Five ingredients for a successful PoC

Raiffeisenbank has had the privilege in the last few years to deepen its collaborations with startups from different areas. Thus, we have gained a lot of experience in joint projects in the field of innovations. That helped us create a better knowledge of how the ecosystem functions, what is the startup mindset, and what the startups expect and look for – Yoanna Genova, Innovations manager at Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria, shared for our blog 11 Series. Interested in what the right ingredients for a successful PoC are? Check the article below. 

To help the startups that are about to start a PoC with a corporate giant, we have come up with our five ingredients of the perfect recipe for a successful PoC. We believe that following those fundamental guidelines, your chances of making the most of this stage of the collaboration grow exponentially. Some of those ingredients might seem to be as obvious as flour is to cake, but they are also as important and inevitable. My advice is to never underestimate any of those.

  • (Working) solution – The solution is the very first and maybe the most important ingredient. The ability to present a functional product or at least a very detailed prototype is crucial, no matter at what stage the startup is. Nothing compares to a brilliantly functional solution. That might sound very intuitive but, trust me, not many startups have it in place.
  • Customer orientation – When developing the solution the startup’s focus should be entirely on the customer. In our case – the bank as a client that would “buy” the solution of the startup should be convinced in the utility that would be provided to the bank’s customers and/or employees. In most cases your customer is NOT your customer – your customer’s customer is the effective user and you should be careful who is your persona in the process of development. Your major goal should be to effectively deliver business value for your partner thus improving the experience of your partner’s customers. Think one step ahead.
  • Dedication – Underestimating the PoC phase and failing to be 100% dedicated during this phase of the collaboration would be a very bad signal for your potential partners. Never forget that the proof of concept is also your opportunity to prove that you are a reliable and dedicated partner.
  • Patience – Corporates are not like startups. They have many departments with various functions. In the case of banks, for example, the business is also under strict and vast regulations. Sometimes orientation within those giants might feel like a labyrinth experience. Don’t worry! It might take some time to understand the structure and to get all the relevant teams involved, but that’s part of the game. Keep calm and enjoy the opportunity!
  • Agility/ Flexibility – You should be eager to rapidly apply many changes throughout the process. You will learn many new things during the PoC and the agility is necessary in order to be able to implement those novelties and be able to deliver at the same time. This ingredient also means that overplanning might turn out to be more of a burden and not a useful tool. So, if you like planning everything (like I do), just don’t do it.

Thanks to this relatively new business model Raiffeisenbank has been able to offer our customers improved digital services.

For example, our collaboration with Evrotrust has made it possible for our customers to open bank accounts, order their cards or apply for credit by signing everything online. Good news – no need to go to the branch anymore for these and many more operations! We look for feedback from our clients on several channels via the platform of one of the global winners of our partnership program Elevator Lab 2018 – Pisano.

Another good example is our collaboration with LogSentinel – the local hero from Elevator Lab Bulgaria 2018. Their blockchain solution is significantly contributing to our efforts in reaching the highest standards in terms of security. Those are just some examples of companies that remained true to their goals and made the most of the circumstances during the PoC.

The recommendations listed in this article have no claim to be 100% applicable, neither a panacea for your business struggles. However, make sure that you stick to the so-called best practices and that you always add the spice of personal creativity. This is the ingredient that will make your project unique.

Good luck!


About the author:

Yoanna Genova is an innovation manager at Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria and also the local coordinator of Elevator Lab. She has worked in the financial sector for two major European groups. After finishing her MBA studies at University of Amsterdam she focuses on innovations, bank – fintech collaborations and  development of the local ecosystem.

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