There is a bit of debate over whether a POC is the same as or interchangeable with a POV. Commonly, the terms are used to mean the same thing, but in fact they’re 2 distinct processes. Some organizations ask to conduct a POC when in fact they want a POV, or vise-versa. When I work with customers on these endeavors, I don’t worry about educating them on the differences, but rather use the terms interchangeably, but adjust the process accordingly. So if a customer asks for a POC when they actually describe a POV, I’ll give them a POV in POC clothing. In other words, the terms aren’t important, but the process is. Let’s look at the differences from a high level, removing the complexities of industrial cybersecurity and talk in terms of automobiles.
Hypothetically, my company produces a unique shelving unit that goes into a custom delivery van, the benefit of our shelving is that it reduces delivery time and allows for more packages to be carried. Your company delivers packages and you’re shopping for a new fleet of vans.
First, in a POC, we would test the concept of the special shelving. Does it hold your boxes? Can you load and unload them easily? Does the van drive safely? Does it have airbags, windshield wipers? Maybe, we could test drive it for a month and see how it handles the roadways, do packages shift in certain types of driving, bumpy roads, etc? We’re testing the concept of using the custom shelving to carry your test packages around town.
Now, if we’re looking to measure the value of the custom shelving, we would conduct a POV. We already know the shelving and van work, because we did a POC. But, does it improve delivery times and increase efficiency to the point that it reduces your operational costs? Without putting my custom van into operation, it’s difficult to measure all of the variables like driver fatigue, actual cost of delivery, maintenance costs, weather, etc. So, to measure the actual value of the improved delivery van shelves, your company would deploy a few or a few dozen of my vans and see how they hold up after 6 months or a year. Did drivers call out sick more often? Did the costs of operations on those routes drop as much as anticipated? Do the vans actually allow more packages to be carried when using real-world packages?
When pondering if one needs to conduct a POC or a POV, we can start with establishing our overall business objectives, a.k.a. Success Criteria, which helps determine what needs to be done. If we’re working with theories, testing concepts, or working with abstracts, like ‘what if…’ scenarios, a POC is probably the most appropriate route to take, as it’s a bit more qualitative. If the goal is to prove or measure the value a product provides while in operation, which is something quantifiable, then a POV might be the right route to take.
Regardless of whether a POC or POV is needed, Indegy is capable and experienced in conducting both with customers. Both are available for our customers as part of our Indegy POC Program, allowing customers to measure the success of Indegy in their test or production environment, with the capability to support both quantitative and qualitative analysis.
My next blog will dive deeper into the Indegy POC Program, outlining the overall process, highlighting some pitfalls, and recommendations for conducting a successful POC (or POV😉 ).