27 Feb 2017
Why Proof of Concept?
“Strategy without execution is hallucination.” This true statement is a popular quote attributed to several people. We always try to start our clients on a course to set a clear strategy. However, if those strategies are not executed well, they often are worthless. We believe that a good strategy is verifiable quickly through a proof-of-concept (POC) effort. POCs are sometimes called Pilots, Alphas, Betas, or many other things, but whatever you call them we believe they are the next logical step once you have a well thought out strategy. Let me explain further.
This past week we had the honor and privilege to partner with a great client in demoing a POC at one of the largest Healthcare conferences in the country. Why is a POC so important in this case? We met with our clients a little under six weeks prior to the conference to discuss the idea they had been considering and the business objectives that are around it. They had a great idea. They had a great opportunity to leverage a captive audience at an upcoming conference to get feedback before they made the entire investment.
With just 2.5 weeks of development, we were able to build out an application with enough targeted data and features to allow users to engage in the app and give us the critical feedback we wanted and needed to validate how to move forward with building out an entire application. We also gained organizational momentum! As we have discussed about our strategy work, we include several key stakeholders in a strategy process. A POC done quickly keeps the momentum up. Many stakeholders outside of IT are used to 6-12 month IT projects done in a backroom with no visibility. Our POC process does the opposite, it gives them a view of the progress normally in 4-8 weeks. It further engages those important stakeholders in a key project.
Why do we love starting with a POC? This is the best way your great idea can be affirmed whether or not you have a captive audience. A POC is an initial investment in real software that can be extended to create the full digital solution and provides user a real enough experience to provide meaningful feedback.
Many firms like ours push for the full solution or have an UX prototype. Why do we do things differently? First, we want you to get the early feedback and engagement. Our clients to us are true partners and we want to be in it together for mutual success. A full solution is too costly often and takes you too far down a path. An UX prototype is an effort that allows one specific type of feedback, user experience feedback, while often foregoing key business viability and goals feedback. In that, it often costs about the same as our POC efforts and has limited results. The second major reason we push a POC is that it allows us a little more depth into your environment where we can both know better what a true “minimal viable product” will require. Before developing our POC practice, we saw 4-6 months spent uncovering one hurdle after another. Finally and perhaps most important to us, you get to see how we work and learn about us before we decide to partner on a bigger project together. We have confidence you will love what we do!