Over the past few years, many enterprises have shifted their focus, putting more pressure on R&D to create new technologies and integrate them into their existing infrastructure. Many times, CTO’s are tasked with creating comprehensive solutions in minimal time in order to launch new products and features that will increase their market share and overall brand. As a result, decision makers turn to free trials or open source software that is already out there to save time, reduce costs and improve ROI. Days, weeks or even months down the road, these CTO’s come to me.
Why? Because in 2015 I co-founded prooV Inc., the first Pilot-as-a-Service platform designed to instantly connect enterprises with startups to run and evaluate PoCs.
When enterprise CTO’s approach us, many have already wasted a considerable amount of time seeking free trial solutions for their existing problems, and the first question we ask them is, “why wasn’t a PoC your first choice?” The answers we heard over the years have led us to understand that many enterprises still believe that personal PoCs are time-consuming, expensive and require more ‘work’ on their part than adapting their needs to existing solutions.
Remember, “Free Trials” are Never Really “Free”
There is a term, “Free Trial”, which is deceptive due to the fact that it makes companies think that the free trials can be deployed within their existing ecosystem at no additional cost (that’s what free means after all). However, when enterprises select free trials or open source software as a solution to an existing problem, integration of the existing ecosystem with the API of the free trial can often lead to unforeseen costs that are conveniently excluded from the free trial.
Questions to consider when integrating your existing system with that of a free trial:
- How many man-hours will be needed to set up the API and related activities?
- Can you spare your best developer or engineers time on the free trial?
- Do you understand the limitations of the software?
- What if you require tailored modifications to truly see if the solution works?
- How will you measure whether or not the free trial is worthwhile enough to continue using?
All of these questions require manpower hours to be diverted from places where they could be more useful.
The best-case scenario resulting from a free trial experiment is that the first solution is a match made in technology-heaven and you can use an existing solution and adapt it to your needs with only minor modifications.
The more likely scenario is that you will spend hours understanding the new system, integrating with it and testing it out, only to determine that it is not right for you, leaving you at square one to repeat the process with another free trial offers indefinitely until you get the right fit.
But hey – at least you didn’t ‘pay’ for it right?
So What is the Alternative?
The alternative to the “free trial” route is a dedicated PoC evaluation. Sure, I’m a bit biased, but not without good reason.
The idea behind the prooV PoC solution is to simulate your existing data infrastructure as opposed to using free trials where companies have to integrate their systems to work within the limitations of the free trial software.
The idea of an environment created exclusively for your needs may sound expensive and time consuming, but the reality is that a prooV platform PoC has a higher chance of yielding a positive result, thereby reducing long-term costs and increasing ROI.
When companies launch a PoC request on our prooV marketplace, we work with them directly in order to communicate their specific needs, and even reach out to startups that may be interested in participating. By simplifying the integration process, enterprises only need to integrate once with our secure cloud service and then every startup participating in the PoC can instantly gain access to the information they need to complete the PoC without sacrificing security or usability.
Instead of spending time checking existing solutions individually, any number of startups can offer their solution for a PoC through prooV, giving enterprises control once again of the technology.
Who Benefits from a PoC?
Ultimately, the ones who benefit most from the PoC process are the companies that are looking to introduce game changing technologies to the market, who want to retain their market share or even the first move advantage.
Modern technology has made it harder and harder for companies to retain their edge, and the best way to do that these days is by keeping your technology as close to in-house as possible. If you do not have the time, resources or necessary skill set to build the solution you need in house, a dedicated PoC environment is the next best solution.
CTO’s and CEO’s concerned with ROI and a global market advantage can use a PoC to reduce overall costs and seek a solution that will meet their exact needs while ensuring maximum scalability and agility for future goals. Heads of Innovation benefit as it lets them turn to startups and outside-the-box solutions for existing problems while increasing the rate at which new technologies can be tested by running multiple PoCs at once.
At the end of the day, PoCs are for any enterprise looking to solve a problem in the quickest and most efficient way without sacrificing features, ability or scalability.