Developing new ideas to bring into the world is how a large part of today’s business world works. Whether it’s a new product, service, or an idea, there should be some due diligence to confirm it’s a viable idea for a company to pump money and other resources into. There are different ways that can be used to see if an idea has potential, and one of those ways is by implementing a proof of concept (POC) and enabling POC environments.  

Proof of Concept: The Basics

A proof of concept (commonly abbreviated as POC) is a way to confirm that a potential product idea, business plan or project is a viable idea. It verifies that the idea will be a resulting success and will be worth pursuing. A POC or proof of concept environment is a place in which these ideas are played out, similar to an investor pitch deck. However, a pitch deck is a document that is typically drafted by an investor that outlines the main attributes of a firm, which amounts to a sales document, which is used to sell its products and/or services. A POC is more of a plan on how a new product or service will be carried out, the success criteria that determines its accomplishment and future steps in the process, if any. However, it must be noted that a POC doesn’t produce any deliverables — as that’s not the endgame.  

Another thing about a POC is that it is different from a prototype. A prototype is an actual product that is created to show how the item will function in a real-world situation. A POC is the concept that will prove (or disprove) that an item is worthwhile for putting time and money into. Simply put, it’s a way to gauge the feasibility of an item.

When and How a POC Is Used

Virtually every industry has a use for a POC in the planning phase of new products and business opportunities. High-profile industries that use POCs include software and hardware development, project management, manufacturing, business development, pharmaceuticals, consumer products and many more. The idea behind a POC is to gauge the feasibility of a plan before too many resources flow into it. However, you must understand that a POC has a goal in sight. It’s not necessarily about launching a new product or service.

Most importantly, it also provides meaningful engagement, something that presents opportunities for partnerships, investments and mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Companies looking to grow must remain innovative, so when it eventually merges with or acquire other firms, there is greater overall value to be captured in the deal.

How To Create a POC Environment

There are several ways to create a POC and POC environments, of course, each situation is different, but all of them should include the following:

  • Demonstrate the need: Naturally, there should be a need for the product or service. Knowing who the target audience is and addressing their pain points is key. This must be done with some in-depth research, as generalities won’t let the process proceed to completion.
  • Brainstorm the concept: More heads are better than one, and tossing the idea out there and allowing multiple people to work on it will give the idea a more rounded and universally useful product or service.
  • Test the idea: This is as close to a prototype as you’re going to get here. Being able to develop the product or idea and confirm that all the features and product requirements are met is another vital step. This is a quick way to determine if all the pain points and success criteria mentioned above have been addressed.
  • Get the feedback: Probably the most important step, the feedback will dictate if the project should be pursued further, abandoned, or refined to meet the needs of the target audience.
  • Present the POC for approval: The final step is to get the green light to proceed with the project. Obviously, the feedback metrics should be used as evidence to back the claims, and all the pain points that were brought up at the outset should be properly addressed.

How a VDR Helps in POCs

One vital component of any company working on a POC is securing a trusted and reputable virtual data room (VDR) provider. A VDR is a secure, online vault for the storage and sharing of documents involved in any sort of POC and is an important part of the process. A robust VDR features secure access, which includes enterprise-level encryption, multiple layers of security and user-friendly admin controls that allow you to seamlessly upload and download documents, protected by version control, and that allows only certain parties access to specific documents.

The CapLinked Solution

CapLinked, an industry leader in the VDR space, provides secure virtual data rooms for all types of business transactions. CapLinked VDRs feature a user-friendly interface that is compatible with virtually every OS, and, because of that, it gives users the ability to upload and download documents from virtually any type of computer, tablet or smartphone from anywhere around the globe. Learn more about how CapLinked can help smooth out your M&A process with a free trial.

Chris Capelle is a technology expert, writer and instructor. For over 25 years, he has worked in the publishing, advertising and consumer products industries.


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