Cisco's Customer Proof of Concept Labs (CPOC) are strategically located around the globe to help with your high-revenue, strategic and highly competitive pre-sales opportunities. Our industry-leading, customer-facing labs offer on-site and virtual testing services for your customers, aligning to the latest technologies and architectural plays.
Before you engage with the CPOC, ensure your request meets the following criteria:
1) This is a pre-sales opportunity - The charter of the CPOC does not include post-sales account support, training, or Cisco internal product testing.
2) The CPOC test is necessary to advance the opportunity – CPOC engagements are resource-intensive, both for you and the CPOC team. We have high demand and limited capacity, so for every test we deliver, we are turning another opportunity away. Please be prudent in your engagement of this valuable resource.
3) Your customer is serious about conducting the test – Custom and Field/SE managed tests require extensive planning and the reservation of required equipment in the lab, so cancellations of planned engagements have a tangible impact on CPOC capacity. Please be confident your customer is prepared to invest the necessary resources.
4) You have support from your sales leadership – You should ensure you have management support for the travel and resource allocation required for the CPOC engagement.
Select your CPOC engagement type:
If you meet the criteria above, please select the minimum level of service needed to meet your customer testing requirement. We strongly encourage you to consider one of our pre-built static tests before requesting an SE managed or full custom testing experience. If a PBST will simply not meet your needs, you will do well to limit the scope of your custom testing experience to the customer’s critical decision criteria. A more complex test is more resource intensive, more challenging to staff and equip, and ultimately more difficult to schedule.
The CPOC offers three distinct testing services: Custom testing, pre-built static testing (PBST), and field/SE managed testing.
Custom Testing - Onsite at a CPOC facility or virtual
During a custom test, we build a portion of your customer's future network for testing and validation. The network build will mirror a subset of the network that the customer is planning to deploy. The scope of custom testing ranges from the inclusion of a new line card in a mature network to an entirely new network build. Focus areas of the testing include new features, performance, scalability, and high availability of network elements.
The scheduling and planning process for a custom test usually begins six weeks or more prior to the customer week. Planning for a custom test includes finalizing a test plan (detailing the testing steps), the network topology, and list of equipment (including third party equipment and test tools). Generally, the account team and/or partner engineers work with the CPOC engineer one week prior to the customer arrival to ensure that all the test cases are working as expected.
Pre-built static test (PBST) - Onsite at a CPOC facility or virtual
In a limited number of technology areas, there are pre-built static test-beds that can be utilized for testing. These test-beds are geared toward customers who want in-depth knowledge about a solution but do not necessarily need to see a custom-built network. As the name suggests, PBSTs are networks that have already been built to showcase a particular technology solution, such as security, wireless or data center. They are generally built using a standard reference architecture (as defined by various other Cisco teams) and modified to reflect common solutions and products requested by account teams.
Since the network under test has already been built, a PBST engagement can be scheduled relatively quickly. It is used by account teams to achieve a customer hands-on experience of a new solution in a short amount of time. Generally, the duration of test is anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the level of depth the customer wants to see. For a list of available PBSTs, click here.
For a Field/SE-Managed CPOC, the account team and/or partner are responsible for network configuration, testing and presentation of results for the customer. The CPOC only assists in the network build out and possibly some minor configuration and test tool help as necessary.
Since SE-Managed visits are driven by the account team, it is not a requirement to submit a full test plan to CPOC (although it is highly recommended). However, CPOC does require an equipment list, network diagram, and a list of test objectives.
The virtual testing option
The scope of a virtual CPOC testing is similar to that of an on-site test. The key differentiator is that the participants (including the account team, partners, and customer) access the network remotely from their respective local sites, such as a local Cisco office. The remote testing experience is facilitated and enhanced by leveraging TelePresence, video, WebEx and other collaboration tools. The goal is to mimic the in-lab experience.
The virtual CPOC service is a mature offering that has delivered extremely positive customer results. Account teams should feel very comfortable with this option and utilize it whenever possible to reduce Cisco and customer investment in travel time and cost.
Prepare your request:
On initial submission of your CPOC request, you will need to have the following ready:
1) A valid Deal ID – Linking the request to the sales opportunity.
2) A test plan outline (eventually to become a completed test plan)
3) A network diagram
Templates and examples for test planning can be downloaded from here
Request the CPOC engagement by completing a visit request form:
(internal login required).
Once the visit request is submitted, you will receive an email confirmation with further instructions.
The scheduler of the appropriate lab will contact you for further clarification of your test plan. Based on the complexity of the visit and availability of CPOC resources, you may be assigned a date for the visit.
Once a CPOC engineer is assigned to your visit, he or she becomes your primary contact to finalize the test plan and visit details.