Every business in my experience has three primary goals-Run the business, grow the business, and transform the business. Now, I’m sure there is plenty of literature available online and offline that will teach you how to go about the first two. The crux, however, lies in the third one. Transforming a business is how you can take it up a notch and ensure that your brand stands out from the competition.
I believe that a great tool in facilitating transformation in a business is by owning and implementing a Centre of Excellence (CoE).
A CoE in an organization is essentially a team of highly skilled experts whose primary mission is to deploy best practices for a particular area of interest. The concept of CoE originates in lean manufacturing and is used to bridge gaps in skills within the organization and ensure seamless integration of new and advanced technologies.
So, how does it apply to the realm of technology? Why should CTOs invest in developing a CoE? Allow me to explain. Introducing new technology in an organization can be a challenging task. Adopting these technologies and inculcating them within your business processes requires a robust framework that will help you deliver enhanced business values and solidify customer relationships. A Technology CoE helps you do just that!
Now that we have established how a Technology CoE can empower your business to level-up, let’s take a look at how you can build it in five steps.
Building a vision can be pivotal in driving organizational growth. To start off with, you first need to define your current status vis-à-vis your technology landscape. Only then can you chalk out where you want to be in the future. It is crucial to understand and define where you are and where you want to reach before moving any further in your journey.
Using your understanding as a starting point, you can draw a short-term, medium-term and long-term plan that will help you achieve your goals in an efficient manner.
Of course, none of this will materialize unless you have the financial means to execute your strategies. So, the next natural step would be for you to figure out the monetary aspects of your Technology CoE by finalizing the necessary funding and investments.
After taking the business objectives and finances into account, you can come up with a sales strategy and draw out a roadmap to proceed in your journey. With this, you will be fully equipped to execute your tech vision effectively.
You have your objective in place and your priorities are sorted. Now, you need to figure out the best people that will help you realise your business goals. First and foremost, you need to come up with a leadership team. Effective leadership is key in implementing a Technology CoE in a business and a good leader can make or break your goal.
Once your leadership team is chosen, they can leverage their experience and expertise to help you select individual practice teams to implement your business plan.
A key factor in ensuring sustained success is to adequately train and groom your technology as well as sales teams. It is only through updated trainings and continuous education that we can expect the best possible outcomes.
Now, the main reason we’re here learning how to set up a Technology CoE is to bring in new technologies within our businesses. So, we leverage our teams of experts to identify and explore new tools and frameworks pertaining to a particular technology that can be beneficial to the business.
The first step in inculcating these tools and frameworks is to check whether or not it is feasible to do so. The best way to check for feasibility is to get the teams to develop a Proof of Concept (PoC). With this, your strategy to bring in new tech will be verified.
The next step would be to create knowledge repositories wherein all the information that is readily available to us is collated in a database. This can be used to make data-driven decisions while implementing the new technology.
Once that is done, you can focus on building accelerators that help support initial growth, and work on capability improvement for the business to make this transition a smooth one.
For this next step, you want to ensure that your plan is being implemented as decided for which the progress must be carefully governed.
A well-formulated governance body will guide and provide appropriate solutions for any obstacles that you may incur in your journey to implementing new technologies. In addition to governing the work, this team will also focus on how the plan is being implemented and ensure that the necessary standards are met.
With proper governance, ideally you should be able to accelerate the project and achieve your end goal significantly early as well as drastically mitigate risks.
Lastly, after having spent enough time invested in the implementation of new technologies, the governance team should be able to formulate best practices such as code guidelines, design reviews, etc. and conduct a thorough assessment of the initiative.
At this juncture, you have your teams in place working together on integrating new technologies like a well-oiled machine. Your last step is to promote this brand-new technology and convey your upgrade to relevant stakeholders.
The best way to do this is to have a dedicated website for your Technology CoE that highlights all the initiatives and how with these, your business is all set for a radical transformation.
Additionally, you can promote these through mediums such as blogs, newsletters, whitepapers, etc. to generate awareness and bring in new customers as well as conduct a project feedback survey to come up with better, more effective iterations of your current Technology CoE.
You can easily infer the advantages of investing in a Technology CoE from what I’ve mentioned so far, but allow me to cross the Ts and dot the Is. With Technology CoEs, you can benefit by
So, to summarize, it must be evident how a Technology CoE works as an accelerator to bring in the best technology in a domain to solve a business problem and subsequently help the organization and customers avail great benefits from its technology (CoE) investment. Ideally, these are the technology aspects that a CoE should look out for
Stay tuned for my next blog in which I will discuss how we implemented technology CoEs for:
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