools?
  • How does she plan to share the results with the internal team?
  • How will it guarantee the confidentiality of information? Will it retain all rights to use the POC?

This step is essential and will frame your Proof-of-Concept in a representative way and minimize risks.

Our advice: In order to quickly set the objectives of a POC, it is crucial to understand the business needs, focus on specific and realistic objectives and finally, involve all stakeholders in the process.

2. Feasibility study

The next step will be to present a first version of the solution that will answer the question, “How is it feasible?”. To determine the feasibility of the solution, it is necessary to evaluate its technical and economic performance.

  • Technical feasibility: this study aims to determine the technical, human, and material resources to meet the requirements of the project. It is, therefore, essential to ask the following questions:
  • Is the project technically feasible?
  • What are the technical risks associated with this project?
  • What are the needs in terms of infrastructure and equipment to set up this project?
  • Does the project require specific technical skills, or can it be carried out by people with soft skills? etc.

Economic viability: This analysis is essential to ensure that the project can be financially profitable and sustainable in the long term. It is, therefore, important to estimate the costs related to the implementation of the project accurately (development costs, infrastructure, maintenance, etc.). So you can ask yourself the following questions: What will be the final cost? Do we have the resources to finance capital and operating costs? etc. What are the estimated benefits following the implementation of the solution? In the end, will this project be profitable? Our advice: It is also essential to assess the risks that could negatively impact your business’s operation.  

3. Creation of a minimum viable product (MVP)

The idea is to implement the solution in real conditions on a first process or on a representative sample of the total volume. The goal is to test and validate the functionality and features of the product. It will confirm the conditions for realizing the initial concept, including its technical feasibility. It can also be used to collect user opinions (their feelings, their experience, strengths and blocking points…) The goal will be to quickly identify and identify technical or functional issues and propose improvements before deploying the solution on a larger scale. Our advice: The success of a VMS depends largely on the user experience. It is therefore important to understand their needs and preferences and determine if the solution is simple to use.

4. Review of the POC

During this last phase, it is time to make a decision and ask yourself some questions during the assessment:

  • Do the results obtained meet the objectives defined upstream? Have they demonstrated the technical feasibility of the project?
  • Are the results consistent with our business strategy?
  • Did they identify potential obstacles or risks that could arise during the implementation of the project?
  • Is this convincing enough to justify the additional investment in the future deployment of the project?
  • Will the resources required for the full implementation of the project be sufficient?
  • What were the conditions for exchange and collaboration with the internal team?
  • What has been the feedback from stakeholders?
  • What are the next steps to continue the project? etc.

These four steps are not applicable to all projects. It all depends on the type of project, the objectives, and the resources available. You can continue the project with the provider if the results are conclusive. Otherwise, you can end the project or request additional changes before continuing. 

Symtrax can help you determine if your project idea is feasible and viable by accompanying you at all stages of building a POC, in a few days, on a documentary process, on your environment, in real conditions.

Our team of experienced engineers implements a unique support system to meet the needs and expectations of users. By working with Symtrax, you can benefit from our expertise to turn your idea into a concrete reality.

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