Posted by Karen Smith
Welcome back! This second installment focuses on Real-Life Examples of when to use a Proof of Concept. What you think you wanted at the beginning is not always what you want as you roll up your sleeves and begin the PoC. You may reconsider particular work flows and rethink the original plan.
In case you’re now thinking of Aunt Betty’s fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls, we’re talking about technology bake-offs (oh, snap!) in which competing solutions are evaluated and the best option is selected. Bake-offs are worthwhile endeavors to undertake if there’s hesitation or an impasse in selecting the right partner typically due to risk aversion and/or analysis paralysis.
As we all know, a strong pitch and slick PowerPoint don’t always translate into a successful implementation. With a proof-of-concept bake-off, you can better determine the success of a pilot, and understand the strengths and limitations of each proposed solution, before making a significant investment.
We say “bring it on”!
The Political Maneuver
Many of you know all too well that when there’s a politically charged environment with a strong internal (often upper management) preference toward a particular vendor or proposed in-house solution, it can be difficult to challenge authority and/or make an unbiased decision. This type of situation is opportune for employing a small pilot without bucking the system.
Recently we encountered a utility that had a successful working relationship with a well-respected software vendor on a non-vegetation management field operations project. To further support the utility, the vendor offered to develop a vegetation management solution to meet incremental field operations’ needs. The utility wisely agreed to test their capabilities through an in-field PoC that ultimately proved unsuccessful but saved an inordinate amount of time and investment.
For our customers, we encourage a pilot test even when they’re dealing with vendors that they trust and whose software or LiDAR capabilities they may already be using. It’s just a smart business practice to ensure the vendor’s capabilities will transition to the specific challenges they’re trying to solve, today and in the future.