Demo and POC

Depending on your company’s industry, there may be slight differences in planning environments, but it’s still helpful to understand the differences between the several stages, like a demo, POC, pilot, trial, and more. Essentially, each process represents a trial method designed to gather more information, test products, services, or procedures, and make improvements based on the knowledge gained and any feedback received throughout the various stages. 

A demo, which is shorthand for ‘demonstration,’ is basically what it sounds like. Businesses provide demos of their products all the time, video game producers release demo versions of forthcoming games, and musical artists record demo versions of their songs in the hopes of signing a lucrative record deal. The same basic principles apply; a demonstration familiarizes the prospective or current customer with the features and attributes of a product or service by providing a comprehensive overview of its functionality and general purpose. Demos are usually the first instances in which the customer can view the product or service applied practically within a controlled setting.

After the demonstration process, companies can sometimes progress to a single trial stage or multiple trial stages. Trials, which can also be referred to as an ‘evaluation’ or ‘live trial’, provide the customer with a chance at the hands-on implementation of the product or service outside of a controlled environment. Customers have an opportunity to try the advertised attributes and capabilities they were made aware of during the demo process. The duration of the trial depends upon your company’s goals and objectives (as well as your industry’s standards), but trials rarely last longer than a few months. 

A more formal iteration of the trial process, the proof-of-concept (POC) process, involves a more specific and guided application of the product or service within the customer’s daily environment. Proofs of concept exist so that customers can gain expertise and extensive comprehension of the product or service’s potential and capabilities. The product manufacturer or company providing the service can then make adjustments to tailor to the desires or feedback of the customer. 

Suppose you are looking for a proof of concept template (especially a Microsoft proof of concept template). In that case, you might try searching “POC template word,” “proof of concept template Excel,” “proof of concept template PDF,” or “proof of concept template free download” with your preferred search engine. There are countless viable starting points, and the one that works best for your company will most likely depend on your organization’s specific industry as well as your ultimate goals and objectives. 

Pilot Demonstration Meaning

Television writers often produce pilot episodes to entice networks or streaming services to order a full season of the show. In this regard, pilots are similar to certain demo applications, but there are a handful of distinguishing factors that are important to note. 

Beyond the proof of concept phase, the pilot phase exists to further assess the practicality of product or service implementation at scale. The customer can provide a lot of vital information regarding the product or service’s functionality and feasibility during the pilot phase of a project, meaning your organization can determine whether or not to proceed to the next phase. 

A pilot project example generally looks like a smaller-scale version of a project’s entire vision. Because of this, the product manufacturer or the company providing the service for the pilot project must obtain the measure of as many variables as possible throughout the engagement. This data can then be used to help make additional improvements and optimizations before proceeding to the next stage of the process. 

Measuring the empirical benefits of the company’s product or service is just one aspect of the pilot implementation, meaning your organization can determine other variables about the desired deliverables during the process. As the pilot phase thoroughly evaluates the viability of the particular product or service in question, the product manufacturer or company providing the service can also assess any risks involved or issues that arose to revise investment appraisal as well as develop more finalized plans leading to full-scale implementation. 

There are seemingly innumerable stages and steps within each stage which must be respected and followed to achieve the greatest potential for success in the end. For newcomers especially, but for seasoned professionals as well, it can be difficult to remember all the differences between POC vs pilot vs MVP. We will continue to further explore and discuss these many important and distinguishing variabilities below. 

POC Meaning

That brings us to POC meaning – POC meaning in company settings generally refers to the proof of concept, wherein the company showcases “proof” that the “concept” is practical and attainable. As previously referenced, the proof of concept stage builds upon previous stages but provides more specific guidance so that the customer gains a comprehensive understanding of the product or service’s full capabilities. 

The main differences in a pilot vs. demonstration situation are that demonstrations generally occur before pilots and provide customers with an opportunity to observe a product or service in a more controlled environment. The pilot stage of the overall process generally doesn’t occur until after a demo allows the customer to access a basic understanding of the project’s capabilities. A proof of concept stage can often come after a demonstration and before a pilot, providing a transitory process to further educate the customer about the specific product or service in question. 

The exact time scale for the proof of concept stage can vary depending on any prior agreements, but they generally do not last longer than one or two months (with options to extend this range if both the customer and organization agree). 

Trial vs. POC

The main divergence between trial vs. POC is that trial stages generally precede the proof of concept. While they generally require similar durations (30-60 days), trials are typically less structured opportunities for the customer to determine the applications of the product or service within their own environment. The proof of concept process is akin to a more thorough, structured version of the trial stage that allows the product manufacturer or company providing the service to make upgrades or advanced developments suited to the needs of the customer. 

The primary difference between a pilot project vs. a demonstration project is the purpose, as well as the timing and duration of each. A demonstration project, or demo, is generally very brief – demos usually represent the first time a customer witnesses the functionality of the product. Pilots, on the other hand, occur later during the process to help assess the real-world applications of product implementation. 

No matter which stage of the process your organization is in, POC, demo, trial, etc., it’s important to keep in mind that these numerous steps exist to help your organization make a better product or provide a better service that customers can use to improve their processes. Without undertaking many of these meticulous stages, organizations might not be able to provide products and services that meet the quality and safety requirements mandated by their industries. 

While each stage may require a great deal of time and resources, they are time and resources well-spent – even if a product or service doesn’t make it to full-scale implementation, your organization likely saved more time and resources by not going to market with a substandard product or service.

If you need an additional explanation of the differences between these various stages of planning and development, fret not; in the next section, we discuss POC vs pilot as well as the difference between several other stages.

Pilot vs. POC

When considering the differences between pilot vs. POC, it can also be helpful to examine pilot vs. MVP, pilot vs. test, pilot vs. prototype, and even pilot vs. POC vs. prototype. There are at least as many cryptic acronyms as there are stages in the planning and development process and it’s important to have a firm grasp on all of them. The pilot project generally builds upon discoveries made in the POC and allows for an organization to adapt and make any necessary modifications before committing more resources to the project. 

Participating customers learned about all the potential challenges and obstacles that arose in the stages before pilot deployment, meaning the pilot project can help to improve various aspects of the project. In a pilot environment, your organization can determine the feasibility and potential for scaling while working to ensure safe practices and adherence to all relevant industry standards. If the pilot yields successful results and the customer is pleased with the product or provided service, the customer may make an offer or a purchase outright. Every effort on the part of your organization has been worth it; the results will come in the form of a satisfied customer that wants to continue the relationship.

Depending on your organization’s industry, this can lead to an ongoing project or a short- or long-term contract. Projects usually share some of the characteristics of planning stages (like POC or pilot engagements) regarding duration, well-defined goals, and objectives, as well as responsibility agreements.

Read more about Skytap Virtual Labs and how it can support sales demos and POCs for events of any size.

Ready to learn more about Skytap Virtual IT Labs for your organization’s training and sales demo needs?

Let's Talk!

Contact Us

Join our email list for news, product updates, and more.