Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Do you have the right CoE model?

Rolling out new approaches and technologies require change to the existing ways that an organization operates. Implementing change is probably the toughest challenge any executive has to face. It is expensive and requires long-term commitment and perseverance. It also requires effective management of various emotional, political, and subterranean realities in the organization from left to right and top to bottom.

One of the common best practices for implementing change or rolling out new technologies is the concept of Center of Excellence (CoE). CoEs are modeled to facilitate transformation and accelerate adoption of new technologies. They do that by establishing a process framework, roadmaps, raising awareness, socializing the benefits, education and mentoring, guidelines to aid in critical decisions...

Enterprises fund different CoEs (i.e. Integration, SOA, Content Management…). They are proven to reduce the costs and risks associated with adopting new technologies.

While there are lots of commonalities and similarities with respect to the way different organizations operate, enterprises vary in terms of people, history, and culture. It is important to consider this when planning a CoE.

Many enterprises employ a central model of CoE:

This is more of an outbound model where a central group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from CoE engages with Lines of Business (LOBs) to support the program and related projects/activities.

This works well when there is good alignment and cooperation between the CoE and the LOBs.

However, it may not be the best model in other organizations if the LOBs are more autonomous and have their own IT groups. It would be much more effective to deploy a more distributed model for the CoE where the CoE resources are actually part of the LOB team.

Regardless of the model, it is important to monitor the effectiveness of the CoE using specific metrics in areas such as program, projects, awareness, education...

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