Demonstration vs POC vs Pilot

What is the difference between a Demonstration, a POC (Proof Of Concept) and a Pilot?

Demonstration vs POC vs Pilot. Early on in our sales process, once we have listened to your initial requirements and have some idea of what you may be looking for, we will often introduce a product or service using a presentation. This presentation will provide you with sufficient information to understand the product and what it can do and assess whether it might suit your needs. The presentation is, by nature, generic but interactively tailored to your particular unique requirements. After this, we may move on to a demonstration.

A demonstration is a look at the visible interfaces, control panels or dashboards of the product, with commentary, to further inform to a deeper level, provide insight into the breadth of capability the product or service offers, and prompt questions about specifics of the product’s features. Using your responses to the presentation, the demonstration will highlight areas that are of interest to your organisation.

A demonstration can often be performed remotely using webinar tools or screen sharing, is free and requires no connection to customer systems. Demos usually take between 30 minutes and a couple of hours depending on the complexity of the product or service.

If a product seems likely to meet your needs, but requires some additional time for key stakeholders to fully determine if it meets your requirements against your draft acceptance criteria, then we may move onto a Proof of Concept (POC). This is a limited duration project, perhaps a couple of weeks, which allows you to thoroughly test the solution, normally in a non-production environment. A POC can often be delivered free, or at least at a nominal cost. A POC is useful to further refine requirements and usually involves a number of conference calls for feedback and to answer any queries that the POC has revealed.

Once we are convinced that a product is very likely to be the right solution, and with refined acceptance criteria, we can move to a Pilot. This is a proper installation of the service in a production environment, but one that may be limited by other parameters, perhaps the number of sites where the service is deployed, or the number of devices or servers involved. A Pilot is always delivered on the basis that the solution will stay in place if the acceptance criteria are met. A Pilot is chargeable, although that charge may only be a fraction of the overall solution cost if the deployment scope is limited in some way. A Pilot is often longer than a POC and allows you to examine the system under normal operating conditions over a period of time with live data.

Once the Pilot has completed, the system will move into production and become a normal part of your operational systems.