3 important considerations for a successful Centre of Excellence
This article should take about 15 minutes to read, and should provide you with an understanding of what a Centre of Excellence is, why it’s beneficial to your organization, common pitfalls of achieving maturity, and how to setup a framework that enables increased maturity success rates. If you have further questions, please feel free to schedule a call with me using my call scheduler by “clicking here”.
A Centre of Excellence is a unique unit within a business that consists of key individuals that are responsible, passionate and committed to understanding and sharing the latest best practice and innovations within different functional areas of a business. Once established and well maintained within an organization, the CoE enables visibility to the focus the organization has on excellence within key areas, and it eliminates risk of falling behind in certain areas of business as the CoE is not limited by standard processes and can instead focus on innovating and failing quickly as a part of it’s process to develop best practice. Additionally, a well led CoE enables the organization to monitor costs more effectively, by standardizing KPI’s and performance management processes that structure and accelerate continuous improvement efforts.
A Centre of Excellence can include any functional or innovative area within the business. As an example, Diageo, one of the worlds leading organizations within the alcoholic beverage industry, established its own Collaboration Center, where the organization and it’s customers could visit to explore new ways to merchandise stores, create unique experiences in bars and venues, and think deeper about how it’s brands could be positioned within the consumers home. This expanding Collaboration Center, enables the organization to bring visibility to its commitment to providing excellence to all levels of its business and the business of its customers. It enables an experience, customer and consumer driven innovation process, flexible enough to work outside of the standard ways of doing business so that the organization can think bigger alongside it’s customers. Lastly, it ticks the monitoring costs box as well, by pulling deep parts of its innovation process into one key center, that is likely measured through KPI’s and metrics that are linked with the innovation and customer relationship impacts the centers outputs.
Companies are trying to standout in todays market, strengthening their competitive advantage by showing their commitment to excellence in key areas of their business. Internally, they also use their CoE’s to strengthen core competencies and operational processes. No matter how they are used, it’s clear that Centres of Excellence are here to stay, and continue to increase their value on the way organizations thrive in business. The question then, is how do you set up your own CoE, and how do you ensures it’s successful impact on your business.
Establishing a Centre of Excellence requires crystal clear impact objectives, senior leadership sponsorship and framework that structures and enables the distribution of innovation and best practice sharing across the organization. This isn’t standard across all organizations, as you’ve likely disseminated from the Diageo example above, but here is a short description of some key elements that should be done out of the gate to help accelerate your success. If you would like to discuss a complete program to support your decision making through the early phases and later maintenance of the centre, you can schedule a call with me to discuss your initiative using my call scheduler by “clicking here”.
Establishing a clear and agreed upon purpose of your Centre of Excellence across senior leadership is a critical to the early and future success when establishing your CoE. For example, some large organizations have the primary goal to establish internal excellence within areas such as Analytics, Pricing, Demand Generation and Events, to eliminate energy and cost expenditure by establishing and sharing best practice or by providing a central function for the organization to leverage. Where other organizations, such as the example with Diageo, aim to establish an experience for their customers to support the innovation process alongside their internal stakeholders, allowing for a two-fold benefit of external and internal visibility to the commitment and gains achieved through the CoE initiative.
Don’t boil the ocean, you can always expand a Centre of Excellence into new avenues. Focus first on your organizations primary pain points, then outline ways that a Centre of Excellence would provide innovation and best practice development that would enable you to eliminate the pain and better manage the performance within these areas.
Lastly, setup a framework that enables your organization to maximize the benefits of the CoE. You could do this by outlining each functional area of your organization that will benefit from the innovation and best practice, then detail a three staged excellence maturity model that each functional area outlined will be tasked to achieve as their milestones to excellence. As you roll out your Centre of Excellence, set up priorities for each of the stakeholders involved, including the definition of the milestones to excellence within each functional area outlined within the CoE excellence maturity framework. Lastly, setup a champion network of key stakeholders that will be responsible for the maturity of each functional area across the organization, including a main CoE Maturity Leader that is responsible for leading the change management associated with maturing and sharing best practice alongside each Champion, as they complete each of the defined milestones to excellence.
Properly structuring your milestones to excellence and enabling stakeholder success though clear sponsorship and performance objectives is critical to reaping maximum benefit of a CoE within your organization. If you would like to explore your current plan, or discuss ways to outline the potential impacts and action plan for your own Centre of Excellence setup, you can schedule a call with me using my call scheduler by “clicking here”.