This article was originally published in full by AdWeek on September 8, 2021.
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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