Selecting software is one of the most difficult decisions that an organization can undertake. While downloading a free trial or signing up for an online demo can be a helpful way to evaluate software, completing a proof of concept (POC) may be an appropriate next step in some instances. A proof of concept is a product demo that allows you to test a solution thoroughly prior to purchasing it. Implementing a proof of concept involves bringing the software in-house to ensure that it works in your environment and functions in the proposed manner.
A proof of concept enables you to determine whether a solution is appropriate for your organization’s needs and goals. You can see and experience the core functionality of the software as well as determine what your customization requirements would be. This helps you estimate the true cost of the software. Implementing a proof of concept also allows you to evaluate the software’s ease of use.
A proof of concept is more elaborate than a standard software demo or sales presentation because it familiarizes you with the complete range of a solution’s capabilities and provides hands-on experience to managers, IT personnel, and users. A proof of concept also removes software from the canned, predictable setting of a sales presentation and lets you use it in your organization’s particular environment.
A software sales presentation typically consists of viewing a slideshow or watching a product demo. While you may have the opportunity to ask the salesperson questions, more questions can arise once you start using the software. A proof of concept can be a good next step to take because you can test the software in your own environment and gain valuable hands-on experience with the system. A proof of concept is often beneficial for large and complex organizations, whereas small to medium companies for instance often choose a 30 days free trial to test the product.
In addition to letting you use the product in your own work environment, a proof of concept affords you the opportunity to experience the vendor’s support services. The vendor’s professional services team will install the product for you and work with you on the proof of concept, which will give you a glimpse into the quality of their customer support.
As company budgets tighten, it has become increasingly difficult to justify enterprise software purchases and get upper management to sign off on them. A proof of concept gives you the opportunity to demonstrate the product’s benefits to upper management and reinforce any data regarding the software’s Return on Investment (ROI).
While it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to complete a proof of concept for every solution you evaluate, a proof of concept could help you make your final decision once you’ve narrowed down your options. It provides you with a real-world view of the product that you won’t have during a sales presentation. Due to the complexity and scope of a proof of concept, however, it’s best to work with a single vendor. A proof of concept can set the tone for the software’s successful implementation.
At Add-On Products, we offer both a hosted and on-premise proof of concept for Resource Central, our meeting room and resource booking solution for Microsoft Outlook®. With Resource Central, you can book meetings and order catering and other extra services in less than two minutes. A proof of concept lasts 30 days and allows you to test Resource Central thoroughly from your own Outlook® client. We provide consulting onsite or remotely to assist with the initial setup of the software. Please send us an email to get an online demo of Resource Central today to discover how much time and money your company can save with efficient meeting room and resource booking, including a more elaborate presentation of the proof of concept options.