For many people, the term “Center of Excellence” has been used repeatedly to refer to different things around technologies and development practices. Some consulting firms may invoke their center of excellence practice or group within their organizations as a source for subject matter expertise or for resources to perform specialized work while other organizations refer to a central site or application with information and knowledge if not as the place all must come to even begin or be permitted to begin used a tech feature to solve a problem. And then there are software vendors such as Microsoft that talk about kits and tools as center of excellence solutions that are sometimes misinterpreted as the complete center of excellence framework where their implementation is the end game in getting things under control. Let us add to that by calling out organizations that have a “center of excellence” for various but related practices that, for example, do development but do them with assorted products or for different domains (HR, Finance, etc.) There are so many centers that the word itself loses its meaning and potentially its impact and this is the case when one of an organization’s goal is to enable Low Code capabilities as part of an overall modernization or migration plan.
For an advisor to an organization in this case, I follow what we at Sogeti do with other technology and help define things around a CENTER OF ENABLEMENT as the goal is towards enabling the aspect we are targeting AND providing a place that the whole company can go to, to make this happen. This means we look at the program wholistically where there is a framework, tooling, a place to find things, a place to get support and a community of people to talk to, share or even commiserate together as part of the journey.
As long as we understand that the goal of a CoE implementation of any kind is not the case of CoE and “See you later” but really one of CoE and “see what can be better”, we can cover the bases for a successful implementation of a Center that is needed for helping bring Low Code into an enterprise especially a mature company who has made the journey with other tools and are firmly established with them. Here are the enabling principles which I apply to the Microsoft flavor in Power Platform but can certainly extend beyond that with a little help from our new AI Copilots. Use the comments here and we can have a deep dive discussion on these topics.
- Common Framework – the pattern for operations and development sometimes determined by the choice of technology or technology’s vendor
- Standards – An accessible and accepted guide that covers as much of the system as appropriate and used as both instruction and as an accelerator
- Governance – The Rules and Policies that we look at as guardrails and process guides
- Adoption and Nurture Strategy – Stagnant and stale defeats the purpose of a CoE as it reduces the value of its assets. The mitigation is to aim for growth and to nurture that growth to increase value.
- Tooling – Like any professional shop, one should expect that there are specialized tools required to accomplish important tasks and it is no different here with the slight exception that the tools do not necessarily have to cost to obtain even though they will require people to diligently use them.
- Centralized, Reusable Assets – The idea of going to the “center” to find what is needed builds up from here as the organization gathers, collects, catalogs, and maintains the components and solutions to help future efforts directly or as accelerators.
- Support Center – The CoE is both a support center and the support center’s support resource and having them together or immediately accessible to each other brings confidence to the users who need more than just the documentation
- Community – Building on Adoption and Nurture strategy is an organic extension of support that scales up the capabilities of a CoE in sometimes exponential ways. Take note of the vendors such as Microsoft and UI Path who have taken this angle to its heights to which the lessons can be applied back to a private organization.
About Ralph Rivas
I am a seasoned professional with nearly two decades of experience delivering quality software and solutions. I am currently with Sogeti in the corporate Applications and Cloud Technologies group as a National Solutions Architect focused on the Power Platform and M365 ecosystem where I am actively promoting and growing the technologies and features to help customers make the most of their digital modernization journey.
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