The term “proof of concept” (POC) has been around since the late ’60s when the scientific community first defined it as a development stage designed to test program feasibility. Since then, the POC has become an often-used technique in the tech sales process to win longer-term customer relationships via a test-and-learn approach. Much has been written, mostly for sales, on how to leverage this process to the best advantage. Despite that, 78% of the IT executives from the Global 2000 companies surveyed in a recent CIO Innovation Index said that less than 50% of the POCs they participate in result in production deployments.
Why is this happening? Taking a closer look at the expectations I hear from businesses looking to evaluate new technology, the heart of the problem lies with matching the right goals to this early-stage proofing process. Too often, and especially for ad tech where the pilot includes capture of performance data, the knee-jerk measure of success is set solely on uplift, and at a magical percentage that seems like a significant-enough signal of business performance improvement.
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