There are a lot of ideas and trends that are on a collision course with accepted best practices. When that happens, the best practice is either validated, rejected, or refined. Right now, I think they may be happening with concept of Centers of Excellence.
As I read about CoEs, it sounds like goodness (when done right of course), bringing together expertise in an area to drive standardization and progress that can be leveraged across the organization. I’ve seen words that implies that CoEs should push their work across the organization (e.g. a CoE for digital commerce might establish standards and tools and then work across the business to help them successful adopt those standards and tools).
But here is where the potential problem lies.
Most of the thinking I’ve seen around CoEs seems to be built around a more centralized and controlled model of behavior. But we don’t see that today. Between the general growth of business buying and the explosion of fusion teams, buying efforts often don’t start from a controlled foundation.
I wonder if folks who get involved in these buying efforts know there are CoEs and know that they could help them. For a layman, a CoE may sound exclusionary—experts only here–and be viewed with trepidation by others.
But, at the same time, we know from our buying research and the fusion teams research that these distributed buying efforts often have struggles. Delays, rework, unhappiness, and more crop up again and again and again. Many of the problems stem from a seeming lack of digital judgment–missing knowledge and expertise in key areas, often with non-functional requirements (security, compliance, supportability, etc.). That sounds like what a CoE could help with.
What if we repositioned CoEs as Centers of Acceleration. These would be resource teams whose mission is to help others accelerate smart decisions. The mindset would be ‘we are here to help others, working with them to make what they want to do work, within the guardrails of corporate constraints.’ Centers of Acceleration would be perceived as the place you go to go faster (and smarter) vs. the place where experts congregate.
Many CoEs may already be CoAs, but making sure the mindset shift happens is critical.
What say you? Delusional ideas of someone who doesn’t get CoEs, or an idea worth exploring and refining?c