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A Proof of Concept Journey: Proving a Concept is Technical — and Personal

A Proof of Concept Journey article image

Article by Brian Wied, Consultant

As a consultant at SafeNet Consulting, the pursuit of a Proof of Concept (PoC) for a new client energizes me like nothing else does. For me there are two reasons why. First, I know that the journey will enhance my professional talents as I identify my client’s challenges and navigate fresh tech solutions. And second, I delight in knowing that SafeNet’s collaborative approach to solving client problems will enrich me as a person. A recent project serves as a perfect example, and its success inspired me to share the story.

Getting the Call

A national manufacturer of highly specialized HVAC equipment for a variety of industries found itself in a tough spot. Their on-premises legacy systems were stifling data management and compromising their speed-to-web as the manufacturer added new SKUs to meet unique HVAC demands in emerging markets. Simply put, they were missing out on sales due to sluggish systems and less-than-stellar online user experiences. They tapped SafeNet to help, and I was selected to lead the PoC based on my tech and design experience and intuitive approach to problem-solving.

Shaking Hands

Achieving a dynamic client-consultant “fit” is essential to a successful PoC, and it all starts by saying “Hello.” So when the project was approved, one of the first things I did was travel to our client’s manufacturing facility for a factory tour and some good old-fashioned conversation.

I believe this is critical in developing a fluent understanding of the client’s mission and culture, and from that fluency a consultant can make more effective, big-picture decisions when developing a PoC that achieves end goals. Plus, having that face time with in-house leadership and a client’s tech staff builds team trust that is so, so important.

Identifying the Problem and Solution

As I mentioned, this HVAC manufacturer, like so many other companies, operated within an on-premises infrastructure that had simply not kept up with the times. Band-Aids and MacGyvered peripherals had certainly kept their legacy system operational, but it wasn’t nearly optimized for elasticity and scalability in their fast-changing industry. A PoC that road-mapped the client’s migration to the Cloud shone as the ideal strategy.

Rolling Up the Sleeves

As every consultant knows, you can’t wave a technology wand and magically migrate a client’s on-premises data to the cloud with a flick of the wrist. You have to identify and embrace every pixel in the big picture of a client’s goals.

For my part with this HVAC organization, I needed to understand how internal sales, engineering, tech and customer support teams tapped into the wealth of data generated by the company. Final cloud-based functionality needed to help in-house engineers better implement new offerings into the sales pipeline to ultimately satisfy end-user demand for custom HVAC equipment. The PoC also required the enablement of fast, easy Excel uploads into the client’s system to improve their bidding process on large, complex projects for their new and existing customers.

Open the Toolbox

Choosing the technology for this PoC for legacy-to-cloud NoSQL migration was a collaborative effort. As a Microsoft top-tier partner, SafeNet is fluent in emerging technologies and has the expertise to bring the right solutions to every client. And since SafeNet has such a team-driven culture, I had the luxury of consulting with colleague consultants when building the PoC toolbox.

JSON, Microsoft Azure, Cosmos DB and Bicep’s domain-specific language (DSL) to deploy Azure resources clearly offered a path to enable my client to fulfill their objectives.

  • Accelerated time to market.
  • Greater protection across both cloud and on-premises environments.
  • Robust security and threat detection.
  • And most importantly, scalability — as the client’s HVAC product offerings were becoming more and more customized in the growing and evolving industries they served.

A Better Client, A Better Me

Proving a concept to a client needing answers is a challenge. On this particular migration job, I had the opportunity to wear both IT and software development hats while engaging with my client and colleagues to get the job done, which has made me a better consultant.

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