A Guide To a Successful Proof of Concept
Preparing for a Successful POC
During the many years that I have been working with all the HPE solutions, it always amazes me how deeply into technology we go to find the best performance results for our clients’ applications, whether they seek a virtual environment or a Tier 1 application.
HPE is empowering your business by expanding its capability to achieve business outcomes by helping you plan your future tech innovation, economics shifts and disruptions. This means that HPE is putting in your hand the capability to see any HPE solution as an action with your own applications and database.
A proof-of-concept (or POC) project is a common approach used by Hewlett Packard Enterprise to assess the viability of hardware and software products for solving a particular business need. The product (often referred to as a solution) can be bought from a vendor or built by an in-house development team, with both approaches having pros and cons.
To put this concept into action, let me take you into a recent POC. Four months ago, one of our territory managers at WESTHAM TRADE came with a request of a Simplivity solution. We thought it was a piece of cake; we just had to configure and propose a solution, but in our initial meetings, we realized the goals that the user was wanting to achieve was to have a better response on an SAP ERP process that took a long time to finish. They also wanted to know for sure the amount of time saved and the performance they were going to have with the HPE Simplivity solution.
The answer was to perform a POC, so HPE Personal came along with the strategy and opened the option to do the POC at a HPE Customer Experience Center in Alpharetta, Georgia.
A POC is not a tool that can be taken lightly. It needs to be planned and replanted to achieve the results the user expects. Let me share with you 6 steps that will help you get the best results of this tool.
Steps to Make a Proof of Concept HW Evaluation.
- Full Engagement with Your Client
The main factor for a successful POC is defining the objectives that are to be achieved in the POC. This needs total involvement by the final client in providing a copy of the applications and database. Let’s not forget the media in which this data will be transported. I recently had an experience with a HPE Simplivity demo; the final client was smart and had double the data; even the redundant data was not used. We were prepared for any circumstance, and believe me, there are cases with disasters by not having the data redundant. The media the client used was 4 x 4TB HDD. Very smart!
- Identifying the Key Players
It’s always a good practice to have meetings before the execution of the POC, at least two or three online meetings where we can have good insight from the client on what they expect, what data is needed and what other external features they are looking at. Now on my latest experience on an HPE Simplivity POC, at the meetings, we discovered that we needed an external individual who had tech knowledge on Tier 1 (SAP applications). The day of the initial on evaluation site was not so intimidating, for we already knew the key players. This helped for a smooth interaction with the attending team.
- Define Metered Success
Having a measurable success objective will shorten the Christmas list that may be presented during the POC; it always happens! For this reason, we need to ask the main questions on the initial’s meetings; question such as:
- What are we trying to achieve with this POC?
- What are the other solutions they are comparing our solutions to?
- What is the business process they will see performance improvement on?
- Who is going to do the test? Is it tech personnel or at the user level?
- Are there multiple stakeholders or C-level people involved in the qualification process?
The list its long but the more you can define at the beginning, the fewer headaches and surprises you will encounter with the execution of the POC. Being open to discussing expectations up front is a key to success for any POC.
- POCs Are Expensive
Oh boy! It’s common to offer a POC every time we feel we are losing an opportunity, but you may reconsider once you see the high price attached to it. There are transportation costs and hotel and food costs. HPE does not charge any amount to perform a POC, but we need to bear in mind that there is a list of many clients waiting to do a POC as well. So, the time frame needs to be aligned with the final client’s travel window.
So, set achievable milestone dates; cost is important. If you ask me what project its eligible for based on cost, I can answer based on my latest experience. If you come from Latin America or the Caribbean region, the project needs to be at least a half million dollars, so the cost of the POC can be justified.
- Execution of the POC.
This is the most crucial part; it is where the definition and exploration meet. It’s where the roads meet. This step proves that all the concepts and features of any solution we are selling are true. This is the point where all the fun and laughs tuns into serious work. This is where the final client is no longer our friend; they need to prove us wrong. All the before steps will assure a successful result. Not everything at this level will be smooth; we need to be prepared to weigh the possibility of both positive and negative situations and test the knowledge of the key players and the proven HPE infrastructure. But enough with the theories and steps. What I have been sharing with you about my latest POC, the execution phase was as expected and prepared in the earlier discussion. Two Simplivity nodes were used as part of the POC and SAP ERP with 10TB DB.
- Evaluate the POC with the Final Client
This is the best part, when the grinder and the windmill stops. You see the face of the final client; it’s the peak of the mountain, and the results are as planned
We need to step back and review the results with your team and clients. Make them actively participate in this process. Compare the expectation and reality of outcomes to see how they met (or didn’t meet) your success criteria. Include an evaluation model and findings with comparisons in this phase’s deliverables.
Also, this is where the final client, after seeing how the HPE solution behaved and the performance overcame, stays put. They don’t want to be exposed on the happiness they feel by all the benefits they will receive. Now, getting back to our Simplivity POC, the results on a Tier 1 application are successful. A 32.2: 1 deduplication and compression ratio means a 96.9% savings; that’s outstanding. This means the applications will be faster to respond. A process that used to take 14 minutes to finish now will take only 6 minutes on an SAP ERP application. This is a lot of gain.
As an engineer with experience of 10 years as Hybrid IT Manager for WESTHAM Trade, I can verify the steps that will enable a Latin American and Caribbean final client to achieve a successful POC. Also, you can use the fundamental principles: DDEEE (Define, Develop, Engineer, Execute and Evaluate).
The pathos behind a proof-of-concept is to dedicate yourself to the refinement of an idea; its practicality once applied to real-life situations within the realm of business needs and seek a way to make sure any lacking areas are removed. It’s also important to remember that while a proof-of-concept is a vetting methodology for new ideas and visions, it may not always contain the answer to your question, but it will guide you to the right path.
Well, the last was full of emotions knowing that we finally achieved what was planned with months in advance. We had many comments on the participants that they had never been on POC that the combinations of HPE and WESTHAM put up this time. Knowledge and positive results were achieved.
How Can Westham Trade Help You Plan a POC with Your Client?
Easy! Join us as your distributor of choice, and you will constantly receive information on how we will guide you through the certification path. Get in touch with a territory manager close to you.
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