Proof of Concept Deployment
What does a Proof of Concept deployement look like?
90 days A proof of concept project typically takes 90 days. It requires a business person and a technical person as contact points in the customer's organization. The demand on their time is about 1 hour per week for the 3 months of the proof of concept project.
The business person This should be a business person who can describe, from a user's perspective, what the proof of concept system should do. This is someone who can articulate 1) what are the inputs (data sources) that the system needs to consume and, 2) what are the outputs (reports or bills or analysis) that the system needs to generate. This person is typically needed for a few hours at the beginning of the project and then about an hour once a week to insure the project stays aligned with business needs.
The technical person This should be someone who has the ability to extract data from the legacy systems that provide the sources of data for the proof of concept system. The technical task is generally to extract tables from a relational database(s). In some cases, this will be a complete table dump into a comma separated file (or something similar). In other cases, this will require writing some SQL scripts to generate a denormalized comma separated file extract of required data. In all cases, the goal is to keep the data extraction task as simple as possible and handle any data processing complexities with a sophisticated set of ETL utilities that are part of the Fractal Web™ framework.
Data sources There are typically 3 types of data that need to be extracted:
- Data tables that describe customers (names, account #'s, applicable billing rates, etc.)
- Data tables that represent customer interactions (the "inputs" to the system). These are typically time-series in nature. They may be meter data files (for companies such as electric utilities), or call log files (for telco's), or Point of Sale terminal data (for retail stores), etc.
- Data tables that represent desired "outputs" (the work that the proof of concept system is supposed to do). These are also typically time-series in nature. These may be monthly bills that need to be sent to customers, inventory reports, close-of-business reports, forecasts, etc.
Reconciliation The proof of concept system usually needs to be checked against the legacy system to see if it produces results that make sense. Therefore, the last step of a proof of concept deployment is usually establishing a reconciliation process to check the "output" of the proof of concept system with the "output" of the legacy system. This reconciliation process can be used as a Q/A process where the Fractal system checks the output of the legacy system for accuracy (in the case where it is used to improve bill accuracy for example). The reconciliation process can also be used to ensure that the Fractal system is doing "the right thing" in the cases where the new Fractal system is intended to take over the work of, or replace, a legacy system.