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How to convince internally to adopt a data strategy?  The POC (Proof of Concept)

At a time of digital transformation, the volume of dematerialised information is constantly increasing. Companies can take advantage of this data that exists within their IT systems by applying a data strategy. By valuing this data, it is possible to exploit it as a resource with the aim of improving products, processes, production and supply chains, etc. Before implementing a data strategy, it is necessary to demonstrate the feasibility of the project and the value of the product with the proof of concept called POC (Proof of Concept). Here are some arguments that will allow you to convince your CoDir.

Why adopt a data strategy in your company?

A strategy based on the exploitation of data makes it possible to collect information that will guide the management of the company. The stakes are enormous: saving time, productivity, responsiveness, brand image and trust.

Thanks to the many advantages of a data-driven strategy, you will be able to:

  • Get to know your customers better: the information collected by connected objects, cookies, registration forms, EDI, can be used directly to discover what your customers expect in terms of products, quantity, time, etc.
  • Document and accelerate decision-making: in-depth data analysis will allow you to adjust the company’s strategy and respond faster to a request by adapting the production tool.
  • Communicate transparently: Internally, it is important to give access to data to all employees so that they do not have to search for information.  They must be able to find it independently.  Externally, data exfiltrated to customers or suppliers displays transparency that reassures and inspires trust.
  • Increase profitability: data management can give rise to new services that tend to improve processes to gain in productivity and quality, generating a gain in profitability.

Set up a POC (Proof of Concept) or an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?

The POC and MVP have distinct objectives:

  • Proof of Concept (POC) is used to demonstrate the feasibility and value of an idea. 
  • The Minimal Viable Product (MVP) refers to a product that is almost ready for serial launch, which collects the first opinions of users about its use.

The POC wants to test and convince of the added value of a solution in a specific context. It must make it possible to provide all the elements necessary for making a decision (feasibility, interest, cost, etc.) for an acquisition or a general deployment. 

At the beginning of the POC, it is essential to frame the needs by identifying the essential elements to define a recipe sheet and/or an evaluation grid for decision-making. This makes it possible to set up the right actions of the test so that the POC makes it possible to highlight these points.

The MVP, meanwhile, is the first version of the product in production. It is part of an agile approach which should make it possible, through successive iterations, to improve the solution based on priorities defined by the product team. 

By putting a first version for users and especially key users, we will benefit from the field feedback of end users and not only the product group. The latter will make choices taking into account the feedback from the pilot population or users who use it, and therefore from the professions.

The advantage of the MVP approach is that it allows less investment to avoid the “tunnel effect” by measuring the interest of the solution fairly quickly, to evaluate the path necessary to arrive at a “final” version even though we are in a process of continuous improvement, and to make decisions in terms of investment. This offers the possibility of adjusting the management and investment at the level of the company, making it possible to stop, if the first returns show very little adherence, or if not to accelerate, if the return on the ground is very strong and the business expectations obvious, which will create business opportunities.

Finally, both the POC and the MVP are particularly useful in a data project since the interlocutors and the end users are business profiles and with these two approaches, they will be able to project themselves and evaluate the ergonomie of the solution.

It should be noted, however, that the difference between the two is that the POC is really done on a small amount of data while the MVP is done on a significant data perimeter. 

Best practices to convince internally with a data POC

In order to win the support of your management and colleagues, you can note these practices that will help you better convince:

  • Understand the company’s strategy (e.g. reduce costs, become more user-centric, be closer to customers, etc.).
  • Clearly identify the expectations of the trades.
  • Properly evaluate the selection criteria.
  • Define what you want to develop at the business level, the challenges of data…
  • Determine the framework to ensure that the people who will work on the POC will have everything they need available and that they will take the time to do the tests in order to obtain all the elements necessary to make a decision (feasibility, interest, cost …) for an acquisition or a generalized deployment. 

As part of the restitution, it is necessary to complete this feedback from POC ideally by a roadmap that allows:

  • on the one hand, to know what more needs to be done to continue the test and validate or reject this project, especially in the event that POC has not been completed, by identifying the reasons,
  • on the other hand, to give visibility on the transformation plan, the necessary projects, the cost of deployment and in what context this deployment will take place, thus helping people to project themselves and measure the impact of their projection.

Always keep in mind that your project must remain customer-oriented. If you don’t meet a need, your idea is unlikely to be accepted. Thanks to data analysis, you will be able to aim right and achieve new customer satisfaction objectives. The properly conducted exploitation of this data will lead the company to success, giving you a head start over your competitors.

Finally, in this type of approach, it is interesting to open the company to external resources that will bring a different point of view and culture, thus offering the company another vision, a new prism.