In one of our previous Blogs we wrote that operating in an environment where flexibility at a lower cost is required, this means a different type of technology solution and implementation is a necessary change for the future of C/ETRM. Next generation C/ETRM solutions from pioneering vendors can deliver on those requirements where legacy system and vendors cannot. For that reason, such solutions end up on the short-list after elaborate use case-based demonstrations. While users are very excited about the innovative functionality they have seen, companies sometimes may hesitate to get out of their comfort zone. For such companies there is a post-demo approach to further assess the viability of a solution for solving their business needs: the value of a Project of Concept Project in C/ETRM!
Next-generation system vendors that are confident in their solution capabilities, are not shy in proactively offering a Proof of Concept (PoC) project. A PoC is meant to provide hands-on experience with innovative functionality and technology. The knowledge obtained from a PoC requires some expenses but simultaneously offers the customer an opportunity to further convince himself before deciding on awarding the full system implementation project. As such, a Proof of Concept project is a proven way to mitigate (project) risk, will help define requirements, and provides a test environment. It enables to not only demonstrate both functional & technical core functions based on actual requirements but also prepare proactively for the implementation project by providing a detailed analysis.
A PoC project is usually focused on a limited set of critical functionalities. Those are the areas that will be captured first during the scoping and requirements analysis sessions. In the meantime, a test system will be prepared where basic reference data will be uploaded, deal templates created, data imported rules set up, and some price curve data imported. Based on the gathered requirements, the system will be configured for those core functions and key-users will be trained. At this point the test environment will be made accessible to the users to take a test-drive. The test environment is temporary and doesn’t need to provide all the functionality of a full production environment.
While it may only take a few weeks, in order to realize success, a PoC requires proper preparation and participation and will need to be managed like project with a customer and a vendor team. After all there are expenses and deliverables involved. Ideally, the customer team includes a champion from the customer side who can make go/no-go decision and requirements sign-off, a functional owner(s) who is a specialist in the particular business process, and a technical resource who assists with communication interfaces and IT issues.
A C/ETRM system is typically a complex undertaking and not something a customer does on a regular basis. A PoC helps the customer, as part of its evaluation process, with not only an opportunity to precisely define requirements but also may suggest overall direction, and provides feedback for planning and budgeting of the full system implementation. It therefore is a valuable tool to those customers who feel that investing in a PoC project gives them both peace of mind and the benefits of a next-generation solution.