A short story of smarter PoCs

Would you use a laptop from 1998?

Preparing for my next work trip I began to pack my bag – threw in some jeans and T-shirts, toiletries and whatnot. The most important item, of course, was my laptop – a decent machine, with a sleek design, with all the specs you might expect from a laptop in 2019.

I’ve been developing software for enterprises for 20 years during which I had the “privilege” to realize what an overwhelming burden proofs-of-concept – the process of evaluating new technology for adoption on an enterprise system – carry, and how it is possibly the biggest obstacle to innovation and progress.

In the short-term, it’s more comfortable for companies to stick to their old solutions built on outdated structures patched up with fixes, instead of looking around for a fresh and comprehensive technology that would alleviate their troubles and pains. Even the way they handle proofs-of-concept has not changed at all since the 90s.

Now picture me in a coffee bar in 1998. Fresh-faced, proud young man working on his first startup on an IBM Thinkpad TP7860XL. It was brand new, top-notch tech back then with its 166Mhz MMX Pentium processor and a healthy 16 Mb of RAM. But can you imagine me using it today?

Over the last 20 years, I saw young companies, especially startups in highly regulated, slower-moving industries (automotive, financial, pharmaceutical, healthcare) bleed out because they could not get their outstanding technology in front of the right people. Or because they could not survive financially until it was finally evaluated, tested, chosen and integrated.

I also saw what time and again brought the wheels of innovation to a screeching halt at these large corporations: anxiety over the safety of the legacy system and data. As frustrating as it was, I could empathize with enterprise leadership, too.

What to do then about this conundrum?

We needed – I realized – a new tool, a safe way for large companies, enterprises in charge of highly regulated data to integrate new, unknown software. And as much as solutions on this level are not like the free software you download on a whim from the www – adopting any new technology carries similar risks.

Innovation phobia

New technology might, of course, carry malignant content, for one. But even if this is not the case (and in most of the cases it isn’t) the interaction between new software and the carefully built, bulky legacy system is unpredictable and can result in several undesirable scenarios – including data leaks, data loss, and more.

My partner in crime was Alexey Sapozhnikov and together we came up with the idea that later became prooV. We took this complex problem and found a simple solution – with some unique quirks and in need of sophisticated execution.

We wanted transparency – so we created a SaaS platform through which proof of concepts could be set up, monitored and managed by their owners.

And we wanted certainty, full, absolute certainty. Not just confidence or faith in a new solution – but actual data supporting the reliability of the new software that’s about to be integrated with the legacy system.

Up in the clouds

The first and logical step was to remove the PoC from the enterprise premises and place it on our cloud, the prooV Lab, for absolute isolation. This is where our patented technology, deep mirroring comes in. We only need a small sample from the enterprise data, we extrapolate it – turning a small dataset into millions of data points without breaching any data privacy regulations. While perfectly mimicking the enterprise data and traffic.

It is here, in the prooV Lab that the vendor/s are introduced to the enterprise system. Through our platform enterprises can run multiple PoCs and predict how a new solution will behave in production. With our pre-defined unique KPIs the company can get a real apple-to-apple comparison between the vendors using our benchmarking tool – making safer, faster and better decisions for their organizations.

And the vendors, you ask? We wanted to democratize the selection process and to enable everyone to be judged based on nothing else, but their tech so we created an ecosystem for them on our platform. These cutting-edge vendors come from all over the world, their technologies are PoC-ready, and can be added by the click of a button.

prooV has been around for 4 years now and the more CISOs, CDOs, CTOs, CIOs – corporation officials in general – we talk to, the better we understand that something that started as a personal pain early on in our careers is indeed becoming a disruptive solution and soon the standard that changes the way how enterprises can do smart innovation adoption

prooV is for organizations who want to innovate, and want to do so before their chosen new technology becomes last year’s “it solution”. We are for organizations that want to stay ahead of their industry and not just keep up with what’s already in place among competitors and alternatives.

I’m leaving for the US next week. My first laptop, that good old Thinkpad is staying at home, of course, a perfect toy for my 4-year-old. I will bring along something much better, faster and smarter; my very 2019 laptop – and a PoC solution that will change the way the world’s largest enterprises innovate for good.

About the author

Toby is the founder and CEO of prooV, an entrepreneur and out-of-the-box thinker who is eager to lead the PoC revolution.