Understanding Enterprise Hesitation for Running PoCs with Startups

By: Alexey Saphoznikov – Co-Founder & CTO, prooV

Founder of a startup with huge potential? Leading the development team of an exciting new technology? Then you probably spend your time alternating between working on your product and figuring out how to establish validity and assess scalability on an enterprises ecosystem.

In an ideal world, enterprises would be knocking at your door, eager to test out your technology and take your startup to the next level.

But, in reality, many enterprises are hesitant to engage in full scale PoCs with startups and software vendors for a variety of reasons; cautious about exposing their infrastructure,  a ‘been-there-done-that-didn’t-work’ mentality, and more.

For this to change, it’s important to understand what the enterprises hesitations are and what can be done to alleviate them.

Too Few Resources To Allocate to the PoC

One of the most ironic claims enterprises have for not wanting to launch a PoC is the belief that the process requires more resources than they’re able to allocate. The traditional thought process is that a PoC requires a substantial amount of man-hours for integration and setup with the startup, often leading enterprises to assume they’re better off trying to find a solution in house, rather than seek external resources. The truth of the matter is that running a PoC actually reduces the amount of resources a company needs to dedicate to a particular solution, rather than increases.

It is important to remind enterprises that in-house solutions are often dependent upon meeting a particular deadline or budgetary constraint, and that startups have the benefit (and sometimes disadvantage) of operating independently of enterprises constraints. Furthermore, since startups are measured by results, many times creative solutions for existing problems are employed, resulting in less time, resources and/ or money a company has to spend.

Inability to Accurately Asses PoC Results without Sharing Data

If you’re looking to launch a PoC with an enterprise, the first thing you need to do is understand that their biggest concern is their data.  Just as startups are hesitant to share their big idea before they have a beta, or expose an algorithm to a potential partner, enterprises are equally scared to share theirs.

Using a PoC platform eliminates this exact risk and offers enterprises a solution that they can easily get behind. The key to alleviating the hesitation of enterprises is to understand their fear, legitimize it, and offer a viable solution.  A PoC platform can provide its own data, generate custom data that mirrors the original, and provide a secure and encrypted connection.

Offering to integrate through a PoC platform offers enterprises the security they crave as well as a way to simplify the entire integration process – another big worry enterprises have when contemplating launching a new PoC.  

Nobody Wants to Waste Their Time

Since time is money for an enterprise, many often voice their hesitation to launch PoCs with startups as a direct result of the time they will waste on a PoC that may not succeed. As with the resources, this is a hesitation many enterprises have based on previous experiences – as a startup, it is your job to understand their concerns and hesitations and clearly explain how you are able to turn an “issue” into a non-issue (or at least reduce it significantly so that a PoC is worthwhile for them).

Win-Win for Startups and Enterprises

Once again, the great contradiction here is based on the results. As a startup, you only deem a PoC successful if your solution is proven to be feasible, viable or scalable, resulting in a win-win situation for enterprises as well as startups.

Beyond reminding enterprises that you are as determined to find a viable solution as they are to getting one that works, a great thing to do is offer to set clear goals and performance measurements throughout the entire PoC process.

By understanding enterprises concerns and thought processes behind their hesitations to run PoCs, you can more accurately tailor your pitch to engage with them and be one step closer to establishing a successful relationship.