Its “best practice” to assume that IT vendor products are faulty, have serious bugs and will fail in normal operation at anytime.
This article first appeared in an Issue of the Human Infrastructure Magazine at Packet Pushers. You can signup to receive the magazine by email and for free by subscribing here.
You need a POC to prove it works.
- We accept this on the basis of the debate that networking is complex technology and cannot be bug free. (Why not ?)
- And that every customer is unique (even though every customer uses exactly the same products).
- If I am buying top quality equipment – why should I prove it works as its supposed to before I use the purchased product ?
POCs don’t prove anything
- POCs can test, at best, 50% of real deployment.
- Completing a vendor POC project provides zero guarantees that it will work in real life.
- There are NO circumstances in which the vendor will accept legal or financial liability for their products in normal operation.
So why are we told that Proof of Concept testing is necessary for large projects ?
Conducting POC needs large amounts of OpEx to define and execute the testing. Typically in the order of 400–800 hours of preparation by the customer to execute an medium-sized engagement. (Not including travel expenses)
Are there any other benefits from conducting a POC ?
- Training on product and forced education on technology through actual hands on work.
- Offers insights into troubleshooting and operating the technology after the deployment.
- This can reduce the impact of the learning curve after deployment.
- A (false) sense of confidence that the solution works since there are no actual vendor guarantees.
- Vendor gets a lot of benefits : bug testing, product validation, user feedback, training for their POC engineers and professional services revenue.
The Value of Vendor “Warranty”
If you are paying a vendor for their “high quality, reliable and market proven technology then a POC/TEST/Validation should never be required.
Conclusion: Vendors have big profit margins and those profits aren’t put back into products
Conclusion: Vendor have no incentive to produce high quality products because all responsibility and risk is accepted by the customer.
- High priced products should be high quality and POCs should not be necessary.
- Proof of Concept testing is sales exercise that provides an illusion of risk management or risk mitigation
- Vendors profit from recurrent services revenue in the form of maintenance contracts.
- Vendors profit from creating an environment of fear, uncertainty and doubt to encourage customers to buy maintenance contracts.
- The same fear drives Proof of Concept testing because no other option exists.
- Companies offering “solution validation” without guarantees or financial liability accept that their products are sub-standard and faulty.
There is something wrong with our industry that produces unreliable technology and customers that buy it on that basis.