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Digital transformation is more than just a buzzword in today’s business environment. On one hand, you need to stay competitive and keep pace with other companies in your market. On the other hand, business digitalization is a complex, risky project that can require significant budget and time. It can even cause fear of missing out for today’s savvy entrepreneurs. The good news is that you don’t have to roll out all of your new technologies to your entire organization at once. There are methodologies where you can test and fine-tune innovations before you put additional time, effort, and money into them. One of these effective approaches is Proof of Concept or POC.
What is POC?
The POC method is used to validate the feasibility of a new business idea or technology solution. It involves building a small-scale prototype or test version of the idea, which is then used to evaluate its potential success before investing significant time and resources in a full-scale implementation. The POC approach originated in the software development industry but has since been adopted by many other sectors.
How can POC be used in Digital Transformation?
According to a survey conducted by Forrester Research, 60% of companies struggle with implementing new technologies, and 22% of companies fail to meet their digital transformation goals.
If you are looking to kickstart your organization’s digital transformation but are feeling overwhelmed by the risks and uncertainties, following a Proof of Concept (POC) strategy might be the perfect solution for you. By defining a POC as the first step in your journey, you can test new technologies, validate their feasibility, and evaluate their impact on your business. And only after that will you be able to decide on if you should proceed with a full-scale implementation or another approach that might work better for your business.
Using a POС development approach also enables you to make decisions based on data. It helps to predict how the new technology will integrate with your existing systems and processes. Identify what obstacles or opportunities for development may occur on a full-scale deployment, and help you prepare for them. Ultimately, it gives you the opportunity to forecast its impact on your organization, or alternatively, rethink the chosen solution if you find it doesn’t justify the investment.
Steps of POC Development
The development process for each specific POC will be slightly different depending on your type of business. However, there are a few general steps that are vital to the success of any project.
1. Define the problem and scope
The first step is to define the business problem you want to solve and set the goals of the project. This step lays the groundwork for the rest of the development process.
2. Select your Technology and define your MVP
The next step is to select the technologies that are necessary for development. Here you must collect and evaluate the various technologies that meet the task and choose the ones that are most suitable for the project.
A Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is the very basic version of the solution that includes only its core functionality. After you have decided on the technologies, you’ll move forward with developing an MVP to help to check whether the idea is feasible and whether it will be in demand. With the help of the MVP, you can quickly evaluate the solution that is obtained. And make the necessary iterations before investing additional resources in the project.
3. Test and validate
This step involves running tests and experiments on POC to verify that the solution meets the project’s goals and requirements. The testing and validation phase is critical. It ensures that the completed work is effective and addresses the identified problem.
4. Deciding whether to move forward with the project… or not
Finally, you must decide whether to move forward with the project or put it on hold. This decision will be based on the results of the POC and whether they are deemed viable for further development. If the POC is successful, the solution can be moved on to the development phase, which involves building a fully functional version.
How can POCs be used in different industries?
POCs can be a valuable tool across a wide range of industries. Let’s take a closer look at examples of applying the approach in various business areas.
POCs can be used in manufacturing to test new machinery or equipment before making a large investment. For example, manufacturers can apply POCs for incorporating sensors to track inventory, test predictive maintenance systems, or introduce new processes involving machine learning and visual recognition to detect defects in the product.
New software or hardware products can be tested via POCs. For example, a technology company may develop a POC to test the feasibility of a new app or software feature before investing resources in a full-scale release.
For retailers, POCs give opportunities to try innovative technologies on a small scale. Some examples include point-of-sale (POS)and self-checkout systems, AR and VR experiences for shoppers, RFID technologies for inventory management, and predictive analytics systems to forecast customers’ behavior.
Logistics and Warehousing
Logistics and warehousing industries can also benefit from applying POCs to test new inventory management systems or automation technologies. For example, a warehouse may develop a POC to test the feasibility of autonomous mobile robots, create Augmented Reality (AR) for warehouse maintenance, or test IoT sensors to monitor the warehouse temperature and humidity levels.
POCs are quite useful in the Healthcare field as well. They can be used to test new medical technologies or treatments. For example, POCs can help evaluate the feasibility of using telemedicine for remote consultations, new EHR systems before full implementation, or wearable devices to track patients’ metrics.
Real examples of POCs:
GE’s POC for industrial IoT sensors. GE wanted to explore whether industrial IoT sensors for monitoring equipment performance in real-time could improve efficiency, reduce downtime, and prevent unscheduled maintenance. They started by implementing a POC in one of their factories. They installed sensors on machines to collect data on temperature, vibration, and other performance indicators. The data was then sent to a cloud platform where it was analyzed using machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and anomalies. The POC was successful, and the goals set to improve equipment efficiency and reduce maintenance costs were achieved. As a result, they expanded the use of industrial IoT sensors throughout their factories. Resulting in significant productivity gains and cost savings.
Amazon Go store. Amazon decided to explore the possibility of revolutionizing the shopping experience. They wanted to create a store where customers could simply walk in, grab what they need, and walk out without having to wait in line to pay. To create such a store, they decided to use a combination of computer-linked cameras, machine learning, and sensor fusion technologies to track customers and the products they buy. Amazon started with a POC in one of its own conference rooms. And once they saw that the idea was feasible, they moved on to real-world testing. After some fine-tuning, the first Amazon Go store launched in Seattle in 2018. The success of this POC has led to the opening of several other Amazon Go stores in various locations.
Custom software development and POCs
If you’re planning to develop a POC related to innovative technological solutions, finding a trustworthy, experienced technology partner is the most effective way to achieve success with your endeavors. Some of the benefits you can expect from working with such a partner for POC’s include:
- Expertise and Experience – a skilled partner can provide you with guidance on technology selection, development processes, and implementation strategies. If your partner already has experience in a variety of industries, including yours, they are also likely to be able to help identify potential challenges and opportunities specific to your area.
- Customization – with the help of custom software development, you can create a POC specifically tailored to your business needs. Together with your partner, you will identify the most important features and create a solution that will exactly match your goals. This level of customization allows you to create more efficient POCs and increases your chances of success.
- Integration − building a POC often requires the integration of multiple systems and technologies. The technology partner will be able to provide the expertise needed to configure and seamlessly integrate all systems. This can help reduce the risk of errors or issues during testing and validation.
With POC development, you can begin your digital business transformation with peace of mind. Ideas that don’t bring significant value and growth to your company can be changed or discontinued. Before you invest too much effort and money into them. Conversely, innovations that show high potential and rewarding opportunities will receive due efforts and resources.
With the help of an experienced technology partner, businesses can ensure that their POC is built on the latest technology and that expert guidance is available every step of the way.
Ready to take the first step in your digital transformation journey? Contact us today to discuss how we can help you develop a POC and accelerate your path to success. Our expert team of software developers and system integrators is here to help you turn your ideas into reality and drive your business forward.