Football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” That saying holds true outside of sports, too. By working toward a goal of perfection, organizations too can achieve excellence.
That is why companies create centers of excellence (COEs for short, and also known as competency centers or capability centers). Read on to learn more about what a COE is and why organizations use them.
What Are Centers of Excellence?
A COE is a group within an organization or even within a single team. The group leads other employees (and the organization as a whole) in some particular area. It is common to see COEs dedicated to technology, skills, or a discipline. Like EDI or all integrations and file exchange inside or outside the organization.
COEs within businesses provide support, research, guidance, training, and oversight for other workers. Employees working in the COE can be there full-time or part-time. The COE can be established on a temporary basis (i.e. the integration of a new company acquisition), or it can be a permanent fixture within a firm.
Why Do Organizations Use Centers of Excellence?
Now that it is clear what a COE is, let’s discuss why COEs can be of value to an organization.
We’ll use the example of an integration center of excellence for system integration. In today’s business world, more applications are being added to the enterprise portfolio. While it is tempting to quickly connect applications so it is simple but ultimately inflexible, that approach will not work in the long term.
Today’s integration environment has been characterized by two traits: each app has its own internal data model, and each integration offers the possibility for further integrations with other applications. Multiple internal data models mean that information silos can arise, and the more applications you have, the more fragile an integration becomes. That is where the integration COE comes into the picture.
An integration COE creates a group of resources and processes to help an organization discover, develop, and operate integration capabilities, solutions, and interfaces for a firm. Instead of sets of disparate teams working to overcome the same challenges, they can pool their resources to determine the best approach to solve problems.
Integration COEs enhance the value of data because they enable all employees to reap the value of data. This makes information more readily available to those who need it by improving the system integration process. System and data integration brings information residing in data silos across the enterprise into one place, making it accessible when people need it most. This drives strategic decision-making for the firm, ultimately resulting in operational efficiencies and improved ROI for integration expenditures.
“Excellence” seems like a lofty, impossible goal to achieve. Centers of excellence make that ambition into a reality by establishing best practices and putting them into place to ensure that integration is a smooth and effective process. It also enables the effective allocation of resources. To learn more about what is needed to build a COE for your organization in terms of expertise and IT resources, contact us today.