There was a time when a CoE (Centre of Excellence) was a one stop resource pit. Not unlike a formula one pit stop, although, here time is of the essence, any delay could lead to winning or losing at the checkered flag by as little as 0.001 of a second. A CoE should be emulating a pit stop, it should be the point of first and last call for all things at a centre of excellence. The claim to excellence by a CoE could be any subject of relevance to the organisation, from something as mundane as Java programming language, to something a little more involved as Business Process Management. But, sometimes organisations, particularly in the outsourcing offshore service business tend to create open ended CoE departments as a catch all. Thus making the whole purpose of the CoE irrelevant.
For example, what should one expect from a CoE of Business Process Management? Some of the knowledge we would expect from this CoE is:
- Knowledge of core business process standards at the least in one or two of them, for example, BPMN, Workflow management.
- Knowledge of some of the tools and the pros and cons regarding their use. Of course, you may just have a thorough expertise in only tool, CoE does not mandate multiple tool expertise.
- Knowledge of business rule engine, and how it would integrate with the process engine. The same reasoning applies here as for the tools mentioned in the previous point.
- Knowledge of cloud implementation and their pros and cons. Knowledge of international, national regulations that may impede cloud selection.
- Knowledge of matters which influence the selection or implementation of business processes in an organisation, such as integration to other internal or external systems.
If you have expertise in only one or two of these, to then claim to be a CoE for business process management is highly questionable, since your CoE is not a pit stop anymore. CoE is about knowledge and experience offering, and not about certification. If you are a outsourcing offshore service provider, it is very important to spell out the offering of your CoE expertise. If the only purpose is to emphasize the superiority of your hiring process, why would you want to tag it as CoE at all. The CoE tag also fails, if the only reason is to highlight your product management, team building, and similar development activities. Since the criteria for a CoE that would satisfy these claims would requires much formalized and detailed service offerings not unlike those specified for the business process management.
The idea of a pit stop is to be able to get all the services you need at one place, and by highly competent individuals. It should not be such that you have to run from one pillar to another post to obtain the services required. Just as in the formula one race, the vehicle makes one stop and then gets back back into the race, so it should be for the client who is shown the CoE as his service point of call.